Within a consumer-driven market landscape, communication is essential to deliver positive messaging – and this goes a long way towards creating relationships and driving growth. That much was made apparent in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020. But with a clear public relations strategy and a strong communications plan, brands can establish themselves and come out of a challenging phase with a stronger position.
Kickstart your digital PR company strategy with the help of our PR statistics 2021 compilation. In our PR stats roundup, we’ve compiled some of the best public relations statistics and the latest PR trends to guide your strategy for 2021. Use the following PR stats for inspiration to fuel your growth.
What Is Digital PR?
Before we dive into our PR statistics 2021 list, we should differentiate between traditional PR and its modern digital counterpart. So what is digital PR, exactly? Digital PR is a marketing strategy that employs online methods to increase a brand’s online presence and maintain a positive image. It relies on other digital marketing strategies, like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media and digital outreach, to accomplish its PR goals, which include:
• Increasing online mentions
• Creating more backlinks
• Elevating the brand’s public image
When these digital PR tactics are used effectively, a brand can quickly establish positive online public relations with its audience. That’s why digital PR is considered one of the most effective methods to communicate with the greater public, and it’s something we’ll delve deeper into with our compilation of stats below.
Ready to get started on your PR strategy? Look through our PR stats 2021 list below for more insight.
General Digital PR Statistics 2021
• The global PR market declined by 4 percent in 2020 (PRovoke Media, 2021).
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have greatly affected the global PR industry, with PR firms recording a 4 percent loss in 2020. The outlook 12 months ago was grim – 77 percent of traditional and digital public relations agency heads are faced with the reality of huge losses. Even so, the industry is as resilient as ever.
• It takes two hours to confirm a true rumor but over 14 hours to debunk false ones (First Draft, 2016).
These PR stats alone show how easy it is to damage your online reputation. Given how quickly information spreads on the internet, your PR team should always be ready to respond to and fix issues that may arise unexpectedly. When in a bind, you can also seek the help of a digital PR agency or online reputation management agency to protect your firm’s reputation.
• Eighty-eight percent of digital public relations professionals believe digital storytelling is the future of communications (USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, 2017).
Through the power of the internet, consumers can now access brand content directly through their devices. That’s why many digital PR agency professionals believe that digital content should be prioritized for online public relations.
• Sixty percent of marketing executives believe that PR and digital marketing will work together even more closely in the near future (USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, 2017).
The lines between PR and digital marketing have blurred over the years, as evidenced by public relations trends. This is because most methods employed by digital public relations agency professionals align with modern marketing tactics, while many PR services offer both as integrated solutions.
Digital PR Strategies Statistics
• With users’ growing reliance on online channels, 64 percent of digital PR company executives and 68 percent of marketing professionals believe content creation and influencer marketing will be vital to public relations (USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, 2017).
PR firm executives foresaw the growing role of influencers and high-quality content in establishing online public relations. This further highlights the future impact of effective digital storytelling in sharing topics the public is interested in.
• Only one in five digital PR personnel in businesses is involved in developing a business’s overall marketing strategy (Cision, 2017).
While many businesses are quick to seek the expertise of an outside digital PR company, others are still struggling to unify digital marketing and PR. This is evident in the fact that only a handful of PR personnel is involved in developing a unified marketing strategy that impacts the entire organization.
• The most popular days for releasing press releases are Tuesdays and Fridays (Onclusive, 2019).
PR professionals have stated that Tuesdays and Fridays are the most popular choice for releasing PR news releases, particularly at 7 AM and 8 AM. However, while they are the most popular choice, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the most effective. Due to the sheer volume of releases being published at those times, it is a great idea to adjust your publishing schedule a few minutes before or after the top of the hour to make your release more visible.
PR Statistics About Pitching
• Among digital PR professionals surveyed, 94 percent said individual emails are still the most effective in pitching to journalists (Muck Rack, 2020).
…And journalists agree! Among those surveyed, 93 percent said 1:1 emails are the best way to pitch.
• When asked to choose their most preferred day of the week to receive a pitch, 62 percent said they had no preference (Muck Rack, 2020).
But if you had to pick a day, choose Monday. Twenty percent of journalists surveyed said they preferred to receive a pitch at the beginning of the workweek.
• Eighty-five percent of digital PR agency professionals said morning is the best time to send a pitch (Muck Rack, 2020).
Digital public relations professionals say pitching is all about timing. Breaking it down further, 30 percent of those surveyed said morning pitches should be sent between 5 to 9 AM, while 55 percent said they should be sent between 9 AM and 12 PM.
• The most cited reason among journalists for rejecting a pitch was the lack of personalization (Muck Rack, 2020).
Forty-eight percent of journalists receive up to five pitches a day, while 43 percent receive more than that. Among those pitches received, only a handful are successful – 50 percent of journalists say only a quarter of the stories they publish are from pitches, and 28 percent say none originate from pitches. The most cited reason for rejecting an otherwise relevant pitch is the lack of personalization (33 percent), followed by bad timing (31 percent).
PR Statistics About Content Marketing
• Eighty-one percent of businesses built credibility through their content marketing strategies (Content Marketing Institute, 2021).
PR trends point to marketing and PR working more closely together in the very near future. Content marketing will take center stage, especially in cultivating a positive online reputation.
• Content chaos is a major concern as nine out of 10 in-house communications team leaders reported having regular challenges with content creation (Speak Media, 2019).
One respondent in the survey commissioned by Speak Media pointed out that the team’s lack of skills and resources contributed to the challenges. In such cases, external PR services can provide you assistance with content challenges you face.
• About 34 percent of content was republished and recycled in 2020 as a result of diminishing budgets (Trust Insights, 2020).
Budgets for producing content have been reduced due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This pushed businesses to be creative, recycling old content as a way to publish updated posts without additional spending. Unfortunately, this resulted in fewer pitching opportunities for businesses that rely on earned media. But there is hope as the economy continues to recover and businesses ride this wave.
Social Media PR Stats 2021
• News releases get the most social engagement during the afternoon (Onclusive, 2019).
According to public relations statistics by Onclusive, afternoon releases, in general, enjoy the highest overall engagement on social media. But overall, weekend releases had the best performance for all kinds of PR releases. This data coincides with the mobile customer journey, highlighting times when people are more active on social media and have more time to discover, engage with and share content.
• The top three qualities that make a story more shareable on social media, according to journalists, are: connectedness to trending stories (77 percent), contains an image (74 percent) and relevance to audience (62 percent) (Muck Rack, 2020).
Here are some content ideas to make your story more shareable on social media. Muck Rack surveyed journalists about the top qualities that make a story more shareable on social media. Their top three responses? The story must be connected to another trending story, must be relevant to your target audience and must contain an image. Brevity and quotes from a company spokesperson were at the bottom of that list.
Public Relations Trends
1. Short-form content is starting to become the new norm.
As content consumption habits continue to change with the advent of the pandemic, brands will have to find new ways to publish stories to reach their target audience. With shorter downtimes, especially as people continue to work at home with their families, people will have less time to consume content. PR stats 2021 point to short-form storytelling to capture and keep your audience’s attention. PR executives believe that keeping stories below 60 seconds can help you get your point across more quickly.
2. Reputation management must be proactively performed.
Issues today have become divisive. Responding (or not responding) in a certain way could unintentionally upset your target audience, damaging your online reputation. With the slew of events that continue to define the cultural zeitgeist, it has become more apparent that brands will need proactive reputation management. After all, it’s easier to prevent a mess from happening than cleaning up afterward. Whether you take it in-house or work with an online reputation management agency, the important thing is to be consistent in your efforts. With this approach, you’ll find it helpful to control your online reputation, especially in times of a PR crisis.
3. People are craving “raw” stories.
Brands are adopting a human approach to marketing and PR as people crave stories that they can resonate with. They want stories that showcase the realities of life – now more than ever. As a result, executives are being humanized, and produced videos are shown in their raw form to highlight realities we all face and as a sign of solidarity.
With the series of ups and downs that continue to define 2021, it’s clear that brands need a robust digital PR strategy to continue enjoying online success. In this blog, we provided you with a list of some of the best PR statistics you can leverage to define your PR strategies. Use the insights you’ve gained here to fine-tune your approach and build your brand’s identity effectively.
Digital marketing and digital PR are two sides of the same coin, with both aiming to strengthen your online presence. But having both strategies in place can be overwhelming. If you’re struggling to implement both strategies at the same time, consider working with outside professionals. Thrive is a full-service digital marketing agency that offers marketing and PR services to boost your brand’s image online. Leverage our unified approach and maintain a positive online presence that translates to more success for your business. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you thrive.