PR in a pandemic: Journalists want ‘more and better’ content as activity drops

Jun 11, 2020 | Content marketing, Marketing transformation

PR in a pandemic: Journalists want more and better content as activity drops
Since Covid-19 hit, 56% of journalists have noticed a drop in PR activity and 53% are receiving fewer pitches, leaving many journalists wanting more and better content, according to new research.

The survey, conducted by Energy PR, found the majority of journalists have suffered from a general lack of PR since lockdown began.

56% of journalists have noticed a drop in PR activity from their industry contacts, with one in four complaining that PR has gone completely quiet.

The research, which surveyed trade and national media professionals to get their view on how things have changed since COVID-19, found the majority of journalists are struggling to get hold of spokespeople and marketing teams, and feel that companies have become more cautious and reluctant to make media decisions.

As a result, 53% of journalists are receiving fewer pitches and press releases from companies or their agencies. And, while one third of journalists are receiving the same volume of PR as before COVID-19, 27% felt the quality has declined.

According to journalists, other common PR errors include trying to be COVID-relevant when they’re not (53%), not being creative (17%) and pitching stories that jar with the general mood of the situation (11%).

Louise Findlay-Wilson, Managing Director of Energy PR, says, “COVID-19 is uncharted waters for all of us, and it’s understandable that companies would take a conservative approach to PR in the first instance, and not get it quite right when they do try to kick things off again.

“But to continue to socially distance your business by cutting comms is a huge mistake. Now more than ever, companies need to be communicating with their target audiences, through their normal comms channels and through the media, so they can get on the front foot as lockdown eases.

“This research just goes to show that there is a huge opportunity to generate coverage as long as you’re pitching quality, creative stories and are sensitive to the situation and to journalists’ needs. With a strong comms team or PR agency, this shouldn’t be difficult. You just have to be brave.”

The research was conducted from 17th May – 31st May, 2020 among 137 journalists spanning national news desks and trade sectors.

To view the full report and infographic, click here.


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