Originally appeared on Joyce Bosc Linkedin on April 30, 2021

Since the earliest days of Boscobel, we have always adopted a growth mindset — believing that lifelong learning is essential to differentiating the business from the competition. So, when we had the opportunity to attend a webinar to learn about the “State of Journalism in 2021,” we marked our calendar and saved the date.

Every year, Muck Rack (the host of the webinar) surveys thousands of journalists to get a pulse on:

  • how they get their news
  • how they’re using social media
  • how they’re feeling about the industry
  • and how they prefer to work with PR professionals

Muck Rack’s survey offers a glimpse into journalists’ psyches and preferences. When we, as PR pros, understand journalists better, we can be much more effective in helping.

Of the 2,482 journalists surveyed between January 11 and February 8, 2021:

  • 93% are editorial writers or bloggers, freelance journalists or part-time journalists
  • 37% have been journalists for over 20 years
  • the average journalist covers three or more beats.

Almost all (94%) responded that they have pivoted their work due to COVID, with 66% writing more stories about health, wellness and remote work.

When and How to Pitch Journalists

If you want to win press coverage, then you need to know how to make effective pitches and how to correctly contact the media about your story.

According to the results of the Muck Rack survey:

  • Email is the best place to pitch — but get straight to the point
  • Journalists want concise, short pitches in their inbox, so cap your pitches at 200 words
  • 68% prefer to be pitched before noon
  • 57% percent indicated that Monday is the best day to be pitched
  • 68% percent prefer to receive pitches between 5 am and 12 pm EST

The Social Networks Most Valuable to Journalists

Thanks to social media, journalists now have unprecedented access to their audience, putting them closer than ever to story ideas.

  • 76% of journalists say Twitter is the most valuable social network to them, and 37% plan to use Twitter more in the next year
  • 16% turn to Twitter as their first news source
  • 34% plan to cut back their use of Facebook

What Makes a Story More Shareable?

The more valuable you can position your news and your spokespeople, the more journalists will want to work with you.

  • 78% of journalists say they are at least somewhat more likely to cover a story if offered an exclusive
  • 70% of journalists “prefer” when the subject is connected to a trending story
  • 64% will share if the story contains an image or infographic

On the other hand, journalists immediately reject newsworthy pitches due to bad timing, lack of personalization, too lengthy of a pitch or a confusing subject line. Showing a journalist you’ve read their work and recalled key information about the topics they cover goes a long way.

Should You Follow Up?

The last takeaway is perhaps the most important and that is to follow up.

  • 90% percent of journalists believe following up is okay
  • 38% even accept two follow ups.

Journalists who value PR contributions don’t want to miss out on a great story idea simply because a pitch got lost somewhere in their inbox.

To read the full State of Journalism in 2021 survey, please click here.