THURSDAY 21 JUL 2011 11:18 AM


Financial journalists are increasingly turning to online audiences in their work, with community management now an integral part of a writer’s skillset.

That’s according to the third Broadgate Mainland Digital Trends Survey of 100 UK financial and business journalists.

It found that 81% of respondents (editors, reporters and columnists) engage with, and manage, online communities as part of their work.

Half of journalists use Twitter, up from a third last year. Some 56% of respondents said they listened in on conversations on Twitter, with researching stories and chatting with friends and colleagues following as the second and third most popular uses.

However, only 2% said online super influencers impacted on who was quoted in their articles.

The number of hits a story receives is the most popular measure of journalist success, followed by how an article is shared online. However, only 55% of journalists said they optimise their stories for search engines, a near identical proportion of respondents to those that used SEO last year.

Email remains the preferred method of pitching, with 81% saying they’d rather PRs pitch to them this way. Just under a fifth prefer speaking on the telephone but not one said they would prefer to be pitched at through Twitter or LinkedIn.

The survey also shows that company websites are still the primary source of information when researching stories, with 97% of respondents naming them as the preferred source.

The websites of financial services firms have improved, the survey found – 62% of respondents said they could find what they were looking for compared with 50% last year.

Sarah Evans-Toyne, head of digital at Broadgate Mainland, said: “Our survey confirms that social media channels are good ways for PRs to ‘bond’ and chat with journalists, but when it comes to the PR pitch, financial journalists prefer old fashioned channels. The financial services sector has traditionally been way behind tech and consumer colleagues when it comes to the use of digital communications, but companies need to respond to this emerging enthusiasm by adapting their approach to engagement and understanding the new rules in a multi-channel environment.”