Oct 09, 2023 / by Weiying Chong

A strong partnership is a two-way street of understanding.”

This statement is no stranger in romantic, client-consultant relationships and, is just as critical in communications professionals and journalists' relationships. Understanding journalists’ challenges, biggest priorities, and acceptable outreach methods could aid communications professionals in achieving their ultimate goal - acquiring impactful coverage.  

Just between us communicators, there are impressive outreach methods out there that could elevate pitches and catch the eyes of your desired journalists! Before we disclose some trade secrets, familiarizing ourselves with the challenges of journalists will give us a better understanding of how best to collaborate with them.  


Journalists' Biggest Challenges

The first step of a strong partnership is understanding the current problems, so that media and communications professionals can work towards alleviating these issues and make way for genuine collaborations.

Figure 1 – Source: State of the Media Report 2023


As reflected in the figure above, where the data was extracted from our Global State Of The Media Report 2023maintaining credibility is the biggest challenge for journalism, while keeping up amid downsizing is the biggest woe faced by journalists


Partners in Progress for Excellence in Communications

Collaboration between brands from adjacent industries could bring innovative and unique experiences for customers. All of which would further highlight their individual strengths. 

Despite these challenges, it is comforting to note that 18% of journalists say their relationship with communications professionals has become more valuable in the last year.

Unfortunately, 16% said their relationship has worsened, which seems to be a growing issue as it was recorded at 14% last year, indicating ample room for improvement. Fortunately, we gathered the insights to help improve these situations and possibly aid you in attaining that wow factor from journalists!


Looking to Impress? Do Your Homework.

Here are some words from journalists about the last time a communications professional made a positive impression on them, 

1. “I’m impressed when someone seems to really understand what I cover and pitch accordingly."

2. “A recent communications professional reached out with a pitch but showed in her email that she had done her homework, by clearly bring up past guests/topics we covered that had matched her client.”

3. “A communications professional recently anticipated our needs via our editorial calendar and proposed an article topic from one of her customer companies.

4. “Two days ago, when an unexpected pitch triggered a related idea for a story I was about to publish, and the publicist quickly went to get the info and quote needed so I could add them to my existing story at the last minute.” 

From the above, outreach methods that impress journalists the most are the ones where public relations teams have clearly taken the time to understand the journalists, the audience and content they would find relevant

After all, don’t most of us adore those who make the effort to remember the little things about us? Do not forget that journalists are people too.


Covering the Basics for Comms Professionals

Impressing journalists should only come after you have nailed your basics.

1. Keep providing value and seeking more ways to do so

2. Take every opportunity to connect with media in-person

3. Deliver content they find useful (and relevant to their audience, outlet and platform)

Figure 2 – Press releases are the top-rated source for generating content or ideas


4. Provide multimedia whenever and wherever possible and appropriate

5. Do everything, (yes everything) you can make their lives easier


Figure 3 - Do your research and rely on credible sources


6. Invest in deeper understanding to create customized messages and deliver relevant content that will get the media’s attention.


Going Above and Beyond – Get to Know Your Journalists

For communications professionals who are looking to create impactful impressions on journalists truly, here are your cues.

  1. “It was someone who introduced themselves to me, reached out to me, way before they wanted something from me.” 
  2. “It’s great when relevant PR people reach out with ’I don't have a pitch, but I wanted to check in to make sure our team is getting you what you need when you need it.’"  

Outreach that is not about the pitch, but about the person is imperative, if you want to avoid being just another individual in your journalists’ long lists of contacts.


Journalists are Just Like Us

At the end of the day, we need to bear in mind that we are in collaborative relationships with journalists, so do not neglect the human touch and try to treat them like how you would treat a friend!

PR and communications professionals should take the initiative to deliver desired content to journalists when appropriate, while emotionally connecting with them. Although this might mean investing in a few relationships, these connections formed could be more meaningful and benefit the climb towards winning more impactful coverage.

For more insights, check out our Global State of the Media Report 2023. 

If you're unsure on how to kickstart your PR strategy plan, why not reach out to us for a complimentary consultation today? 

About Weiying Chong

Wei Ying is a Content Marketing Executive at PR Newswire APAC. With an avid love of writing from lifestyle to thought-leadership topics, she has adopted an honest voice that gives her articles a refreshing take. Always informed of the latest trends, Wei Ying will bring you appealing content as she crosses her fingers that it doesn't get a scroll past.