Journalists are the most important influencers for PR pros in Germany

by | Dec 5, 2019 | Public Relations

Journalists are still by far the most important influencers in the work of German PR professionals, while Instagrammers and YouTubers are far less relevant for press offices and PR agencies, according to a new research report from Hamburg-based Deutsche Presse-Agentur subsidiary news aktuell.

The group’s new study, Journalists, PR professionals and influencers—triad or trifecta?, surveyed the three communication groups simultaneously. The current study compares their self-perception and examines their similarities and differences. Key aspects include their influence, credibility, use of media, career stallers and future perspectives.

According to the research, journalists are by far the most relevant (86 percent) for the work of PR professionals. On the other hand, only 18 percent of communicators believe that social media celebrities and bloggers are important to their work. However, PR agencies already rely significantly more on Instagrammers and YouTubers (30 percent) than press offices (11 percent). For companies, their own employees play a comparatively more important role: almost every second respondent from corporate communications is now dependent on factors influencing the company (49 percent).

Journalists are the most important influencers for PR pros in Germany

Journalists are confident despite crisis in the industry

Despite declining print circulations and growing competition from new formats on the social web, 43 percent of the journalists surveyed attest to the social web having an increased impact on the formation of public opinion. PR professionals are even more confident about their impact on the “res publica.” More than half of the communicators see a significant increase in their influence over the past two years (58 percent). In the case of influencers, the figure is just under two thirds (63 percent). Journalists, PR professionals and influencers alike cite an increased reach as the main cause for influencing public opinion.

Journalists are the most important influencers for PR pros in Germany

The majority of journalists, PR pros and influencers attest to higher credibility

Despite scandals such as the case of Claas Relotius, the German journalist who resigned last year amid a fraud scandal, which hit the industry hard, a clear majority of journalists see an increase in their own credibility with their target groups (59 percent). Only 16 percent believe that this has fallen in the last two years. Among the PR professionals, 71 percent believe in an increase, exceeded by influencers with 84 percent. For all respondents, the qualitative improvement of their content is the number one reason for the increase.

Journalists are the most important influencers for PR pros in Germany

Lack of resources is the biggest drag on the job

Insufficient time and a lack of budget are the biggest career stallers for journalists, PR professionals and influencers. In comparison, journalists (48 percent), company spokespersons (51 percent) and influencers (56 percent) suffer the most from the exceedingly tight timelines, while communicators from agencies find their work more difficult (62 percent) because the budget is too low. However, the argument “too little time” is directly followed by PR agencies in second place (48 percent).

Further results:

  • “Online first” in PR, “Print (still) first” in journalism: 61 percent of PR experts reach their target groups best via online channels, 55 percent of journalists via print.
  • Journalists are struggling with the future, PR professionals and influencers are optimistic: While more than half of the media makers assess their career opportunities rather poorly (53 percent), an overwhelming majority of PR professionals (86 percent) and influencers (90 percent) look positively to the future.
  • The main incentive for future jobs is the advancing digitalization: PR professionals, journalists and influencers all agree on this.

Download a summary of findings here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter