A couple weeks ago, PRWeek and Cision released their Global PR Report full of data points and nuggets ripe for discussion on blogs like this.
The full report is worth a glance, if you work in PR/comms. It’s full of data around topics like: comms single-biggest challenge; influencers sway over consumer spending decisions; and top social media channels used by comms teams.
But, today, I wanted to highlight just three data points and talk a bit about the bigger story behind those nuggets because I thought these three, in particular, really jumped off the proverbial page.
Data point #1: 49% of respondents feel they can always effectively identify the right influencers to target on all initiatives. That is down from 54% last year.
What’s frightening about this data point is the 51% who do NOT feel like they can identify the right influencers to target for their PR/comms initiatives! That’s a lot of people flying blind! But, it’s not surprising. A whole slew of vendors have entered this space the last five years making all sorts of outlandish promises about helping PRs find the right influencers. In many cases, I have to believe those promises are being broken. Because the tools can’t solve this problem. They can help, when used the right way. But, they’re not the solution. The real solution, and what I assume the other 49% are doing, is the good, old-fashioned hard work for searching for these influencers themselves online. Starting with Google! Twitter lists. Going down the Insta rabbit hole. It’s not easy finding your ideal influencers. It’s time-consuming work. And, it can’t be done solely by a tool. Until people start realizing that, I think we’ll see these numbers go down even more.
Data point #2: 54% make a concerted effort to stay in touch with media/influencers, even when there is no current story to be covered. That is well down from 68% last year.
This is very surprising considering one of the central tenets of any sound media relations strategy is to develop relationships with journalists and stay in front of them regularly–whether you have a client pitch at the moment or not! It’s great to hear 54% of PRs are doing this–but that also means almost half of all PR are NOT doing this! Which means these people are essentially spamming editors and reporters each week. And, we wonder why PR, as an industry, has a bad reputation!
Data point #3: 69% of respondents said mainstream journalists had the most sway over consumer decisions; only 34% said employees and 28% said executives.
Not surprising to hear that 69% of PRs think journalists still hold all the cards when it comes to impacting purchase decisions. For people focused on media relations, what do you think they would say? But it is kinda surprising to hear that only 34% believe employees have that power. After all, isn’t that what we’ve been hearing the last few years? Employees, when activated, can be outstanding ambassadors for your brand! That’s what they told us. That’s why Employee Social Advocacy Programs are such a big deal right now. Yet, only 34% of PRs think they hold any sway over purchase decisions? That seems off to me.