How journalists are writing about Gen Z

Work, life, and finances: How the media are covering Gen Z

The first real digital native generation, Gen Z, or those born between 1997 and 2012, is an age group in demand with industries from fashion to dating desperately trying to get its attention.

The media, which is also trying to figure out how to appeal to the group, also writes about Gen Z on a regular basis. Journalists often source their information via the Journalist Enquiry Service, so here is a look at what angles are being used and the opportunities available for PRs to engage with this topic.

Gen Z: A popular topic for the media

Gen Z as a keyword has fluctuated in popularity as a keyword over the last six months on the enquiry service. However, the number of requests containing ‘Gen Z’ has doubled from August to September.

These requests have tended to focus on the generation’s attitude towards work and the workplace. This included a request from a national press journalist who was looking for comment on the trend for so-called ‘lazy girl jobs’ – which is quite often associated with Gen Z. While a trade journalist wanted to know if Generation Z was having a hard time adapting to in-person workplaces.

Gen Z at work

This focus on Gen Z and work meant that a lot of the requests came from trade titles. In fact, 44% of requests around this keyword were from trade/business/professional media. Journalists at HR Grapevine, Business Leader, People Management and have all been exploring this topic over the last few months. It has varied from looking for information, to wanting case studies and expert comment, so if you have any clients with expertise in this area then there should be more opportunities.

Money as a motivator

Closely associated with the topic of work is finance, and there have been several enquiries looking to explore this area. These have included looking for a figure/research on Gen Z’s discretionary spending each month and for information on whether money is the biggest motivator for them. All of these enquiries around work and finance meant that 52% of the requests containing the keyword ‘Gen Z’ were in the Business & Finance category, 45% were for the Education and Human Resources category, and 31% were in Personal Finance.

Life as a Gen Zer

However, it hasn’t just been work and finance that journalists have been looking into around Gen Z. The Women’s Interest category was the third most used category, on 38%. A national press journalist was looking for case studies of women choosing to freeze their eggs in their 20s, and another national press reporter was looking for a sex and relationship expert to comment on why Gen Z are having less sex.

Most interested in writing about the age group? National press

In fact, 33% of all enquiries around Gen Z as a keyword were from national newspaper/current affairs outlets. This included The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, PA Media, The Guardian and the Evening Standard. They varied from looking at the women’s interest/health angle, to work and finance, to exploring Gen Z’s relationship with technology as well as what their interests are. On the tech side, one journalist was looking for an academic for a piece on the relationship between AI technology and Gen Z workers. Another was looking to hear from publishers/literary agents/YA experts about why royal-themed romances are so popular with Gen Z.

This shows that while requests around Gen Z in work and their finances are the most popular, there is a great deal of variety of enquiries around this topic. The need for experts/spokespeople, as we see on a monthly basis on the Journalist Enquiry Service, is the most in demand, though. 48% of the enquiries for Gen Z as a keyword fit into this enquiry type and this definitely provides the best avenue going forward for securing coverage in the media.

Want to start receiving requests from UK journalists, broadcasters, and influencers direct to your inbox? Check out the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service

Trends in UK journalism: What are journalists writing about in August?

Summer trends in UK journalism: Holidays, Christmas, and Barbie

The school holidays only began a couple of weeks ago but journalists have already been spending July sending out requests on the Journalist Enquiry Service for back-to-school products and information.

Festivals, gardening, Barbie and even Christmas have been some of the other keywords cropping up in the last month. Read on to see what else has been trending and where you might be able to get featured in the media in the coming weeks.

Sign up for the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service to start receiving requests from the UK media straight to your inbox.

Features and content often have to be finished months in advance and writers have therefore been gathering information on the return to school in September already. That’s meant an 8% rise for the Education & Human Resources category from last month. ‘School’ appeared in just under 3% of all the requests on the Journalist Enquiry Service in July with just over 1% of those being about ‘Back to school’.

Journalists from PA Media, The Times, MailOnline, Pick Me Up! and Bella all submitted enquiries with this keyword last month. This is likely to remain a trend throughout August so it still means there are opportunities to get products and information featured.

‘Summer’ remains the hot topic on the Journalist Enquiry Service with just under 5% of all requests in July containing the keyword. There were a variety of enquiries too with journalists looking for summer DIY tips, summer workouts and gadgets and summer beauty. Obviously summer travel advice and days out/activities to do with the kids have also been regular requests, too.

The Travel category is up by 16% compared to this time last year, with ‘holiday’ appearing as a keyword in just under 4% of all enquiries last month. If you have any clients that are travel experts or can provide advice then you could get coverage on titles such as The Guardian, The Sun Online, The i paper, Country & Town House and Closer. Journalists from all of these outlets sent requests in July.

Despite the poor weather in July, tips and advice around gardening has remained popular on the Journalist Enquiry Service. ‘Garden’ cropped up in just over 3% of all the requests for last month, making it three consecutive months that this keyword has appeared in the top three keywords. Requests included ‘How to paint a garden shed’, ‘Experts needed on roof gardens/office gardens’ and ‘The best cordless lawn mowers for large gardens’.

A new word on the keyword list, and one that will only grow in popularity over the next few months, is ‘Christmas’. Around 2.5% of all requests in July were for Christmas related content. A lot of feature writers for magazines will have to file copy months in advance and Christmas in July is a common occurrence.

However, it seems to be even more popular this year with the amount of requests containing the keyword ‘Christmas’ up 35% compared to this time last year. Journalists from the Independent, Woman’s Weekly, BBC Good Food, Good Housekeeping and HomeStyle were all looking for Christmas-related content or gift guides last month. If you have any clients with products to review or information about the festive season, then there are bound to be plenty of opportunities to get them out in the media via the Journalist Enquiry Service.

More topical issues last month also meant they appeared as keywords. The on-going issues in the housing market meant that the word ‘mortgage’ was in just over 1% of all enquiries in July with ‘inflation’ popping up in just under 1%. The Construction & Property category is up 24% compared to this time last year as a result. There were also a few enquiries in this category around ‘Barbie’ inspired room makeovers, as the film was finally released. ‘Barbie’ cropped up in 1% of all enquiries as a keyword. Plus there was the heatwave across Europe meaning a lot of journalists were sending out ‘weather’ related enquiries, making that a keyword at just under 1%. Journalists in general are covering climate change and issues more as well, with the Environment & Nature category up by 12% compared to July 2022.

57% of the journalists using the Journalist Enquiry Service last month were staff journalists, up by 5% from June’s figures. 28% were freelance journalists. Consumer media were the largest media type at 36%, with national newspaper/current affairs second on 27% and trade/business/professional media in third on 21%. The journalists were mainly looking for a spokesperson or expert (37%) followed by information for an article (27%) and review products (15%). Seven of the top ten outlets were national press with two consumer titles and one trade.

August is likely to see the keyword ‘school’ perform strongly again and ‘Christmas’ will continue to gather momentum on the service. There is likely to be a decline for ‘summer’ as a keyword but ‘Autumn’ could be a new one, along with ‘Halloween’. Both the Food & Drink and Arts & Entertainment categories should see a boost in requests with events like Notting Hill Carnival and Reading Festival and days like National Prosecco Day (13 August) and National Rum Day (17 August). Therefore: plenty of opportunities with different angles and topics for the coming month.

Want to help UK journalists with their features, interviews, and news? Check out ‘How to connect with journalists in 2023‘, featuring advice from our Vuelio webinar with Wadds Inc. founder Stephen Waddington, ‘From pitch to published – A guide to media relations in 2023’. 

Brand reputation in the media

How reliable is your brand? Here’s how to boost your reputation in the press

News travels fast – particularly quickly if it’s bad news. And in today’s 24/7 news cycle, the reliability of your brand is at a greater risk than ever.

To protect – and grow – your brand, here is how to build a trustworthy reputation in the press, with tips from our latest webinar led by Vuelio’s Insights Content Lead Hollie Parry.

What does it mean to be a ‘reliable’ brand?

Before getting into specifics, what exactly do we mean by ‘reliable’ when it comes to media reporting on your brand? For positive representations and write-ups in the press, we’re focusing on two aspects:

Firstly, that your brand has a trustworthy voice. With this, journalists will want to talk to you and your spokespeople more than your competitors. When trending or controversial topics that run the risk of misinformation arise in the news cycle – like climate change, or crypto – the media will know your voice is one they can rely on.

Secondly, that your communications and company updates are seen as both legitimate and impactful – therefore, more likely to be picked up by the press.​

Over the past year, Vuelio has conducted several in-depth research studies on sustainability, finding that brands that are deemed more reliable are more likely to attain coverage in the media, and, ultimately, greater awareness.

Building your brand’s reputation not a priority? According to our research, this creates a higher risk of false claims and future crisis.

Let’s look at which brands are getting it right on reliability…

Case study: who is getting reliable reporting in the press, and how?

We conducted a six-month study into national press coverage of pharmaceutical brands and their sustainability efforts following last November’s COP27 to find out. The eight brands we studied were the most-mentioned throughout the study period: Pflizer, Takeda, Roche, Bayer, Merck Group, GSK, Samsung Biologics, and Astra Zeneca.

Positive share of voice graph

The stronger the diversity of sustainability praise throughout the year for the brand – the higher the volume of coverage in the press. Astra Zeneca and GSK had the most write-ups and the most sustainability recognition from the media.. ​

In contrast are Bayer and Pfizer. Despite being ranked as highly sustainable around the time of COP27, other brands fared better due to proactive and regular releases of around their sustainability efforts.

The lesson: investing in trust for your brand throughout the year, even when it doesn’t seem necessary, always pays off in the long-term. ​

How can brands measure their reliability in the press?

Regular releases of initiatives (with backing by an accreditation, where possible) is an investment that pays off in brand reliability. Now it’s time to prove this success:

Choose a specific topic to track

Gather coverage of a specific topic that would be valuable to have a trusted voice on. If your brand is in tech, you could lead the discussion around artificial intelligence. For an education charity, commentary on new policies are likely to be snapped up by reporters in need of expert comment.

Focus on quality over quantity

Key messages: What messages keep coming up about you versus your competitors, and how does this tie back to your trust as a brand?

Target publications: Is your reputation growing in the right places? Are you being trusted by sources of value to you? It’s no good having high reliability in an outlet unrelated to your audience and brand.

Article features: Where are you being heard and how widely is your reliability demonstrated versus your competitors? For example, do you have a few quotes, where your competitor has extended studies or statements featured?

Accreditation recognition: How often have your efforts been mentioned? Analyse broader coverage about your chosen topic as a whole and exclude articles where the main focus is your effort itself – you’re looking for examples of your reliability being organically boosted within a wider discussion.​

Vuelio impact score: For bespoke measurement built to your brand’s objectives, Vuelio’s impact score can serve as a marker of reliability. Create a score based on what you define as your reliability metrics, this could be getting key messages in a set of target publications for specific audiences, for example. You can also apply this to competitors and build a share of impact score.

7 quick tips for boosting your reputation in the media to take away

  1. Assess and refine which areas of discussion are most important to your brand reliability​
  2.  Consider how much you can invest over time​
  3. Choose a consistent set of general and reliability metrics​
  4. Diversify your efforts ​
  5. Utilise partnerships ​
  6. Consider hiring around areas of struggle ​
  7. Research your target audience(s)

Find out more about Vuelio Insights and how to start measuring your own successes in the press here.

Social media on Vuelio

Which social media platform is right for your next PR campaign?

The ability to get PR clients or your company featured in national newspapers and major magazines is as important today as it’s ever been, but it’s also crucial to evolve your strategy for ‘new’ media. Securing coverage across social media is an increasingly valuable alternative for engaging new audiences and amplifying your brand among different stakeholders.

But how do you go about engaging with Instagrammers and podcast producers? Fortunately on the Vuelio Media Database, you can filter contacts by media type, and find bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, Instagram and TikTok influencers and Facebook Groups, too. Read on for which platform you should reach out to for your next campaign.

Instagram and TikTok

The rise of these two social media platforms has been meteoric, especially TikTok. This has largely been helped by the young audience that are engaging with it on a daily basis. The recent Reuters Digital News Report highlighted the impact of TikTok; the social network now reaches 44% of 18-24s across markets, with 20% for news. Furthermore, audiences are paying attention more to celebrities and influencers on these networks when it comes to news.

If you want to target a younger audience, then TikTok and Instagram should be top of your list. Content creators on these platforms are generally more consumer-focused. 24% of the Instagram influencers listed on the database are interested in covering lifestyle or fashion, and over 28% of TikTok creators are wanting to cover those same two topics. Other topics like travel and food are also well represented on the database.

Creators will often be open to brand partnerships and products to review and promote. Many of them will have thousands, if not millions, of followers, meaning a wide reach for you or your PR client.

Blogs and Vlogs

Blogs and bloggers are much more established in the media landscape than influencers on Instagram and TikTok. Vuelio has had bloggers on the database since 2008. Around a year later, the top ten blogs series was started, highlighting the best performing blogs for different categories, such as travel, beauty and interior design. There are now thousands of bloggers listed, offering lots of avenues to get experts and information featured.

Vlogging feels like a much newer concept but has essentially been around since YouTube began back in 2005. Again, like Instagram and TikTok, it generally attracts a younger audience. However, vlogs will tend to be longer than Instagram and TikTok content and some of the more established vloggers have built up loyal and large followings, with the likes of Zoella being in the millions. This presents the opportunity to connect with a different type of audience. Those listed on the database are more consumer-focused with lifestyle, fashion and beauty vloggers all well represented and keen to engage with PRs.


The popularity of podcasts has been on the rise for a number of years now and reports suggest it could be a $4 billion industry by 2024. This is hardly surprising when the worldwide listenership is said to be over 460 million, equating to around 22% of all internet users. With the amount of listeners said to rise still further over the next couple of years, it’s a good time to be exploring this platform and engaging with podcasters.

On the Vuelio Media Database, there are a real mix of topics covered by the podcasts listed. Football is the most popular, with 4% of all podcasts covering that topic, but news & current affairs and politics are close behind. With a lot of podcasts opting for the interview format, this offers opportunities to get experts featured. An alternative could be product placement, with many podcasters making space for adverts and sponsors within their episodes or across a series.

Facebook Groups

Social media giant Meta is perhaps not quite at the heights it was back in the late noughties/early 2010s, especially with the younger generation. However, it still has nearly 3 billion monthly active users and 66% of the entire UK population are Facebook users. Facebook groups were launched back in 2010 but since 2017, Mark Zuckerberg has really pushed for these to be a way to start a community, and gave group admins new tools such as insights and membership questions to help.

This has worked quite well, and many people now get local and community news via established Facebook groups. Over 27% of the Facebook groups on the Vuelio Media Database are covering community news, with 12% for regional general interest and 9% for local news. If you are working on a hyperlocal campaign or have information that would really interest people in a particular community or area then getting in touch with group owners and admins can be a useful route. Some of these groups will have hundreds or possibly thousands of members with the opportunity to hit a targeted audience.

Want to start reaching out to these contacts and engaging with a different audience? Find out more about the Vuelio Media Database here.

media outreach isn't what it used to be

How to connect with journalists in 2023

If you worked in PR back in the 80s and 90s, you might still have nightmares about press clippings, heavy directories filled with often out-of-date journalist contacts, and networking in sticky or smokey (and sometimes both) pubs. Thankfully, times have moved on, and so has the PR-journalist relationship.

For our latest webinar, ‘From pitch to published – A guide to media relations in 2023’, founder and managing partner of Wadds Inc. Stephen Waddington shared up-to-date approaches for connecting with the media now. Here’s what all PR and comms people need to know.

Watch the full webinar here, and download the accompanying white paper ‘From pitching to getting published: A PR’s guide to media relations in 2023’.

The basics of building media relationships

Get to know the media before you get in touch

‘The fundamentals of media relations have never changed throughout my career and getting to know journalists and broadcasters is as important as ever. Get to know their beats, their publications, and their interests.

‘When I started my career, we had to read the national newspapers every morning and listen to radio news. Research was all part of the role, and we’d do well to remember that now.

‘With LinkedIn and Twitter, it’s easier than ever to understand what journalists are writing about. We have no excuses.’

Remember that journalists are people and not content machines

‘The relationship between a journalist and a PR practitioner should be equitable. It’s a common view that there’s been an erosion of equality since the height of COVID-19 because of the lack of face-to-face meetings. That can be true. But a personal approach – understanding their professional and personal sphere (which you can, thanks to social networks) – goes a long way to creating a relationship.

‘Recognise birthdays, recognise anniversaries, comment on articles that journalists write. It surprises me how few PRs ever thank a journalist, or even share their copy after it’s been produced. We all have our own social media channels and we can do that.’

Exchange value

‘Newsrooms have always been driven by deadlines, but nowadays metrics are an important feature and all journalists have KPIs to hit. Understanding that and how your content can help them hit those metrics can provide you with an additional opportunity to appeal to a journalist’s interest.

‘Provide a package of material that will provide longevity as assets on that media outlet’s website – give them more than a press release.’

Be honest

‘It’s important that you support journalists to hit their deadlines; don’t waste their time. Be straight-forward, be honest, and be candid in dealing with these relationships.’

The impact of working from home on pitching

Be creative with your storytelling

‘It’s harder than ever to do a call around and get hold of journalists. Instead, we use Twitter DMs and online platforms to establish relationships. A journalist’s phone number is a ‘second level’ of the relationship now. This puts an extra pressure on PRs – you have to be creative with your pitching.’

Get social on social media

‘Us PRs are going through a weird relationship phase with Twitter because of all the change happening. The media still uses it and so do PRs. It’s a really useful way to spot opportunities when journalists are calling out for sources and for material.’

Change with the new working cycle

‘Working from home changed newsrooms – it’s less collaborative. The notion that there was a fixed cycle to the way a newsroom works – sending pitches before morning conferences – has changed. The morning conference is still there as a medium to discuss the news agenda, but there are opportunities throughout the day – we can newsjack an emerging news story.’

The role of technology in managing relationships

Use social media as a listening tool

‘Twitter and Linkedin are great ways to keep track of a journalist’s work. When I started in PR, I used a rolodex, and I encourage anyone working in media relations practice these days to use your social network in the same way.’

Dip into databases

‘Databases like Vuelio provide a way to sift through a media list. Reach deeper into those to build relationships.

‘There’s been a shift to using CRMs and media databases to build and track relationships you have as a team – particularly in large organisations and in Public Affairs. A single point of truth for a team when pitching helps you understand who has pitched a journalist and how it landed.’

Manage your messages

‘There are a range of platforms for connecting with the media – I’m going to call out the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service, but there are also hashtags on social media where journalists are asking for contacts and case studies.’

The changing value of face-to-face meetings and press events

‘In-person meetings are viewed as premium opportunities now. It’s going to be really challenging to get a journalist out to come and meet you. There has to be significant public interest or a level of complexity, you have to offer something additional.’

Tools and techniques

Think like a journalist

‘You have to think like a journalist in the modern public relations environment. Immerse yourself in the news and take a genuine interest, in real time. Understand what they need in order to write a story. We’re all under pressure in a commercial environment – help journalists meet their objectives.’

Pitch to your audience

‘Journalists are an intermediary between you and the audience you want to reach, so if you take an audience perspective when pitching, that’s going to put you in good stead.’

Be human

‘When interviewed for our white paper, advice from 10 Yetis’ Andy Barr was simple – don’t push a dead story, do your research before pitching, and don’t be creepy in your pitching. In other words: “Don’t be a dick”.’

For more, download the white paper ‘From pitching to getting published: A PR’s guide to media relations in 2023’.

Going beyond the publishing paywall

Going beyond the publishing paywall

Publishing isn’t the money maker it used to be. With a huge amount of content constantly shared across channels, everyone from freelancers to international powerhouse publishers have to find new ways to make publishing pay.

For those making a living in the modern media industry, this means trialling different formats to keep audiences interested, launching new revenue streams, and gating content behind paywalls. For those in the PR and comms industry, all this change – ‘out of all recognition is an understatement,’ says journalist and author Tanith Carey – comes with the need to keep informed on how they can help.

Let’s go behind the publishing paywall to find out what’s paying off in revenue and engagement…

Download our white paper ‘How to pitch to journalists‘ for how to help out journalists with relevant interview subjects, event details and more, divided by sector and niche.

News-avoiders need to be enticed back

News avoidance is on the up in the UK as people turn away from negativity and, instead, self-soothe with streaming and scrolling. This has huge ramifications for news publishers.

Journalism innovation and inclusion consultant Shirish Kulkarni believes the news exists to make sense of what’s going on in the world and that the news model needs to realign to sense making. As an example of this, Tortoise Media has taken a ‘slow news’ approach with its publishing. Its Sensemaker newsletter and ThinkIn sessions enable audiences to fully engage with the stories that actually matter to them, providing both value and clarity on current events.

The numbers have to be right

As shared by Times Media’s director of subscriber retention Abdullah Ahmed at’s Newsrewired event, the cost of acquiring a subscriber can be three to four times more than keeping a current one. This invites a crucial question: how do you retain readers during times of economic strain?

The Washington Post’s head of consumer product marketing and subscription Anna Lorch believes that with so much free content available, people are only willing to shell out for something genuinely relevant to them. Publishers are increasingly using data analytics to inform their retention strategies and create more relevant content.

Going local can pay off

Trust in the media is down in the UK, but local news fairs a lot better – providing it’s actually rooted in the community it serves. According to Public Interest News Foundation founder Jonathan Heawood, locally-owned media gets a net positive trust score. These publishers bridge the disconnect that can happen when news is filtered down from larger umbrella organisations – a great example of this are Social Spider’s community newspapers.

The audience wants their say

Find vox pops a bit cringe? Bad news: they’re still relevant. According to deputy head of newsgathering at Sky News, Sarah Whitehead, vox pops are much more than just another way to inform viewers. In recent years, Sky News has opened up its content to the audience with regular Q&As, bringing them back into the story (and encouraging shares on social when the segment has aired, naturally).

Social media is the new testing ground for journalists

Building up a following doesn’t happen overnight, but a dedicated readership can be a shortcut to commissions and clicks for individual journalists with bills to pay.

‘Coasting’ author Elise Downing mentioned social media as the place for journalists to try new things during a June Journo Resources webinar. The Reels on Instagram getting the most views, the videos driving the majority of traffic on YouTube, the Facebook posts generating the most content – all are a conduit to an audience, and with an audience, hopefully, come commissions.

Stories will always be an endless font

As consumers have increasingly moved from print to screens, publishing has drastically changed. Journalist and author Julie Cook, who started her career at South West News 24 years ago, remembers the ‘heady’ times that were publishing in the 90s, when ‘there was lots of money around, lots of promotions. It was really exciting’.

‘That’s all changed now,’ Julie says. ‘Magazines are selling fewer copies and the pay has not increased in years. It’s harder to sell stories now – but can still be done if you’re canny.

‘It may be a very uncertain time, but in true life, health and tabloid writing, there is one thing that will NEVER run out – that’s people’s stories.

‘They are an endless font.’

People still want stories – to tell them, read them, watch them, engage with them. As long as there’s an audience out there, the creative industries – journalists and PRs included – will be able to find them. Providing that what they’re creating is worth checking out.

Now you know what’s happening behind the publishing paywall, get in touch with relevant media with tips in our latest white paper with Wadds Inc.’s Stephen Waddington ‘From pitching to getting published: A PR’s guide to media relations in 2023’.

Trends in UK journalism Summer 2023

Trends in UK journalism: What are the media writing about this summer?

We are now just over half way through the year (where did the time go?) and entering a summer of sport. The Ashes, Wimbledon, Women’s football World Cup and the on-going Formula 1 season are all taking place over the next few weeks and months, leaving sports fans spoiled for choice.

It also provides plenty of opportunities for PRs in this sector to get featured in the media as journalists ready to cover these major sporting events. However, there are still plenty of other trending keywords and topics, and journalists have been using the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service to get what they need. Here is what the UK media have been requesting over the last month.

Sign up for the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service to start receiving requests from the UK media straight to your inbox.

With so many different sporting events going on, it’s unsurprising that the Sport category saw the biggest growth between May and June. It increased by just under 20%, with journalists from the Sun on Sunday, City AM, Living360 and Bindy Street all looking to get information on the upcoming events.

Two of the top keywords for June were also associated with the Sport category as both ‘fitness’ and ‘diet’ appeared in 2% of the total requests last month. The enquiries for fitness were mostly looking for experts, as well as some opportunities to feature products. Journalists from Women’s Health, Tom’s Guide, The Telegraph, The Daily Express and Stylist all submitted requests to PR users of the Journalist Enquiry Service. ‘Diet’-related requests were a mix of expert opinion and case studies asks, coming from the MailOnline, GoodtoKnow, best and Hello! Online.

The top performing keyword last month was ‘summer’ as it appeared in over 7% of the total requests in June. This spanned across many of the categories on the Journalist Enquiry Service with requests such as ‘things to do in London this summer with the kids’, ‘affordable summer beauty products’ and ‘summer cocktail and mocktail recipes’. The majority of the enquiries were from national papers and consumer media including The Evening Standard, The Sun Online, Pick Me Up, Sheerluxe and The English Home.

A lot of the consumer-related categories saw a boost as a result, with Women’s Interest & Beauty up by 11%, Leisure & Hobbies increasing by 6% and Home & Garden rising 4% compared to May.

The category which saw the second highest increase in requests was for Children & Teenagers, which jumped up by 19%. There were a variety of enquiries here with some looking for gifts for teachers, others wanting to know about back to school uniform and products, plus what to do with kids over the school summer holidays. The Education & Human Resources category also saw a boost as a result too, rising by 18%, with several requests wanting academic experts to talk on digital literacy, the state of secondary education and teacher shortages. All providing a great opportunity to get any parenting and education experts or information featured in the press.

As mentioned, the school holidays are nearly upon us and ‘holiday’ has performed well again as a keyword, appearing in 2.5% of all requests. This is slightly down on May’s figure but still helped the Travel category to increase by 10%. Last month also saw the first of the big music festivals this summer with Glastonbury. ‘Festival’ has appeared as a new keyword and was included in just over 2% of the total requests in June. The Daily Mirror, BBC News, Fabulous, The Independent and PA Media all made enquiries including one or both of these keywords, presenting more chances to get clients featured in some of the biggest publications and broadcasters.

Away from the excitement of the summer and festivals and holidays, the cost-of-living crisis continues to rumble on. Both ‘cost of living’ and ‘mortgages’ had 1% of the total requests last month as interest rates increased. June was also Pride month, with London Pride taking place last weekend. ‘Pride’ and ‘LGBTQ’ combined had 1% of the requests on the service.

Overall in June, 52% of journalists using the service were staff with 31% being freelance journalists. 37% of those were from consumer media, followed by national newspaper/current affairs on 26% and trade/business/professional media on 20%. The majority were looking for a spokesperson or expert (37%) with information for an article second (25%) and review products in third (16%). Eight of the top ten outlets for June were national press.

The month ahead should continue to be a strong one for keywords such as ‘summer’, ‘holiday’ and ‘festival’, despite the weather. This in turn means the consumer categories should continue to perform well. We should also start to see our first flurry of Christmas related requests as feature journalists start compiling information on what products and themes will be popular come December. There is also International French Fry Day (13th July) and National Junk Food Day (21st July), so the Food & Drink category should see a boost, too.

For more on connecting with journalists, here are 6 reasons to stop searching #JournoRequest and start using the Journalist Enquiry Service as well as what journalists want from PRs and how Vuelio can help

From Pitch to Published webinar

Vuelio webinar: From pitch to published – a guide to media relations in 2023

Remote working, emerging technologies and media fragmentation have reshaped media relations completely. 

To help you keep up with all the changes, we’ve teamed up with Wadds Inc. founder and managing partner Stephen Waddington to uncover how PR professionals need to approach media relationships now.

What’s the best way to build relationships with journalists in 2023?

Join us live on 5 July for our webinar ‘From pitch to published – a guide to media relations in 2023’, where Stephen Waddington will share best practice tips for pitching to the media as a PR.

Expertise shared comes from PR and comms professionals working across the industry who are regularly gaining coverage – and building long-lasting working relationships with journalists, broadcasters, and influencers – in the UK press and beyond.

Sign up for the webinar to learn:

  • How remote working has led practitioners to explore more creative ways to connect with the media
  • Whether press conferences and face-to-face meetings can still provide value when the media world is so digitally connected
  • Where inbound tools and social media can help identify PR opportunities and aid in building strong rapports with journalists.

Can’t join us live? Register here and we’ll send you the recording.

For more on Stephen Waddington, check out our Top 10 UK PR Blogs (spoiler: he’s number one).

Want a primer on reaching out to relevant journalists with your story? Take note from our recent explainer ‘PRs on PR: How to pitch to the media‘.

Lessons from the rights and wrongs of health and pharmaceutical communications

Lessons from the rights and wrongs of health and pharmaceutical communications

There have been plenty of challenges in health and pharmaceutical reporting and communications over the last 30 years, with the last three being particularly tumultuous for those tasked with communicating both complex and constantly evolving news to the public.

At a Vuelio lunch held at the Gherkin last month, Channel 4’s health and social care editor Victoria Macdonald shared the lessons to be learned from the good and bad of her 30-year career covering health and pharma.

Read on for her thoughts on high-profile political flubs you won’t want to replicate, the importance of ensuring any promises made can be met, and just how unhealthy misinformation can be to your audience.

PR teams: prime your spokesperson properly

‘Looking back over the various points in my career and the exciting breakthroughs – the scandals, the pandemics – I would say that Covid was an interesting roller coaster.

‘I was the journalist who asked Boris Johnson if he was still shaking hands. I wasn’t actually trying to catch him out; I was genuinely interested. His reply was so astonishing – “Yes,” he said.

“I am shaking hands,” Johnson added. “Only last night I was in a hospital shaking hands with coronavirus patients.”

‘The chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser went pale as they stood beside him. An hour or so later the Downing Street press office rang to say that of course he hadn’t shaken hands with coronavirus patients.’

Promises must be met

‘My first interaction with the pharmaceutical industry, and whether it was making excessive profits at the sake of people’s lives, was around reputation.

‘I am thinking about a court case in 2001 in which the South African Government won against 39 pharmaceutical companies that had sued because of a provision that would have allowed the production and importation of generic drugs for HIV/Aids. That case was dropped in the end because of national and international pressure.

‘I was there reporting it and it was a momentous day – undermined by the Government actually failing to distribute drugs until they, too, were taken to court.’

Balance celebration with caution

‘There’s news of another Alzheimer drug that can slow cognitive decline by 35%. And the quote was that this could be the beginning of the end of Alzheimer’s disease. The thought is so thrilling and anyone in this room who has seen or is living with family members who have Alzheimer’s knows what it’s like to watch it happening in front of your eyes.

‘This may be too late for our mothers or fathers or grandparents – but maybe it will be ok for us – I hope so.

‘Yet this is another one of those announcements where you have to be so utterly cautious when reporting and communicating it. You want it to be a celebration, you absolutely want it to be the beginning of the end of Alzheimer’s, but you have to tell your audience that there are many caveats.

‘The last thing you want to do is rain on someone’s parade, but neither do you want a relative ringing up and saying where is this drug, why can’t my Mum have it now?’

Inoculate your audience against misinformation

‘That most wonderful moment nine months into the pandemic when the announcement of the first vaccines was made – we had had so many briefings early on in 2020 that no vaccine was in sight and then suddenly there really was.

‘Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said the Astra Zeneca vaccine’s reputation had been battered by a toxic mix of misinformation, miscommunication, and mishaps.

‘Yet there were trial problems – and reporting on these was very difficult because you didn’t want to lose the excitement of such an important development, but had to give as much information as possible.

‘There was a real change in communications during the pandemic. At first, Government press offices were slow to get up and going. But it got better very quickly.’

‘Looking back on Covid – so much changed and yet also so little’.

For more about maintaining trust and communicating complex campaigns clearly in health and pharmaceutical sectors, download the Vuelio white paper ‘Medical misinformation: How PR can stop the spread’.

8 things you need to know about the use of AI in PR and the media

8 things you need to know about the use of AI in PR and the media

Will AI ultimately be a help to us in our jobs, or lead to a Skynet-level humans versus artificial intelligence showdown years in the future? We can’t answer that, but we can tell you how technologies like ChatGPT are already impacting public relations, the media, and politics – both for good and, when applied incorrectly, the not-so-good.

Here is what you need to know about the use of AI in PR and journalism now, taken from our latest white paper ‘Reputation management: How PR and comms can maintain trust in an AI-assisted future’ – download it here.

Want more on this topic? Sign up to our webinar with Danebury Research’s Paul Stallard ‘The AI conundrum – paving the way for the future of comms’ to join us on Wednesday 7 June, 11-11.30 BST.

1) A pro: AI is supporting the work of journalists (and helping the bottom line)

‘Over the last few years, we have seen the use of AI increasing because it’s valuable to support the journalists in different areas; in news gathering, in news production, but of course most importantly with the audience and the way in which you can enhance that and raise revenue.’
Charlie Becket, founding director of Polis and leader of the LSE Journalism and AI project

2) A con: AI could hinder the work of journalists to inform when applied incorrectly

‘We have to think about where we can use those tools, and when we shouldn’t. One of the things I want us to do is to demonstrate where our articles are coming from. People are using AI and putting together information without that source to show where that information came from.’
Jo Adetunji, editor at The Conversation

3) PRs need to be ready to fight AI-assisted PR disasters

‘We cannot escape conversations around ChatGPT at the moment – any activist or online troll could use that technology to spread all sorts of content on social media to trash the reputation of a corporation. If you are a bit more sophisticated, you could use deep fakes to impersonate senior figures in business to create a PR disaster. For a listed company, bad actors could move their share price.

‘And I am not making this up. The Eurasia Group has forecast this as a possibility in 2023. PRs must be aware of the reputational challenges posed by actors harnessing tech for malicious ends.’
Thomas Barton, founder and CEO of Polis

4) AI may not revolutionise comms, but it could streamline the way we work

‘Although ChatGPT is expected to continue to revolutionise the way we do PR and marketing, I still believe it won’t lead to smaller teams and massive layoffs.

‘Instead, the tool will further streamline PR processes to help PR professionals become more productive. So, the tool will only get better at proofreading your press release, refining your PR pitch, and helping you come up with ideas for a PR brainstorming session or social media posts. The tool will also get better at ensuring consistency across your PR (and marketing) material.’
Chris Norton, founder of B2B PR agency Prohibition

5) Entry-level jobs in the creative industries could disappear

‘Probably in lots of different sectors it is the ‘bottom rung’ that will be impacted — people who have just started their job.

‘I’m sure it’s the same in PR as in journalism — when you start out, you’re doing the unglamorous jobs. That work could be done better by AI, potentially. The bottom rung could be in a difficult position.’
William Turvill, associate editor for Press Gazette and media correspondent for the New Statesman

6) An increase in AI assistance means a need for more personalisation and authenticity (AKA humans)

‘With the rise of AI-generated content, storytelling will become even more relevant. Increased AI-powered content production will create more content, which will be more general as AI is not incentivised to be bold. This means personalised, unique voices will become more powerful, as it will help companies stand out from the crowd.’
Jan Bohnerth, CEO of Life Size

7) In the absence of regulation, PRs must hold themselves to account

‘Everything’s happening so fast — there needs to be big thoughts about regulation. At a firm level, there’s a lot you can do with making sure you don’t rip people off.’
Helena Pozniak, independent journalist writing for the Telegraph, The Guardian, the Institution of Engineering and Technology as well as various universities and specialist sites

8) Don’t be alarmed, but be realistic about the impact AI will have on you and your work going forward

‘I saw someone tweet that AI is going to kill us all in five years. I’d be so wary of any bold claims like that, because there is so much money behind this stuff, in doom-mongering or overexaggerating.
‘Future prediction is always a murky area — that’s something I would be hugely vary of.’
Amelia Tait, freelance features writer for outlets including The Guardian, New York Times, Wired, the New Statesman, and VICE.

Download the full Vuelio and Danebury Research white paper here.

Check out what you also need to know about the impacts of fake news, shared in our previous webinar with Polis’ Thomas Barton ‘Why we need to take online misinformation and disinformation seriously’.

How is the media covering the energy sector?

Trends in UK journalism: How is the media covering the energy sector?

The cost-of-living crisis has impacted many areas of our life, from more expensive food shops to higher interest rates. One of the most dramatic rises in price came in energy bills, where for some businesses and homeowners it nearly doubled.

The media have therefore focused heavily on advising their audiences on how to cope with this as well as expert opinion on when things might improve. But what else have journalists been looking to cover in the energy sector recently? With help from the Journalist Enquiry Service, we are able to shed light on what they have been requesting and identify opportunities for PRs to get coverage.

Sign up to start receiving requests from the UK media direct to your inbox with the Journalist Enquiry Service.

For the purpose of this article, we decided to focus on the two most relevant categories to the energy sector on the Journalist Enquiry Service – Manufacturing, Engineering & Energy and Environment & Nature. In both categories, requests over the last three months have been dominated by staff journalists with 62% in the energy category and 53% in environment. Freelance journalists are the next biggest senders in both categories, with 29% in energy and 25% in environment.

Journalists are generally asking for the same thing across both categories, with ‘information for an article’ and ‘spokesperson or expert’ the top two requests for each one. The slight difference comes in the third most selected enquiry type option – 11% of journalists in the energy category requests were looking for case studies whereas in environment, 13% of requests were for review products.

The main difference between the categories is in the types of journalist that are sending requests in the respective categories. Consumer media journalists are much more prevalent in the environment category with 32% of requests coming from them, followed by trade/business/professional media on 25% and national newspaper/current affairs on 24%. Whereas in the energy category, trade/business/professional media dominates with 52% of requests, with national newspaper/current affairs on 18% and consumer media on just 15%. Radio and television also does well here on 8%.

If you have experts or information from the energy sector that you think you would fit well within a trade publication, there should be lots of opportunities. ReNews, Engineering & Technology, Industrial News, Net Zero Professional, Connected Energy Solutions and Energy Digital have all sent at least one request in the last three months.

We can delve further in and look at what keywords have been cropping up the most. ‘Business’ has featured in the most requests, with 27% of all energy enquiries containing this word. It must be noted that this doesn’t always mean that journalists are looking to write about energy businesses. The same goes for ‘companies’ which also performed well and appeared in 16% of requests.

However, we have seen requests such as ‘Businesses/economists/energy consultants sought for article on business action on energy supplies’ and ‘Looking for expert comment from a water company on whether a bath or shower is more energy efficient.’

‘Energy’ is unsurprisingly another keyword that performs strongly here, appearing in 19% of all requests. This is often followed by the word ‘bills’ which is in 7% of all the energy enquiries.

Journalists from the, The Sun, ITV News and 5 News have all looked to cover this keyword; sometimes wanting an expert opinion on how to save money on your energy, a few around changes to the energy price cap and its effect on bills and broadcast outlets wanting businesses or people to talk to about the impact rising energy bills has had for them.

Another related phrase in ‘cost-of-living’ continues to crop up, appearing in 4% of the energy requests. The keyword ‘budget’ is also in 4% and ‘efficiency’ is in 6%, as again journalists focus on getting information and experts to talk about what people can do during this ongoing crisis.

Oil, gas and electricity all perform well as keywords, too – both in the energy and environment categories. ‘Gas’ appears in 4% of energy requests and 3% of environment. ‘Electricity’ is in 2% of all energy enquiries and 1% of those in the environment category, while ‘oil’ is in 3% of energy and 2% of environment.
Requests around these keywords have tended to be from trade publications, including one from a journalist at Net Zero Investor who was looking for ‘climate-conscious asset owners and asset managers’ to talk about engaging with oil and gas firms.

The keywords that performed strongly within the energy requests tend to do well again in the environment category with 15% of requests including ‘business’, 10% having ‘energy’ and 4% mentioning the ‘cost-of-living’.

‘Environment’ as a keyword does well within its own category, appearing in 12% of all requests. These come from consumer-based titles such as My Weekly, The Mayfair Musings and woman & home. This includes an enquiry around saving money while saving the environment and living a more sustainable and affordable life.
‘Sustainability/sustainable’ is another keyword which performs well in the environment category, appearing in 10% of all requests. A variety of outlets are looking for sustainability experts, from Retail Week to Country & Town House, to PA Media and The Times. While not always solely focused on the energy and environment side, this provides another opportunity to get clients coverage on an increasingly popular topic to write about.

The other forms of renewable energy sources such as ‘solar’ and ‘wind’ are also keywords with the former in about 2% of environment requests and the latter in 1%. Enquiries here come from trade titles such as New Energy World and consumer outlets like Ideal Home.

While the cost-of-living crisis might seem to dominate the conversation in the media around the energy sector, there are still lots of different avenues to explore. New information and experts are primarily what journalists are looking for, with plenty of opportunities to get clients featured in trade publications, plus some national newspapers and broadcast news, too.

For advice on pitching to the UK media, download our white paper ‘How to pitch to journalists‘, and get requests from writers, broadcasters, influencers and more directly to your inbox with the Journalist Enquiry Service. Want to start your outreach now? Check out the Vuelio Media Database

PRs on PR: How to pitch to the media

PRs on PR: How to pitch to the media

Despite the sheer number of places to pitch to now – online, radio, and broadcast alongside traditional print outlets – pitching to the media as a PR has only gotten tougher as time has gone on.

‘Long gone are the days when an outreach email or pitch sent to a list of hundreds of journalists and news desks would result in instant links or coverage’ says JBH’s digital PR manager Lauren Wilden.

‘We now need to be much more strategic’.

Where better to get advice on successful strategies than the experts: your fellow PRs. Here are the steps to hit through all stages of the pitching journey – preparing, creating, and the post-pitch follow-up – from PRs and comms people regularly racking up coverage for their brands and clients in the UK media.

Want to know how Vuelio can help with your media outreach? Check out extra detail on the Vuelio Media Database and the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service.

Preparing your pitch

Do your research before you even think about getting in touch with a journalist

‘The first and most important thing you need to do is research. Spend time getting to know the publications you want to be seen in and the kinds of things that your target journalists write about.

‘It may sound old school, but buy print copies of the media, where possible, to get an overview of the publication as the context of where you want your story to appear is also important.’
Ceri-Jane Hackling, managing director at Cerub PR

‘All media pitches should be tailored to a specific audience, for example, based on geographic location, audience interests, and industry or sector specialisms. This means identifying a clear, concise and newsworthy angle that will appeal to each audience, and steering clear of industry jargon in non-specialist media.’
Lucy Wharton, Account Manager: PR at V Formation

‘Chat to PR colleagues to gain an insight into the journalist’s preferred way of working, personality and any gems of info that will show you’ve clearly done your homework. (without going too Big Brother!).’
Sheila Manzano, senior associate director at Frog & Wolf PR

‘Staying up-to-date with the latest demographics, audience research, features, news, and staff at a publication puts you ahead of the game, establishing you as a mindful, and reliable source for future opportunities.’
Connor Aiden Fogarty, Social & Influencer Marketing Assistant at DMC PR

‘Journalists are increasingly stretched and therefore don’t have as much time to be able to attend events or even have a quick chat on the phone which makes things tricky for PRs. Knowing the journalist’s background and key topics they write about is so important. Also, finding out how the journalist prefers to receive the pitch (this is usually email) is essential – tools like ResponseSource help with this.’
Jessica McDonnell, senior account manager at Source PR

‘B2B media pitching is fly fishing: the more times you cast/pitch, the more catches/placements you are going to get! But, it’s equally important to understand what isn’t catching – because you might need to change the ‘fly’.

‘The more diverse the audience, the larger the fly box – think vertical and geographical market expansion.

‘But there is one rule that holds true for media pitching: Understand your quarry/audience. Nearly half of journalists receive more than 50 pitches per week, so one of their biggest annoyances is getting spammed with irrelevant pitches. Read what they write and what they engage with on their social channels – and you shall find the perfect fly!’
Judith Ingleton-Beer, CEO at IBA International

Plan your strategy

‘Having a clear pitch strategy for your key contacts will help to naturally develop stronger, hyper-relevant stories and build stronger relationships with journalists. After that, it’s all about making sure you make life as easy as possible for journalists – understanding the best time and way to approach them and getting to the point quickly.’
Martyn Gettings, head of PR at Tank

Start small

‘Try contributing newsjacking comments to smaller sites and niche publishers first. This builds up your legitimacy and means that you have extra ammunition in your pitching arsenal.’
Mike Shields, Head of Digital PR at eComOne

Before you start typing – is what you have relevant and timely?

‘When pitching to journalists, it’s essential that as PRs, we offer them something of high relevance to the current news cycle. Linking the content to trending topics, awareness days, new research, or current affairs will show journalists that your content is timely, relevant and will be interesting to their current readers, heightening chances of success. Before pitching, ask yourself, ‘How newsworthy is this content, and how relevant is it to the current media landscape?’
Leah de Gruchy, senior digital PR executive at Kaizen

Creating a successful pitch

Sending a press release? Tailor your headlines/subject lines to fit

‘Crafting a strong subject line is key to sending a good digital PR pitch. It is the first part of your pitch that journalists are exposed to and could be the deciding factor as to whether they even open your pitch email. Avoid click-bait titles when pitching to journalists, we know they are already very busy people and do not have time to play guessing games.’
Amber Buonsenso, senior digital PR strategist at The Evergreen Agency

‘Adjust the headline to suit the types of style that they would typically write, so that they can envision how the piece would look. For example, Daily Mail often uses CAPITALS in their headlines, so we do exactly that, and for the Reach PLC titles, we try and make the titles slightly more inquisitive to encourage more clickthroughs, as we know their target is page “views, for example, did you know that THIS hack will help you fall asleep’, as oppose to counting sheep bed will help you fall asleep quicker”.’
Emma Hull, PR manager at Balance

‘Every publication has a specific framework for headline writing, so small quirks like knowing if a news outlet writes numbers numerically or alphabetically shows understanding, a passive form of personalisation. I also think writing headlines frames our releases in a journalistic style, helping to picture our pitches as newsworthy stories.’
Charlie Warner digital PR specialist at Seeker Digital

‘Be clear for when they’re scanning their inbox to see if anything jumps out. For me this might look like “Industry comment – Personal finance expert discusses latest Bank of England interest rates” or even “Interview opportunity – Education expert available to discuss GCSE Results Day”.’
Samantha Walker, head of PR at 10 Yetis Public Relations

Test what works best

‘I find a/b testing a different set of subject lines can work with bigger campaigns, and also tweaking the subject line to suit the journalists’ style or the publication they write for. This can be time consuming but a well targeted campaign is always better than a ‘spray and pray approach’ – where you send the same pitch to hundreds of journalists.’
Lauren Richardson, senior account executive at Marketing Signals

Think. About. Layout

‘This is a very laborious and boring sentence to read as it trails on and on without any particular direction and multiple points so it’s difficult to understand what the main argument of the piece is as there is no proper grammatical construction or interesting aspects of what I am saying standing out from the rest of the points in this long excruciating opinion I am writing and as a result I expect you will have fallen asleep by now and so will have any journalist you are pitching.

‘Instead. Pull out your main point. Put it at the start. Use short sentences. And make it easy to digest.’
Chris Cowan, associate director at Mixology PR

‘The feedback we get from journalists is that they want a story that they can essentially cut, copy, paste and publish if they wish – so good pitching starts with great copy.

‘Use straightforward and easy-to-understand language in short sentences in the pitch itself and make sure that the really interesting angles are all included.

‘If you have created a story that is already ready to publish, you are making the journalist’s life easier and your chances of getting your story published are vastly increased.’
Dan Thompson, account director at MOTIVE PR

Cut out unnecessary words (especially the adjectives)

‘Remember that you’re sending a pitch and not a blog stuffed with flowery language. This is especially important in your subject line, where you want the story of the pitch to be clear within 8-12 words. Front loading your subject line with stats can be a really great way to boost the impact of your pitch as well, so always try and include these where possible.

‘Feedback I’ve had is that journalists typically don’t want to read pitches longer than about 400 words as they don’t have time.’
James Lavery, digital PR manager at Bring Digital

Sell your story

‘When pitching to journalists, selling them on a story is key – what gets editors to sit up and pay attention and readers to take the time to click is a story they can engage with.

‘Ask yourself, is there a compelling narrative here? Colouring around the black and white of the article is vital and that’s where we find journalists engage with us the most.’
Connor Kirton, senior PR account executive at Make More Noise

‘“So what” is a good question to ask yourself. Why should this be of interest to the journalist and their audience?’
Rachel Murray, account Director at Fourth Day PR

‘The truth is, journalists don’t care about your press release, they care about their readers. And they have no interest in helping to promote your business to their readers unless you bring value to them. So, focus on the impact your story has on the reader, and see if it triggers one of these reactions:

1. This is me
2. I wish it was me
3. I’m glad it’s not me’
Petra Smith, Founder of marketing and PR agency Squirrels&Bears

‘A journalist will not want to read waffle. A pitch should be like a wine tasting, the journalist should have a small glass, and want to come back to you for the whole bottle’.
Peter Remon, senior account manager at BlueSky Education

Numbers go nicely with words – include some data

‘Use bullet points to bring out the most important facts of the topic you are pitching, and make sure it’s backed up with the latest research – no journalist would want to spend the time researching whether what you are saying is true.’
Dinara Omarova, director at Peach Perfect PR Limited

Sending your pitch

Get in there early and make it speedy

‘If you’re pitching to nationals, then emailing early on in the day really is key in my experience. Most editorial planning meetings happen before 10am, so if you’re pitching after this then the chance of your content getting used (unless its hyper topical) is much lower.

‘Regionals and lifestyle titles can work a little differently, but either way, morning pitching is still typically best as they’re more likely to be planning content then, and then writing it up later on.

‘If you’ve managed to get your pitch email opened, then naturally you want to keep that journalist’s attention and you need show them why it’s a good story super quickly. Long email pitches that fail to explain the story quickly and clearly (and why it’s relevant to that title now), should be avoided! Bullet points with key facts or figures can help with this.’
Cheryl Crossley, head of digital PR at WMG

It may surprise you, but news desks do forward your pitch to the right editor

‘Publications have editors who specialise in specific industries or regions. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to identify the right person to pitch to. While a mass-sent press release with BCC’d email addresses may still generate attention if it’s compelling enough, it lacks the latter’s allure.

‘If I need to figure out who the right person is to contact for my story at a publication, I use a generic email address that’s monitored.

‘With such email addresses. publications always hint that they are monitored to centralise incoming messages to help dispatch them to the right people to avoid missing out on great stories. So, I check to see if a general email like info @, tips @ is being monitored.’
Malineo Makamane, digital PR specialist at Sweet Digital

Remember to add the extras

‘Having good imagery drastically increases your chances of selling in a news story. Better still, if you do have a great image to accompany your press release, then include it in the body of the email! Show journalists that you have visual content readily available.’
Matt Neicho, senior communications executive (STEM) at Definition Agency

‘Include a link to a Dropbox or WeTransfer folder which contains your release, a selection of images to choose from, as well as a contact sheet with your details in case they need anything further.’
Lauren Dall, director at boutique PR consultancy Dall Communications

How to follow-up on your pitch

Engage, don’t badger

‘Don’t send multiple emails about the same story. Once you’ve sent a press release, give it at least 24 hours. Then, a follow up asking a journalist to confirm receipt and explaining you are available if they need anything else is perfectly acceptable. Anything more and you will be deemed a pest.’
Nick Owens, founder of Magnify PR

‘I like to follow up in a timely manner and with a short note that provides a summary of what I’m offering and asking the journalist for any relevant feedback.

‘I also focus on building relationships by actively engaging with their work, sharing articles, and offering valuable insights. It’s important to understand that each journalist is unique, so PRs should continuously adapt their approach based on feedback and the ever-evolving media landscape.’
Katya Beadsworth, account manager at Fleishman UK

‘Three is the magic number – I have learned that to follow up more than three times is plenty enough when you are attempting to secure a story. If your client is particularly keen on the opportunity, it is always one you can revisit in a month or two.’
Sarah Lloyd, founder of IndigoSoulPR

Share your successes

‘When media coverage is secured – if appropriate, share it on social media channels tagging the journalist and publication. After all, we all like a bit of further amplification.

‘A simple thank you doesn’t go amiss either.’
Niki Hutchinson (she/her), founder & managing director at LarkHill PR

Not a winning pitch this time? Keep the channels open

‘If your pitch doesn’t land – don’t give up. Ask the journalists about the kind of stories they would be interested in, go back to the drawing board, and try again with a different angle.’
Barnaby Patchett, managing director at One Nine Nine Agency

‘I think the most important aspect of pitching to journalists is by far being both respectful and pleasant with them. Even if you have a reply saying that your pitch isn’t relevant, keep the channels open by asking for specifics on what they do cover so you can send them relevant topics in the future.

‘This relationship can easily become twofold as well, not only giving you a potential stream of coverage and backlinks for press releases, but also providing the opportunities for journalists and other marketeers to come to you first for comments for their upcoming pieces and projects. It’s a transactional relationship with continual benefits for all parties involved, so build that rapport as well as some links!’
Josh Wilkinson, senior reactive PR executive at The Audit Lab

‘You shouldn’t expect positive results after pitching a journalist once – get into a routine of following up, as this will give you more chance of success.

‘Furthermore, PR professionals should invest time in building relationships with journalists. Adding them to suitable press lists and following and engaging with them on social media are good ways of keeping you on their radar.’
Lee Lodge, International PR Director at Life Size

Be human

‘Journalists are human, they’re people like you and me simply trying to do a good job, one they enjoy and where they feel they’re progressing. Help them. But, also ask how they’re doing. Be kind and be genuine. It’s all about building real relationships and relationships are two-way, they also take work. Don’t just ask for a favour and expect all the time.’
Anna Morrish, director of Quibble

‘Once you are friendly with journalists then a good way to maintain relationships isn’t just to keep pitching stories at them, like it’s a one-way transaction. Ask for their thoughts and opinions on potential stories, make them involved in the process and you’ll find those relationships only grow stronger.’
Simon Boddy, PR consultant at AMBITIOUS PR

Build your network and nurture your relationships

‘Work hard to build your contacts – actively network and invite journalists to lunch and/or coffee. Building media contacts and relationships is invaluable.’
Danielle Hines, account director and head of the Liberty Communications media taskforce

‘COVID has definitely changed the way we communicate and pitch to journalists. Building and nurturing relationships has always been an important part of pitching, but I think it has become increasingly more important as a result of the pandemic.’
Olivia Bence, senior PR manager at Campfire

Be a reliable port of call for journalists

‘Focus on building relationships and make a name for yourself in providing good quality and accurate information, quickly and within deadline.’
Steve Lambert, account director at Freshwater

Remember – all the hard work is worth it

‘Putting the effort and time into your pitches is all made worth it when you get that piece of coverage through that wows your clients or makes your campaign.’
Nick Brown, PR director at Pearl Comms

For all stages of the pitching journey, Vuelio and its sister services can help. Find relevant journalists, broadcasters and influencers via the Vuelio Media Database, receive requests from them directly to you inbox with the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service and track how your coverage is being shared and received with Vuelio Media Monitoring, Vuelio Insights and Pulsar, a social listening platform. 

Vuelio webinar on misinformation

The fight against fake news is not lost: How PRs can combat misinformation and disinformation

‘I don’t think we’re in a post-truth world yet, but we need to act now to avoid that worst-case scenario,’ believes Polis Analysis CEO and Founder Thomas Barton.

In our webinar ‘Why we need to take online misinformation and disinformation seriously’, Thomas shared the problems we face as a society with fake news, predictions for how it could impact politics, business and health, and the vital role of PR practitioners in the fight for truth.

Watch the full webinar here.

What can PRs do to fight misinformation, disinformation and fake news?

1) Report misinformation whenever you see it

This isn’t about surveillance mindset – this is simply about protecting the health of our public debate and discussion. Just as you would point out incorrect information around the table at the pub, you should feel a responsibility to call out something that could undermine trust online.

This is about proactively taking action to have content taken down when you come across information that’s untrue.

It’s important to remember this isn’t about undermining free speech – it’s about preserving the quality of our free speech. That means any discussion we’re having should be rooted in the facts.

2) If a client mistakenly shares misinformation, speak up quickly

As we know, content spreads fast. False information being shared on social media for a couple of hours is all it takes to have a pernicious effect on misinforming individuals. The best thing a PR professional can do in this situation is to flag that false information has been published, take it down, and then ensure the company or client understands to be more rigorous with its fact-checking before publishing anything.

We all have a responsibility to ensure that we fully understand what we’re publishing and that it’s based on facts when we put content online.

For more on how to handle a PR problem spreading across social media and in the press, check out advice from our previous webinar ‘Should you speak up or shut down in a PR crisis?’.

3) Challenge trusted institutions and authorities when necessary

We all have a responsibility to raise concerns even about a trusted organisation.

This is where legislative solutions are useful. If you’ve got an institution of a certain size, with a certain platform, something like the Online Safety Bill could provide an opportunity to ensure they abide by the same duty of balance as traditional broadcasters.

That combination of a top-down legislative and bottom-up educational approach in media literacy is crucial.

4) Recognise the risks emerging technologies bring

Technology, by definition, is disruptive; it’s always going to be a double-edged sword. Advances in AI are welcome and can bring all sorts of efficiencies to various industries, including PR and journalism. But there are risks involved.

Malicious actors could run misinformation campaigns by using software like ChatGPT to pump out deliberately false information across social channels. Spreading misinformation was an issuebefore AI, but the problem we face now is the increase in proliferation across the online space.

5) Back calls for extra accountability from social media giants

There has been a shift in accountability from social media companies recently, and that’s because they have done little-to-nothing for a long time in this space. Pushes from regulators and political institutions mean these social giants are now taking more ‘voluntary’ action.

The European Union passed the Digital Services Act (DSA), which compels social media companies to provide more transparency on how their algorithms work – the EU has shown that it’s willing to take steps. But despite this, the big social media companies aren’t taking it seriously enough.

This Wild West approach where we have no regulation and anything goes is simply not sustainable – legislation is necessary for these companies to take their responsibilities seriously.

6) Train new PR recruits to question content

There are workshops out there – from The Guardian and The Times, for example – on how to identify content that’s false and misleading, instilling more general critical thinking skills. Other resources can show you the difference between a headline that’s fake or true; how you can look at the originality of sources; how to do a reverse image search if you’ve got a doctored image; and determining the intent of the source. This is all housekeeping and hygiene practices we can instill in those early in their career.

Our focus is on education right now, because if those in school can develop their critical thinking skills, they’ll be better equipped to deal with these challenges at work. But we need to think about bringing these resources into current workforce environments, too.

7) Remember we aren’t in a post-truth world yet

There are people that have already succumbed to their echo chambers and only read content that re-enforces their own existing biases, but the fight is not lost.

There’s still an opportunity to fight false information with the facts – the problem is that we haven’t taken any action yet.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak always talks about the importance of teaching Maths– really, we should be talking about the importance of digital literacy.

The US government is preparing for a polarised society in 15 to 20 years, so we still have some time to deal with this problem. But we must act fast to fight back and take the necessary action now.

For more on Thomas Barton’s work with Polis Analysis, read our previous interview ‘The fight against misinformation, disinformation and fake news is just beginning’.

Find out how big brands including Coca-Cola, FIFA, and British Airways have dealt with PR crises in our webinar ‘Speak up or shut down: The value of proactive PR in a crisis’ and track your own company and clients’ reputations in the press with Vuelio Media Monitoring.

How have the UK media been covering industrial action in the travel sector

Trends in UK journalism: How is the media covering industrial action in transport?

In the last few months, the news headlines have been dominated by the ongoing strikes across different sectors. Nurses, train drivers and Post Office workers have been among those calling for wage increases to match the rises in inflation.

One of the sectors calling for industrial action that has probably impacted the most people is the transport industry. Regular train strike days have affected commuters, airport and passport office strikes have altered holidaymakers plans, while bus and taxi drivers have also taken action.

We decided to take a look at what newspapers and broadcasters have been requesting and researching on this topic via the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service, alongside other subjects trending in the media.

Sign up to start receiving requests from the UK media direct to your inbox with the Journalist Enquiry Service.

There are 25 categories in total on the Journalist Enquiry Service but we’re honing in on four that are most relevant to the transport industry: Transport & Logistics, Motoring, Travel and Public Sector, and Third Sector & Legal.

If we look at all four categories over the last six months, 61% of the journalists sending requests are staff while 21% are freelance journalists. There is then quite an even spread for the media types they are coming from. Trade/business/professional media just comes out on top with 30% of the total requests, with consumer media just behind on 29% and national newspaper/current affairs on 23%. Journalists sending requests in these categories have mainly been looking for information for an article (36%), with enquiries for a spokesperson or expert next on 28%, review products on 12% and personal case studies on 10%.

This gives us an overall picture, but we can delve further into each category and see what media types and publications are sending requests. Firstly, we will look at the Transport & Logistics category. 47% of requests in this category came from trade/business/professional media titles. These included the likes of Logistics Manager, Industrial News and BizClik.

There was also a request from Future Rail magazine looking for the ‘rail industry trends for 2023’. The majority of the journalists sending requests in this category were also looking for information for an article (48%) with 30% asking for a spokesperson or expert. This provides ample opportunity for PRs to get experts and information featured within the trade media.

National press journalists are the next biggest users of this category with 23% sending an enquiry. Newspapers like The Daily Telegraph and The Times used the service. The nature of the requests varied quite widely with an I paper journalist looking for information on how to handle travel disruption, a Daily Star reporter looking to speak to a female pilot in the airline industry and a MailOnline writer asking for case studies around the ULEZ expansion.

This gives lots of opportunities to get clients featured in national press across a variety of different angles. There is also a fair amount of broadcast media journalists sending requests in this category with 12% coming from the radio & television media type. This has included the likes of ITV News, 5 News and GB News. Mainly, they have been focused on covering the strikes, either looking for locations to film at or case studies of commuters/people affected by the industrial action.

The Motoring category differs from Transport & Logistics, with national press journalists being the biggest users (42%) here over the last six months. This has included titles such as The Sun Online, The Independent and Metro. Requests have not focused specifically on the industrial action, but instead looking for an expert on petrol stations (for The Mirror Online) and case studies of slashing car insurance by buying a dash cam (for The Sun).

Consumer media is the second biggest media type within the motoring category, on 26%, with titles like Parkers sending requests, followed by trade media on 13%, with outlets such as Automotive World and Car Mechanics.

One of the keywords that comes up within the motoring category over the last six months is ‘EV’ or electric vehicle. This has occurred in over 4% of requests within this category. EV Magazine, Saga Exceptional, Verdict and ITV News have been among those looking for information and expert comment within this area. Any clients with expertise in this field could therefore be featured in consumer, trade or broadcast news.

The Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal category is not specifically aimed at the transport industry but a lot of requests around topical issues such as the strikes mean that journalists will select this category to get different viewpoints.

It’s mainly been used by trade titles over the last six months, with 53% of all requests coming from this media type. This has often been focused on the sustainability angle with ‘sustainable’ as a keyword appearing in 4% of all enquiries across all four categories we’ve focused on. Open Access Government, for example, was looking at sustainable development in the UK transport sector and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

National press journalists are second in this category with 21% of all requests coming from them. The Daily Express, PA Media and Reuters all sent enquiries in the last six months. The vast majority were looking for a spokesperson or expert, which was the most popular enquiry type on 48%, followed by information for an article on 36%.

The Travel category is usually more consumer-facing and therefore it’s little surprise to see consumer media as the biggest user on 45%. Titles like GoodtoKnow and Pick Me Up! have sent enquiries around industrial action and strikes, but generally these enquiries are geared more towards holidays and tourism.

Overall, the keyword we saw most frequently across all four categories was ‘import’ which appeared in over 4% of the total requests.

‘Environment’ cropped up in 3% with ‘customers’ back on 2.5% and ‘strike’ at just over 1%. ‘Road’, ‘train’ and ‘rail’ all finished at around 1% with ‘airport’ and ‘aviation’ in about 0.5% of all the enquiries.

Depending on what you or your client has to offer, there are opportunities to get featured across all of the various media types. Experts on the transport sector and sustainability and information and case studies around the strikes and imports and exports are just some of the areas that you can look to target.

For more on how the UK media are reporting industrial strikes action in the travel sector, read our Vuelio Insights report ‘On the right track – which train companies are derailing negative press?‘. 

Want to start receiving requests from UK journalists with detailed information on what they want from PRs? Check out how to make the most of the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service

The impact of journalism on AI so far

The impact of AI-generated content on journalism so far

The UK media industry is generating plenty of think pieces on the potential impacts of artificial intelligence and news on the changes it is already making. Going beyond the headlines, how concerned are journalists in reality about AI when it comes to their own work? Will the adoption of technologies like ChatGPT and Bard ultimately be a positive or negative innovation for journalism?

Our Journalist Voices by Vuelio panel considering the implications of AI included Press Gazette associate editor and New Statesman media correspondent William Turvill, Helena Pozniak, an independent journalist writing for the Telegraph, The Guardian, the Institute of Engineering and Technology and more, and freelance writer Amelia Tait, who contributes to outlets including The Guardian, The New York Times, Wired, the New Statesman, and VICE.

Already affected in their work by AI, the panellists discussed the possible problem areas ahead alongside the opportunities, as well as what PRs need to know about AI assistance in the creative industries.

It’s still early days for AI

As pointed out by William, even ChatGPT and Bard would admit that their technology is not 100% reliable and fool-proof just yet, and each of the panellists had examples of AI going wrong.

‘I was pitching an article, and I used ChatGPT for fact finding,’ shared Helena, who regularly writes about the impact of technology on society – ‘clean energy, to freedom of information, smart motorways to the environment’. The accuracy of information and reliability of sources is of utmost importance in her work – how did the AI app perform?

‘I’m so glad I double-checked the information it offered, because it had completely fabricated a massive landslide that killed thousands that never happened. So, I’m very wary and just playing around with it at the moment.’

William, who reports on the inner workings of the media itself, pointed out problems with bias already creeping into AI:

‘I’ve messed around with it. I asked it to provide a summary of the day’s news for me, and it wasn’t too good. When asked which UK news sources I could trust, it was very pro The Guardian and the BBC, but told me I couldn’t trust the Mail, the Mirror or The Sun. But I feel there is potential there’.

For Amelia, its use as an alternative to when searching for the right word came with feelings of uncertainty –

‘I asked ChatGPT to rework a sentence for me; I ultimately didn’t use what it suggested. It opened my mind a little more, but I felt a little bit dirty. I didn’t know what the ethics were on it’.

Helena offered that AI can already provide assistance on some elements of research for journalists – ‘It can summarise a research paper brilliantly and can do a lot of background research.’

What isn’t so great – the writing itself:

‘It’s just so bland. The copy AI apps come out with is so dire’.

Understanding the difference between content and journalism

‘I would distinguish between what is journalism and what is content,’ said Amelia.

‘I’ve worked for websites where you’re churning out content, and for that kind of thing, companies that aren’t investing much in talent could start using AI. And that comes with dangers on misinformation.’

That many journalists – and PRs – start their careers with duties that could be automated in future was a concern William spoke about:

‘It could be challenging for media companies that produce ‘clickbait’, or repurpose information from other sources. Those jobs are definitely at risk.’

‘Many journos don’t want to be doing that anyway, but there’s a danger of cutting off the entry level jobs into journalism; those jobs you have to do to find your bearings as a journalist. I would be concerned as someone entering the industry now.’

‘I’m sure it’s the same in PR – when you start out, you’re doing the unglamorous jobs. When doing work experience, I was walking a dog every day. AI couldn’t do that, but it could do the background research for a law firm. The ‘bottom rung’ could be in a difficult position’.

For Helena, the negatives would also reach audiences: ‘There might be a diminishing desire for longreads. You can see it on websites already with short-form summaries at the top. When time-pressed, are people really going to read something you’ve slaved over for days?’

Quality journalism requires human journalists (and journalists need human sources)

While coverage of AI can come with fearmongering, it is already embedded in parts of the journalist job successfully – as pointed out by Amelia, journalists regularly use AI transcription services for interviews, cutting hours out of the work of a writer:

‘We need to perceive these things as tools that we’ll use, that can help us rather than replace us.

I could waste ten minutes thinking of a particular word, and that’s not a skill or talent, that’s just time consuming. Using AI as a tool, that’s really encouraging and exciting’.

William underlined the importance of the human aspect of journalism. Ultimately, journalism has a human audience interested in human stories, and who better to share that than fellow humans (with assistance from AI on the admin side):

‘This has really solidified for me which journalism is going to be important in future as AI takes on some of the more basic writing and research – the journalism that journalists are going to want to do is original journalism. We will be looking for more personalisation, more research, more insightful interviews from PRs and a lot of thought going into pitches.

Something I’ve really been thinking about is stories I should be writing, I’ve set myself a test – could an AI do this research, if not now in five years. Is this useful? We’ll be looking for original stuff and any help with that is always appreciated.’

For more on how the media industry is covering AI, read our Vuelio Insights Report ‘Media attitudes to AI journalism’.

Want to connect with human journalists with stories of interest to their human readers? Check out how you can help them with sourcing experts, spokespeople, case studies and data via the Journalist Enquiry Service and find journalists covering your specialist topics on the Vuelio Media Database.

Why we need to take online misinformation and disinformation seriously

Vuelio webinar: Why PRs need to take online misinformation and disinformation seriously

Disruptive technologies from ChatGPT to AI image generators are revolutionising the way we share information. While there are many benefits to this new technology, unethical use of AI is also on the rise and fuelling the spread of misinformation in online spaces.

A recent US global trends report found that our inability to agree on what the facts are poses the biggest threat to social trust over the next 20 years. From false content around vaccines to global politics, social media users in the UK are frequently faced with the threat of disinformation.

How can PRs act now on the misinformation crisis?

Our webinar ‘Why we need to take online misinformation and disinformation seriously’ with Polis founder and CEO Thomas Barton on 27 April 2023 from 11.00 – 11.30 BST will explore how the PR industry can mitigate the threat and impact of false information through an effective comms strategy. Thomas will also talk about his work educating on the threat of misinformation and disinformation in UK Government and in schools.

Sign up here to learn:

• How legislation such as the Online Safety Bill and the Digital Services Act provide an opportunity to protect your brand and spokespeople online
• The importance of understanding the use and effects of AI generator tools
• Which audiences are most vulnerable to the impact of misinformation

Can’t join us live? Register and we’ll send you the recording.

Find more information about Thomas Barton’s work with Polis and the extent of the misinformation problem in our previous interview covering the opportunities of the Online Safety Bill and the importance of education.

For pointers on the impact of misinformation in medical communications, download our Vuelio white paper ‘Medical Misinformation: How PRs can stop the spread’.

The future of the media

What PR and comms needs to know about the future of the media

The media industry is constantly changing – to prepare for the future, PR and comms will need to change alongside it.

How is the UK media looking to the future? Here are key takeaways from The Society of EditorsMedia Freedom Conference – panels covered the importance of investing in mental health, rebuilding trust with audiences and holding power to account.

1) Mental health coverage matters

Journalists are under increasing pressure, with smaller editorial teams with responsibilities across a variety of formats. This, combined with the topics and issues that they have to cover, can put a real strain on their mental health.

Headlines Network founder and co-director Hannan Storm advised the creation of a culture in newsrooms where journalists feel safe to talk mental health.

Suggestions included regular ‘town halls’, where colleagues can share resources, or Google hangouts. Leaders were advised to openly share any problems they have faced themselves to show empathy and vulnerability with their staff. Also, wellbeing workshops or sleep clinics can be a big help at relieving stress and fatigue from the job.

2) Rebuilding trust with audiences

The rise of misinformation has caused audiences to lose trust in news providers and outlets – the future of news depends on rebuilding this. Sky News deputy head of newsgathering Sarah Whitehead shared the broadcasters’ introduction of more Q and As in an effort to open the door to the audience. Welcoming audience involvement via social media allows to public to tell their truth and call out disinformation.

Freelance journalist Abbianca Makoni shared that there is more trust in local reporters, as people see them out in their communities regularly covering local stories. Young people are keen to see more collaboration between the national and local press as a result.

It was also advised for newsrooms to be as transparent as possible about their procedures and processes, admitting when a mistake has been made.

As shared by Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) chief executive Charlotte Dewar, journalists value being held to account. There is a willingness to learn and change, and hopefully regain trust and respect as a result.

3) The future is multi-channel

Publishers now offer print products, a website, a podcast, newsletters, a YouTube channel and much more besides.

Polis founder director Professor Charlie Beckett believes the future of news will be found in data, which will be passed to journalists to distil down to what will interest and engage their audience most.

This increase in the number of places that publishers are sharing their content means there is a huge amount for audiences to consume. Professor Beckett said that abundance could therefore be the biggest problem for the media and possibly result in news avoidance. Ultimately, though, it will be a good thing for people to have a healthy news diet that they are in control of.

VICE World News senior news reporter Sophie Smith-Galer feels it is important that the media adopts a future proof ethos. VICE has done this by focusing on more agenda setting stories and building expertise in silos/fields that aren’t being covered by the bigger news outlets. The audience are therefore more likely to seek this out as it is content they will not find anywhere else.

How PRs can help with this? Give journalists something they can use to retain and build their audiences, rebuild trust and make the most of all the channels at their disposal.

For more on how PRs can help journalists in the fight against misinformation, read our previous interview with Polis’s founder Thomas Barton: ‘The fight against misinformation, disinformation and fake news is just beginning‘. 

What has the UK media been requesting from PRs

How are national press and broadcast news using the Journalist Enquiry Service?

The headlines across national newspapers and news broadcasts have been dominated in recent months by the cost-of-living crisis, numerous strikes in different sectors, the Russia/Ukraine war and the fallout from Prince Harry’s book ‘Spare’. However, plenty of other stories have made their way into the UK news cycle, and many start with a request sent by a writer via the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service.

What exactly have national press and broadcast journos been looking for recently? Below we take a deep dive into the main categories that our users have been interested in and the keywords that we are seeing most frequently. Read on to see how you can get your expert coverage or the best place to get that case study out.

Sign up to start receiving requests from the UK media direct to your inbox with the Journalist Enquiry Service.

Firstly, we will have a look into national newspapers as journalists from these titles use the service more frequently than broadcast – 26% of all requests in 2022 came from national press. Outlets like The Daily Express, PA Media and The Daily Telegraph also regularly feature in our top ten outlets sending requests from month to month.

We looked at all the requests sent from the start of November until today and the category with the most enquiries was Women’s Interest & Beauty, representing 11% of all national press requests. This proves particularly popular with the tabloid papers as The Sun, The Daily Express and The Daily Mail all feature in the top five outlets sending requests for this category.

National press enquiry types

In terms of what they are looking for within this category, it tends to be for products to review or feature on their website. This varies from lipsticks and eyeliners to new beauty treatments and jewellery and fashion accessories. There are also requests around men’s beauty and grooming including requests for face creams and beard shavers. This presents a great opportunity to get client products featured in national newspapers or on their websites.

Often picked alongside the Women’s Interest & Beauty category is the Health category, which was the second most popular and made up 10% of the total requests from national newspapers. The Daily Express was again among the top senders with journalists from The i paper and Metro also sending numerous requests for health stories.

The trend here is more for spokespeople and experts and for case studies. A lot of requests are for doctors and GPs to give medical advice on certain conditions and there are frequent requests as well looking for case studies for people with certain conditions or illnesses. Both provide avenues to get clients and experts national press coverage.

The Health category also features several strongly performing keywords with ‘fitness’ appearing in 4% of all national press requests, ‘diet’ in 2% and ‘wellbeing’ in just over 1%. Again, this is often linked to enquiries for experts such as nutritionists, psychologists, mental health experts and sleep experts. This also links to the strong performance of both the Food & Drink and Leisure & Hobbies categories as they both received around 6% of the total national press requests.

Men’s Interest finished as the third most popular category. As we touched upon earlier, men’s grooming and beauty were part of these requests along with many around men’s health and also fashion too. This also links into the strong performance of ‘fitness’ as a keyword with requests for personal trainers and male gym instructors.

Fourth on the list for national press categories is Personal Finance which links into another key phrase that we have mentioned often in our monthly reports, which is the ‘cost of living’. This appeared in just over 3.5% of all national press requests with associated words like ‘energy’ on 3%, ‘bills’ on 2% and ‘mortgage’ on 1%.

This category attracted different national press outlets with both The Daily Telegraph and The Times featuring in the top ten. The type of enquiry did vary but a lot were looking for finance experts to give advice on ways to make savings during the cost-of-living crisis. There we are also enquiries for energy experts to provide analysis of the rising gas and electricity bills. Plus, mortgage experts to provide suggestions for what first-time buyers should do and those looking to renew their mortgage during increasing interest rates.

There has also been requests from the national press looking for case studies to find out how families are coping during the tough economic times and also to provide information on what businesses can do. This gives lots of scope to push out information and experts around personal finance.

The bigger news stories over the last few months have created a bit of traction on the Journalist Enquiry Service. ‘Strikes’ appeared as a keyword in 1% of all national press requests as papers like The Independent and Daily Mirror looked to cover the issue by getting case studies. ‘Royal’ was in around 3% with The Daily Express and The Guardian among others looking for royal experts to cover news around Prince Harry and Meghan and the Royal family in general. However, there have only been a handful of requests around the Russia/Ukraine war.

The focus for broadcast journalists using the service has been quite different with the most requests going to the Business & Finance category. 7% of the total requests from broadcast were for this category with 5 News and ITV News sending the majority.

These have tended to be for case studies and most often looking to speak with businesses that have been affected by the cost-of-living crisis. Just over 8% of the total requests in broadcast included the key phrase ‘cost of living’ and over 7% were for ‘energy’. This shows a much greater need from broadcast outlets to cover this issue and a great chance to get your clients featured on television, speaking about how their business has been impacted – especially in regard to rising energy bills.

Broadcast media enquiry types

They have also dedicated more coverage to the strikes as well and ‘strikes’ as a keyword appears in 9% of the total requests from broadcast. This also links into the strong performance of the Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal category which was the fifth most popular for broadcast journalists. All three of the big broadcasters (BBC, Sky and ITV) appear in the top five outlets here.

These enquiries were again focused mainly on getting personal case studies and seeing how businesses and people were being affected. The majority of requests were for the rail strikes but broadcast contacts were also covering the nurses strike, the teachers, Royal Mail, ambulances and buses. With more strike action likely in the coming months then this should present more opportunities for television coverage.

The more consumer related categories of Food & Drink and Women’s Interest & Beauty both received 6% of the total broadcast requests, placing them second and third overall. The Food & Drink category was used quite frequently for Steph’s Packed Lunch, whereas the Women’s Interest & Beauty category had several enquiries from This Morning.

Again, several requests were for case studies, providing opportunities for people to feature on the show. However, we saw more enquiries looking for products. This varied from health and fitness gadgets to make up and fashion items to new chocolate and sweet brands. A good chance to get products featured on two well established daytime shows.

The Health category had around 6% of all the broadcast requests and finished as the fourth most selected. ITV and 5 News were again sending regular requests in this category along with GB News and BBC Radio 4.

Personal case studies were the main focus of requests looking to cover issues around social care and also around illnesses such as Strep-A. There were also several requests for experts as well, looking for medical experts to give advice and information.

Overall, while the media coverage may seem to focus on certain issues, there is room and opportunities for products, experts and case studies to get coverage on both national press and broadcast media for a variety of topics and matters. The news cycle is difficult to predict but the cost-of-living crisis looks set to rumble on, along with strike action. We are also starting to see more requests around ‘TikTok’ which as a keyword appeared in 1% of all national press requests and just over 1% of broadcast requests. Therefore, any experts or info around the media app could be vital to journalists in the coming months.

For more on how the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service can help with getting your stories into the UK media, read our previous how-tos: 

No PR budget? No problem – using the Journalist Enquiry Service to gain coverage as a small business

How to tackle vague requests from journalists

6 reasons to stop searching #JournoRequest and try the Journalist Enquiry Service


How to take advantage of awareness days for your PR

Which awareness days should you take advantage of for your PR?

This is a guest post from Niamh Boylan, junior PR account manager at Hatch.

There is an industry term that has been known to divide opinion amongst PR and social professionals: awareness days. While some view them as a less creative approach to generating media coverage, it cannot be denied that awareness days are an incredibly useful newsjacking tool for PRs and a great way to leverage seasonality.

Not only do they serve a great purpose in drawing attention to important calendar events and charitable causes but awareness days offer an opportunity to give your PR campaigns, stunts or social content a relevant news hook. By jumping onto a topic or event that’s already got some newsworthy attention, it is an effective way of gaining brand exposure, positioning your client as a thought-leader in its specific sector, and driving all-important engagement for your campaign.

Whether it is food, drink, sport or leisure, there is an awareness day for absolutely everything.

What 2023 awareness days and events should you make note of

We can break down our newsjacking into three key areas: recurring annual holidays, 2023-specific events and hero awareness days. All three of these are easy to plan for, so long as you have the right strategy.

Annual Holidays

First and foremost, we have our recurring holiday dates that everyone should have marked in their calendars. These are usually centred around seasonal celebrations; think Pancake Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween and Christmas – you know the drill. All of these holidays offer a wealth of opportunities for PRs to create campaigns. While the media is heavily saturated around these occasions, they are simple to prepare for as we know what they are all about and we know when the journalist requests start to come through.

To get ahead of the game, the best thing to do is to start planning your campaigns well in advance and try to think outside of the box to ensure cut through in the highly saturated media landscape. For example, if you have a foodie client, avoid just reworking last year’s lamb roast recipe in the lead up to Easter. Why not work with an acclaimed sommelier to curate the best wine pairings to go with your Easter roast dinner? Or work with an expert tablescaper to share top tips on the best table layout for first-time hosts? There are endless angles that you can explore to really position your brand as a thought-leader on the subject matter.

Some key 2023 annual holidays for the diary:
• Easter Sunday – 9 April
• Father’s Day – 18 June
• Halloween – 31 October
• Bonfire Night – 5 November
• Thanksgiving – 23 November
• Christmas – 25 December

2023-specific holidays

Next up, we have our 2023-specific holidays. As PR professionals, it is our job to predict what key events are going to be most-talked about in the press, identifying what is relevant to our clients and how we can take advantage of these occasions for campaigns.

These events are typically highly-anticipated national events, usually around sporting occasions, big anniversaries or anything to do with the state and the royals. For example, this year marks HRH King Charles III’s Coronation, which we know already will be a huge focus for the press. To get ahead of the curve, think about whether or not your clients’ offerings have something to say about this occasion. Perhaps you represent a sparkling wine brand that can offer some predictions on what the royal family may be drinking to toast the occasion? Or maybe you have a party decor company that can launch a new range of street party decks in honour of the big day? There are many ways in which you can take one big event and royally impress the media…

Some key 2023-specific holidays for the diary:
• HRH King Charles III’s Coronation, London UK – 6 May
• Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, Liverpool UK – 13 May
• FIFA Women’s World Cup, Australia & New Zealand – 20 July-20 August
• Netball World Cup, South Africa, July 28–6 August
• Rugby World Cup, France – 8 September–28 October
• Ryder Cup 2023, Italy – 29 September–1 October
• ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, India – October-November

Awareness Days

Finally, we have our classic Awareness Days. These are a little trickier to plan for but we can easily prep content in advance once we have identified the right awareness day for the job. One thing to keep in mind is that there are now endless awareness days, some of them so niche that the media may not have heard of them, never mind the end-consumer. This can make things trickier to land coverage, but on the flipside, the more niche the awareness day, the more opportunity there is for your client to really ‘own’ the space that they are an expert in.

Cornish Pasty Week, you say? Time for the Cornish Pasty Co. to launch their latest perfect bake. Zero Waste week? Perfect opportunity for your makeup brand to shout about their zero-plastic packaging credentials. Awareness days are one of the best ways to really take a niche corner of an industry and give your press releases an added layer of authority and relevance for the press.

Some awareness days to expect in 2023:
• Earth Day – 22 April
• Pride Month – June
• National BBQ Week – 29 May-4 June
• World Environment Day – 5 June
• Clean Beaches Week – 1-7 July
• Great British Pea Week – 3-9 July
• Breast Cancer Awareness Month – October
• Black History Month – October
• Yorkshire Pudding Day – 13 October
• Cheese Toastie Day – 27 October
• World Television Day – 21 November
• Pigs in Blankets Day – 5 December

Top tip for using awareness days: Be authentic

The key to successful newsjacking with awareness days is ensuring that you are always being authentic. Avoid jumping on the bandwagon of an awareness day because it loosely links to your brand. It must be relevant, it must make sense that you are using this particular day as a hook, and above all else, you must be adding something to the conversation. If your brand does not feel authentic, consumers will see right through it and you could be doing more damage than good. Always remember, your authenticity is your USP.

Good luck with your newsjacking and I’ll reshare this blog on National Awareness Days Day. Or perhaps not…

For more information on making the most of awareness days throughout the year, check out this previous guest post from Bottle PR’s Jamie Wilson on nailing your PR story to an awareness day

Want to track how your story is being reported in the press, or looking for an easy way to receive requests from journalists directly? Try Vuelio Media Monitoring and the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service

Access Intelligence

FT names Access Intelligence one of Europe’s fastest growing companies

Vuelio parent company Access Intelligence has been recognised as one of Europe’s fastest growing companies in the FT 1000, a yearly ranking by the Financial Times and German data platform Statista. The FT 1000, now in its 7th edition, ranks the 1,000 companies in Europe that have achieved the highest percentage growth in revenues.

Access Intelligence is an AIM-listed tech innovator, delivering high quality SaaS products that address the fundamental business needs of clients in the marketing and communications industries.

‘Understanding audiences has become essential for organisations across industries and geographies: we’re seeing that need grow every day, as more and more of our clients put media insights, reputation and audience intelligence at the center of their strategy,’ said Joanna Arnold, CEO of Access Intelligence.

The group powers the world’s most relevant brands across regions and industries: with over 6,000 clients worldwide, Access Intelligence helps clients like Apple, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, the UK House of Commons, HSBC, Twitter, and the Australian Government understand their audiences and monitor the media landscape.

The evolving Access Intelligence portfolio includes Isentia, the market-leading media monitoring, intelligence and insights solution provider; Pulsar, the audience intelligence and social listening platform; Vuelio, which provides monitoring, insight, engagement and evaluation tools for politics, editorial and social media in one place; and ResponseSource, the network that connects journalists and influencers to the PR and communications industry.