Monday, July 31, 2006

Do journalists and PR professionals live on different planets?

As a music journalist, this strikes a chord - especially as I am increasingly reliant on musicians' web sites for information to write a good story.

Many web designers for musicians, agents and tour organisers seem to have problems understanding what journalists need. Biographies that contain no substantial information but just eulogise on the artistic merits of the latest CD, photographs which are of too low resolution to be used in a newspaper or which cannot be published without permission of the photographer or which cannot be downloaded at all, information provided as pdf documents, or worst of all, websites that are inaccurate, out of date or still 'under construction' - these are just some of the difficulties that have frustrated me in my attempts to give an act some decent exposure in my weekly newspaper column or in the pages of a music festival programme.

This problem isn't confined to the music industry. I recently received a white paper entitled What journalists want to see on your web site, published by Vocus, a provider of software for PR and corporate communications. This was based on surveys of journalists who turn to corporate websites in the hope of finding useful information and parallel surveys of PR people on what they think is important to include on their web sites.

The differences between their perspectives is remarkable. Just to illustrate, 98% of journalists value the inclusion in web sites of press releases, 93% value media kits and 89% photographs. The figures for PR respondents who thought these were important are respectively 83%, 71% and 59%.

The Paper cites one magazine editor who scans hundreds of corporate web sites every week. On the day he was questioned, he only found one in five web sites that provided basic name spellings, mailing information and phone numbers. The advice from the authors of this paper is 'Don't send the reporter away empty-handed from your site.'

I won't bombard you with any more figures and unfortunately, I cannot link to the White Paper as it is itself a pdf document! However, I will be happy to email it to anyone who asks.


Filed under:
music journalism    websites    media relations

4 comments:

Nadya said...

From a PR perspective:

If journalists find it so hard to get information, why don't they try answering their phones and responding to a few emails once in a while?

Waiting for someone to pick up...

Dubber said...

Pete,

Send me the white paper if you wouldn't mind. It'll come in very handy for my new project: New Music Strategies.

Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Hey Nadya: If you're that kind of a PR person, good for you.

But as a music journalist, I can't tell you just how much bad service I've received: No responses to e-mails or phone calls, PR people who think that setting up interviews with artists is a burden, etc.

After a while, it gets tiring.


Chris

Chris said...

Hey Nadya: If you're that kind of a PR person, good for you.

But as a music journalist, I can't tell you just how much bad service I've received: No responses to e-mails or phone calls, PR people who think that setting up interviews with artists is a burden, etc.

After a while, it gets tiring.