PR’s evolving skills and roles examined in new Agility study

by | Aug 3, 2018 | Public Relations

Securing media coverage is, of course, one of the biggest goals for public relations professionals, and one of the most challenging—but a new survey from Agility PR Solutions explains how this objective is actually a multi-tiered obstacle, with numerous factors by which industry practitioners are equally vexed.

When asked, “What is your single biggest media relations challenge?” virtually equal percentages of respondents chose three options: “getting response/attention from reporters” (22.1 percent), “crafting pitches” (22.1 percent) and “changes in media landscape/increased competition” (20.4 percent).

Evolving job of PR practitioner examined in new Agility study

Meanwhile, some other options we thought would be viable contenders, such as “building and maintaining relationships,” “securing national/high-profile placements,” and “investing time in researching reporters” all ranked much lower in comparison.

Although small in sample size, the research is notable in that a majority of respondents (58 percent) identify themselves as Owners/Founders/Managing Partners at their organizations. Another 26 percent of respondents report they are at the SVP/VP/Director or Account Executive level—and a majority of total respondents (52 percent) stated “media relations/media strategy” as the major goal associated with their role, and 56.7 percent identified as decision makers for purchases involving PR tools.

Evolving job of PR practitioner examined in new Agility study

PR news sources

Social media sites turned out to be the big winner, with 34 percent of respondents citing Twitter (12 percent), Facebook (11 percent) and LinkedIn (11 percent) as their key news source. Meanwhile, 25 percent said newspapers (either print or online), while another 24 percent chose email newsletters as their main news source.

Where do you mainly get your updates/news (personally or professionally)?

Evolving job of PR practitioner examined in new Agility study

Building skills and learning PR best practices

It looks like PR pros are turning to a several sources to keep their chops up, as once again, numerous options received significant responses, with “blogs and articles” like those available on Agility’s PR News page leading the pack with 21.7 percent, followed by “webinars and presentations” (also offered by Agility), which was chosen by 15 percent of respondents. Other notable selections included “case studies” (12.1 percent), “live events” (10.1 percent), “videos” (8.7 percent), “podcasts” (8.7 percent) and “books” (6.9 percent).

What learning format(s) do you prefer? (Pick at least 1)

Evolving job of PR practitioner examined in new Agility study

What topics do PR pros most want to learn more about?

Again, there were a wide variety of options selected by a significant number of respondents. The most popular option was “measuring PR results,” which was selected by 17.2% of those surveyed, followed by “winning new clients,” which was chosen by 14.8%. Other leading options included “PR tools and technology” (13.1%), “working with influencers” (11.0%), “earn media coverage” (9.3%), “social media” (8.9%), and “media relations” (8.2%).

What subjects are you most interested in learning more about? Pick three:

Evolving job of today’s PR practitioner examined in new Agility study

Agility PR Solutions received 120 responses to the survey in June 2018; respondents were primarily located in North America and the UK.

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