73% of PRs reckon getting coverage is easier now than before the pandemic, claims research

Would you be surprised to learn that despite the pandemic’s impact on media and PR, most PR professionals say that earning media coverage is less difficult or has stayed the same in the past 12 months?

Earlier this year, almost 4,000 global PR and communications professionals responded to our survey on media relations standards. After analysing the data, we learnt that some standards are universal - 95% of respondents use a media database to manage their media outreach, and 89% follow up after an initial pitch - whilst other standards vary depending on geography, work situation, and seniority level.

Is earning coverage more difficult?

Not according to 73% of respondents. The country with the most positive outlook is the United States. Over 38% of respondents from the US think it became less difficult to earn coverage in the past year, compared to 26% of respondents from other countries (such as Canada and UK).

Measures of media outreach success

What value adds result in the best pitch outcomes?

Video footage and exclusive interview offers lead the global pack at 45% and 44% respectively. Whilst video footage is a popular value-add across work situations, it’s favoured more by agency professionals and in-house practitioners than by solo practitioners and PR consultants. The latter category places exclusive interviews and external links ahead of video, which came third.

Who’s still practicing spray and pray?

The good news is that 69% of respondents keep their list size under 100 contacts when sending a pitch, and a quarter keep it below 25 contacts. Overall, it seems that the PR industry knows the value of a curated, targeted list. The smaller the list, the better you’ll be able to personalise the email to suit the needs and wants of the journalist and their audience.

However, what may come as a surprise is that the people at the top (VP and C-level) are more likely to pitch to more contacts than junior-level PR practitioners (interns and entry-level). Only about 15% of VP and C-Suite-level practitioners pitch to list sizes of 25 contacts or less, whilst a third of junior-level practitioners pitch to 25 or less.

Percentage of respondents that pitch respondents that pitch to 25 contacts or less (by seniority level)

Are AVEs over?

The industry has been moving on from Advertising Value Equivalencies for years, but some PR professionals continue to use them as a measure of success. When asked to identify their top three measures of success, 13% of respondents included AVEs - a long way behind the top measure, which was volume of media mentions at 44%, but only 1% behind custom media quality scoring frameworks.

Methodology

All data-related insights are based on a survey of 3,787 respondents conducted between 17 to 31 May 2021. Responses were collected using an online survey tool. Analysis was performed by the Agility PR Solutions marketing team.

Written by Joy Knowles, marketing content strategist at agency Agility PR solutions