Survey: Communicators pinpoint the hottest trends and tactics

Respondents identified storytelling, content marketing and ‘thought leadership’ as preeminent PR strategies in 2018 and beyond.

What keeps corporate communicators up at night?

According to a recent survey conducted by Ned Lundquist and Sword and the Script, paltry, unstable budgets would appear to be a chief source of night terrors, but that’s far from the only concern for communicators.

One hundred fifty-five respondents—mostly “senior in-house or corporate communications professionals with extensive experience in the field”—weighed in on which issues, strategies and trends are increasingly crucial or waning in importance.

The findings include:

  • Lower budgets, higher expectations. Sixty-three percent of respondents cited budget concerns as their top challenge, though 57 percent said they’re being asked to perform more duties. A majority (51 percent) said they expect their budget to remain the same over the next year.
  • Hiring and firing agencies. When corporate communicators hire an outside agency, most (54 percent) say they do it because they need an extra pair of hands. Another 50 percent noted that expertise or a specialty was a compelling reason to seek outside help. When communications agencies are fired, the top reasons can be traced to the trio of cost (79 percent), service (50 percent) and results (40 percent).
  • Hot PR trends and tactics. Respondents identified storytelling (79 percent), content marketing (71 percent) and “thought leadership” (67 percent) as the trends or tactics that will be most important in the next 12 months. More than 50 percent of respondents also see alignment with marketing, influencer relations, organic social media, infographics and executive speaking as increasingly important. The tactics seen as least important are press releases (34 percent), white papers (35 percent) and awards programs (39 percent).
  • Some communication tasks are getting harder. Fifty-one percent said the practice of media relations is getting harder; 50 percent said mastering organic social media is getting harder. Views vary on whether PR measurement is getting harder. Thirty-eight percent said measurement is getting harder, 20 percent said it’s getting easier, and 37 percent say it’s about the same. Technology is making digital channels easier to track, but having more metrics to monitor requires time and consensus.
  • Many are looking for another gig. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they’d be “open to new opportunities.”

To delve into the survey’s findings, scroll through this SlideShare, or read more about it here.

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