What PR pros knew in 2019

Gathering everything we know and learnt in 2019, below is a list of what you need to know in the digital marketing industry, general digital marketing tips when creating content, how to outreach your ideas, building relationships and finding out what journalists really want from you.

What we learnt in 2019

Released at the end of July this year, we took away some key factors from Agility’s webinar panel video, which introduced three leading journalists sharing their knowledge in the industry, highlighting what can be expected, what PR professionals can embrace, and what writers and journalists are looking for in this day in age.

What journalists want from you

Whether it’s writers, editors, journalists, freelancers, or reporters, the list goes on… These principles can be applied when trying to get your idea out there.

Pitching via social media isn’t the best

Stick to email when it comes to reaching out. For writers and publishers, this is a competitive business, and journalists don’t want any good ideas or stories being pitched to them publicly on social media. Send it their way via email privately. Otherwise, the initial idea you’re pitching may get seen by someone who may turn it around and start reaching out with your original concept.

Reaching out to a journalist without the press release

Simply emailing a journalist to find out what they need can go a long way and work in some instances; they can reply to you stating what they’re working on, but need info/data regarding it. Your clients are specialists in various fields, so show them that. Ask what resources the journalist needs, and say what you can provide them with, explaining what kind of data you or your client have access to.

Putting yourself out into the digital world

It’s all about making a connection, being proactive and building your contact list. Social media is a great way to interact with writers and publishers. If your article gets published, it’s important to retweet and share, so much traffic is gained this way. It also helps to index the stories in Google. This also helps journalists discover who you are, for them to remember you in the long run, and what it is you’ve helped provide them.

The more you interact and continue to build, the more trust will be enforced. Always think: why should the journalist read my email? What can I provide them with that’s going to help them better connect with their readers? The more the journalist knows who you are, the more chance they’re going to notice your emails and notice your work.

Journalists want the digital advantages that print can’t offer

Interactive maps & guides, videos, infographics, charts, polls, timelines and even imagery that is edited in a way that normal newspaper imagery can’t capture; these all help contribute to bring the story more to life. Embrace the digital tools that print doesn’t offer. The more digital tools and information you can provide, the better. Articles and stories these days all have some form of multimedia, whether that’s a video, imagery or slideshow, timelines, polls etc.

Megan DeLaire, Freelance journalist, Editor, and Photographer said on Agility’s webinar video:

“Digital is a bit less writing compared with print and more producing multimedia content. PR professionals when you’re pitching, keep an open mind on how a story can be presented. Journalists want imagery or some kind of video, charts for data, to liven up a story online.”

Importance of subject lines

We know capturing the recipient’s attention for emails is crucial. However, there are ways of doing that. There’s the right ways and the wrong ways.

Right ways –

If a story is exclusive, you can write that in the subject field, providing it’s 100% exclusive. “Exclusive story” suggests to the person you’re trying to reach that it’s a brand new exclusive story just for them to see.

Include your vision of how the title will be worded from your article and write that in the subject line. Titles of releases, stories, blog posts etc. all sum up what the piece is about. This is ideal for subject lines, as they’re supposed to be short, snappy, and to the point of what it is you’re pitching.

Wrong ways –

Abusing “Exclusive story” when it’s not will be caught on too easily and the recipient will most likely remember for next time. Don’t make your subject lines too wordy. You want to provide as much information as you can, but keep it concise.

Don’t use “RE:” in the subject line, for your first encounter. It gives the impression you are already in discussion with the person you’re trying to reach out to. This is a trick to make the recipient click onto the email believing you’re already in discussion with them.

Brainstorming your ideas clearly

Find the life with your ideas in brainstorming sessions. If you have an idea you feel is a strong one, be sure to clearly outline it for your colleagues. Start by describing your thoughts and ideas from the beginning; it’s very easy to get sidetracked and to jump right into your idea by only explaining a small part of it or the very end part, or worse, not explaining it properly at all.

We found the best ideas we generate for our clients, are those we all can contribute something towards. If someone has an idea, by taking in contributions and suggestions, this can open up the initial idea with the possibilities to gain more life.

While brainstorming ideas, take into consideration: you or somebody may have a great idea ready to pursue. However, not all ideas can be generated for that specific audience, and unfortunately, some ideas may lack engagement. So, be sure to go through all the possibilities and check through what can be done and achieved.

Also, take into consideration: is there a way to produce and capture multimedia around the idea? Does the idea hold possibilities of a video? Or imagery? Where will this idea target? What areas and sectors are you looking into?

Creating your content

You’ve brainstormed a set of ideas and you’re about to start creating one of them. Before you start, go back to the drawing board and rediscover everything that was said, all the notes you have saved, and begin researching online if you need to. By going back through everything, this can help you to start somewhere and begin creating your new piece.

With all the information saved, you can easily get a little overwhelmed on how and where to begin:

If you’re looking to produce multimedia for your content, see the latest specifications for imagery and video for social media.


Discovering everything we learnt and took away in 2019, what new things did you learn in digital PR this year? Can you highlight any new developments? Have you recently built relationships through social media? What do you think is most important in outreach?

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