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Blogs  / December 28, 2021

State of The PR Industry: A Look Back at 2021

by Sean O'Neal, President

As a data science company, Onclusive is known for our unique and unexpected insights from comprehensive media monitoring and PR Attribution™. Our data collection and analysis doesn’t end there—we also survey the industry’s most experienced communicators and business executives during our live webinars.

As we look back at 2021, here are some of the key insights we collected this year based on the polls conducted during our webinar series, which attracted thousands of communications professionals worldwide. The poll respondents include in-house communicators and PR teams from companies of all sizes, large and boutique PR agencies, freelance PR professionals, and the C-suite.

How well does your executive team understand how to leverage PR?

The responses to this question weren’t too surprising—56% thought the executive team understood this “well” or “very well”, and 44% rated it “poorly” or “very poorly”:

It’s clear that the industry is divided, and more effort is needed on behalf of the communications industry to educate executives about the purpose, power and role of PR in their organizations.

Which PR agency services are most relevant to your business’ primary needs?

When we asked our audience which PR agency services were most relevant for their brands, the majority of responses indicated that it’s most important to get quality strategic counsel and advice from the agency (28%), followed by storytelling, content marketing and copywriting (17%) crisis management (12%) and reputation management (11%):

In summary, both strategic savvy and tactical expertise make a difference when it comes to selecting the right PR agency for your brand.

Do you create strategic communications plans for your PR campaigns?

When it comes to strategic planning for PR campaigns, most communicators said that they use it either all the time (42%) or at least sometimes (42%), leaving 16% of those who haven’t yet adopted this practice:

Our takeaway is that campaign planning is one of the best practices in communications and PR, just as it has been for marketing over the last few decades. 

How do you use data and measurement to inform and shape your earned media strategy?

Using data and measurement for earned media strategy is a topic we’re always interested in exploring. Our audience shared with us that quantifying success (25%) and gauging brand awareness and reputation (24%) come first, followed by informing content strategy (19%) and setting objectives (16%):

Overall, we saw that communicators are avid users of data and measurement for various purposes, mostly to demonstrate impact and track PR KPIs (key performance indicators).

How do you currently get executive buy-in for investment in PR and communications?

To get executive buy-in for PR investment, the majority of communicators (27%) actually make a business case, while 25% present their arguments for resources and budget during the annual planning process. Another 20% said that they get their budget as part of the marketing budgeting process, and 15% review their PR metrics and results with the C-suite every quarter:

In this blog post, we’ve covered the top five questions asked during our webinars. There is more to discover in our whitepaper on this subject—download it below.

Read the full State of The PR Industry Report: A Look Back at 2021 to learn more about the opinions, practices and realities of your industry peers and senior-level executives. Inside, you’ll also find the links to each webinar recording, which you can watch on demand at your convenience.