Consumer-Directed Health Plans, Recruitment and Retention Issues Lead Hot Story Topics in HR Marketer Media Survey - Survey enables HR service providers to tailor press releases to HR journalists' interests

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Fisher Vista, a marketing services firm in the human capital industry, announced the results of a recent survey of several hundred journalists in the human resources and workforce industry. The survey identified today's hot story trends and topics, journalists' preferred methods of obtaining news and information, topics that have been "overdone" due to constant coverage, and advice to HR vendors for building better media relations.

Fisher Vista, a marketing services firm in the human capital industry, announced the results of a recent survey of several hundred journalists in the human resources and workforce industry. The survey identified today's hot story trends and topics, journalists' preferred methods of obtaining news and information, topics that have been "overdone" due to constant coverage, and advice to HR vendors for building better media relations. The online survey was conducted during the first week of April.

Hot story trends and topics

Journalists who responded to the survey frequently cited the following story trends and issues as subjects most frequently covered by their publications:

  • Rising health care costs and creative ways to combat them, including consumer-directed health plans, cost-containment strategies (i.e., prescription drug plans), wellness initiatives and incentives for employees to take better care of themselves
  • Recruitment and retention of skilled workers in light of an improving economy and shortage of skilled workers
  • Outsourcing, relative to finding skilled workers
  • Employee productivity issues revolving around workplace morale, combating absenteeism, workplace stress reduction strategies, and outsourcing
  • Online training/elearning

Overdone topics

HR journalists cited the following as workforce story topics that have been saturated by continuous media coverage, and in need of a fresh approach:

  • Offshoring and overall outsourcing topics
  • Corporate scandals and executive compensation
  • Low unemployment rates, as respondents noted that jobs do exist in today's market
  • Strategic human resources
  • Eldercare issues

Topics needing better coverage

Survey respondents cited the following as newsworthy topics not receiving enough attention:

  • Building a stronger American workforce through education - how companies can invest in training/education programs to better leverage an increasingly competitive workforce
  • Competence and selection within HR - administrative efficiencies, and middle/lower management relations
  • Social Security and SSI "Ticket to Work" programs
  • Consumer-directed health plans and similar programs that contain health benefit costs
  • Greater coverage focusing on the "average" employees' perspective

HR story sources: personal contacts, search engines, and news releases top list

HR Marketer's survey of HR and workforce journalists also identified which information sources the media relies upon most when researching stories. Respondents said they "always rely" on their own personal network of contacts and Internet Search engines, while they "often rely" on specific web sites, press releases, and print sources (magazines and newspapers). They "occasionally rely" on Internet news groups, and media query services such as Profnet and HR Source Net, and "rarely rely" on subscription databases (i.e., Lexis Nexis) and Internet blogs.

Tips for building better media relations

Finally, journalists were asked for advice to give HR vendors in building better media relationships and boosting coverage. The most-commonly cited tips include:

  • Be familiar with the publication you're targeting and who the readership is.
  • Make your press releases relevant to current "hot topics" and explain how your release fits into the larger context of HR and relates to HR executives.
  • Provide new and interesting ideas, reliable data, and good anecdotes.
  • Email your press releases (difficult to retype faxes) and ideas, but do not follow-up by phone.
  • Review the publication's editorial calendar and pitch story ideas at least two months before a deadline.
  • Most journalists are overworked - offer a list of HR executives available for interviews.
  • Be persistent and believe in your organization.

Survey findings illustrate key media relations principles

The survey results above validate long-held beliefs that a press release or other media outreach tool should meet a journalist's story needs over a company's publicity needs, says Elrond Lawrence, director of media relations for Fisher Vista.

"While we maintain that clients should regularly make regular news announcements to ensure a steady 'drumbeat' of news, this survey confirms that news should also be tailored to address hot topics or key trends," Lawrence explains. "This also proves the wisdom of getting to know key journalists, their publications, and their story interests."

"Building relationships with a few key journalists in the industry is critical to your long-term media relations success," he adds. "It's a constant balance to provide newsworthy content while also distributing key messages that shape a positive image, but the end result will benefit both your company and the journalist."

One example of a tool to help HR vendors execute effective marketing and PR campaigns is HR Marketer. A web-based marketing and public relations service, HR Marketer combines a database of marketing and media relations information with automation and campaign management tools. Clients can send unlimited press releases to thousands of media outlets in the HR and workforce industry, with guaranteed placement on Internet search engines and news portals like Google and Yahoo!

HR Marketer's media relations team also monitors HR and workforce journalists, as well as the stories they're covering, to provide timely counsel and help vendors craft targeted and newsworthy press releases.

About Fisher Vista

Fisher Vista (http://www.fishervista.com) is a marketing services firm focusing exclusively on the human capital industry.

The company's flagship product is HR Marketer (http://www.HRmarketer.com), a web-based marketing and PR service that helps human resource service providers and PR agencies build, execute, and manage more targeted and effective marketing and PR campaigns. HR Marketer tracks and maintains information on hundreds of human resources conferences, trade shows, associations and publications - sourcing journalists, analysts, editorial calendars, speaking opportunities, advertising and promotional information, exhibiting fees, list rentals, award competitions, online product directories and industry news.

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This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Elrond Lawrence