PR in 2021: Is a good story enough?

Paying - and Earning - Attention: Cision and PRWeek release 2021 Global Comms Report
public relations

It’s well and good to have a great story to tell – but if you want that story to be heard you may need a little more analysis at your back.

Today Cision and PRWeek released The 2021 Global Comms Report: Paying – And Earning – Attention, a survey of over 500 senior level communications professionals across seven countries.

The 2021 report marks the fifth effort to track and understand how the PR field is practiced and perceived by those in it.

“The PR and Marketing world is already one driven by competition, innovation and evolution, the COVID-19 pandemic has only fueled that growth,” says Gideon Fidelzeid, Managing Editor, PRWeek. “This report shows the attitudes and priorities of PR professionals and the organizations around them are changing in some fundamental ways.”

Communications has evolved to become a more data-informed, data-driven industry, says Jay Webster, chief product officer at Cision. PR pros need and want more analytics, to ensure their content and strategies are grounded in data.

“Being able to tell a great story isn’t enough anymore,” says Webster. “Our latest survey results indicate the usage and adoption of analytics platforms is on the rise as many professionals seek to offer deeper insight to message effectiveness — overall and with key audiences.”

Read the full 2021 Comms Report: Paying – and Earning – Attention

Key report takeaways include:

  • Stories are important, but data is increasingly king (with room for improvement) – 91% of those polled say great PR experts must be strong data analysts. Increasingly, PR pros must be able to collect data and use it to capitalize on opportunities and convert it into actionable insights. But roughly 50% of comms leaders say that conversion was their biggest challenge related to communications measurement.
  • We still feel better about using data – 83% of respondents answered affirmatively when asked if comms can effectively measure and prove the impact of their work on business objectives, up from 76% two years ago.
  • Who do we target? – PR pros and brands are better than ever at being able to measure how (and by who) their content is being consumed. Globally, more and more focus is going away from blanket coverage in traditional media and more toward focusing on directly engaging the end user/target audience. Almost eight in 10 pros say their campaigns focused on the latter.
  • Even when brands target journalists, they don’t feel confident they targeted the right ones – in a repeat from last year’s report, only 25% of respondents say they are “always” able to identify the right journalists and influencers for their stories.
  • New avenues, types and amounts of content during COVID – When asked how they changed their strategies in the past year, respondents’ top two answers were that they increased engagement and explored new platforms.
  • PR grows in stature in the C-Suite – 87% of respondents say the C-suite has sought the counsel of comms more in the past year, with the majority attributing it to COVID-19

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