In the ever-evolving world of journalism, finding compelling topics for articles is a crucial part of the job. To shed light on this process, let’s explore some key sources journalists rely on to generate editorial content, based on recent data. This will not only provide insights into the journalist’s workflow but also help PR professionals understand how to better pitch their stories.

1. Press Releases (68%)

Press releases remain the cornerstone for generating story ideas. According to the data, 68% of journalists find press releases to be the most reliable source for content creation. This is because press releases provide concise, structured, and newsworthy information directly from the source. They offer journalists a ready-to-use narrative, complete with quotes, statistics, and contact information, which simplifies the story development process.

Tip for PR Professionals: Ensure your press releases are well-crafted, timely, and relevant. Highlight the newsworthy angles and provide clear, factual information. Including multimedia elements like images or videos can also make your press release more attractive to journalists.

2. Direct Pitches (47%)

Direct pitches are equally important, with 47% of journalists valuing them as a top source for article topics. A direct pitch involves a personalized message from a PR professional or a company representative, proposing a specific story idea. These pitches are tailored to the journalist’s beat and publication, increasing the chances of the story being picked up.

Tip for PR Professionals: Research the journalist and their previous work before making a pitch. Personalize your message, and clearly explain why your story is a good fit for their audience. Being concise and to the point while offering exclusive information or a unique angle can also make your pitch stand out.

3. Industry Experts (47%)

Journalists also heavily rely on industry experts for insights and authoritative commentary, with 47% citing them as a vital source for story ideas. Experts provide depth and credibility to articles, offering informed opinions, analysis, and forecasts that enrich the content.

Tip for PR Professionals: Build a network of credible experts in your industry who are willing to speak to the media. Offer journalists access to these experts for interviews or quotes. Providing expert commentary on trending topics can also position your brand as a thought leader in the industry.

4. News Agencies (37%)

News agencies like AP, Reuters, and AFP are trusted by 37% of journalists for sourcing story ideas. These agencies provide a steady stream of breaking news, background information, and in-depth reports on various topics, ensuring journalists stay informed about the latest developments.

Tip for PR Professionals: While you might not have direct control over news agency content, staying updated with their reports can help you identify trending topics and align your pitches accordingly. Additionally, if your news or event is picked up by a news agency, it increases the likelihood of wider coverage.

5. Corporate News/Press Rooms (33%)

Corporate news and press rooms are a go-to source for 33% of journalists. These platforms offer a repository of press releases, financial reports, product announcements, and other relevant company information. They serve as a one-stop-shop for journalists seeking background information or story ideas related to specific companies.

Tip for PR Professionals: Maintain an up-to-date and easily navigable press room on your company’s website. Include a variety of resources such as press releases, company bios, high-resolution images, and video clips. Make sure to regularly update this section with fresh content to keep journalists coming back.

Conclusion

Understanding where journalists find their story ideas can significantly enhance your PR strategy. By focusing on creating high-quality press releases, crafting personalized pitches, connecting with industry experts, staying abreast of news agency reports, and maintaining an informative press room, you can improve your chances of getting media coverage. In today’s competitive media landscape, aligning your PR efforts with the needs and preferences of journalists is key to success.

By leveraging these insights, PR professionals can better support journalists in their quest for compelling stories, ultimately leading to more effective media relations and successful brand building.

The source of this data is from the  State of the media 2024 report (in Swedish).

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