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PR Placing a Premium on Creativity; Findings from 5 Studies in Public Relations

88% of PR pros say creativity is more important in the era of Covid

I’ve spent the past few weeks breaking down the survey results from the 2021 JOTW Strategic Communications Survey (overview, challenges and the media relations struggle). This week I paused to catch up on reading several other surveys of interest to PR and communications.

Below are some of the findings that stood out for me.

1. PR places a premium on creativity in Covid era

Nearly nine in 10 (88%) to the Creativity in PR study “believe creativity will be either ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ important to business recovery post-Covid.” The study, the seventh annual, is based on a poll of “more than 300 agency and in-house executives from across the world.”

Nearly 70% of respondents said creativity is a higher priority in the era of Covid. Among agencies, “92% of agencies say that client expectations of creativity have risen since the onset of the pandemic.”

FleishmanHillard Executive Creative Director Dan Margulis had a rather perceptive quote on the findings:

“Creativity has always been the way out of crisis…Crisis forced us to act but also freed us to evolve. We didn’t get here through convention. We have creativity to thank for getting us through.”

Read more: The 2021 Creativity in PR Study by Provoke Media and Now Go Create

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2. Six in 10 comms pros face ethical challenges

A survey of 1,046 communication professionals in North America found 33% day they faced several ethical challenges in the last year and another 29% faced one ethical challenge. Taken together, that means “six out of ten communication professionals in North America encounter one or more ethical challenges in the past year.”

There are three surprising kickers in this finding too:

  • Internal comms faced the most ethical challenges – more than external comms,
  • Men in comms reported “significantly more ethical challenges than” women, and
  • “Ethical challenges are most common in consultancies and agencies when compared to other types of organizations.”

Read more: North American Communication Monitor 2020-2021 by the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at the University of Alabama; also see this post on PR ethics based on a separate survey: Code of PR Ethics? The Gray Area of Communicating a Point of View

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3. The top qualities reporters appreciate in PR

A survey of 1,026 editorial contacts – like reporters and editors – asked, “What quality do you appreciate most in a PR professional?”

  • 45% said respect and understanding of what journalists need,
  • 33% said responsiveness, and
  • 20% said consistency in quality.

Here’s the catch: those same items were also ranked as needing the most improvement.

Read more: 2021 PR Media Report by Global Results Communications

4. Journalists respond to just 3.27% of pitches

PR tech startup Propel analyzed 1.2 million PR pitches sent through their software over the last 12 months and produced some interesting statistics.

About one in three (35%) of reporters open a pitch within the first minute after it was sent. A majority 82% open a pitch within the first four hours. So, decisions on interest levels are made pretty quickly and in the middle of a busy day (think: decision fatigue).

Here’s the bad news: reporters open just 29% of the pitches they receive, which goes to show how important a good subject line is, and perhaps timing.

Finally, reporters respond to just 3.27% of pitches, however, many will write a story without responding. The study found, “8% of media pitches sent to journalists resulted in a published article.”

Read more: Propel Media Barometer for Q2 2021 by Propel

5. Top challenges in internal communications

Organizations are increasingly placing a greater value on communications, and especially internal comms, in the wake of the pandemic and a tumultuous year in 2020. However, that doesn’t mean the job is easy.

According to a survey of internal communicators the top challenges facing the function are:

  • 68% say low employee feedback and response,
  • 56% say tracking and measuring internal comms,
  • 42% say inter-departmental communication,
  • 41% say engaging remote employees,
  • 31% say getting budget and approvals,

I would argue that the first tow challenges are related – employee engagement is an important way to measure internal communications. However, the challenges begin further upstream since more than “50% of companies do not have a long-term internal communications strategy, and 42% do not work with a fixed budget.”

Read more: Global State of Internal Communications 2021 by Contact Monkey

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I’m always interested in reviewing and writing about studies of interest to PR and marketing. However, if you have a study, and want to send it in for me to look at, please read this section first.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
3 Creative Ways Public Relations can Partner with Human Resources and Recruiting to Attract Talent

Image credits: Unsplash and respective studies

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