Survey Shows Public Relations Trends

A new survey of primarily corporate communications professionals identified the hottest trends in public relations and some that aren’t so hot. What’s hot: storytelling, content marketing and thought leadership.

The survey was conducted by Frank Strong in collaboration with Ned Lundquist, an IABC Fellow. The survey was conducted in February 2018 and 155 respondents completed the questionnaire.

The full report – the 2018 JOTW Communications Survey – is available on SlideShare.

Over the next 12 months, the percentage of communications professionals that believe the trends or tactics will be either “more important” or “much more important” are as follows:

  • 79% of respondents said storytelling
  • 71% said content marketing
  • 67% said thought leadership

Additional trends or tactics where 50% or more of respondents said they’d be more or much more important included: alignment with marketing, influencer relations, organic social media, infographics and executive speaking.

Trends or tactics that will be less important in the next year include:

  • Press releases (34%)
  • White papers (35%)
  • Award programs (39%)

Other findings:

  • The biggest obstacle in PR is financial – 63% cited budget as their top challenge, even as 57% point to an ever-expanding list of duties. At the same time, 54% said proving value or ROI of communications to the business.
  • When corporate communications hire an outside agency, most (54%) said they do it because they need an extra pair of hands.
  • A majority (51%) of respondents believe media relations is getting harder.
  • The five tools communications professions say they use the most are: 78% web analytics; 75% social media management; 66% press release distribution; 66% media monitoring; and 50% content management systems.

How to Save Time and Money Online

Using social media means much more than posting content on one or more social channels. To see results–and save you time and money–you need to be strategic.

Develop a social media strategy

The first step is always to develop a detailed social media strategy. Without a strategy you are just spending (wasting?) time with no purpose.

A solid social media strategy should outline your goals and the specific measurable ways you will work to achieve them. Your goal(s) should be specific to your business and can include brand awareness, generating website traffic, increased sales, or engagement around a specific issue or service.

The strategy should define the specific activities you will take. Take time to define the resources needed, how often each item will be done, and the content that will be leveraged. The more time you put into your strategy, the more success you will see with your social media efforts.

Mind your branding

Review your branding, including words, images, and colors to ensure it is clear and consistent across all of your social media channels. Use your logo for your profile pictures and ensure all profile images reflect your business.

Create an editorial calendar

Structure your posts by creating an editorial calendar. Define categories of content that will support your strategy and plan posts that target each category. Research dates and events that are relevant to your business and audience, and plan content around them.

Schedule posts 

Using a tool that allows you to schedule your posts is a great way to save time and make sure you post according to your plans. Hootsuiteand Buffer are great scheduling tools. There are others. Find one that you find easiest to use.


Your social media activities should not just be about creating and posting your content. Respond to messages or comments from followers within a reasonable time frame. You can create template responses to help speed up the process. However, always ensure that every response is personalized in some way.

You should also be looking for relevant conversations that are happening without you. Search for keywords related to your business, industry and competitors. To help, try using tools such as TweetDeckHootsuite and Sprout Social.

Evaluate and measure

The great ideas you write into your social media strategy may be great or a flop. Take time to evaluate your activities. You should have written measures of success into your strategy. There can be unexpected measures too, like when a post generates a great deal of conversation. Make sure you take time to regularly assess your social media activities and adjust to maximize successes.

This post originally appeared as a guest post at Young Design.