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How to pitch the modern journalist


A recent report from the folks at Edelman last week got me thinking about how we approach and work with our colleagues on the media side.

As our world has changed the last number of years, so has the media world. No big epiphany, right?

But, how often do you actually think about how those changes that are shaking up their world impacts the way you pitch these “modern journalists?”

Note: I couldn’t resist using this pic of two of my local favorite reporters/anchors, Jason DeRusha and Jamie Yuccas (courtesy of Jamie Yuccas’ Twitter account).


Let’s take a look at a few key stats from the Edelamn/Muck Rack study and talk about what they mean for US on the PR side of the coin:

Stat: More than 75 percent of journalists say they feel more pressure now to think about their story’s potential to get shared on social platforms.

What it means for PR: Like it or not, these numbers are likely to drive even higher in the coming years as media outlets continue to favor shareability of stories online. Again, no big surprise–we’ve seen this trend coming the last couple years. But, have you thought about how this impacts you and what you can do to help? As PR folks, we sometimes have a better handle on what gets shared online. Why not give our media friends a few ideas on items that might drive those clicks and shares online? Suggest positioning a certain article as a “How to” post. Point out a key stat that might work well in a headline. The key is not to over-step your boundaries. Journalists get paid to write objective stories. You just want to make sure you’re not telling them how to do their jobs.


Stat: Nearly 3/4 of journalists are now creating original video content to accompany their stories. However, very few journalists (13 percent) are relying on sourcing consumer-generated video and only 3 percent are using corporate video.

What it means for PR: The age of B-roll is slowly dying. Sure, it works in spots, but according to the stats in this study, more journalists are shooting their own video–probably more so than ever before. So, instead of wasting your time capturing your own corporate video to use in pitches (to be clear, I’m not suggesting you move away from video–just b-roll-type video), why not make suggestions to the journalist about video they can capture on their own? Then, do your best to make that process as easy as possible. It’s all about facilitating–instead of producing the video yourself.


Stat: Non-legacy media publishers make up the majority of the most-engaged sites on Facebook (top sources: The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Mashable, PlayBuzz).

What it means for PR: Again, no big surprise here that HuffPo, Mashable and Buzzfeed are among the more shared media properties on the social web. What is surprising is how often PR counselors can minimize the power of these more non-traditional sites and outlets. For example, did you know Buzzfeed publishes honest-to-goodness news? And, they have a business section? Would it be worth adding Buzzfeed to your national lists? Or, what about thinking creatively? Is there a way for you to pitch your client as part of one of the popular Buzzfeed lists, as my friends at Life Time Fitness did last year?



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