We communicate with influential journalists in the press: 10 secrets that will increase the likelihood of the publication of your article
The vast majority of materials claiming to be published, which are received by e-mail by a typical influential journalist from a large publishing house (hereinafter referred to as simply a journalist ), are written not “for people”, but for promoting something. In a ratio of 5: 1. In addition, since the authors of these materials do not bother to get acquainted in advance with the specifics of the publisher where they send their material, but send letters according to a template to everyone, without a personal approach, journalists are very annoyed. They are so irritated that they transfer their spam filters to a very sensitive mode - and so on. protect themselves from grief-PR people.
The Harvard Business Review magazine conducted an exclusive survey of 500+ leading digital publishers, with the goal to understand how to submit material so that it was interesting for the publisher, and not perceived as annoying spam, which publishers call PR.
What journalists don't like
Journalists NYtimes.com, TheGuardian.com and CNN.com reported that they receive 38,000+ letters a year. This is three times more than any other average worker. And 26,000 of these letters are sample letters from people who, driven by a PR-plague, seek to highlight something in the press. Interviewed journalists said they would never publish material sent in such an impersonal manner.
Such a PR-plague, which the author of the article likes to call “the invasion of robots,” arose at a time when PR managers no longer took into account the interests of journalists on the other side of the e-mail; and in addition, they began to write template letters and spam publishers with them. This PR plague is due to the boom of search engine optimization, the essence of which is to place your article on the promoted site with reference to the promoted resource, and so on. go up in Google search results.
So, the proposals formulated under the influence of a PR plague, journalists tend to ignore.
How to find an approach to journalists?
- Understand that journalist performance is limited. On average, 60% of journalists publish two materials per day or less; the remaining 40% is only one material per week. At the same time, at least 40% of journalists receive more than 20 letters every day asking them to publish this or that material; 11% receive 50 such requests daily, and 8.4% - more than 100. These are 100, 250 or 500 requests per week - against five factual materials that the journalist is physically capable of preparing.
- The material accepted for consideration is likely to be recycled; and supplemented. Few journalists will publish it without prior processing. Only 11% of journalists do this (publish material without processing) often . 45% do it sometimes , and 39% rarely .
- However, there is good news: 70% of journalists are open to requests from strangers to publish an article. Of course, if it corresponds to the format of their publication. At the same time, journalists prefer to receive ready-made material - without prior approval of the topic.
- What materials are most interesting for journalists? 39% said they prefer exclusive research. 27% - the latest news. 15% are emotional stories. 19% - indicated “other”, and explained: “the most important thing is that the material be related to the audience of the publication”.
- What format is most interesting for journalists? The most popular material is articles (19%), infographics in second place (13%), then mixed format (12%), visualized information (11%) - images, video and interactive maps. Less than 5% fell on press releases and quizzes.
- After you know what format of materials the journalist prefers, how to send it to a journalist correctly? 64% of journalists would like to first establish personal contact with them, and only then send a request for publication. For 31% of journalists, such links are less important, but also very important. After personal contact has been established, 81% of journalists prefer to conduct business communication (accompanying the preparation of material for publication) in correspondence; while only 5% want to be contacted by phone.
- It is important that the proposed material and correspondence were not grammatical and spelling errors. Only 15% of journalists will continue to read the submitted material, even having met with spelling or grammatical errors. The rest, encountering grammatical or spelling errors, usually lose interest in the material sent, even if it is really worthwhile.
- Now, when I realized that the journalist did not like, and that prompted him to filter out the incoming proposals for publication - how to make my letter more attractive for a journalist? 85% of the interviewed journalists said that they decide whether to open the letter - looking at the header field.
- The last step is to pack the material sent to the journalist in a neatly formatted short message. Reading such a message, the journalist understands that you are aware of all the above points. As for e-mails, 45% of journalists want your message to be short and accurate (less than 100 words); 43% would like to receive materials of medium size (within 200 words). Only 12% of journalists preferred detailed filing (more than 300 words); however, the majority of these 12% are journalists from small, highly specialized publications.
- Sending your material to journalists, it should be noted that 69% of them prefer to receive it in the morning; 22% at lunch; 9% - in the evening.
So , PR people who want to cooperate with an influential journalist should keep in mind the points listed above. The better they adapt their materials to the needs of a journalist, the higher will be their chances to stand out from the gray mass of pseudo-writers who are infected with a PR plague.
Kelsey Libert. Get Your Pitch Noticed by a Major Publisher // Harvard Business Review (Digital). 2014.