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Home » Journalist responses to PR pitches drop to “lowest level ever,” states Propel

Capitol Communicator reports that Propel Media Barometer finds journalist responses to PR pitches dropped 20% in Q4 2022.

Journalist responses to PR pitches drop to “lowest level ever,” states Propel

by | Jan 18, 2023

Propel, a PR Management platform (PRM), reports that its Q1 2023 Propel Media Barometer found that journalists only responded to 2.66% of the nearly 500,000 pitches sent through the platform in Q4 of 2022. This, states Propel, is a 20.6% decrease from the previous quarter which saw a 3.35% response rate, and represents the continuation of year-on-year downward trend in journalist responses to pitches from PR professionals.

While many journalists were on vacation for the December holidays, this is likely not the reason for the low responses, states Propel, “as Q4 of 2021 saw a 3.23% response rate. However, the significant decrease in the number of responses coincides with mass layoffs seen in the industry at major outlets such as Buzzfeed, CNN, and BBC, with publications such as Protocol folding, and with Gannett owned newspapers in the US either dismissing reporters en masse or simply shutting down local newspapers. Meanwhile, there are more PR professionals than ever before

“However, people in communications are doing all they can to give the journalists that remain the shorter, easier to read pitches they want, with a 33% increase in the number of pitches with subject lines of between 6-9 words and a 30% decrease in the number of pitches with subject lines between 10-15 words, with the shorter subject lines receiving open rates of 2.6% and the longer ones of 2.03%.

“Meanwhile, pitches with body lengths between 50-150 words had nearly double the average overall response rate at 5.06%. However, only 5.58% of pitches sent during Q4 of 2022 fell within this range. Instead, the word count with the highest number of pitches pitched was 501-1000 words, with 32.77% of pitches being sent in Q4 within this range. And yet, they only garnered a tiny 1.43% response rate. Given how large this word count is, Propel believes that PR pros were pitching full, contributed content articles to drive up the number of results for their clients for the end of the year.

“The numbers also show that Tuesday was the day with the most pitch responses, with 23.73% of all pitch responses occurring on this day. However, the day with the most pitches being sent was Wednesday, with 26.17% of all pitches being pitched on this day (and 21% of all replies happening on Wednesdays).”

While these numbers all point to the fact that journalists prefer to read succinct pitches with short, clear subject lines, the combined factors of reduced newsrooms and increase in people working in PR are leading many PR and communications professionals to feel they’re still facing an uphill battle to obtain earned media coverage for their clients and companies, states Propel.

In fact, states Propel, journalist responses to PR pitches are at the “lowest level ever.”

About the Author

Capitol Communicator

Capitol Communicator is a unique online and offline resource for Mid-Atlantic advertising, marketing, public relations, digital and media communications professionals. The e-magazine, e-newsletters and events bring together communications professionals, fostering community and providing important information; news; trends; education; and opportunities for networking, career enhancement, business exchange and showcasing great work. Visit www.capitolcommunicator.com to learn more.

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