Audience Engagement Digital Publishing Top Stories
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“People click on ads without reading the content,” and other unexpected findings from PR Newswire’s APAC survey

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PR Newswire’s largest survey of APAC journalists has uncovered some unusual revelations. For example, the majority of journalists in the survey said they rate content quality as their #1 key performance indicator (KPI), whereas Western publishers focus more on metrics like views, time spent, etc.

The survey, published earlier this month, covers nine key APAC markets including Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. 1,000 journalists and media professionals working in these regions participated in it.

PR Newswire’s report, Redefining the Value of Content, based on the survey, draws a clearer picture of journalists’ working habits and content preferences. It will be useful for Western publishers working with clients that are looking to build more valuable APAC media relationships. The insights would also help them create more potent branded content for these markets.

Here are the key findings:

Clicks do not “necessarily relate to response rates”

Despite readership metrics being more readily available, the majority (25%) of Asia-Pacific (APAC) journalists said that the quality of content as assessed by editorial teams was their top KPI.

I don’t believe that clicks necessarily relate to response rates. People can click on ads without reading or even looking at the content, which makes assessing impact difficult. Therefore, the ultimate indicator is reader feedback and response to the content.

Floyd Cowan, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Journeys, Singapore

Other important parameters include a target number of original news stories, e.g. X stories per week, views, and social media engagement, such as social media shares of content. 

“We always prioritize original content over re-writing sourced content. Therefore, we prioritize creating as much original material as possible. Usually, our readers will appreciate such content, and the numbers will follow,” Yoyok BP, Editor of Koran Jakarta, Indonesia, told PR Newswire over an interview.

Social media, news aggregation websites, email and other online channels are the most popular channels for journalists to source story leads. They also use instant messaging (IM), search engines, mobile news apps, but the usage varies across the region.

Instant messaging apps like QQ / Wechat etc., are the most frequently used channels (55%) for story leads by journalists from mainland China.

Impact of technology

“The proliferation of rich multimedia formats had the biggest impact on media content in the past year,” according to the report. Journalists have increased usage of multimedia elements to enrich the presentation of news content and improve reader experience. 27% reported using graphical, audio and visual content. 

There is no doubt that the value of high-quality content will become more valuable across, graphic, video and audio formats. Short video or audio content will become more popular than graphics and text, and high-quality content with a clear point of view and professional input will garner significantly more attention.

An Xin, Editor of Science and Technology, Wall Street News, China

High-resolution photographs are the most preferred (29%) multimedia element in news coverage by journalists from the majority of APAC markets. 25% said they preferred video, followed by infographics (21%) and audio content (5%).

New technology, channels and richer content formats provide more options for journalists, but they also bring many challenges in the form of learning new skills. The top skills that journalists seek to develop include news visualization (11%), in-depth reporting (9%) and video shooting/editing (9%).

Press releases, the most trusted source of information

Press releases are the most trusted source of information with over twice (27%) as many journalists saying they trust official press releases over social media channels (10%). 

Trust in press releases has seen a rise over the 2016-2017 survey results (22%). 51% of the journalists say press releases are an important source of quotations in their stories. 

News accuracy and attracting audiences’ attention are the top criteria for journalists to assess news value. Reporting newsworthy topics is crucial for journalists. Majority of them say they focus on solving readers’ problems (68%), innovations or new products (43%), and readers’ interests (36%).

If your story is relevant to the news cycle, has statistics or supporting case studies and is pitched in the right manner – it will have success in reaching its audience.

Jennifer Menchin, News Presenter, ABC News Illawarra, Australia

Multilingual communication is crucial for businesses in the APAC markets where multiple languages, including English, Indonesian, Malay, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese, are spoken. The report recommends publishers complement their English press releases with local language version(s) to optimize reach.

Looking ahead, Najmuddin Najib, Senior News Editor, New Straits Times, Malaysia says, “The most significant changes will be in content delivery strategy, with media companies tweaking even further the methods used to target key demographics. More analytics will come into play and fine-tuning, who receives what news and how. 

“I also suggest businesses devise a way to make company news relevant to the current goings-on within the country. Journalists are more likely to latch onto a subject when they see the bigger picture at play, as well as its impact. While this might not apply to every type of news, it should be capitalized on whenever possible.”

Click here to download the full report from PR Newswire:
2019 Asia-Pacific Media Survey – Redefining the Value of Content