The work of PR professionals: challenges and priorities
Among the greatest challenges, PR professionals listed getting responses from journalists (52%), budget limitations (45%), measuring business impact (38%), and discovering relevant journalists (37%). (Respondents could select all areas applicable to their work).
● The challenge of getting responses from journalists is more prevalent for agencies (59%) than for employees of brands (43%).
● Agencies also find it more difficult to measure business impact (40% vs. 35% for brands) and keep up with new media (37% vs. 29% for brands). Yet it is harder for brands to cooperate with other departments of their company (44%), while this issue is twice less likely to come up in agencies (23%).The sweeping majority of PR specialists largely focus on relations with the media - the first place and a big difference compared to other focuses - 70%. Corporate communications and thought leadership are the focus of 47% of respondents, and media measurement and reporting — of 45%.
Brand PR professionals are also more concerned with crisis management compared to agency workers: 42% vs. 36%. Brand employees are also more likely to focus on corporate communications (56%) than PR agencies (44%).
The majority of public relations professionals — 73% turn to the mass media database to find relevant journalists. More than half also use personal contact lists (60%) and/or Google searches (57%). Moreover, PR specialists in agencies use media bases more often (80%) than PR specialists in brands (66%). In addition, 33% of specialists look for relevant journalists on social networks.
When it comes to direct communication with media representatives, most PR professionals agree that the essential factors for obtaining the desired result are the relevance of the topic and its personalization for journalists.
Compared to the previous year:
● More PR professionals believe that a catchy subject line is important: 14% this year vs. 4% last year.
● More PR professionals also point out the importance of visual pitches: 10% this year vs. 1% last year. They emphasize the value of attractive plots and visual elements.
● Fewer PR workers recognize timeliness as important: 5% this year vs. 14% last year.However, journalists say timing still plays a major role. According to the State of Journalism 2022 data, 24% of journalists say they will reject a story if they do not receive it in time. The absence of personalization (22%) and confusing topics (15%) were additional reasons why they refused to work with an idea.
Communication channels with mass media
● PR specialists state e-mail as the best method of communication with journalists for different company types and sizes. Agencies use e-mail more often than brands: 81% of agencies vs. 67% of brands.
● Brands rely on Twitter more often than agencies: 33% of brands vs. 25% of agencies make presentations through this social network.
● 77% of PR workers prefer to pitch their topics in the morning: from 5 to 9 in the morning — 32% and from 9 to 12 — 45%.
● The most popular day for communication with journalists is Tuesday (43%), followed by Monday (17%), and Wednesday (11%).
● 46% of pitches contain from 100 to 200 words, 33% - from 200 to 300, and only 1% exceed 1000 words.
● About half of PR specialists use a database and news monitoring daily.
● Similar to last year, brands use social media tools more often than agencies: 65% of brands use social media tools daily or weekly, compared to 51% of agencies.
● Coverage/stories placed is the best-measured metric among PR professionals (remained unchanged since last year).
● More PR professionals are measuring social media this year, with 56% (51% last year) measuring social media shares/mentions, and 53% (48% last year) tracking social media engagement.
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● 55% of PR specialists say that they work more than 41 hours a week, and 46% - 41-50 hours
● The survey shows that agency PR professionals work more hours than PR specialists for brands: 56% of agency workers work 40+ hours a week compared to 51% of those working for brands.
● Overall, 32% of PR workers do extra hours once or twice a week, and 21% work overtime every day.
To stay current about their profession, the majority of PR professionals rely on social media (67%), followed by online programming (52%).
LinkedIn remains in the lead among social networks for PR professionals. However, more respondents plan to spend more time on Twitter in 2022: 47% this year vs. 43% last year. They are also going to increase the use of TikTok: 38% this year vs. 33% last year.
Brands will spend more time on Twitter (51%), Facebook (34%), and YouTube (35%).Agencies will pay more attention to LinkedIn (53%), Instagram (38%), and TikTok (42%).
Respondents named strategic planning, media relations, and knowledge of social media as the most important PR skills needed in the future. Many also chose leadership skills, written communications, and understanding data and analytics as important skills in the next 5 years.
Research informationMuck Rack questioned 1,887 PR professionals between April 12 and May 3, 2022. Among the participants, 55% were agencies, 31%- brands, 12%- nonprofits, and 3%- government representatives.
Geography of participants:
● 82% the USA
● 6% Great Britain
● 5% Canada
● 4% Europe (outside the UK)
● 3% Asia
● 2% Africa
● 1% India
● 1% South America
● 31% B2B
● 30% B2C
● 35% B2B and B2C