Media relations are still essential in PR, but many communicators are missing the mark.
A recent survey by Isebox revealed that only 6 percent of journalists say digital newsrooms meet their expectations, with more than 65 percent saying that most online PR resources fail to meet their needs.
Matt Purdue, a former journalist and the director of content strategy at PepperComm, says the key to getting coverage is easing a reporter’s search for information and materials:
I’ve seen journalism change dramatically in recent years. It’s a much tougher job now, and content marketers need to make a reporter’s job easier if they’re going to expect consistent, accurate coverage. Reporters want a streamlined digital newsroom experience with easy downloads of photos and videos. The brands that meet their needs are going to gain a competitive advantage.
PR pros might think their organizations’ newsrooms are set up to make journalists’ lives easier, but 69 percent of reporters said newsrooms they check out don’t have updated and accurate contact information—a feature that 90 percent say is the most important for newsrooms to have.
However, the failure to provide current phone numbers and email addresses isn’t the only area of digital newsrooms that PR pros should improve.
More than half of reporters (65 percent) said most current newsrooms lack images and video content, 54 percent said newsrooms’ search tools were subpar, and 53 percent said a lack of current information is the cause for frustration.
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Other journalists said nonexistent press archives, a lack of media kits, the inability to schedule interviews, a paucity of social media information, and poorly written press releases also stand in the way of PR pros’ securing coverage for their organizations or clients.
“We see too many cases where Media Centers [prioritize] brand image over journalists’ needs,” says Isebox CEO Marc de Leuw. “While most digital newsrooms look great—far too many lack the functionality and content to do a good job.”
Though the survey’s results paint a grim picture for current online newsrooms, PR pros who improve their offerings can seize a huge opportunity.
The survey revealed that 80 percent of journalists said they would use a company’s newsroom if it carried sufficient resources. Most journalists (95 percent) visit company websites at least once a month—or more often—and 41 percent visit online newsrooms daily.