Cision’s annual State of the Media Report is out, and I’ve summarized some of my takeaways below.

  • Being right is better than being first. An overwhelming 92 percent of the journalists surveyed agreed. That’s up four percent from 2016, presumably influenced by the swirl surrounding fake news and the much-publicized media trust gap. Perhaps this presages a return to the days of media “fact checking” before stories would run. I, for one, welcome this because brand storytelling isn’t about how much spin you can get away with, it’s about putting facts in a clearer, more relatable context.
  • Thoroughness isn’t as important as relevance. Among journalists saying that “thorough product, event, topic details” would make them pursue a story, there was a 20 percent year-over-year decline. What is important? More than half said a “displayed knowledge of your [the journalist’s] past work, interests and strengths,” a 16 percent increase from 2016. Translation: it’s not just how you package your story, but the power of the story itself and the strength of its ties to the storyteller.
  • Media outlets are too often mistargeted. More than 82 percent of journalists said that PR professionals can improve by “researching/understanding my media outlet.” Yes, the media landscape is shrinking, but you’re doing your business no favors by picking your targets based on your priorities instead of the journalist’s and her editor’s.
  • Facebook has highest perceived value – for journalists – among social channels. But I’d take that with a grain of salt, especially since “value” is such a subjective thing. My presumption is that journalists are convinced that their stories are getting more traction on Facebook, so that’s where they see the inherent value. Whatever the case, brands shouldn’t blindly follow suit: after all, brand storytellers should already be measuring value on their own terms using Facebook metrics and content testing. The data should drive the strategy.

Overall, I wasn’t surprised by anything in the Cision report, but these takeaways are worth sharing with others in your organization. And beyond the obvious lessons-learned for media outreach, there are implications for brand journalism too (the unique content you create and distribute). Strive for relatability and relevance, tailor content based on a thorough understanding of channels, audiences and outlets and don’t follow the crowd with your strategy – let metrics guide your brand storytelling based on how you define value and what you expect from your investment.