Journalists responding less and less to PR pros
The first half of 2022 has been full of change for PR pros.
But one unchanging, unfortunate trend is the diminishing average journalist response rate to PR pitches over the past few years. See the updated average journalist response rate to pitches in our latest research report below.
Taking a close look at these findings, we explored the change in the average journalist response rate over the course of 2021, and then for Q1 of 2021 vs. Q1 of 2022.
See the image below to better understand the gradual drop we’re seeing in journalist engagement with PR pros.
Why are PR pitches losing their charm?
You may be wondering why is this the case? What is the underlying issue here? Times have changed, and research is proving that we can’t always stick to the same game plan we employed years ago.
There are various factors that may contribute to this deteriorating engagement rate.
One of the most notable reasons for the sharp decline in engagement we’ve found from our research and through discussion with media experts is that journalists crave more exclusivity and more genuine relationships than they’re getting.
According to Spin Sucks Founder and CEO Gini Dietrich, her podcast channel received 26 completely irrelevant pitches in one week alone, and she said this happens shockingly often.
Making such irrelevant requests communicates that you have not done your research and that you are wasting the recipient’s time.
Making necessary changes
Going out of your way to authentically connect with media contacts and send them stories that make sense for their specialization can go an incredibly long way!
In a recent webinar about best practices for mastering earned media, SparkToro CEO Rand Fishkin said he’s able to maintain nearly a 99% success rate with outreach by building warm relationships via other channels like social media before ever sending a pitch.
Taking the extra time and energy to engage with media contacts organically will put you in a much better position to reach out in the future with story pitches that truly relate to them and their work.
And once you get to the pitching process itself, make sure you’re doing enough research to share relevant information to the person you’re reaching out to.
Findings from the Telum Asia-Pacific Journalism Survey 2022 show that “38% of journalists preferred to be pitched stories as exclusives, 37% want it pitched directly to them and 87% are more likely to run a story if it’s pitched as an exclusive or as a relevant story.”
This indicates that personalization is non-negotiable for journalists in 2022, and that exclusive pitches have a much higher chance of getting coverage than those shared to multiple outlets.
New tech to help you
In today’s world, there’s no reason why you should have to handle all aspects of the PR process by yourself – The PR technology market is booming with innovation, and there are tons of tools out there that can help your story stand out from the rest.
This includes Propel for free! We recently launched a free version of Propel that includes access to a full PR management system.
The software suite includes tools that can make it much easier for you to connect with the right media contacts and personalize pitches efficiently.