Journalists don't want PR news pitches through social media, survey finds

Journalists do not wish social media to be used by PR professionals for story pitching a survey has found, with email remaining the most popular option.

The Broadgate Mainland Digital Trends Survey, which involved 100 UK financial and business journalists, found that 81% of respondents engage with their online audience and manage their readership through online sites and through online forums.

Between one third and a half of all journalists were found to be using Twitter, with 56% of respondents admitting to having browsed through conversations on Twitter while searching for or researching stories.

Journalists also said that email was the pressed method of PRs pitching news (81%), with under a fifth preferring to speak over the phone to a PR person, and not a single respondent saying they would prefer Twitter or Linkedin as a platform for news pitching.

Company websites were still found to be the primary source of information for journalists when researching news (97%).

It was also found that the number of hits received by stories online has become a measurement of a journalist’s success, followed by the number of time the story is shared, while SEO was the main way that news was found, with over half (56%) of journalists optimising their stories to be found through search engines.

Sarah Evans-Toyne, head of digital at Broadgate Mainland, commented: “Our survey confirms that social media channels are good ways for PRs to ‘bond’ and chat with journalists, but when it comes to the PR pitch, financial journalists prefer old fashioned channels. The financial services sector has traditionally been way behind tech and consumer colleagues when it comes to the use of digital communications, but companies need to respond to this emerging enthusiasm by adapting their approach to engagement and understanding the new rules in a multi-channel environment.

“Having virtual friends is an increasingly important PR and networking tool, but in most cases these interactions supplement existing offline relationships – offline PR relationships are still absolutely vital," added Evans Toyne.

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