Business keys to success

Media relations and pitching journalists

PR professionals have their own industry insights they’ve honed over the years when it comes to working with the media. I personally do not like to distribute press releases on Monday or Friday because the journalists I work with are either gearing up or winding down the work week during those time. PRWeek  reported this week on research conducted by MDC Partners and MuckRack, in which they asked MuckRack’s community of journalists how they like to find and be pitched stories. The online questionnaire, distributed by MuckRack, received 279 responses and revealed some interesting tidbits, which I’ll share here:

  • Journalists prefer to be pitched between 9 and 11 am, and many find Twitter to be their most valuable social network.
  • Forty-three percent of the respondents said they prefer to be pitched in the morning because they are under pressure to quickly figure out what they are going to write all day.
  • Forty-one percent of the journalists in the group said they Google sources before using other social platforms, searching their own networks, or asking people they know for recommendations.
  • Ninety-two percent of reporters said they prefer to be pitched via email, and 91% said they respond to pitches from people they don’t know.
  • Fifty-eight percent of the journalists say two to three paragraphs is the ideal length for an email pitch, while 68% of reporters and editors say one follow-up about a pitch is acceptable.
  • Lack of personalization is the key reason why journalists immediately reject pitches, in addition to irrelevant subject matter, according to 27% of respondents.

In today’s PR world, it’s all about being short, concise and to the point. It’s also about doing your homework and pitching the right story to the right reporter. You wouldn’t give a soccer player a baseball and expect him to perform in the same way. The same goes for a reporter. Supply them with the right tools to improve your chances of mutually beneficial media relations.

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Brian Cockman