In 2021, the world of marketing and public relations (PR) is drastically different. Even before the pandemic, the market was shifting. Now, the changes are even more severe.
To survive as marketers and small business owners, you must pivot with the shifts—but how? In a constantly changing environment, you’ve probably lost clients, revenue, and the ability to stay relevant.
Everything is topsy-turvy. Trends are difficult to track. How do you know which ones will stick and which will fade?
When all else fails, trust the numbers. Numbers don’t lie (and we’ll have a lot to say about trust in this post).
At Pitch and Profit, we’ve collected 56 PR statistics to help guide your decision-making this year. Here’s an outline to help you navigate:
- State of PR Statistics
- PR ROI Statistics
- Pitching Statistics
- Digital PR Trends
- SEO Statistics
56 PR Statistics for 2021
In 2021, staying up to date is one of the most important actions you can take as a marketer or small business owner. Here, you’ll find challenges, trends, and helpful statistics for digital PR, SEO PR, ROI, pitching, and more.
Let’s dive in.
State of PR Statistics
- 21 percent of PR professionals don’t use any PR software.
What it means: If you use PR software, you could have an advantage over 1 in 5 agencies.
- In 2019, while most companies had a documented PR strategy, less than half planned for crisis.
What it means: You need to have a documented strategy in place for crisis management. It’s not a question of “if,” but “when” crisis happens. Always prepare––you’ll be ahead of half the industry.
- Muck Rack says 37 percent don’t use marketing, automation, or social media management tools.
- 83 percent said they track relationships in spreadsheets. Only 5 percent use CRM tools.
What it means: Using CRM tools can give you an advantage over 95 percent of businesses.
- 54 percent of PR professionals lost clients and revenue due to COVID-19.
- 43 percent have struggled to stay relevant during the pandemic.
What it means: COVID-19 was destructive, but knowing these challenges can help you move forward. Most importantly, know that you’re not alone in the struggle.
- Muck Rack found that a tightening budget concerns over half of PR professionals.
What it means: Though budget may be a challenge in 2021, a confident plan will help.
- For small PR teams, over 40 percent waste 10 to 21 days on manual data entry every year. For some, over a month is wasted.
What it means: Use technology or train a virtual assistant to do the data entry for you. Time is precious.
- According to Muck Rack, PR teams hold a weekly or as-needed brief.
What it means: Depending on your team, frequent communication is beneficial––but not too frequent.
- The 2019 JOTW Comms Survey found that 38 percent of communication specialists report to the CEO, not marketing.
What it means: Most PR teams don’t integrate with marketing. Consider doing so for your team.
- 14 percent of communicators are pessimistic about the future because of funding cuts.
What it means: Funding may be hard to get. It may be more difficult to get noticed. Don’t let pessimism cloud your message or purpose.
- Muck Rack says almost all teams measure their PR, but under a third measure sales impact.
What it means: By measuring PR’s impact on sales, you can have an advantage over 70 percent of the industry.
- Quantifying Big Data Analytics is one of the most valuable PR skills in 2021.
What it means: Developing these skills in yourself and your team will profoundly increase your value.
- Clients will ask for media clippings 44 percent of the time.
What it means: Be ready to offer media clippings to clients. This will help you meet the needs of your clients more quickly.
PR ROI Statistics
- Muck Rack found that PR’s internal value is best shown by measurable results. Measuring results is a top challenge for PR pros.
What it means: To prove PR’s value, you must find a way to measure its impact.
- According to Provoke Media, AVE is still widely used in Latin America, Europe, and APAC.
What it means: While AVE isn’t valuable to Americans, you can communicate PR’s value nearly anywhere else.
- Articles and blog posts are the most effective methods of moving customers through the funnel.
What it means: This is a real way to explain PR’s value before it’s even implemented.
- The global value of PR was $63.8 billion in 2018. That’s expected to increas 45 percent by 2022.
What it means: The value of PR is rising, not falling. Convey that to your organization.
- 92 percent of consumers trust earned media over paid ads.
What it means: The odds are stacked in PR’s favor. Any business will benefit from investing in PR efforts.
- Edelman says people still trust journalists in 2021.
What it means: Businesses who use journalists for publicity gain a credibility advantage over most other information sources.
- Muck Rack found that 3 out of 4 journalists prefer being followed on social before getting pitches. 40 percent of PR professionals don’t do this.
What it means: Follow potential journalists before pitching them to build rapport.
- Most PR pros think pitches should be sent on a Tuesday.
- Muck Rack says 20 percent of journos prefer to receive pitches on Monday. Most don’t have a preference.
What it means: Pick a day that works for you. There is no right or wrong––but if you pick a day, pick Monday.
- Between 50 and 500 pitches roll into most top-tier publisher offices every week.
What it means: Your pitch needs to be top-quality to catch a publisher’s eye.
- Fractl found that only 18 percent of journalists always read pitches they receive.
What it means: You must differentiate your pitches from the pile to catch a journalist’s eye.
- 94 percent of PR professionals say a pitch should be only two to three paragraphs long.
- Over half of journalists prefer pitches that are 200 words or less.
What it means: Most other PR professionals get it right: Shorter is better! Keep your pitches short so journalists aren’t bored or scared off by a wall of text.
- Individual, one-to-one emails are the best way to reach journalists. 93 percent of journalists agree.
What it means: Personalize your pitches.
- Eight out of ten PR professionals think a pitch should be relevant, customized, and personalized.
What it means: Most PR professionals have this mindset. Make your pitches intentional.
- About half of journalists and PR pros say you should follow up with journalists only once.
What it means: Following up twice or more is just annoying. Don’t spam people.
- 91 percent of PR pros and 84 percent of journalists maintain a relationship via email.
What it means: Use email to correspond with your journalists. They prefer it.
Digital PR Statistics
- Nearly 60 percent of the world is online. That’s 4.66 billion users worldwide at your fingertips.
What it means: If you’re not online yet … get online.
- Hootsuite discovered that of the 3.2 billion not online, women are most underrepresented.
What it means: It might benefit you to expand your reach to these underrepresented women.
- They also found that people spend more time using phones than watching television.
What it means: Mobile is the place to be.
- Hootsuite reported that for 54 out of every 60 minutes spent on mobile, people are using apps.
What it means: As they say, “there’s an app for that.” Tap into that 90 percent of people’s mobile time and make an app. People obviously love them.
- 85 percent of people want more video content in 2021.
- Video is one of the most effective ways to increase audience engagement.
- Muck Rack says email and video conferencing are used 80 percent more than any other software.
- Email marketing has an ROI of 4200 percent. Yes, that’s a real number!
What it means: Despite the age of email, it’s not outdated. It’s personal, like getting a letter from a friend. Email must be part of your marketing strategy.
- 62 percent of email opens occur on mobile.
What it means: Even in email, mobile dominates.
- Half of Americans listen to podcasts.
What it means: You can increase your reach simply by using a podcast.
- Eight out of ten customers have purchased an item recommended by an influencer.
- Influencer marketing has an ROI of 650 percent.
What it means: Use influencers in your marketing strategy.
- Global digital ad spend is expected to grow by 17 percent this year.
- As of 2020, you’ll pay $52 in search CPA and $48 in display CPA on Google.
- Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 report says that content marketing increases customer loyalty 63 percent of the time.
What it means: Invest in content. You’ll get more long-term leads.
- CMI says 69 percent of the most successful B2Bs document their strategies.
What it means: Follow the actions of the successful and write your strategy down.
- Only 33 percent of B2Cs write their strategies down.
What it means: Documenting your strategy can give you a significant advantage over 7 out of 10 businesses.
- In Muck Rack’s study, 69 percent of PR pros say they measure success by social media impact. Half use website impact.
What it means: Success is often measured digitally. If you haven’t gone digital yet, you need to––especially in 2021.
- 63 percent of Google searches occur on mobile devices.
What it means: The “mobile-first” revolution demands mobile optimization for your site. Otherwise, you could lose out on most organic traffic.
- 75 percent of organic clicks go to the top three SERP results.
What it means: Ranking matters. Even ranking third for just one keyword can get you 50 percent more clicks than the lowest seven results on the first page.
- Blogging can increase the number of backlinks your site receives by 97 percent.
What it means: Invest in content to increase domain authority.
- Backlinko measured the average post length of the first result on Google at over 1,800 words.
What it means: Deepen your core content. Fill it with more useful information to provide constant value to your audience.
- Backlinko also saw long-form content receive 77 percent more backlinks than short content.
What it means: Invest in long-form content between 1,000 and 2,000 words long.
- The average length of a top-ranking YouTube video is just under 15 minutes.
What it means: Even in video, long-form content wins. The sweet spot for videos is about 12 to 15 minutes. The ROI from long-form content is worth the time and effort.
- In the past year, local search terms have surpassed regular terms in popularity by 313 percent.
What it means: Include local search terms in your keyword research. In other words, instead of “what is open,” use “what is open near me.”
PR Statistics and the Way Forward
Allow these PR statistics to guide your business or marketing strategy. As you move forward, consider these key takeaways from the information above:
- After upheaval and uncertainty, people are hesitant to trust.
- To build consumer trust, give your employees a voice and treat them well.
- Consumers value brands that are authentic, transparent, and purpose-driven.
- During the pandemic, consumers need affordability, stability, and safety.
- Journalist pitches should be short, personal, and intentional.
- Influencer marketing will reign.
- With so many online users and shoppers, digital marketing will pave the way to success.
- Mobile optimization and social media should be prioritized.
- Personal, one-to-one email and video win in marketing and pitching.
- A well-documented content strategy is essential to gaining an advantage.
Numbers are just numbers—but they do tell you a lot. Use these insights to tell your 2021 story with confidence.