The 2019 JOTW Communications Survey examines trends in corporate communications and PR. This year’s survey polled 223 communications and public relations (PR) professionals. Some 68% of respondents report holding in-house communication roles and 90% have 10 years or more experience in the industry.The second annual survey was conducted by Sword and the Script Media, LLC in collaboration with Ned Lundquist. Ned launched “Job of the Week” (JOTW) email newsletter in 2001 as a free resource for PR and communications professionals looking for work.
Key findings in this survey include:
>> Budget is the top communications and PR challenge. Budget (59%) was the top challenge for the second year in a row. This was followed by limited staffing or headcount (55%); ever-expanding duties (52%); balancing priorities (49%); and measuring the impact of comms (49%). Just 18% anticipate budgets rising; 51% say they will remain flat and 29% expect budgets to fall.
>> More PR work is being taken in-house. Some 47% of respondents said they’ve observed more PR work being taking in-house. This mirrors broader trends in marketing, where CMOs have slashed agencies in favor of in-house teams. The top reasons for hiring an agency are: execution, expertise and for strategic projects; the top reasons for firing a firm are cost, poor client service and an inability to measure ROI.
>> Storytelling, analytics and thought leadership are the top tactics and trends. The respondents identified storytelling (76%); data & analytics (75%); thought leadership (70%); measurement (66%) and content marketing (64%) as growing more important. While not a majority, those with the most votes for less important were press releases (33%), award programs (31%) and white papers (36%).
>>Media relations continues to get harder. Most respondents (68%) said media relations is harder or much harder – up from 51% last year. Respondents cited reporter turnover, veteran reporters being replaced with junior ones, and “in-your-face-journalism” as contributing causes. Money and standards distinguish media relations from influencer marketing.
>>Top metrics PR pros track. About one-third (29%) think they do an adequate job of communications measurement while 46% say it needs improvement. The most common metrics comms pros said they track includes web traffic (73%); impressions (66%); estimated site traffic (60%); mentions (57%) and email open rates (52%).
>>More communicators report to the CEO than to marketing. More respondents (38%) say the comms function reports to the CEO, versus 35% that say they report to marketing. This was followed by the chief operating officer (9%), strategy (7%) and human resources (5%).