Which journalists aren’t worth engaging with on Twitter?


Consider the following argument:

Most journalists are on Twitter.

PRs should therefore spend more time “engaging” with journalists on Twitter.

Seems to make logical sense (from a PR standpoint).

Except that just because a journalist has a Twitter account, loads of followers and Tweets for Britain, doesn’t mean that PRs should attempt to interact and engage with every relevant journalist on Twitter.  The reason being that some are far more likely to share your content and actually talk to you than others.

But how do work out which is which?

One way is to use a tool like Twitonomy.

For example, look at the following analysis of Charles Arthur, The Guardian’s Technology Editor.

charles1

Over the last two months, he has Tweeted (on average) nearly 55 times per day. From an engagement standpoint, he certainly seems to mention other people a lot – and 74pc of his Tweets are actually @ replies to other people. So as a PR, you might think this is a good way to have a dialogue with him (better still of course, would be to get him to follow you – then you can have private DM conversations).

However, Charles hasn’t shared that many links in the last two months – so the chances that he is going to share that press release of yours is going to be pretty low. He doesn’t ReTweet that much either – so don’t get your hopes up on that front.

Going back to Charles’ propensity to reply to people, Twitonomy also reveals who has had the most conversations with in the last two months:

charles2

Not may PR people in that group (Charles himself has already pointed out that he doesn’t think this tells us much – other than that the community of people he has talked to via Twitter over the last two months is pretty broad).

If you were determined to have a go at interacting with Charles, Twitonomy also reveals those times when he most likely to Tweet (and thus presumably be online and on Twitter):

charles3

Based on this analysis, 11pm on Friday night.

Clearly, you need to use these metrics with caution. These stats only relate to the last two months. Even if they did range over a wider time frame, how much you can actually infer from this is a moot point. And a cynic might argue that rather than poring over this kind of data, someone trying to get Charles’ attention would be better off investing their time in actually coming up with a decent story angle.

Having said that, I do think tools like Twitonomy – when used appropriately – can be a useful guide to PRs who want to work out the propensity of target journalists to share links, engage in dialogue and/or RT content.

And armed with this knowledge, PRs can allocate engagement resources appropriately. If the end result is better targetting and more effort in giving journalists more relevant and timely information, surely that can’t be a bad thing.

What do you think? Is there something in this? Or is it complete hokum? The comments box awaits your answer.

Dynamically updated Twitter lists now possible with Lissted


We all know that Twitter lists can be very handy. One of the benefits of a list is that it allows you to keep track of what particular people are saying without actually having to follow them. Monitoring multiple lists in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite is certainly easier than having everything piling into your home stream

However, the main beef with lists historically has been the pain involved in maintaining them. Sure, there are some lists that you can “set and forget” (for example, if you have a fixed list of people that you know will remain stable for some time).

But what if you want to create a dynamic list? Imagine you want to maintain lists of people who match certain criteria? So long as they meet the criteria, they stay on the list – if they don’t, they get removed. PR professionals, for example, may wish to keep tabs on certain journalists because they may have Tweeted or written about things relevant to a particular client. The problem with this is that more often than not, there is a shelf life to the journalists interest and/or relevance to the list the PR person creates.  Trying to manually update a list in this way is a dull, unproductive bore.

Unless I’ve missed it, I’m not yet been aware of any way of automatically maintaining Twitter lists. At least ones that might have meaning for a PR professional.

Until now that it is.

Realwire’s Lissted tool, launched back in June, already provides a neat way of both identifying relevant media for PRs to target as well monitoring journalist conversations on Twitter.

Built on a robust database of over 12,500 individual journalists and media outlets, Lissted lets you have see exactly which journalists are Tweeting or writing about any topic or issue.

Let’s imagine you want to know about any journalist mentioning your client’s name in the last 24hrs. Realwire will happily show you those journalists that have either mentioned the client in a Tweet – or referred to the client in any content they have linked to. You can also view the results in terms of Klout score (handy if you are looking at a lot of results and want to focus on the ones that potentially have the biggest reach and impact). You can also get automatic email alerts when any journalist Tweets or links to relevant content, based on the keyword parameters you set . Having used the tool in anger over the last two months I can vouch for the usefulness of this feature (here are some screen shots of the results in Lissted itself  along with what the email alerts look like).

Now, Lissted has added the ability to create dynamic lists of journalists.

You can see how this can be a real time saver. Here are some sample dynamic lists created by Lissted.

Cabinet Reshuffle

iPhone 5 

Take the iPhone 5 list. This is a list of technology journalists and media outlets who have mentioned the iPhone 5 in the last 3 days. If someone stops talking about iPhone 5, then they drop off the list. Conversely, any new journalist talking about iPhone 5 will be added. You can see how this can be useful. Depending on the criteria you set, you get an automatically updated Twitter list. Being able to keep a rolling track of relevant journalists in one list that requires no manual intervention is really rather good. And if you import the list into Hootsuite, you can further filter on the list by keyword and/or Klout score (so you could filter further on journalists within the list based on additional criteria).

I gather from Lissted that there are additions and enhancements planned for the tool over the coming weeks.

Any PR professional who wants to spend more time on having meaningful conversations with relevant journalists rather than fiddling around trying to maintain Twitter lists would do well to have a look at this new Lissted feature (or Lissted generally if you haven’t done so already).

Why conversion segments in Google Analytics are sexy as hell for PR (#pranalytics, #CIPR)


I had the pleasure of presenting at the PR Analytics Conference in London last week along with a number of big names in the field including Pleon’s David Rockland and Jim Desler, Worldwide Head of PR for Microsoft.

There was a large audience of senior PR folk in the room. My presentation was about how PR pros could use Google Analytics (GA) to better effect. I had 25 mins to cram in as much as I could.

One of the things I highlighted in my talk was the use of multi-channel funnel analysis in GA.  In simple terms, it allows you to determine the direct and indirect contribution that various digital marketing channels make to your site conversion goals.

However, I didn’t have time at the  conference to go into the use of conversion segments.

Which was a shame because they really are very sexy (no, really).

Here’s a simple explanation for those unfamiliar with the concept.

GA allows you to see what mix of site interactions deliver a conversion eg sale of a product, video view, whatever. It also shows you the value of those interactions relative to the conversion.

Here’s an example. This is for a small (but real) e-commerce site selling a simple £11.99 product (normally you’d have a whole range of different products and different prices – but hopefully you can extrapolate from this).

Converstion Segments in Google Analytics

For this particular web property, it would seem that the most common conversion path for a sale is for people to arrive via one single search before purchasing. There are more complex interactions (not least #8 here which saw the person revisit the site 18 times directly before finally buying something!).

As part of my PR Analytics presentation, I talked about the problem of attribution in marketing and PR with relation to goals and objectives (most sales or comms processes have multiple steps – but which one should get the credit for the final transaction? Should the first step in the process get 100pc of the credit? Or the last step? In the absence of giving fair credit to all relevant steps in the conversion process, many people have opted for the last step ie the step immediately before the conversion.)

In PR terms, that typically means that much PR work would get no credit – because it rarely contributes the last step in the process. Its role is generally assistive to the overall process. However, the introduction of multi-channel funnels into GA last year allowed marketeers (and PR pros) for the first time to see both the direct and indirect value being delivered in relation to a defined goal.

SlingshotSEO recently produced an excellent whitepaper which showed how you can combine conversion segments with a multi-touch attribution analysis to determine which channel you may be overvaluing or under valuing if you are using a last attribution model.

They also had some great insight into the most common conversion paths (based on an analysis of over 23.5m transactions).  Two organic searches seems to be the most popular conversion path with two or more interactions. And referrals and organic search are consistently undervalued as conversion channels.

Which brings me back to the relevance to PR (at least online PR coverage).

Traffic from links in relevant online editorial coverage fall into the referrals bucket. If referrals are consistently being undervalued on a last attribution basis, it does seem to lend credence to the theory that PR does contribute indirect value – and now we have a way to determine exactly what the value of that contribution might be.

But here’s the thing. You have to define at least one goal in order to make this work.  No goals, no insight.

Brings in to sharp relief the fact that without defining concrete goals, you are almost certainly creating unnecessary pain and heartache for yourself. And your online PR efforts are almost certainly not getting the credit they deserve.

I’ll be looking in more detail at multi-channel funnel analysis and conversion segments in my strategic management presentation at CIPR headquarters, Russell Square, London, on Wednesday 28th  March on using web analytics to inform communications strategy and planning.

Influence Engine Optimisation (IEO): the future of PR?


(This article first appeared on the CIPR Conversation)

Mark Schaefer’s recently published book – Return on Influence - is a good primer on the emerging world of social scoring. He looks in great depth at the various social scoring platforms such as Klout, Peerindex and Kred as well as some case studies about how brands and individuals are using (and misusing) these new tools.

Schaefer’s view of social scoring seems to be that – love it or loathe it – it isn’t going away.

As he says: “The implication is that a numerical marker of authority such as a Klout score can have a legitimate impact on people’s opinions about status and influence even if the score doesn’t necessarily reflect offline reality or the system can be gamed. The whole philosophy is that your online reputation, or your capacity to influence, your probability to influence, is going to be increasingly defined by metrics. There’s no doubt about that trend.”

He advocates that although Klout and its ilk are by no means perfect, they are getting better all the time. And it ill behooves those in the worlds of PR and marketing to ignore it.

He also has an interesting definition of online influence as measured by Klout. Namely, that a Klout score is a reflection of an individual or brand’s ability to move content and initiate action amongst an online audience.

He uses the example of Justin Bieber. Many critics point to the fact that Bieber has a Klout score of 100. Barack Obama by contrast scores 91. Does that mean the young entertainer is more influential than the President of the United States?

No, says Schaefer. It simply means that Bieber’s ability to move content through his online network is supreme. When he says click, his audience clicks. The President’s audience doesn’t quite respond in the same Pavlovian manner (which may be no bad thing).

Whether you accept this definition of influence, it does perhaps suggest that it would be unwise to dismiss the concept of social scoring out of hand in this context.

But what if we take this a step further. Klout has been described as an Influence Engine. Schaefer muses in the book about the potential rise of “Klout coaches” – individuals or agencies who will provide services to help improve your Klout score. In which case, will we see the emergence of Influence Engine Optimisation consultancies who will perform a similar role to an SEO agency in the world of natural search rankings? Will PR professionals be tasked with managing reputation via influence – and thus turn themselves into Influence Engine Optimisation specialists?

Or is it the case as Brian Solis argues this week that Klout and PeerIndex don’t measure influence at all?  You decide.

PR = reputation management. Really? Who are we kidding?


(This post originally appeared at the CIPR Conversation).

The launch of the VMA Group’s Business Leaders in Communications (BLCS) 2012  study stirred up some heated debate this week. Much of the ire was directed at the apparent lack of interest in social media by senior communications directors. According to the survey, a miserly seven per cent of these senior PR people felt social media was a major communication challenge and less than 15 per cent seek social media skills in candidates.

Speed’s Stephen Waddington blogged about the survey results and his excellent Storify round up of live Tweeting from the launch event captured the flavour of attendees views on the attitudes in the room.

Simon Francis was so incensed he issued a call to arms to have these comms “dinosaurs” outed.

And yet, isn’t this turning into a cracked record?

Peter Morgan, Head of Communications at Rolls Royce was also labelled a dinosaur back in May 2010 when he (in)famously declared that “social media was a waste of time”. He subsequently recanted – but only after Rolls Royce had endured a major comms crisis that caught the company on the back foot with regard to social media.

And as Si Francis also reported from the BLCS 2012 launch event: “David Bickerton from BP admitted his organisation was left reeling from the social media impact of recent events. And, he added, as a result, the company was now ensuring ALL staff have a role to play in the reputation management of the company on social media.”

Is it the case that comms directors only begin to appreciate the need for taking social media seriously when they suffer a major communications crisis?

But if the potential threat from a comms crisis isn’t enough incentive for action, what about the latest Edelman Trust Barometer?  According to Vikki Chowney at EConsultancy: “This year UK CEOs again face a major hurdle in convincing the public that they should be listened to: they were the least credible public spokesperson for a business or organisation, with only 30% of respondents finding them reliable. More credible were academics or experts (by 73%), followed by a ‘person like me’ (60%), a technical expert (56%), or a ‘regular employee’ or ‘financial/industry analyst’ (55%).”

“People like me” are increasingly to be found having conversations on social networks. Does that not suggest that social media might need just a modicum of attention?

However, the thing that irked me most about the BLCS survey was the fact nearly two in three communications professionals see reputation management as their most important function.  I had to stifle a yawn.

Reputation management has been ranked the number one priority for years now. Matthew Freud was quoted in The Economist in January 2011 as saying that “the future of PR is bright because of the growing importance of reputation management.”

In which case, if reputation management has been so important for such a long time – and PR is supposed to be about reputation management – why is PR and comms representation still largely absent from the board room of UK plc?

According to the BLCS survey, a third of respondents say that advising the board/CEO is one of their most important roles, Which means two thirds don’t. And fewer than half report having a major influence on board level strategic decision-making.

If reputation management really is that important then perhaps we need to up our game in terms of understanding how reputation really is mediated today. And proving our value to senior management and the rest of the business. Taking social media more seriously would be a start. As would a more robust approach to measurement (as Stephen Waddington noted, the subject appeared to be absent form the BLCS survey).

Or perhaps we should stop talking about PR being all about reputation management.

Have a reputable weekend.

Andrew Bruce Smith and The Conversation team

Please note, this Conversation Roundup is written in my own capacity.

I am not a spokesperson for the CIPR.

A 10 minute guide to SEO and PPC for PR people


I deliver training workshops and webinars for both the CIPR and PRCA. I cover subjects such as SEO, social media, analytics and overall digital marketing – but always in the context of PR.

It is gratifying when attendees tell me that I’ve helped demystify many of the concepts around SEO and PPC – and to help them see how they can either start doing this kind of work themselves – or at least be better placed to evaluate which 3rd party partners may be more appropriate to work with.

I thought it might be worthwhile to have a quick look at how any PR person might go about sanity checking what do with regard to SEO optimisation around keywords.

Let’s take some example seed terms (PR training, social media training and SEO training) and see what tools like Google Insights, Google Keyword Tool and Market Samurai tell us about demand – and guidelines for PR and marketing approaches.

Google Insights

Google Insights is a great (free!) tool for getting a general sense of keyword trends. Is relative interest in a term rising or falling. What are the likely search trends in the future? (if Google has sufficient data to make a reasonable prediction).

Here’s what the chart looks like for our seed terms (in the UK):

Google Insights for PR Training, SEO Training and Social Media Training

A quick caveat – just because the general trend lines are downward, it doesn’t mean absolute search volumes have fallen. It just means that relative to the overall universe of search terms, interest is relatively lower.  To see absolute search volumes, we need to use the Keyword Tool (see next section)

Unsurprisingly, SEO training only appears on the scene in late 2006. Social media training emerges in mid 2009. Though both appear to have overtaken interest in PR training. And the forward trend for SEO training is upward into 2012.

Again, we should treat this data with caution. We are using Google search data as a proxy for intention ie that someone typing in the term PR training is indeed looking for information on PR training – or seeking to buy PR training services. Ditto the other terms.

GI also shows that in terms of regional interest, all three are largely concentrated in London.

Google Keyword Tool

Google’s Keyword Tool provides insight into the number of times a particular keyword term is searched for every month – both on a global and a local basis. It breaks down figures based on broad, phrase or exact match (go here for an explanation). It is important to understand these distinctions. Too often I have seen PR people quoting broad match figures when they really mean exact match.

Looking at our seed terms, it does seem to bear out that interest in SEO and social media training is currently higher than PR training (assuming search volume is a proxy for interest).

Google Keyword Tool

Who currently ranks highest for natural search on these terms and why?

This is where you would now turn to a tool like Market Samurai to analyse who currently ranks highest in Google SERPs for your respective terms (using the SEO competition module).

Here are the screen shots for the respective terms:

PR training

Without going into the nitty gritty detail on each element (why not come to one of my workshops if you want fuller insight?), areas coloured red suggest that these pages have some optimisation advantage – it could be the age of the domain, the number and quality of backlinks, the number of referring domains, etc. The point being, you can see very quickly what you are up against.

For example, if I was starting a PR training site today with a brand new domain, I’d be competing against these current incumbents. You’d certainly have to allow time, energy and effort to outrank these pages and sites. And think of the likely click throughs you would get even if you were to rank highly. Based on current search volumes, the number one ranked page could expect to get around 1000 click throughs a month (this is based on assuming the number one ranked page gets around 42pc of the total broad match search volume. And I fully appreciate that many out there in the SEO world dispute this figure today. Even so, the fact is, the number one ranked page is going to get the lion’s share of the click throughs. So anyone thinking of trying to rank highly for the term PR training needs to understand the competitive landscape. Or  as I constantly remind people, what is the point in ranking well for a term that no one is looking for?).

What about Google PPC?

What if I can’t expect to naturally rank number one for PR training overnight? (Or for whatever your chosen keyword phrase is).  What about paying for attention via PPC?

Again, Google helpfully provides a tool to allow you see what kind of money you’d have spend to gain the impressions and hopefully, click throughs, based on the term(s) you are interested in.

If we take PR training as the example, we’d see that we could expect to pay a CPC of £1.36 on a broad match basis and we might see around 4 click throughs per day. There is a lot more to be said about PPC, but suffice to say even the PR newbie to PPC can quickly grasp where they are likely to get more bang for their buck

PPC Competitive Intelligence

Wouldn’t it be great if you could also see who else is bidding on your keyword terms, what they are paying and what kind of ad content they have been trying? Well, you can. Step forward SpyFu.

In simple terms, SpyFu allows you to quickly see who you are competing against in Google PPC and what kind of ad content others are using. Perhaps more importantly, who are the advertisers that are testing different ads and sticking with formats that work?

In my experience, service suppliers to the PR sector generally don’t seem to test ad content or are largely unimaginative in terms of copy. Which may explain why most dip their toe in PPC and then give up, assuming that it hasn’t or won’t work.

This is just a cursory look at some basic approaches that PR firms can take to beefing up their SEO skills (hint: this should give you a clue as to why many of the claims made about press release optimisation are completely bogus). We should also bear in mind that search is essentially about fulfilling demand rather than creating it. PR clearly has a role to play in helping create demand in the first place – and we shouldn’t forget that.

However, at the very least this first look should help PRs to have more informed conversations with clients and colleagues about what are realistic starting points for planning and discussion around SEO and PR.

And don’t forget, if you want the full nine yards on SEO, Social Media and Analytics in relation to PR, then please do have a look at the workshops and webinars I will be delivering over the next 12 months here and here.

Of course, please feel to comment on any of the above!

Try Market Samurai For Free!

 

Using Zendesk to power a PR consultancy website


Anyone who has looked at the escherman site recently will have noticed it has changed.

We’ve ditched Squarespace and taken the bold step of using Zendesk as the framework for the entire site.

Why did we do this?

Zendesk is a brilliant web based helpdesk software product (disclosure: client).

However, the more we looked into it, the more we realised that the help desk metaphor could be applied to many familiar aspects of both traditional and online PR. So we thought we’d go the whole hog and build our entire site around Zendesk. We’ve been very pleased with the results so far.

Here are some of the things we really like:

Easy customisation: Zendesk provides a very easy way to customise both the look and the functionality of the site. Adding extra functionality via widgets is very simple. We particularly like the ready made integrations with a variety of 3rd party products such as Salesforce.com

Social media integration. We can monitor Twitter within Zendesk – any relevant Tweets can be instantly converted to a ticket – and assigned to the appropriate individual. Or can form the basis of an instant comment thread that can be posted in an appropriate forum.

Voice integration. We are beta testing Zendesk Voice.  Already available in the US, this will be arriving in the UK in the not too distant future. In simple terms, it allows us to have an integrated call handling system set up in minutes. Imagine PR firms being able to have a complete and automatic log of every journalist call and interaction.

From a training perspective, being able to hear how account execs and account managers deal with journalist enquiries could be very valuable. Or experienced media handlers could share how they deal with journalists on the phone.

The possibilities are endless. We’ll keep you posted on how we get on in the coming weeks.

Free 46-page Internet Marketing Strategy briefing whitepaper from @E-Consultancy! Download here now!


First things first : E-Consultancy has produced a most excellent 46-page Internet Marketing Strategy briefing dcoument – free to download by clicking on the link (as I’ve said before, E-Consultancy briefing papers are always high value – easily justifies the annual subscription many times over).

I’m blogging about this because E-Consultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein asked me to (along with 30,000 others)  – see below for his original e-mail. As you can see, this is part of an E-Consultancy experiment into content marketing and SEO – and a very clever one too.  We all get something from it for taking part.

So – if you wouldn’t mind – feel free to click on the link above and download the document.  And if you are so inclined, do as I have done and blog/link to the briefing paper with the anchor text: “internet marketing strategy”.

___________________________________________________________________

We’ve just published a 46-page Internet Marketing Strategy briefing which is free to download. It analyses five key current trends: customer centricity, channel diversification, data, social media and content strategy.

It’s a bit unusual for us to make something like this free. It’s an experiment in ‘content marketing’ – a hot topic in digital marketing and something we examine in the briefing itself.

Of course we’re interested to see how many visits and downloads we get, the tweets and social mentions, but we’re most interested in getting links to this page (ideally with the link anchor text Internet Marketing Strategy) to see how this impacts our natural search rankings for the phrase ‘internet marketing strategy’.

Currently we’re nowhere near the first page of Google, or other search engines, for this competitive search phrase. But could we be with a bit of ‘content marketing’? And what value might that drive to us?

We plan to publish a mini case study with the results of this experiment which hopefully you’ll find interesting and which might help put more concrete value to the effectiveness (or otherwise) of ‘content marketing’.

You can help with our experiment…

Of course we encourage you to download and read the briefing itself (we think it’s very good) but, ideally, you would send a link to this page (not the file itself – little SEO value there…) to relevant contacts or, even better, you’d link to the page from your blog, via social media etc.

In an ideal world you’d even use the anchor text Internet Marketing Strategy to the link to the page.

I’m sending this email to around 30,000 of Econsultancy’s members globally so, if you do your collective bit, then we should stand a good chance of building some great, and relevant, links…?

Will we shoot up the rankings as a result? Or get punished for the suspiciously quick build-up of links with the same anchor text? Who knows… watch this space.

Obviously we’re not incentivising you to do this in any way because that would be “paid links”. ;)

All the best and thanks for any help.

Ashley

Ashley Friedlein
CEO
Econsultancy

Using Zendesk as a Press Office help desk for journalists


If you think about, a press office is basically a help desk for journalists.

The terminology may differ, but many of the processes are similar. An IT support desk will talk about support tickets – a press office will describe it as a journalist enquiry. Either way, both need to be dealt with and resolved (answered) as quickly and efficiently as possible.

With this in mind, it occurred to me that Zendesk(*) could be a very cost effective way for both PR firms and and in-house departments to manage press enquiries and press information generally.

Set up takes 5 minutes – you have a complete audit trail of how enquiries are dealt with. You can upload lots of standard PR information such as press releases, backgrounders, images, etc. Customisation is straightforward. Twitter integration slick. Plus lots of useful analytics.

And because it is a SaaS based service, you can start small and scale up depending on your needs (it’s ability to scale is amply demonstrated by the fact that companies like Twitter, Groupon and SAP use Zendesk as their help desk software). Cost wise, entry level begins at around £5 per user per month. It’s early days in our use of it, but the potential is obvious.

What do you think?

*Declaration of interest: we are helping Zendesk with PR support around the launch of the new European HQ. But we are also a paying customer – and would happily be using it even if didn’t have Zendesk as a client.

Recycled Friday: Is £2.5 billion really spent on press releases in the UK?


I was inspired by the following comment from @adcontrarian in his latest blog post:

Because I am a lazy bastard and the thought of writing five posts a week is a constant source of terror, I have decided to introduce a new policy around here. From now on, on Fridays,  I’m going to recycle old posts that I like and that are still relevant. Today is our first Recycled Friday.

What a great idea. Having nearly 600 posts over 7 years gives me a good back catalogue to plunder.

Without further ado, here is a post I wrote five years ago – has much changed? You be the judge.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

New survey conducted by Benchmark Research on behalf of Glide Technologies has thrown up some interesting, if not entirely unsurprising, results about the PR industry in the UK today.

The full report is here:

Glide PR survey

However, the one item that caught my eye was the calculation that  £2.5bn is spent on press releases in the UK. This based on the survey finding that 39pc of PR professionals time is spent on creating, distributing, and following up on press releases – and the estimated total size of the UK PR industry at £6.5bn. Couple that with only 32% of releases received by the media being of genuine interest, then I calculate that means £1.7bn is being wasted on irrelevant press releases.

Although I’d take this calculation with a pinch of salt, it would be fair to say that an awful lot of money is still being spent (and wasted) on the humble press release.

The survey also highlighted a clear discrepancy between journalists desire to be contacted by email and PRs who still overwhelmingly use the phone.

I know the reasons for both sides views. Journalists have been jaundiced by too many wasteful phone calls along the lines of “did you get my press release”, or are you attending exhibition X (see Phil Muncaster of IT Week vent his spleen re: the pre-InfoSec deluge of calls asking him whether he was going – Muncaster InfoSec rant )

On the other side, PRs often feel that they will get more “attention” by actually talking to the journalist. Though of course that still means you need a good enough story to give them.

My take on the survey as a whole is that is shows the same old values still apply to PR in terms of media relations – journalists will give the time of day to a trusted source – but even that doesn’t guarantee they will use a story. Perhaps some of that wasted £1.7bn could be spent on training PR professionals to get better at becoming trusted information sources.

Other findings below:

81% of Journalists on a desert island opt for laptop over a phone

Email remains the most popular delivery format for journalists. Fax, post, newswire, PDA and SMS all decline. RSS and IM emerge.

76% of journalists more likely to use press communication with photos etc.

89% of journalists will visit an organisation’s website most of the time when writing about them

Journalist Complaints

Poor use of email (e.g. sending large attachments) accounts for the two greatest online deterrents to journalists

Only 32% of releases received by the media are of genuine interest

73% of journalists think an organisation is ‘not media friendly’ if its online press information is poor. 60% think they’re ‘lazy’, 50% that they’re ‘incompetent’.

Research conducted by Benchmark Research.

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