Do you think journalists are interested in what you have to say on social media? I was quite surprised that only 3% of journalists writing ‘hard news’ think that social media has a fundamental impact to their work. Why is that? Believe it or not, journalists use social media mainly to publish and promote their own work. If you would like to grab their attention, it needs to be much more tailored.

A recent report which launched last week by Cision & Canterbury Christ Church University summarises the social media use of almost 500 UK journalists. I have outlined below some key findings and anyone wanting to communicate through the media a few things to consider:

  1. Engage with those journalists which are writing editorial, because for them the relationship with their audience matters. (Also, social media has a fundamental impact on the way they work and of course, the journalists writing reviews are also much more impacted by social media and more engaged, but that is rather ‘obvious’).
  2. There are five user profiles: Sceptics, Observers, Hunters, Promoters and Architects. More journalists can be classified as ‘architects’ and ‘promoters’ compared to two years ago. Promoters publish and promote their work, 78% of them even on a daily basis but they are less likely to read other’s work and network. ‘Architects’ are the most proactive journalists, quite often from online publications. They tend to be younger mostly 18-27 year olds and more women than men. They spend longer hours on social media and Architects often maintain a work-related blog.
  3. Don’t try to convince the Sceptics. There is an increasing polarisation between the most negative and the most positive attitudes to social media.
  4. The actual time spent on social media at work dropped significantly. Those claiming that they spent between 2-4 hours or 4-8 hours a day on social media at work halved from 53% in 2012 to 27% in 2014. This means that journalists can easily miss content which is pushed out to them.
  5. Email still remains the main source of communication. Given that the time spent using social media is not going to increase significantly, it is worth realising what channels of communication actually work!


It is crucial that companies take the time to gain the skills to engage with social media authentically and appropriately. As you can’t segment your tweets, think about your content strategy and how you can get in touch with these journalists which seem most influential to you. Then engage with them in a way that even the deafest journalist can hear you.

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