PR budgets are either increasing or remaining steady, but PR pros are anticipating drastic changes ahead for the industry, according to the State of PR 2021, a survey of more than 1,600 communications professionals published today by Muck Rack, the leading Public Relations Management (PRM) platform.
The report covers topics ranging from how PR pros connect with journalists and allocate budgets to the types of metrics PR teams use to measure success. It found that most PR budgets are either increasing (45%) or staying the same (50%). Only 5% of PR pros’ budgets are decreasing.
The study also reveals that nearly three-quarters (73%) of survey respondents said they don’t think the term “public relations” as it’s defined today will describe the work they’re doing in five years. Over a third of PR pros (34%) expect to see drastic changes in the industry in the next five years.
“PR pros are gearing up for significant transformation in the industry over the next few years,” says Muck Rack CEO Greg Galant. “That’s not surprising, considering the pace of change in media and journalism as well as across industries. The good news is, our study shows that organizations are continuing to invest in PR, and PR pros are continually looking for ways to measure and increase the value of their efforts.”
Now in its third year, The State of PR study aims to take a pulse on how communications professionals build media relationships, measure success and leverage technology in 2021.
Additional key findings from this year’s study include:
- Despite newsrooms shrinking, media relations remains at the heart of PR: The vast majority (94%) of PR pros say media relations is a key focus of PR/communications professionals.
- Media relations challenges persist: Overall, the number one challenge PR pros are facing in 2021 is getting responses from journalists (59%), followed by budget limitations (49%) and measuring business impact (46%). Placing coverage in the newscycle (50%) and finding relevant angles for pitches (38%) were the top challenges respondents said their companies faced during the COVID-19 era.
- PR pros see opportunities to increase PR’s value internally by sourcing more coverage and/or media relationships (60%), tying PR activities to key business initiatives (53%), producing measurable results (48%) and delivering creative solutions (42%).
- Strategic planning is the most cited (88%) essential PR skill for the future, followed by media relations (78%), social media (72%) and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (67%).
- More PR teams are using Slack, Microsoft teams and other direct messaging tools daily (81%, up from 67% last year). 82% say they use video conferencing software like Zoom and Google Meet (down from 89% last year; note that we issued the State of PR 2020 survey right as stay at home orders were going into effect).