An overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories, but they turn to PR for primary research and context.
While it's probably not breaking news to most PR people that journalists are using social media to find stories and sources, a national survey conducted by Cision and Don Bates of The George Washington University’s Master’s Degree Program in Strategic Public Relations definitely underscores the need for us to change our media relations strategy. And for those of us not yet active in social media, it should be a wake up call.
According ot the survey 89% ofthe journalists polled said they turn to blogs for story research, 65% to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52% to microblogging services such as Twitter. 61% use Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia. If your news content is not visibie online media relationsis going to be much harder.
Are there any PR folk out there not familiar with social media, you might ask? Indeed there are. So much so that Marketwire just launched a social media fitness series specifically to assist these late adopters.
What journalist are not getting, the survey finds, is reliablity and accuracy: Eighty-four percent said social media sources were "slightly less" or "much less" reliable than traditional media, with 49% saying social media suffers from "lack of fact checking, verification and reporting standards." It's a supplement, not a replacement. Editors and reporters sitll rely on primary sources, fact-checking and other traditional best practices in journalism, says the study. And that's good news for us - most journalists turn to public relations professionals for assistance with their primary research.
"As PR professionals increasingly utilize social media as a means of communicating, they have a bigger responsibility than ever to ensure the information they provide journalists is accurate and timely, provide access to the primary sources who can verify the facts, and be knowledgeable enough to provide accurate background and context."
Sounds like the reasons the social media press release format was created.
And don't rely on wire services to get your news out in this format. Upgrade the newsroom on your website so you can post your news in social media format and make your digital assets easy to find and use.