The love-hate relationship journalists have with email
Email. Ahhhhh. Sometimes we love it. (Discounts and offers! An old friend! Exciting news!) Other times, we hate it. It clogs our inboxes. It makes us feel overwhelmed. It distracts us from getting real work done.
For journalists, these feelings are real. While email can keep us up to date on that next front-page story, it can also drown us in irrelevant pitches from PR companies. In its 2020 State of the Media report, the global media software company, Cision, admits email is a growing challenge.
In this InMoat article, we look at the research (as well as conduct some of our own) to share the hard facts as to why email can be such a pain for media professionals.
Not relevant to their beat
We’ve done the math and have found a ratio of 6:1 for PR professionals to Journalists, which explains why journalists are getting slammed with press releases and promotional content from PR pros seeking press. This ratio doesn’t even count general marketers and business owners who don’t have traditional “PR” backgrounds but now have access to mass email distribution tools—so it’s no surprise that journalists are being bombarded with news content from all angles.
This wouldn’t be a problem if every story was gold. However, the reality is that most pitches are completely inconsequential to a journalist’s area of expertise.
“We write about lifestyle and events in Austin for Austinites. My biggest pet peeve is when PR firms in LA/NYC send me stuff about events happening in Dallas or Houston as if either city is just “down the block” from Austin.” – Editor In Chief at Austin Monthly
“I cover healthcare and health regulations within Orlando, so sending me pitches about hospitals in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, or any other city in Florida, does not mean anything to me.” – Healthcare reporter at The Orlando Sentinel
This is a continuing trend from Cision’s 2019 State of Media report that states 75% of journalists say less than 25% of pitches are relevant.
As picked up in Cision’s 2020 report, 37% of Journalists are screaming out for PR pros to “understand my target audience, and what they find relevant,” before spamming out pitches left, right, and center.
“Random press releases and generic pitches not tailored to our publication are useless and annoying.” – 2020 State of the Media Survey Respondent
Not a priority or of any interest
When we asked 200 random media professionals in 2019 to provide feedback on their relationship with email, a whopping 154 responded with feelings of frustration.
- Some journalists are receiving 200-300 emails per day
- The average number of PR pitches received was 75-125 per day
- Reading and dealing with email took 4.6 hours per day
These blockers that journalists have to overcome have forced them to become time management gurus. But they shouldn’t have to be. Rather than getting bogged down in administration, they should be developing their next story.
“I’m a political reporter, so I get tons of press releases from campaigns, political offices, and think tanks. I additionally also get tons of lifestyle releases, events, things from any PR company that finds my email address. I really don't need the cheesier pitches about singles on Valentine’s Day.” – Political Broadcast Reporter at News 12 New Jersey
And despite the plea for relevant pitches, the emails keep coming.
“I hate multiple follow-ups. If I don’t respond to your pitch the second time, I’m not interested. Be careful of how much info you send, otherwise, you will get blocked.” – Editor In Chief of Austin.com
What journalists can do about it
As frustrating as email can be, we still rely on it heavily. A single press release could be the difference between getting breaking or unworthy news.
“I obviously hate receiving irrelevant pitches, but I don’t want (nor my team) to miss anything.” – Editor In Chief at Austin Monthly
An ideal solution is asking PR pros to pitch more thoughtfully, but this rarely works as the PR industry treats email like a numbers game (e.g. “If I sent 500 blasts, 10 should cover my story.” So let’s be honest: PR firms probably won’t stop pestering us.
The good news is that technology has the power to magically filter, and/or organize incoming communications in a way that works for you. That’s where we come in.
InMoat is game-changing software that’s been uniquely designed by a journalist for other journalists. Built around beats and DMAs, we put control back in media professionals’ hands.
InMoat integrates with Gmail and Outlook to automatically organize your inbox in line with your top priorities. Simply sign up and watch your smart filters do their thing. Nothing gets deleted; you can always come back to non-urgent emails later.
If you’re a journalist that’s desperate for more time in your day, why not give InMoat a try? We dare you. Transform that love-hate relationship into something warm and fuzzy by signing up for a free 14-day trial today. Or, contact us to learn more about how InMoat can work for you so you only receive what’s relevant to your beat and outlet.