Journalists Tell Us Their News Release Do's & Don'ts
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    January 2015
PWRs 2015 Journalist Survey
News Release Edition
Once again, we surveyed over 200 journalists, from all types of media outlets, to find out how they want news releases delivered and what they want releases to include.

We learned that 88 percent of journalists want releases delivered via emails. While 5 percent want releases via mail and 1 percent want them via RSS feed or online news rooms, a whopping 0 percent said they want releases delivered via wire service or social media—a stat that will come as a surprise to some PR professionals.
journalists prefer email releases
And journalists not only want to access releases online via email, they want those releases loaded with the kinds of transferable assets that make their jobs easier. With 68 percent of respondents saying they are responsible for creating some online content, easily transferable assets continue to grow in importance. Here are the assets they told us are (very) important, ranked by importance.
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1. Relevant backgrounders, bios and supporting information 85%
2. High res downloadable images 78%
3. Verbiage from news release 78%
4. Link to relevant blog on topic 46%
5. Information about brand’s social media platforms so I can follow or view 41%
6. Web quality downloadable video 40%
7. Relevant Infographic 40%
8. Embed code so I can easily transfer video player to your site 38%
9. Downloadable logo 37%
10. Low res downloadable images 33%
11. Embed code for individual images 33%
12. Downloadable audio 27%
13. Web content such as Slideshare, Photobucket, or other on-line service 27%
14. Broadcast quality downloadable video 26%
15. Social media bookmark to share and archive on social media sites 26%
16. Tweet This icon to instantly share on Twitter 26%
17. Illustrated video to explain release topic 24%
18. Image player with embed codes to transfer to my site 23%
19. Facebook Like button 15%
20. Link to brand’s RSS feed 15%
21. Relevant Motiongraphic 11%
22. Chat box feature to enable instant dialogue 8%
23. Pinterest Pin 7%

more likely to cover story with imagesWhile many assets are important, images continue to substantively increase the chances that a journalists will pick up a release and turn it into a story: Asked if they were more likely to cover a story if they had easy access to relevant images, 77 percent said they were indeed more likely. In the words of one respondent: “... links to download photos is very useful. You can't always reach a company's communications staff as quickly as needed. Having high-res photography immediately available greatly increases a company's chance of being featured, as we often need content at odd hours. I write for both print and the web, so I can always convert high-res images for web use.’

Survey Says A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

This is true for news releases: 77 percent of journalists told us they were more likely to pick up a release and run with it if it included transferable images. But it’s also true for newsletters, websites, evites and other assets. By using color, shape and images wisely, you can capture attention and drive home your message.
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What They SaidFinally, as in years past, we asked journalists to tell us in their own words how they want releases and what they want in them. You can see all the unedited responses collated here but a majority simply said they wanted releases via email and noted assets—images were common—they wanted with them. A few exemplary responses are below:
Prefer to receive releases by email with basic information and links to more info, images, and multimedia.

Email, with links to backup information for details and contact information.
what they said
I prefer to receive press releases by email, and it's important that they include all relevant information about the pitch and project, HI RES images (we don't use low res), as well contact info to get a press rep on the phone or by email ASAP to get started on a story. I hate receiving a press release that doesn't include basic information like the release/event date, what the subject of the pitch/project is, who is available to speak, as well as some images.

I prefer e-mail releases that offer some background info and ways to access video, stills, or audio to enhance coverage.

It is preferable for me to receive via email since I check my email daily and prioritize the articles that I am going to write based on all the releases that come to my inbox that day. This is much easier since I am extremely busy and this is the most convenient method for me to get my attention quickly.

email... video is always better... much greater chance of making the cut

I prefer email, and also like to receive a high-res picture

via email, with high-res images and/or infographics

Press releases should have a web presence to make them shareable on social media. I'm shocked at how few PR firms understand this basic interaction requirement.

arrow   Read More Quotes from PWR's 2015 Journalist Survey

Please join us next month for more from this survey and how journalists are using digital and social.

Source:  PWR New Media, 2015 Journalists Survey. Print reporters made up about 45 percent of respondents (newspaper and magazine) and internet reporters made up 22 percent.