The Face Shop is an overrated brand

Social media overrated in press work


Online press work is no longer conceivable without social networks. Companies reach many target groups via social media - just not journalists. Because they rarely use the social web.

Which sources do journalists use to research relevant content? Studies show that social media sites and online press portals hardly play a role in editorial research on topics. Company websites, search engines and direct contact with actors from practice are far more important for journalistic work.

The current online survey “Mensch, Journalist!” By Mount Barley Publishing among 470 journalists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland tries to paint a differentiated picture of journalists: Are newspaper editors different from journalists from specialist media? Which media do journalists use in their free time? The comparison was based on data from the Federal Statistical Office.

Journalists don't like social media

Only 32 percent of journalists use social media websites to send or receive content in their free time. Only a third of journalists visit sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. for professional purposes. The average German employed, on the other hand, is much more often on the social web: every second German frequently uses social networks to share and receive content (around 50 percent). The importance of social media in the context of press work is therefore overrated. The majority of journalists use the social web very rarely.

For the practical work of employees in press departments or PR agencies, this means that direct contacts by phone, face-to-face communication or emails are more important for communication management than sharing content on social media platforms - es unless it is known that the “target journalists” are particularly active on the social web.

These "heavy users" use social media platforms to search for content and to draw attention to their own content by posting news. But even if companies have difficulty reaching media representatives via online channels, social media engagement still makes sense: Sharing relevant content on the social web and on online press portals naturally has positive SEO effects.

Print journalists prefer print media

Another interesting result of the “Mensch, Journalist!” Survey: Print journalists are also loyal to their genre in private and spend a relatively large amount of money on books, newspapers and magazines. Newspaper journalists spend almost 50 euros per month on books, four times as much as the average German. And journalists from the general media invest three times as much money privately in magazines as the average German.

Food, culture and education are particularly important to journalists compared to the average German, who spends just 0.7 percent of their monthly income on education. Compared to the average German, the average journalist shows clear differences in terms of investments for private purposes and the use of social networks.

To person
Fabian Gerstenberg is the managing director of Mount Barley Publishing as well as a consultant and author of various marketing books. He markets the topic and media database TOPIC PRO, in which all future editorial topics of the German-speaking media are recorded.