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Home » New research shows the PR-journalist relationship is getting worse

Capitol Communicator reports that according to the Q2 Propel Media Barometer, the average journalist open rate to PR pitches is about 36%.

New research shows the PR-journalist relationship is getting worse

by | May 16, 2022

Journalist engagement with PR professionals is continuing to fall over time. 

According to the Propel Q2 Propel Media Barometer report, which  analyzed roughly 400,000 story pitches that PR people sent to journalists in the first quarter of 2022, the average journalist open rate to PR pitches is about 36%, and the average response rate is under 3%, which is alarming to say the least!

What should PR professionals make of this? 

This quarterly report continues to find that journalists are engaging with less and less PR email pitches, and this connects directly with PR outreach strategy becoming less effective over time.

Some of the leading reasons why many PR pitches are failing to resonate with journalist recipients are:

  • Mass, spray-and-pray pitching prevails. This means many PR pitches are not personalized enough to relate directly to the journalists that are receiving them. Journalists can always tell when you don’t do enough research about what they cover, or what would be appropriate to pitch them on vs. other media contacts that would be more appropriate targets.
  • PR teams aren’t always aligned on outreach initiatives. Especially in a large agency setting, team members may over-pitch or double-pitch the same targets without realizing until it’s too late. This is another error that is pushing journalists away and portraying a lack of intentionality in getting stories placed.
  • PR professionals are not following email marketing best practices. This study found that most email pitch subject lines and body text are way too long for what journalists are looking for. For example, subject lines with 1-5 words are getting the most responses from journalists, but PR professionals use subject lines that have 10-15 words.

These pain points in PR-journalist relations can largely be attributed to lacking the right resources in such a growing, competitive market for earned media coverage. Luckily, the PR technology market is booming too.

The right tech stack will lead you away from ineffective pitching strategies and ultimately, more meaningful coverage that doesn’t drive journalists crazy along the way.

Tools to help you

Propel recently launched a free version of its PR workflow tool suite. The platform is designed to solve the media relations pain points that are leading to worsened journalist relationships.

PR professionals are using this all-in-one resource to:

  • Discover the right contacts from a database over 1 million journalists.
  • Quickly send personalized pitches with ease through our Gmail and Outlook integrations.
  • Monitor digital coverage and social media mentions.
  • Analyze and share campaign results with an automated business outcomes dashboard. 

How can PR technology streamline your workflow? It’s time to find out.

About the Author

Capitol Communicator and sponsors host various guest postings on relevant topics of interest to the advertising, marketing, public relations and media professional community that Capitol Communicator serves.

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