- Posted by Poston Communications
- On May 4, 2020
- communications, coronavirus, public relations
To say that COVID-19 has changed the way we live and do business is an understatement. The media is no different. Journalists are being asked to do more with less time, and many reporters find themselves working from home, homeschooling children and sharing the extra burden that stay-at-home orders have left many of us trying to balance.
Annually, Cision publishes its State of the Media report, and in this year’s edition, which was surveyed before the pandemic but followed up with questions to address COVID-19’s impact on the industry, journalists share some key insights that can help law firms and other businesses know when it’s time to move on from only coronavirus-related media pitching.
Here are the key takeaways:
Human connection is key. As we isolate from each other in the workplace, it is even more important to journalists that their stories have an element of human impact. As one reporter told Cision, “Human interest pieces that make things more personal or show people coming together are especially meaningful now.” Another respondent said, “We could all use a little positivity in this crisis.”
What can law firms do? Talk about the extraordinary pro bono efforts that your attorneys are taking on during this time. For example, one Am Law 100 firm’s trusts and estate practice is preparing wills for the health care workers in their markets. Another approach is for your firm to focus on the fun ways that your team is connecting remotely, or the unique hobbies that team members are undertaking during stay-at-home orders.
It’s not all COVID-19 all the time. One reporter told Cision, “I’d love to see more timely / local stories that are NOT about the virus. Even just one day would be refreshing.” Another journalist noted that non-COVID-19 readership is up on its news website, and editors are realistic about COVID-19 fatigue setting in on audiences.
New hire announcements, litigation victories and any of the news that firms would normally distribute in a non-pandemic time are all starting to resurface. Don’t hold back; you never know what a relief your pitch about an innovative M&A deal could be in a reporter’s inbox!
Make your experts available by video. Journalists consider this a huge plus these days. Not only are news outlets producing more video content themselves, but during this stay-at-home time, Video News Releases (VNRs) are increasing in popularity and video interviews by Zoom,Skype or other videoconferencing solutions are now commonplace. Our Poston Video team provides great insights to help you make sure your video product is professional, even when done from home.
Other bright spots in Cision’s research: “In the eyes of journalists, distrust in the media continues to decrease.” Journalists reported that as they continue to grapple with perceived political bias, their own approaches to reporting are improving.
And for us as PR professionals, the good news is that reporters tell Cision that the collaboration across our professions is “more important than ever.” We couldn’t agree more, of course!
Cision’s State of the Media report is available to download for free here. The data reveals the current media landscape from the perspective of more than 3,200 journalists surveyed. The 2020 edition is Cision’s 11th report, and the biggest to date. According to Cision, “This report shows shifts in industry trends through the eyes of journalists and allows PR and comms pros to refine their best practice approaches to working with them through this data.”