Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More ammo for the press release diet: Blogs as sources for journos

Since asking Can you go on the press release diet? A 12-step program, I've heard from lots of grateful reporters (nothing endears you to reporters like telling people to stop churning out releases). Better yet, I've heard from communicators who are going to try this idea for a pilot project, and resist putting out releases in favor of blogging their news and using non-release alternatives.

For those of you taking that next step to make the case for going on the press release diet, I've got some more ammo to strengthen your rationale: New data that looks at how journalists view blogs versus releases as sources of news they might cover.

The data on how news is sourced in social media come from the fifth annual Oriella Digital Journalism Survey, reported by Social Media Today. Here's the part that's relevant to you press-release dieters: Press releases are declining as a source of news and blogs and other social media are gaining.
More than half of our respondents (55 percent) said they use microblogs to source new stories, and 44 percent use blogs in the same way – but only when the source behind it is known or trusted by them. For unknown sources, reliance on social media roughly halves – falling to 26 percent for microblogs and 22 percent for blogs...Journalists won’t accept ‘pre-packed’ news from brands (and their agencies) in the form of releases, and they are looking for far more variety in the kinds of stories brands talk about, and the way they are told. And, they expect brands to be properly engaged with the relevant social networks: not as a box-ticking exercise driven by the PR department, but a genuine engagement at all levels of the business.
And before you unknown, as-yet-untrusted sources head for the comments, consider this: Blogging and tweeting more and engaging with your audiences will help you show your expertise and build credibility, not only with journalists but directly with the audiences you want to reach. This post on what makes a blogger credible?, designed for nonprofits but applicable to all, will get you started on the right path. And if you're really smart, you'll use your blog to tip, rather than pitch, reporters about what's worth taking a look at.

If you're going on the press release diet, let me know--I'd love to hear about your progress. Below, to help make your case, is an infographic summarizing the survey data:

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