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Journalists Speak Out: Reporters Want Branded Digital Content and Visual Story Ideas—Direct-to-Inbox News Releases Also Increasingly Relevant

news text on retro typewriterFor many of us who check email from our beds, the grocery store and our kids’ soccer games, inbox addiction is very real. In today’s mobile world, we rely on our inboxes to keep us informed, entertained and connected. Email even keeps us tethered to the office and helps us manage our professional responsibilities—and according to a new survey from PWR New Media, the same holds true for journalists. In part, this is because journalists are faced with increased publication demands combined with decreased staff support. Digitized releases received via email make it easy for journalists to find, grab and reuse digital content.

The new study of more than 200 journalists reveals that they overwhelmingly prefer to receive news releases via email—in fact, 91% of respondents said that email was their preferred distribution method. Surprisingly, less than 1% of journalists said they prefer to receive news releases via social media or traditional wire services.

In part, this is because journalists are faced with increased publication demands combined with decreased staff support. Digitized releases received via email make it easy for journalists to find, grab and reuse digital content. And although a large percentage of survey respondents named print as their dominant medium, 75% of respondents said they are now responsible for creating online content. Fifty-seven percent said they find news releases to be a (very) useful tool, citing search (83%), their own inboxes (67%), and social media sites (47%) as the top three places they mine for story ideas.

“Savvy communications teams are crafting and sharing visually engaging, transferable content with the media,” said Dr. Malayna Evans, vice president of marketing and business development for PWR New Media, in a news release. Evans added that journalists are increasingly tasked with contributing images, graphics, video and other visual assets to meet growing online publication demands. “PWR New Media finds that releases that include rich visual assets that tell a compelling brand story get more traction, especially when brands enable the media to easily grab and reuse the content,” she said.

The survey found that the top five assets rated as the most important by respondents were:

  • Relevant backgrounders, bios and supporting info (cited by 82% of journalists as important)
  • High-res downloadable images (78%)
  • Verbiage that can be cut and pasted from a release (59%)
  • Low-res images (46%), and
  • Relevant infographics (45%)

“Links to downloadable photos are very useful,” said one journalist. “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.” In fact, 74% of journalists stated that they were more likely to cover a news release if it included easy access to hi-res photos.

“But don’t go blasting irrelevant news to thousands of journalists. Target your list as carefully as you craft your story ideas,” Evans advised. However, the survey did reveal that journalists want to hear from communications teams—asked if they want to hear from PR professionals, even those they don’t know, 84% of journalists said yes.

And while email is their preferred method of communication, social is a great way to stay in touch. Although respondents said that they do not want to get news releases via social, the survey found that journalists keep an eye on social sites for story ideas: Facebook (79%), Twitter (63%) and LinkedIn (53%) were the top cited sites. In addition, they confirmed that journalists are researching and crafting stories on smartphones (35%) and tablets (18%) as well as lap/desktop computers (99%).

Access complete survey results here.

The survey was comprised of 223 respondents with a large percentage from print outlets (29% from newspaper and 23% from magazine) and 14% internet. All media types were represented including bloggers and broadcast.

Source: Marketwired; edited by Richard Carufel

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