For the third year in a row, Cision’s 2018 Global State of the Media Report found that press releases are the No. 1 most valuable content public relations professionals can provide to journalists.
While there is something to be said here about the classics never going out of style, the report’s findings highlight the importance of associations having strong multi-channel strategies. Content that is being produced for members — video, advocacy calls, content marketing, etc. — is overwhelmingly not preferred or trusted by journalists.
The survey compiled responses from 1,355 journalists from six countries. Overwhelmingly, 63 percent of respondents said news announcements and press releases are the most valuable and most desired content communications professionals can provide.
Press releases beat out, in descending order of desirably:
• Original research reports
• Follow-up press releases
• Content marketing or advocacy releases
• Video clips or livestreams
• Blog posts
News outlets provide a significant platform for various association objectives, such as being a voice for their members, maintaining standing as industry experts, educating the public on issues, and so on. Few — if any — associations can afford to not have good relations with journalists and news media.
There is one obvious area in which association PR and communications have a leg up on many other brands clamoring for media attention: Experts.
Journalists — much like the public — are concerned with the fake news obsession and the trust implications it carries. One of the top requests among journalists was that PR professionals have data and expert sources ready. These are two resources that associations have in abundance.
While including them in press releases is ideal, the survey’s findings point out the importance of having additional sources ready for follow-ups, especially given the perceived lack of trustworthiness of other channels.
Press releases — again overwhelmingly — came out on top in terms of trustworthiness. Here is the global average of journalists who believe these various channels to be trustworthy:
• Press releases: 44 percent
• Spokesperson: 32 percent
• Company website: 17 percent
• Company blog: 3 percent
• Social media: 2.6 percent
As with anything, quality cannot be overlooked. Despite the overwhelming desirably and trustworthiness of press releases, journalists noted numerous ways PR professionals can improve them. The core tenets of their advice are qualities desirable in all communications.
“Whatever your media outreach plan involves — whether it’s a blog post, a press release, or a CEO giving an interview,” the report says. “PR pros must put forward material that’s not marketing jargon, that can explain clearly how something works, and why it’s relevant.”