The unpredictability of the news cycle means that trends in the media can be hard to anticipate. As a PR, that makes knowing when to release certain press releases, or promote a new product, even more difficult.
However, some topics are easier to forecast. For example, journalists will look to get information on back to school products from June, and start compiling Christmas gift guides in August. The way that many journalists get this information is via the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service. Here is a look at what was trending with the media in 2023, and predictions for what will be popular this year and, most crucially, when.
Christmas number one
It might only be one day in the calendar year, but requests relating to ‘Christmas’ content proved the most popular last year, featuring in over 6% of all enquiries from the media to PRs in 2023. The first month that ‘Christmas’ started featuring regularly as a keyword in requests was July, becoming a top keyword each month from August onwards.
Enquiries around Christmas tended to focus around the consumer categories of Women’s Interest & Beauty, Men’s Interest, Consumer Technology and Retail & Fashion. These requests were often looking for gift guides or advent calendars.
Prepare for… another wave of Christmas-related requests in 2024. Get ready for the first flurry of enquiries from journalists in July, increasing from August. Any products, information, or experts you want to get featured in the media over the festive period will need to be ready by the summer to make the most of these opportunities.
We’re all going on a ‘Summer’ ‘Holiday’
While Christmas content is only confined to the latter half of the year, journalists are regularly looking for information about popular ‘holiday’ destinations. This featured as a keyword in just over 2% of all enquiries last year. It performed consistently well across April, May, June, and July, where it cropped up in over 2.5% of enquiries each month. Its best month was July, becoming the second top keyword on 3.7%.
It was only beaten in July by ‘summer’, which appeared in nearly 5% of all requests that month. Across the whole of 2023, in fact, ‘summer’ featured in around 3% of the total enquiries. June proved the most popular month for journalists to use this keyword, as over 7% of requests contained it, with enquiries ranging from holidays, to activities for kids during the break from school, and topics like summer skincare.
Despite the good performance of both ‘summer’ and ‘holidays’ as keywords, ‘hotel’ was even more in demand with over 3.5% requests from last year containing the word. These enquiries were usually journalists looking to stay in a hotel and review it. This helped lead to an increase in the amount of requests in the Travel category compared to 2022, with a rise of 4%.
Prepare for… travel-related content taking off from late Spring, so get your press releases and extra information ready by late March or early April. Journalists will need travel experts across the summer months to give tips and advice. Any news of new hotel openings or places to stay should remain popular throughout the year, but peak interest will be from June until August.
AI on the agenda
Artificial intelligence, or AI, has become a real talking point over the past year. This meant it was a regular keyword on the Journalist Enquiry Service too and appeared in over 2% of the total requests for 2023. Its best performing month came in November, when it appeared in over 3% of the enquiries from journalists for that month. Perhaps unsurprising, as the UK held its AI Safety Summit at the beginning of November 2023.
The consistency of requests around AI meant a good year for the Computing and Telecoms category. This increased by 6% compared to the amount of enquiries in 2022.
Prepare for… the conversation around the various forms of AI technology continuing throughout the year. It will present constant opportunities to get experts on AI featured in the press, seeing increased interest in May and November when more global summits are scheduled around its safety.
Other trending keywords
Another keyword which proved pretty consistent across the year was ‘gardening’. It made up 3% of all requests for the year, with a peak in the Spring months of April and May, where it appeared in 4% of the total enquiries for both months. However, it still cropped up regularly with journalists looking to cover what to do with the garden during Autumn and Winter, too. The Home & Garden category performed well as a result and had the fourth largest amount of requests.
‘Fitness’ also had a good year, with just under 3% of all the requests in 2023 containing the keyword. Journalists tended to focus on this topic at the beginning of the year, with just over 3% of the total requests in January, but also at the end of the year as they looked to get ahead with features, leading to it appearing in around 5% in December. The two topics usually selected when looking for experts or information on this topic, Health and Leisure & Hobbies, both featured in the top five categories in second and fifth respectively.
The category with the most requests though was Women’s Interest & Beauty, with Food & Drink coming in third place, meaning the top four categories used by journalists looking for help with their features remain unchanged from 2022.
Prepare for… consumer themes to be popular in 2024 as well. If you have any experts, information, or case studies covering women’s interest, beauty, health, food & drink or home & garden, then there should be plenty of opportunities to get them featured in the media.
Media opportunities for PRs this year
82% of the journalists that sent enquiries for PRs in 2023 were either staff or freelance journalists. 36% of them came from consumer media, with national newspapers the next biggest media type on 26%. Most often they were looking for a spokesperson or expert (37%), with requests for information for an article second on 27%. Despite consumer media being the top media type, eight of the top ten outlets using the service last year were national press.
The different percentages of journalists using the service has largely remained the same for a number of years now. It’s unlikely this will change in 2024. Any experts you have on your roster have a strong chance of being included in national press titles like The Daily Express, MailOnline and The i Paper, or in top consumer titles including Ideal Home, SheerLuxe, or Pick Me Up!
Prepare for… two major events happening this year that the UK industry will be covering in detail. In July, we have the Paris Olympics – so prepare for a boost in the sports-related requests. And in November (or in the second half of the year according to Rishi Sunak), there will be a General Election in the UK. Get ready for a demand for experts and information around the major parties’ policies, and ‘politics’ cropping up as a popular keyword.
If you’d like to know more about how Vuelio can help with your media planning and outreach, get in touch.