The biggest challenges for PR and comms in 2022

What were the biggest challenges for the PR industry in 2022?

Alongside a look forward to the trends coming up in 2023 for the PR and comms industry, we asked our experts what the biggest challenges were for the sector this year.

Read on for insight from Rachel Roberts, Stephen Waddington, Laura Sutherland, Barbara Phillips and more.

As economics fluctuated, the ‘people factor’ took a toll

‘Irrespective of many political, economic, social and tech factors which have triggered curveballs for us as comms and PR consultants to navigate through, the people factor is constant, said Rachel Roberts, CIPR president and Spottydog Communications founder.

‘Whether the market is in growth or detraction, we’re an industry of people not machines, so ensuring we have the right people to deliver against fluctuating client commitments has been difficult.

‘A surge in growth meant the summer saw a lot of people making the move to where the grass may have seemed greener. Carrots were dangled by employers in order to entice new team members to make a move, which coupled with the rising cost of living has meant some in our industry have benefitted from a decent salary swing, but this hasn’t been the case over in the public sector where there is less agility to review salary levels.

‘The cooling down of the economy has bought some of the runaway people costs back into more sustainable territory, but organisations that took on big increases in operating costs in 2023 may have a challenging time squaring the circle if facing budget squeezes due to a reduction in funding or client activity.’

Wadds Inc’s Stephen Waddington found the same: ‘Managing talent was a challenge. There’s been a shortage at mid-level created by the pandemic. This factor, combined with inflation and Brexit have created a bubble of promotions, pay increases and job moves. The economy will deflate this in the first half of 2023’.

With instability came a greater focus on integrity

‘While this year has seen great growth, we’ve also faced a recruitment challenge into the mid-range roles,’ said Aura and PRFest founder Laura Sutherland.

‘On top of that there has been a lot of chopping and changing of jobs which has seen some instability in teams.

‘Having judged a number of awards again this year, we continue to face a challenge when it comes to strategy and measurement; two crucial elements to demonstrate the value of our work and again, very disappointed in the ‘add-on’ approach many continue to take.

‘Then there’s ESG (Environment Social and Governance), an area which I largely focus. Greenwashing is rife and we now have the regulations coming in to help combat this. Organisations continue to try to do ‘things’ but unless ESG is integrated at the heart of the organisation and the ‘S’ and the ‘G’ are seen as equally, if not more, important than the ‘E’, we’ll continue to do things that don’t have the impact they should and could. It’s absolutely our role to advise our organisations, businesses and clients on this and public relations and communication professionals need to add this to their list of priority learning areas for 2023, if they haven’t already.’

Earnest intentions were not enough on inclusion

‘As Chair of PRCA’s Race & Ethnicity Equity Board, I am still laser-focused on racial equity and broader inclusion,’ said Brownstone’s Barbara Phillips.

‘With that particular lens, I would say the continued lack of meaningful (as opposed to performative) action in this space was and continues to be a challenge. I have judged a couple of awards this year (thanks for including me) where very little had changed in organisations from the year before. And although the entries were very earnest in their intent, a couple were just that; intentional, or even aspirational. But not factual. I always check the team photo and… you know the rest. So, the challenge isn’t the pipelineUK Black Comms Network and People Like Us are bursting with talented members, and I have personally coached a few agencies on recruitment. The challenge is the industry slipping back into its comfort zone where agencies and comms teams don’t feel anything is broken so aren’t planning to fix it.’

AI advancements were met with excitement and trepidation

‘I think one of the biggest challenges that those in PR face is also one of the industries’ greatest strengths, that it’s so difficult to stay on top of the wave of innovation,’ said Justin Fox, digital PR & outreach manager for CoursesOnline.

‘For example, the last year has seen a big uptake in the amount of campaigns that make use of AI artwork, as more and more free and easy-to-use tools have become available. PR campaigns have of course seized upon this, given the opportunity to generate unique and striking visual content, but what happens when these innovative approaches become mainstream?’

The legacy of COVID continued to put pressure on the press and PR

‘One challenge we continue to face is the increasing workload of journalists which means that getting hold of them can still be tricky, said Source PR senior account manager Jessica McDonnell.

‘Before Covid, I was in regular contact with journalists over the phone, but it feels like this level of contact has never really returned to normal pre-pandemic levels, and I don’t expect that to change in 2023.

‘I also think with businesses possibly tightening their purse strings, budgets will continue to be stretched for the next year or two, which could be challenging for PR agencies and in-house comms professionals. I think the battle to attract and retain talent in the industry will remain.’

For Fizzbox’s head of marketing Tom Bourlet, brighter times are on the way:

‘For many industries, the subjects their business focused on were either less appealing for journalists during lockdowns or were overshadowed by more important news pieces. However, the rejuvenation of a number of industries over the past six to 12 months means that many of these companies are now increasing their marketing and PR budgets and there are plenty of opportunities available. For our company, writing about events and activities during Covid, it was hard to escape the negativity – 2023 certainly looks a lot brighter.’

Read more from industry experts on the big trends you need to be planning for in 2023 as well as the good, the bad and the ugly of PR and comms this year. 

The good, the bad and the ugly of comms and PR in 2022

The good, the bad and the ugly of comms in 2022

Which brands, high-profile personalities and politicians have done a good job on their comms and reputation management this year?

To find out who and what have been naughty or nice this year, we asked the experts for their thoughts (since Santa is busy with his own lists this time of year)…

Rachel Roberts, CIPR president and Spottydog Communications founder

2022 in review:
‘Clients are telling me that they now realise they had their fingers burnt by cutting comms so quickly in response to COVID. It means they are more prepared to keep investing in people and external comms resource in tighter times because the hangover from a temporary pause or activity reduction in 2020 and 2021 means they don’t want to go round the same cycle again. Overall for comms it means the covid era has resulted in greater recognition for the value we create.’

Great comms this year:
‘The communications clout of the Lionesses has helped to inspire the nation. Clearly a great performance on the pitch will always have provided a great catalyst for the Lionesses to reach an even bigger audience, but their genuine and authentic communications style has garnered affection, interest and engagement for Women’s Football in a way that has always been realised on the back of other sporting success stories.

…however…
‘On the flip side of the coin, the way some brands managed comms around the death of HM Queen felt a little disingenuous, going through the protocol motions to pay respects rather than a genuine and authentic reason to pay tribute. If a brand doesn’t have a real reason to engage, it’s better to say nothing rather than virtue gesticulation.’

Sarah Scholefield, PRCA chair and Grayling’s global CEO

2022 in review:
‘Business leaders’ perception of PR and communications has soared in the last year. In 2020, the PRCA surveyed FTSE250 business leaders on whether they considered communications to be important for protecting and strengthening reputation. At the time, 82% said yes. Fastrack to 2022, and that figure has risen to 96%.

‘Further, in 2020, 68% of the same group said their communications provided strategic counsel to their senior management team.

‘This year, the figure has climbed to 89%. Communications professionals are far more respected and trusted than ever before.’

Barbara Phillips, chair of PRCA’s Race & Ethnicity Equity Board and director of Brownstone

2022 in review:
‘I was delighted when Joe Lycett made mockery of what we pretend is an open unbiased media. First, when on the BBC he poker-faced described Liz Truss as the ‘backwash of the dregs of the available Tory candidates’ then his money-burning stunt in regard to the World Cup and a particular British ex-footballer’s involvement. It was a win for PR because of the irreverence, creativity, and purpose combined. The message was heard. I know there is enormous creative talent in our industry and it shows that being more diverse in recruitment and subsequent opportunities will yield far more impactful results. Our industry wins when we advise our clients through the lens of humanity rather than profit. They are not mutually exclusive.’

A comms winner this year:
I’m giving that to Sir Lewis Hamilton. The travesty that was Abu Dhabi Yas Marina 2021 [an F1 Grand Prix race] would have destroyed most athletes. Barbaric, naked racism. But not Sir Lewis. He fell silent on social media for three months, unfollowed everyone (millions). Instead of a justified rage, he let his fans and supporters do the talking. His fan base contributed to the FIA response and although there was no admission of wrongdoing the main person involved was removed. Sir Lewis then returned with enhanced GOAT status and with a few hundred thousand more followers to add to the 26m+. He is still the iconic face of F1 rather than the current F1 champion. Without uttering a word. That is some powerful reputation.’

Must do better:
‘The UK Government and the Royal family share the bottom slot. Clearly both are just playing to their gallery because whoever is running their PR and comms must see the broader negative impact of the messages and method of delivery. I don’t get the sense that anybody actually cares. Extraordinarily poor from “professionals”.’

Stephen Waddington, founder and managing partner of Wadds Inc

2022 in review:
‘The public relations sector has continued to see growth and salary increases, created by demand and a shortage of talent.’

For who did not have a good 2022:
‘The UK Government failed us. FIFA had an own goal. Qatar proved the case for sportswashing.’

Laura Sutherland, Aura and PRFest founder

2022 in review:
‘This has been another great year for brands and organisations recognising the need for public relations and communication.

‘But as for the sector as a whole, I’m not entirely sure we’ve had many wins. We’re still terrible at EDI, we still underpay women and minorities, we still talk in echo chambers and we continue to disguise our weaknesses rather than identify and change.

‘There are some great pockets of communities existing out there, like PRFest and Socially Mobile, but our industry seems so fragmented. These communities exist and thrive due to personal relationships and this is our industry’s biggest opportunity, to grow communities.’

Favourite comms and campaigns of 2022:
‘I love the Asda Christmas ad, but the John Lewis ad really hit the mark and showed that it understands people.

The recent Women’s Aid campaign, ‘He’s Coming Home’, is brilliant and really drives awareness of domestic abuse.’

For who has not done so well in the reputation stakes this year…
‘I mean, Elon Musk. His personal brand is questionable and his reluctance to employ a public relations specialist/team is standing out like a sore thumb!’

For practicing nice PR and comms in 2023, check out these 15 trends you need to plan for next year

This year's challenges for journalists

2022 in review: This year’s challenges for UK journalists

2022 has been a busy year for the UK media, with jam-packed news cycles, under-pressure news and features teams and a public in need of information (and adequate entertainment when things got tough).

We spoke to four journalists working across the industry to find out the main challenges they were up against this year…

Fighting to include every audience out there – Isabella Silvers, freelance journalist and author of newsletter Mixed Messages

‘I think an issue across the board has been keeping up the diversity and inclusion momentum that was sparked in 2020. How are individuals and brands ensuring that this remains at the forefront of their mind, and that they don’t slip back into old ways?

‘The cost-of-living crisis has also been a challenge for consumer-facing publications like fashion magazines – you need to be sensitive to your audience and what they might be going through while still providing inspiration, escapism and service-led features.’

Major news events dominating the media cycle – The Daily Telegraph’s features writer Yolanthe Fawehinmi…

‘There have been so many major events that have dominated the news cycle this year. I think sometimes as journalists we fail to give each story a fair amount of time, to ensure that readers are well informed, educated and kept up to date. I think also, since the pandemic happened and the cost-of-living crisis has crept up, it’s also been hard to sometimes find the more positive angles or stories to report on.’

Controversial sporting events and exhausting work – Sports Media LGBT+ founder Jon Holmes

‘The World Cup in Qatar has thrown up so many tricky talking points for the sports media – getting it right on balance, tone and cultural nuance while trying of course to engage fans through the actual football has been a test.

‘I lead a network of LGBTQ+ people in the industry and the demand for our perspectives has understandably been greater than for previous mega sports events. While that means more opportunities, it can also be emotionally exhausting, and that’s something that’s been the case for our trans and non-binary members, in particular, for several years during intense news cycles on trans athletes.

‘Social media abuse, the inconsistent nature of freelancing, and the long hours of dedication needed all continue to make this a career that is not always as appealing as it might seem.

Finding opportunities all year round – Hannah Ajala, freelance journalist, broadcaster and founder of We Are Black Journos

‘The biggest challenge for journalists in my sector this year has been finding opportunities that are not seasonal. That’s a lot of what the focus is for us at We Are Black Journos – especially as Black journalists take up so little of British journalism – it can often seem quite isolating when work is only temporary and not long-term, especially for more creative journalists/freelancers that work across all areas of journalism.’

For more from the UK journalism industry, sign up to our twice-weekly Media Bulletin, featuring interviews, news and all-around useful stuff.

Isabella Silvers, Yolanthe Fawehinmi and Hannah Ajala shared more about their work in our Journalist Voices By Vuelio event – watch the recording here or read our round-up for advice on breaking through with your story during busy news cycles. 

Find out more about Jon Holmes and Sports Media LGBT+ in our interview over on the ResponseSource blog

2023 trends in PR and comms

15 PR and communications trends you need to plan for in 2023

Budgets reaching breaking point, the promised post-Covid recovery that is yet to fully pan out and plenty of PR nightmares to contend with – 2022 was certainly challenging.

Yet in the midst of all this, the comms industry continued to bolster businesses, brands and important messages across the globe, further building a reputation as a must-have for organisations everywhere who aim to make a difference.

What will 2023 bring? Here are pointers from 22 PR, comms, marketing and public affairs professionals on the upcoming trends, challenges and opportunities to be ready for in the year ahead.

1. Perspective

‘Economic uncertainty means we’re in for a rougher ride in 2023 – what feels different is the heart-breaking social impact we’re seeing and the desperation that’s leading to people to take extreme action from activists to strikers. Take a step back and recognise that in the scheme of things some of our challenges may be molehills compared to those faced by other industries.’
Rachel Roberts, CIPR president and Spottydog Communications founder

‘Key challenges will be same issues that impact wider society: COVID-19, the conflict in Ukraine, and the climate crisis. These factors give rise to a series of secondary issues related to the economy, including inflation, interest rates and strikes. Finally no one has figured out a sustainable relationship between work and the office.’
Stephen Waddington, founder and managing partner of Wadds Inc

2. Integration and elevation

‘Budgets are potentially going to be stretched again – an integrated PR strategy is crucial to delivering bang for buck. It’s got to be all part and parcel of your sales and marketing strategy, multi-channel campaigns, content strategy, digital and so on. PR needs to demonstrate that is has more of a centre stage role to play than ever before in building the relationships brands need with audiences in order to succeed and grow.’
Rob Skinner, managing director of Skout

3. Personalisation

‘We need to look beyond traditional outputs and really start to consider immersive and personalised experiences. With changes in retail, tourism and leisure, even through to property use, consumers are looking for something more innovative.
‘People need to understand how things are relevant to them in order to make the change. Stakeholder mapping and audits are a key area to develop so campaigns are making real-life impact.’
Laura Sutherland, Aura and PRFest founder

4. Recruitment

‘Sadly, from my perspective, a key challenge for 2023 is still racism, racial equity and retention. Industry sources say the ethnicity pay gap has increased year on year to around £9,000. That means my white counterpart is being paid £9k more because they have less melanin and more privilege.

‘There are almost three times as many white professionals who earn over £50k than non white, but yet the number of Black, Asian, mixed race and non white professionals who entered the industry increased. The obstinate industry practice of not promoting or recruiting non white talent at a senior level means professionals from the global majority (a la Westminster Council) are willing to join our industry but don’t hang around for the racism and lower pay.’
Barbara Phillips, chair of PRCA’s Race & Ethnicity Equity Board and director of Brownstone

‘According to ICCO’s World PR Report, the challenge of retaining key talent is up 7% from 2021. There are several core elements to the recruitment challenge, but it often comes down to the ability to create a brand associated with success, personal growth, reward, satisfaction, and work-life balance. Economic uncertainty may tighten some budgets, but there’s opportunity for those organisations that put people at the heart of everything they do.’
Sarah Scholefield, PRCA chair and Grayling’s global CEO

5. Inclusivity and authenticity

‘Driving up knowledge and skills fit for the future. Calling out bad practice – whatever it is. A better understanding and inclusion of social justice will become even more important for brands and organisations to integrate in policy, decision-making and strategy.’
Laura Sutherland

‘Brands are likely to find themselves laser focused on the bottom line and therefore the promotional cycle of sales leaves marketing teams stretched, overworked and in tunnel vision. This isn’t sustainable and won’t build a brand that lasts. PR must work even harder to drive emotive campaigns and brand visibility within an organic capacity to maintain consumer traction and trust.’
Rachel Humphrey, founder of Brand Building Co.

6. A boom for budget brands

‘The main opportunities in 2023 will be for budget brands. PRs representing the likes of cost-saving and affordable businesses will see their efforts and results skyrocket next year, as the cost-of-living crisis becomes even more prevalent in the media landscape than ever before.’

‘It will become more and more difficult to secure placements for luxury brands. While there will always be a place for them in high-end publications, founder stories and building personal brands of luxury company CEOs through PR will prove to be an uphill battle, with national newspapers shying away from putting these companies in the spotlight.’
Georgia Gadsby March, co-founder and head of PR at Unearth PR

7. Networking

‘An increase in face-to-face meetings with journalists. The face-to-face meetings with the media dropped off a cliff since the start of COVID, but they’re finally starting to make a comeback.’
Tom Bourlet, head of marketing for www.fizzbox.com

8. Pivots

‘It is crucial that PR and comms professionals consider all campaigns and initiatives with the current economic climate in mind – poorly timed or insensitive campaigns could backfire and result in publicity for all the wrong reasons.

‘The financial climate also presents an opportunity however, with brands and businesses that seek a way to support and reassure consumers paving the way to receive a positive response. Viewing all activity through the lens of your target audience should be core to your campaign at all times, but it becomes even more critical during times of uncertainty.’
Amy Grantham, founder and director at Neon Brand Communications

9. Sociability

‘Online and mobile first – the media industry is continuing to migrate to online, even mobile-first consumption of news. The integration and amplification of news through social channels is something we can see increasing as we move into 2023.’
Mark Hayward, managing director of Sway PR

10. Purpose-based comms

‘Aligning PR with purpose. Brands should not shy away from talking about their purpose – it can do good through sharing and putting pressure on others.’
Rob Skinner

‘With the current state of the country (and the world) social consciousness is increasing – businesses need to take CSR activities to the next level and avoid greenwashing. This could lead to great opportunities to build that positive organic presence on owned media channels.’
Jessica McDonnell, senior account manager at Source PR

11. Upskilling

‘Personal growth is an area which I would hope those I work with take seriously. If you grow as a person, you can help grow as a professional and can continue to do good work. It’s about taking responsibility for that. No one is going to do it for you. And no one is too senior to grow!’
Laura Sutherland

‘We should continue to double down on professional development – like the training courses offered by the PRCA – to strengthen our position as trusted advisors on issues including ESG, diversity and inclusion, and emerging tech.’
Sarah Scholefield

12. Deciding on the data

‘To really stand out in 2023, what’s needed is a really strong understanding of data to go with the stories being told, in both text and image form. It’s easy for anyone to say “this and that is going to be happening” and make up their own facts, but PRs have a responsibility to tell stories that are as accurate as possible. Journalists, bloggers and whoever we speak to promote our clients will want to be confident in the validity of what we are sharing with them.’
Justin Fox, digital PR & outreach manager for CoursesOnline

‘Clients, like everyone else, will be looking at their bottom line and asking can they justify the current level of spend on marketing and communications? As a result, it will be up to those working in the sector to illustrate why their services remain so important, and to be willing to show evidence of how they are providing value for money at all times.’
Nick Owens, founder of WTS MEDIA

‘Robust measurement to show how PR pulls its weight and drives impact – showing brands how a hard-working press office can deliver results. Utilising data and insight and keeping up-to-date with what’s happening within your industry to know what conversations your brand has a right to be a part of.’
Alex Halls, PR, social and activation at HATCH

‘Demonstrate that you are actually providing real value to their clients and not just ticking over with opinion research – tracking sentiment of the public and what customers think and believe over time to ensure that policies and messages are actually shifting the dial.’
George Buchan, director of research at Charlesbye Strategy

13. Leading conversations

‘Thought leadership – media outlets, especially industry-specific ones, will be looking for this. With more complex topics, journalists will find value in more long-form content being contributed to them by other experts. This will be a massive time saver for journalists, who might not otherwise have the capacity or knowledge to speak on a certain topic.’
Mollie Haley-Earnshaw, PR account manager at Wild PR

‘Following a number of factors, such as Google’s EAT signals brought up through an algorithmic update, there is a much stronger focus on authenticity of the ‘expert’. It will become increasingly important for brands to create profile pages for their experts, highlighting credentials and qualifications to journalists.’
Clarissa Bloom, dating and relationship expert for www.thestagcompany.com

14. Content as king

‘As consumers become increasingly immune to paid advertising, effectiveness and ROI could further reduce. Content marketing, earned media coverage and other organic, non-paid comms could connect with audiences in a more authentic and genuine way.’
Phelan Gowing-Mikellides, business development manager at Digital Trails

15. Even smarter AI

‘A key challenge will be the threat of generative AI and combatting misinformation, particularly online. An area for opportunity and growth – the harnessing of tech to provide data rich intelligence that can underpin PR activity.’
Matt Wilson, media and public affairs manager for Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

‘Now more than ever, we’re seeing how technology can augment our current capabilities and bring clarity to the role of PR in successfully building brands. And as competition for the best talent grows, we also know that automation of basic functions is essential for any agency to insulate itself against a turbulent jobs market. Not only that, but it frees up said talent to focus on what only humans can deliver: creative solutions to 21st-century communications challenges.

‘None of this is new, but with a recession looming large and society seemingly in a state of perpetual unrest, the risk for many agencies is that they get left behind by newer, more agile market entrants who want to upset the status quo.’
Max Deeley, managing director for TDC PR

For more on getting ready for what is ahead for PR, comms, public affairs and politics, check out Vuelio’s white papers featuring advice and best practice from industry experts. 

What journalists want from PRs in December 2022

Trends for December: What are the UK media writing about?

The end of the year is in sight now and while many will be starting to wind down for the holidays, journalists are still looking to get those final few pieces of Christmas content out or starting to plan features for the new year.

The ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service enjoyed its busiest month of the year in November and a 4% increase in enquiries compared to this time last year. Below we have insights and analysis on what journalists covered last month as well as features they may need contributions for in the final few weeks of 2022.

Sign up for the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service to start receiving requests from the UK media straight to your inbox.

‘Christmas’ has been the top keyword on the enquiry service since September and it appeared in 17% of all enquiries last month. This has also been accompanied by two regular key phrases cropping up as well in ‘Christmas gift guide’ which was in over 4% of enquiries in November and ‘advent calendar’ which made up just over 1%.

Both the figures for the key phrases were down though compared to the trends we saw in October. PRs should still have an opportunity to get gift guides and advent calendars featured as many outlets and journalists will look to cover ‘last minute deals’ or even update or add to current gift guides.

The Women’s Interest & Beauty category received the most enquiries in November as journalists looked for beauty products to review as well as the trends in hair and cosmetics ahead of the Christmas/party season. The Consumer Technology category increased by 6% and, like the Women’s Interest and Beauty category, a lot of the requests were surrounding review products for Christmas. One enquiry summary was ‘Looking for tech products for the home to include in a Christmas guide’ while another wanted ‘Christmas gift ideas for tech lovers’.

These Christmas requests have come from a wide variety of different media types with 32% from blogs, 29% from consumer media and 22% from national newspaper/current affairs. Within the consumer media category, titles sending out requests have included House Beautiful, Mother & Baby and Closer while national press requests have come from the likes of the I paper, HuffPost and the Metro.

Keywords by media type

The caveat here is that a number of these requests containing the keyword ‘Christmas’ have also related to the cost-of-living crisis, as journalists look to offer advice and tips on how people can enjoy Christmas on a lower budget or where they can make savings. The key phrase ‘cost of living’ was seen in just over 2% of all enquiries and this in turn meant a large increase for the Personal Finance category as it went up 27%.

The breakdown for the cost-of-living requests sees the majority of them coming from national press/current affairs titles at 45%, followed by trade/business/professional media on 24% and then radio and television at 15%. This has included requests from journalists at the Telegraph, Daily Express, The Grocer and BBC News.

Away from the on-going trending topics of Christmas and the cost-of-living crisis, the new trend we saw appear in November was of journalists looking to cover the World Cup. However, they haven’t necessarily been looking to cover what is going on on the pitch and are more interested in covering issues that have surrounded the tournament. This has meant that categories like Media and Marketing (31%) and Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal (26%) have grown substantially.

Enquiries have mainly come from national newspaper and current affairs outlets and have included looking for ‘comment from a human right charity about Joe Lycett shredding £10,000 in a stand against Qatar’. Trade media have also released several requests, but looking instead at how the World Cup is helping the hospitality industry and the impact it is having on trade.

Overall, in November, the Journalist Enquiry Service was used mainly by staff journalists (58%) and freelance journalists (25%). Consumer media requests made up 37% of the service followed by national newspaper/current affairs on 27% and then trade/business/professional media at 19%. Journalists looked for a spokesperson or expert in 38% of all requests, with information for an article (27%) and review products (16%) making up the top three enquiry types. Eight of the top ten outlets using the service are from national press.

December should see Christmas and cost-of-living among the top key phrases again. This should in turn mean that the Personal Finance category performs well again as well as Women’s Interest & Beauty. With journalists now planning features for January and beyond, categories like Health and Food & Drink should perform well, with both Dry January and Veganuary coming up. The Sport category could also see a spike if England continue to progress in the controversial but widely-covered World Cup.

How to use data to prove the power of your PR

How to use data to prove the power of your PR

The full potential and power of good PR is often intangible, with no one industry-wide metric shared by every comms team. What kind of data is most effective to demonstrate the value of your work to your c-suite and clients?

The PRCA’s ‘Data Literacy in PR Report’ features essays from 11 industry leaders including Stephen Waddington, Andrew Bruce Smith, Orla Graham, Steve Leigh, Sophie Coley, Stella Bayles, James Crawford, Alex Judd and Allison Spray covering how data can make your PR successful.

Here are five takeaways from the report:

1) Decide on your KPIs from the start

‘Numbers and data analysis should play a vital role in every aspect of public relations. Every campaign should begin with goal setting and research and involve answering many important questions…’   Andrew Bruce Smith

The essay ‘What Numbers Matter in Public Relations?’ highlights the importance of setting your Key Performance Indicators at the start of a project. No one metric to rule them all in the industry? Then determine your own, and how to source relevant data that will inform your planning process.

2. Refine your processes throughout the campaign cycle

‘It is worth noting that measurement and evaluation works best when it is used as a process of continuous improvement. It should be a circular activity. We learn what works best so that we can refine and enhance plans and maximise the impact of available resources…’ – Orla Graham and Steve Leigh.

In ‘Design a Listening and Measurement Strategy’, refining and rethinking is promoted as an intrinsic part of any successful project cycle. Any starting framework is likely to grow and evolve as more data is gathered, allowing for exploration of additional KPIs where needed.

3. Listen to the right audiences

‘Once you’ve designed a measurement strategy, you need to find sources for that data. This presents new challenges; how to identify your audience and how best to extract meaningful data from them.

‘Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses. There is no definitive “right” answer. Choose the right approach for your needs by focusing on what you are trying to learn…’ – Sophie Coley and Steve Leigh

For finding the right audience, ‘Identifying a Public and Listening to Conversations’ recommends the use of surveys, social media and searches. Surveys can be useful in the planning stage, to measure impacts during a campaign, and in the post-project analysis stage. For using social media and searches, social listening can help – find out more here.

4. Push the limitations of the tools you use

‘Tools and tech stacks are increasingly important for the public relations industry. Despite ever-growing scope and complexity, there is still no silver bullet as every client has different objectives. Public relations can be used in many ways to achieve a broad range of outcomes…’ – Stella Bayles and James Crawford

‘What is possible to achieve with tools and what are their limitations?’ tackles the question from the point of view of both the tool user and the vendor. While tools can ‘bridge the data literacy gap’, they can also complicate things if not used correctly. Rather than relying on raw data that comes in a one-size-fits-all format, seek out bespoke reports that will provide accurate reporting for your particular project.

5. Translate your data to make the outcomes clear

‘No matter what kind of project you’re running, your sector (or specialism), chances are you have faced what many professionals dread: a wall of statistics, charts, and data points. A litany of information pointing you towards something. But what are you going to do with it all? Resist the urge to find a word cloud, throw it on a slide and give yourself a pat on the back. Instead, take a different path, start your journey to find an insight…’ – Alex Judd and Allison Spray

Reams of numbers and graphs can look incredibly impressive or utterly intimidating. Before presenting them to your management team, or scanning for meaning yourself, go back to the problem your project or campaign was trying to solve in the first place and link the numbers accordingly. As a PR, you already have the skill set to bring data to life and sell your story to any audience – even those making the big decisions on your team’s budget for the following year…

Download the full paper ‘Data Literacy in PR’ from the PRCA website.

For advice on integrating PR into the C-suite level, read our write-up of our webinar with Stephen Waddington, Dr Jon White and Rachel Roberts ‘Level up your PR career: Getting ready for management’.

 

Taylor Bennett Foundation appoints trustees

Taylor Bennett Foundation welcomes additional trustees to its board

The Taylor Bennett Foundation has appointed two new trustees to its board. Joining are FTI Consulting’s managing director Lena Ahad and Four Communications Group’s head of HR Marcia La-Rose.

The new trustees will continue their support – already shown in their work with FTI Consulting and Four Communications – of the Foundation’s aims to encourage and support black, Asian and minority ethnic graduates to start their career in communications.

Lena and Marcia will officially join the board of the charity from December 2022 and join existing members including Pinch Point Communications’ managing director Sarah Pinch, Taylor Bennett managing partner Matthew Wall, Brunswick Group director James Baker, Savills PR manager Kuldeep Mehmi, Google B2B Communications’ Jo Ogunleye, CBI chief campaign director Syma Cullasy-Aldridge and The PR Office’s managing director Marc Cohen.

Of the appointments, Sarah Pinch said:

‘As Chair of Trustees I was keen we appointed trustees who were able to support the board’s ambitious plans for growth. We want to increase our reach to young people; ensure we are changing the lives of more young people and also help the industry be more representative of society. The Foundation has a proven track record in improving diversity. What we do works. We want to work with more organisations, in-house and agency side, to continue to deliver.’

Lena Ahad commented: ‘I am delighted to be joining as a trustee of the Taylor Bennett Foundation to continue encouraging black, Asian and minority ethnic talent to pursue a career in communications. FTI Consulting is now in its sixth year of sponsoring the award-winning PR training and mentoring programme – so my trustee role very much feels like a natural transition into a strategic role while also supporting global brands at FTI Consulting. Now in my third decade in the communications industry, it’s extremely rewarding to see the next generation of diverse talent coming through the ranks and I very much look forward to supporting the future leaders of our industry’.

Marcia added: ‘I am absolutely thrilled to now be on the Board of Trustees of the Taylor Bennett Foundation which Four has worked with for some years now, and I hope I will be able to assist with the development and outreach of this fantastic organisation’.

For more on the work and aims of the Foundation, watch our previous accessmatters session with chief executive Melissa Lawrence.

 

Level up your comms career

Level up your PR career: Getting ready for management

PR is much more than just communicating the decisions of management – in 2022, PR should be involved in the decision-making process, right from the start.

Yet despite the proof of PR through times of crisis over the last few years, recognition and integration of PR into management and the C-suite is not yet a reality for many organisations How can PR break into the boardroom?

Exploring themes from the recent white paper ‘Elevating the role of public relations in management’, Stephen Waddington and Dr Jon White were joined by CIPR president and spottydog communications founder Rachel Roberts for our webinar ‘From tactical to critical: Why PR belongs at the top table’.

Here are four lessons to help elevate your PR:

1) The role PR plays in management is only becoming more obvious

‘At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I observed public relations elevated very firmly into management,’ shared Stephen. ‘I hadn’t seen the like before in my career, where PR was so valued.

‘Think back two years, there was that point where PR teams were part of daily meetings, part of the management function in terms of organisation, working from home and the supply chain; that complex environment.

‘I’ve learned that the impact of the pandemic wasn’t unusual in elevating PR. There are a number of situations where it is quickly elevated: crisis, credibility issues, media agendas, leadership. What is interesting in particular is how this role can be developed.’

2) Public relations needs to go beyond the aspirational to the practical

‘My starting point with this idea was in a meeting with a fellow faculty member years ago,’ said Dr Jon.

‘The standard text in North America used at the time, stated emphatically that PR is a management function. My skeptical faculty member, who came from a journalist background, said “Is that true? Isn’t that aspirational rather than reality?” And reality shows it is aspirational, currently.

‘In our discussion with Vuelio PR clients, only one in five are fully integrated into management. That is the reality – we would like to claim a place the top table, but we aren’t really there yet.

‘Every organisation has important relationships to attend to internally and externally – attention needs to be paid to these relationships and how groups are behaving – that is PR territory.’

3) Make use of shared skilled sets to get to the next level

‘ESG is right at the fore of management – organisations can’t just look at the economic situation they’re faced with, but social and governance issues also,’ advised Stephen. ‘As PRs, we have perspective to bring to that. Our opportunity is to bring a fresh outlook to decision making.

‘There are several ways to go about this. Most of us are used to SWOT and PESTLE analysis already, and that is well understood within management. I would suggest PRs use that to support their management teams. Once you’ve developed that, you can start to scenario plan.

‘How do we close the gap between PR and the board? Organisations are closely aligned across the industry – that one-in-five number is consistent in every piece of research I’ve been able to find, from the 80s onwards.’as

4) Demonstrate the value of PR to your c-suite

‘Value is what gets attention at the C-suite level; money does still talk,’ said Rachel.

‘The challenge of PR is that you can’t always see the contribution to the bottom line. In the 70s, the non-tangible aspects of the balance sheet were pretty low. CEOs, now, are about creating value – if we can demonstrate how PR can create that intangible value, we can get attention.

‘PRs come to attention for “doing stuff”. But we aren’t just the “doers”. We’re always thinking three steps ahead; the strategic piece. That has parity with the C-suite. We already have the same mindset as a great CEO or C-suite team.

‘There is so much more data now to demonstrate the effectiveness, though we can get caught up in that; the C-suite can latch on to data and want instant gratification. But in other areas, people know it takes a few years to get ROI. It takes some time to move the dial here as well. We have to have that long-term strategic investment.

‘But first, we need to get into the boardroom and adopt the same style as other professions.’

Watch the full From tactical to critical: Why PR belongs at the top table webinar and download the white paper From tactical to critical: Why PR belongs at the top table for more on this subject.

Which products are most likely to be bought second-hand this Christmas?

In effort to support Brits with the cost-of-living crisis, national coverage on how to budget for Christmas has increased by 486% since last year. Alongside this, discussion around ‘side hustles’ is up by 326%, with the resale of both luxury and high street goods as the leading topic of interest in this area.

During October, 186 national new sources reported that 60% of Brits plan to spend less this year. Furthermore, a widely distributed eBay report shows that 62% of luxury shoppers actively selling on second-hand sites have resold a luxury accessory for a profit. This rapid growth in resale is undoubtedly an international trend, with over 200 international newspapers across the UK and North America referring to it as ‘investment’, which some consumers ‘consider a safer store of value than stocks’.

Since the start of the cost-of-living crisis, the social acceptance of second-hand items has been widely discussed across general and retail-industry news. Between 27 and 30 October, the headline ‘Brits are no longer embarrassed to charity shop’ was syndicated across 89 national and regional news sources, while Oxfam were quoted 72 times in saying that ‘second-hand books are at the top of people’s wish-list’.

Key Takeaways 

  • Coverage on second-hand high-street/designer resale ‘side hustles’ is up by 326%
  • Research suggests Brits are no longer ‘embarrassed’ to purchase or gift second-hand items
  • Electric and cosmetic goods are some of the most likely to be refurbished or resold
  • Low-cost high street and supermarket items are producing higher resale profit than luxury items
  • National outlets are most interested in how brands are entering the resale market, whereas local/regional outlets are engaged in specific case studies of consumers budgeting and third-party resellers

Why are consumers rushing to resell low-cost items?

While the resale of luxury goods is gaining record-high interest, it is not the only sector affected by the dovetailed growth of inflation and independent resellers. Second-hand high street products are receiving a   significantly higher level of coverage, with national publications particularly interested in specific examples of high profit margins on low-cost items.

For example, Aldi’s ‘Kevin the Carrot’ toy caused the second-biggest upsurge in low-cost resale coverage throughout November, when 222 national and regional articles reported consumers successfully reselling it on eBay for up to £1,000. Similarly, 168 regional and local news sources wrote of how Primark’s Stranger Things range has returned to stores after reselling for up to £150.

Share of Voice: Top 5 resale brands

*Data analysis of all second-hand UK brand coverage with mention of the cost-of-living crisis or luxury/high street resale between 17 Oct – 21 Nov.

Over the last month, eBay has continued to lead the conversation around both luxury and high street resale. While 38% of coverage is a passing mention, 52% was positively attributed to the brand’s new pre-owned store in New York – where consumers can use ‘luxury as currency’. This term was featured in 92% of the total 686 UK headlines, which later evolved into a phrase used by international publications for the wider movement towards luxury resale.

Meanwhile, both Vinted and Depop’s coverage was between 40% and 50% passing mentions, while 32% of all resale brand coverage mentioned them both within the body of the article. Some of the most common examples were case studies in general news publications and research articles in PR and comms outlets. The overarching theme has been how both brands offer quality and affordable Christmas gifts in the cost-of-living crisis, which leveraged an 88% positive sentiment rate on this coverage.

Which brands are most mentioned within resale coverage?

*Data analysing mentions of all luxury and non-luxury brands within second-hand and resale coverage between 17 Oct – 23 Nov.

The risk behind refurbs

Since 17 Oct, the Vuelio Insights team has identified 1,862 articles discussing resale products across UK news and industry publications. Within 8% of this coverage, consumer charity Electrical Safety First (ESF) were quoted in a widely repurposed article titled ‘Cost of living pushes shoppers towards second-hand electrical goods, says charity’.

Furthermore, Dyson was most often mentioned as the product worth buying second-hand. For example, ‘Refurbished Dyson airwraps on sale at eBay in time for Christmas gifting’ was published by The Independent on 21 November and has been syndicated 102 times since. Dyson is the certified seller of these refurbished products, meaning this coverage is not as much of a loss to the brand as if it were a third-party seller. However, because of this peak in refurb interest, local and regional outlets have started picking up on ‘horror’ stories on the most sought-after brands. Almost 200 articles with similar headlines to ‘Ebay won’t refund my £475 faulty  Dyson airwrap’ and  ‘Amazon Prime Day £35 hair styler shoppers say is ‘much better’ than Dyson Airwrap’ have ultimately outweighed Dyson’s positive coverage as a certified eBay seller.

The CEO of second-hand tech seller Back Market has been heavily quoted in coverage around electric resale, stating that its ethos is to close the ‘trust gap’ and ‘make refurbs cool’.

Third-party partnerships

As for the fashion brands mentioned within resale coverage, 86% of the discussion is tied to global retailers partnering with third-party resellers as a means to offer second-hand luxury items. While many designers refuse direct distribution of their products, over 448 publications across general news, fashion and beauty have reported on the growing availability.

For example, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, Prada and Gucci were mentioned in 289 headlines between 16 Oct – 30 Oct when Amazon announced it would be listing the brands’ bags as part of its Luxury Store launch, through second-hand distributor What Goes Around Comes Around.

Amazon was not alone in its well-timed partnership, in among this courage Primark was also praised for a similar launch. Between 18 Nov and 23 Nov, 82 news and fashion publications shared 106 articles about the high street store’s ‘WornWell’ collaboration with The Vintage Wholesale Company. As a result, brands often spotted there such as Burberry, YSL, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Converse, Levi’s and Dr. Martens have all received a significant upsurge in passing mentions.

Competitor strategies

In a bid to compete with the likes of eBay, many high street brands have attempted to regain control by promoting or launching their own resale and refurb lines. For example, Zara received a significant peak in coverage from 18-28 Oct following the announcement of its repair and resale shop ‘Pre-owned’. Similarly, Coach was mentioned in 86 regional outlets 26-28 Oct, following the opening of its London pop-up ‘Tomorrow’s Vintage’.

On the other hand, some brands are opting to take the consumer-led route. For example, local and regional outlets have used the phrase ‘Bargain Box’ in 102 headlines since 20 October, referring to return palettes that can be bought from John Lewis, Argos and Very. M&S is leading coverage around fashion rental, a proactive peak in coverage at the beginning of November following a successful press release on ‘putting value and versatility at the heart’ of its rental collection. This quote was used in 56% of the total 202 national and regional news articles until 5 Nov.

What are the most common types of coverage?

*Data analysis of all luxury and non-luxury brands within second-hand and resale coverage (1,862 articles) 17 Oct – 23 Nov.

Since 17 Oct, the highest-reaching resale coverage has been produced by general news, celebrity/gossip magazines, tech and business publications. Aside from the wider industry discussion of ‘luxury as currency’ and high street resale strategies, product reviews were one of the most prominent article types and are up 62% from 2021. These articles are comparative in nature by putting a luxury product against a budget alternative, i.e. ‘Aldi shoppers rave over Le Creuset dupe’. Alongside Dyson, brands like The North Face, Adidas and the White Company were found within a collective 369 articles similar to this.

Case studies have also increased by 8% since last Christmas. The cosmetics industry has gained the most awareness within this coverage, primarily due to headlines like ‘Makeup Artist saves hundreds buying second-hand makeup on eBay’ which was shared 86 times by local and regional news outlets. This increase produced an upsurge in resale risk for brands like Dior and Charlotte Tilbury.

Unaffected markets

Given the level of investment from second-hand brands and retail competitors, the rise of luxury and high street resale is not predicted to cool-off any time soon. However, this is not a call to action for all brands.

Unlike the pandemic, the cost-of-living is not a crisis that affects everyone equally. Over the last month, 16% of coverage approached the resale discussion from a wealth perspective. For example, an article by The Independent titled ‘Luxury goods boom in Britain as the young, rich and mortgage-free buck the recession’ explored how high-end watches are now seen as an ‘investment’, when they are purchased new by consumers for the purpose of profiteering.

James Ison, the self-styled Deal Maker For The 0.1%, was quoted 89 times within this coverage when he stated that that those who can afford very high-end luxury products appear to be ‘having a Yolo moment’ following the pandemic, often ‘spending five figures in an afternoon’. This consumer psyche also appears to take place outside of retail, such as the emergence of ‘The Lipstick Effect’ within the dining industry.

Vuelio’s Top 3 Recommendations

  1. Measure the crisis – Take some time to measure the impact of inflation in your target market(s). Following the pandemic, many brands have automatically applied another blanket crisis comms strategy to their entire audience, even though the degree of financial struggle varies greatly. If you are a very high-end luxury brand, the likelihood of consumers investing and profiting on your products is a greater risk than a visible loss in revenue.
  1. If you cannot beat them, join themResearch how prominent your brand is within resale media coverage and on second-hand sites. If you find your brand is at risk, the success of Zara, Coach and M&S’s rival lines suggest it would be better to invest in the trend than attempt to eliminate it.

  2. Prioritise sustainibility comms While cost-of-living is the leading reason for the rise in second-hand purchases, resale will likely hold value long after the economy stabilises. Over the past year, sustainability has transformed from an ethical preference to a consumer demand. It is the most-used word in relation to ‘The Rise of ESG’ and, as over half of Brits worry about the impact of Christmas on the climate, it will continue to hold an important place in the lifecycle resale trends.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

Vuelio is proud to be supporting AMEC’s Measurement Month – a month-long focus on best practice and new emerging trends in the measurement and evaluation of communication. Check out all the Measurement Month events here.

How to break into the news cycle

Finding a new angle: How to break through a busy news cycle

The cost-of-living crisis, ongoing changes in the UK Government, the invasion of Ukraine, the World Cup (Joe Lycett), the Royals – it may feel like pitches unrelated to these subjects will struggle to find a place in the UK media right now, but there is a place for every story if you find the right angle.

At our recent Journalist Voices by Vuelio event, The Daily Telegraph’s Yolanthe Fawehinmi, Marie Claire’s Ally Head and freelance journalists Hannah Ajala and Isabella Silvers shared the opportunities for PRs reaching out to the media.

Before trying a tenuous link to the topics trending in the headlines when preparing to pitch, step back and switch up your strategy.

Watch the full Journalist Voices by Vuelio event here.

‘I’m going to be slightly controversial,’ opened Ally when asked about the media’s focus on particular story threads right now. ‘Perhaps PRs think that’s the case… but I don’t think it is’.

Working on Marie Claire as health, sustainability and relationships editor, Ally has a wide-reaching remit but a very specific readership she is writing for.

‘There are so many different publications, stories and angles out there, but it is all about getting to know the brand and what would be relevant to them,’ said Ally.

‘Marie Claire is about female empowerment, so you can put that angle on a story. Last month I got thousands of pitches with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) angles, all with backing from doctors and registered experts, but I only got one with a first-person case study. It is finding that angle. If it is an awareness month, find something people might not be aware of.’

The lure of national newspapers, big broadcasters and high-circulation consumer mags are tempting when working to place a story – a front page or double-page spread in the Daily Mail/The Daily Telegraph/The Mirror/The Guardian is any brand or client’s dream – but extend your reach beyond them. There is a whole world’s worth of reporters writing for different audiences on differing topics.

Breaking into the news cycle very much ‘depends on where you are in the world,’ shared We Are Black Journos founder Hannah Ajala, who writes for publications all over the world.

‘This year alone, I’ve spent time in 15 different counties,’ said Hannah. ‘Pitching really depends on what is the main interest of the people in that country or society. Depending on religious groups, social class, what is trending – what the big story is in that country may not make global news.

‘You can find inspiration anywhere and social media is a really great place for tapping in without having to be there – hashtags are fantastic to use. There are so many ways of finding inspiration. If you are always on the hunt for an interesting story, you can find something.’

And on the topic of featuring in The Telegraph, Yolanthe highlighted the importance of paying close attention to audiences and determining what they will want to read.
‘I’m a features writer, so with features it is about putting a human face to a story,’ Yolanthe advised.

‘The Telegraph knows its angles and their audience is right wing – they know who they are; “pull your socks up” kind of readers. Work backwards from your intended audience. Over the past few months on my team, the focus has been politics, with the Government changing and the Queen’s passing. Those are big Telegraph stories – we didn’t write many stories outside of that. So know what the audience will need. What will dominate that publication’s news cycle?’

For whichever story you have to pitch, there will be staff journalists, influencers and freelancers who will find your contribution useful and interesting – just be careful to tailor what you have to their unique patches and working patterns.

As well as working on the branded content team at Hearst UK, Isabella freelances for the publisher and other brands including Stylist, Metro and Refinery29, and has her own newsletter called Mixed Messages. For her, pitching successfully is ‘all about the audience and what each brand is interested in’.

‘The Queen – everyone was talking about it, but Marie Claire would have covered it differently to the Telegraph. It’s all about finding what works,’ shared Isabella.
‘Menopause is such a big topic, for another example – Good Housekeeping and Red write-ups would be for an older audience, but for Cosmopolitan you would want a first-person piece on early menopause. Tailor your points for each publication.’

The ultimate aim for the media is the same as for PRs, whatever seems at first glance to be trending and taking over the news cycle – ‘All we want to do is create content for our audiences,’ says Isabella. Whatever content you have to pitch – find the right writer and an angle that will work for them and their audience.

Thank you to London Filmed for providing the AV for this event: Londonfilmed.com

For more on working with these journalists and advice on pitching to the media, watch the full event and check out our write-up on how Vuelio can help on the specifics.

Media trends in November on ResponseSource

What are UK journalists writing about? Media trends for November

Did you know that it is just 47 days until Christmas? The festive season seems to have snuck up on us this year but journalists and media organisations have been planning their Christmas content since August. The ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service has seen a steady increase in festive-themed requests over the last few months – here is a deep dive into what exactly the UK media were researching in October and are writing about now.

Sign up for the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service to start receiving requests from the UK media straight to your inbox.

The Journalist Enquiry Service enables the media to ask for exactly what they want from PRs, and around 17% of those submitting requests in October used the word ‘Christmas’. Particularly popular phrases were ‘Christmas gift guide’, of which there were 7%, and ‘advent calendars’, which made up just over 2%. These demands are only going to increase throughout November and probably into the first few weeks of December too, giving ample opportunity to get products out to the press for review and write-ups.

Keyword phrases for October

However, Christmas isn’t just about the presents. Food and drink is a massive part of the day and as a category on the service it saw a 5.5% rise from last month and was the second most popular category of enquiry for journalists. There were numerous Christmas requests within this and enquiry summaries varied from ‘Looking to hear about and sample the best non-alcoholic spirits for Christmas’ to ‘Looking to speak to a chef/foodie on what Christmas dinner items you can cook in the air fryer’.

The media is also finding different angles to cover the festive season including Christmas decorations. Consumer magazines banked plenty of responses from PRs with ‘Best Christmas and ‘Christmas hallway decorating ideas’ requests.

The other trend around Christmas requests in October came from both sustainable and low-cost viewpoints due to the cost-of-living crisis.

This ‘environmental angle got plenty of help for its journalist and the consumer title they write for:

‘I’m looking for suggestions for having a greener Christmas – from the most eco-friendly tree, gift-wrap and decorations (and recycling them afterwards) to sustainable gifts that will really make a difference.’

While this high-profile national press website wanted to connect with those planning Christmas on a budget:

‘Urgently seeking to speak to people who may be cutting back on Christmas this year amid cost-of-living crisis – whether that’s having a smaller budget for presents, cutting back on buying new decorations, having a smaller Christmas dinner with family, etc.’

The cost-of-living angle has been a big focus for the last few months – around 3% of all requests from journalists used this key phrase. Breaking this down further, 44% of those enquiries have come from the National Newspaper/Current Affairs media type. This has included titles such as The I paper, the Daily Express, Metro and The Guardian.

JES Keywords by media type

National press journalists have tended to focus more on getting experts and case studies to talk about issues such as the energy price cap, rising interest rates and the impact on certain industries such as the food sector. This has resulted in categories like Manufacturing, Engineering & Energy increasing by 23% compared to September’s flurry of requests.

Cost-of-living reporting is big among journalists writing for consumer media – 20% of requests used this key phrase, sending enquiries for more information, advice and tips on how to save money or reduce costs in the home. The Home & Garden category has seen an increase (6%) in use by journalists since September.
Radio and television have also been busy covering the crisis and made up 12% of requests in October. These tended to be more for personal case studies and secure location/venues to film at. 5 News and ITV News were among those broadcasters.

‘We are looking for a restaurant/takeaway affected by the cost-of-living crisis for a filming opportunity tomorrow. Especially interested in businesses which tend to use a lot of energy in the kitchen such as working with large ovens or fryers.’

The political instability in October had a major effect on the property market with mortgage rates rising rapidly – as a result, 2% of all journalist enquiries in October contained the keyword ‘property’. It was an even spread among the media types, with 36% coming from Consumer Media, 34% from National Newspaper/Current Affairs and 22% from Trade/Business/Professional media. Requests varied from seeking mortgage/property experts to case studies of first-time buyers to information on whether house prices would crash next year.

The Journalist Enquiry Service as a whole for October was used predominately by Consumer Media (35%) followed by National Newspaper/Current Affairs (24%) and then Trade/Business/Professional Media (18%). Staff journalists make up just over a half of users, at 55%, with freelance journalists back at 24%. Enquiries are predominately for a Spokesperson or Expert (35%) with Information for an Article at 24%, Review Products just behind on 22% and then Personal Case Study on 10%. Six of the top ten outlets using the service are national press.

November is likely to see Christmas requests increase even further while the cost-of-living crisis continues to be topical and should prove popular again with the Manufacturing, Engineering & Energy category as well as Personal Finance and Business & Finance. Charity sector PRs could be in demand in the next few weeks with Movember and Alcohol Awareness Week from 15 to 21 November. The ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service team also expect to see a significant amount of requests around Black Friday (25 November) which should see a spike for the Retail & Fashion category.

Want to receive requests like these from journalists writing about your topics of interest and expertise? Check out these 6 reasons to stop searching #JournoRequest and start using the Journalist Enquiry Service.

The Good PR Pitching Guide

The Good Pitching Guide for PRs

Bad news first: there is no one set of rules for successful pitching into the UK media.

The good news: most journalists are very open and upfront about the kind of pitches they are interested in receiving from PRs.

Here are seven very specific requests, tips and ‘more please’s from journalists featured in our Vuelio Media Bulletin – take note on how to give good pitch to journalists writing about general lifestyle topics, science, health, sport, disability, inequality, psychology and more.

How to pitch to Angela Malin, editor-in-chief of About Time Magazine and They Started It podcaster

‘Email me! Always. With a succinct subject line. Please don’t call me, it freaks me out. And only WhatsApp in an emergency (is there ever really an emergency in lifestyle journalism?).’

Read the full interview with Angelica on her topics of interest and what went into her book ‘Unattached: Essays on Singlehood’.

Punteha van Terheyden, Lacuna Voices editor and freelance journalist

‘Please email me directly. And if I’m not on your subscriber list for real life case studies and press releases (women’s interest, health, legal, relationships, etc.), please add me! You can see my portfolio of articles on my website.’

Read the full interview for even more pitching tips from Punteha, author of ‘The 10-Point Pitching Plan’.

Lydia Wilkins, freelance journalist and podcaster with Conscious Being magazine

‘The best way to get in touch with a story or other opportunities is to not email me, but to wait for specific callouts that I post on Twitter.

‘My inbox is… messy at the best of times, and things get lost, technology being technology. Twitter means I can reply as quickly as I can.’

Read the full interview for Lydia’s thoughts on diversity in journalism and inclusivity in storytelling as well as information on her book ‘The Autism Friendly Cook Book’.

Henry Gee, Nature’s senior editor, biology

‘You can contact me through my book website. My agent is Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary Management – you can email her through the same web page.’

Read the full interview for more on Henry’s experiences throughout his 30 years in science publishing as well as information on his book ‘A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth’.

Dr Josephine Perry, Cycling Weekly features writer, freelance journalist and sports and performance psychologist

‘I love getting story ideas or great case studies. I’m always looking for interesting things happening in sport, high performance or psychology. Any books on high performance or those written by athletes are great to receive for my website review section. Email me, or find me tweeting (far too much) @josephineperry.’

Read the full interview for advice on being successful in all your endeavours (including pitching to the media) as Dr Josephine talks about her book ‘The Ten Pillars of Success: Secret Strategies of High Achievers’.

Saba Salman, Community Living editor and freelance journalist

‘I’m interested in reporting the experiences and talking to people we rarely hear from, like someone who has a profound disability, or their family, or health and care support staff. I’m also interested in covering the stories of people for whom the cost-of-living might be harsher because they face multiple barriers or disadvantage, for example, due to race and disability.’

Read the full interview to find out more about Saba’s reporting of the cost-of-living crisis and disability issues for outlets including The Guardian, The Independent and Byline Times.

Sophie Smith Galer, senior news reporter for VICE

‘I’ll be honest – it is very rare that my stories come from press releases. But if you have something connected to gender violence, health misinformation, online extremism or the climate crisis and it’s about something going on in Europe, the Middle East or Africa you can email me.’

Read the full interview for how Sophia utilises TikTok as a reporting and sourcing tool and her book ‘Losing It: Sex Education for the 21st Century’.

Find out more about all of these journalists with the Vuelio Media Database and keep up with movements across the UK media by signing up to the twice-weekly Media Bulletin for PRs and journalists.

Even more tips on pitching to the UK media can be found in our white paper ‘How to Pitch to Journalists’ – download it here.

How to support your staff during the cost-of-living crisis

How to support your staff throughout the cost-of-living crisis

This is a guest post from Laura Oliphant, CEO of Stand, on what companies can be doing during the cost of living crisis.

Any help given to staff during situations like Covid and the cost-of-living crisis needs to be part of a positive and genuine work culture. As we enter the tougher winter months and energy and food prices soar, companies need to ramp up their employee support, going beyond free drinks and gift vouchers. Support has to be meaningful – nothing lands as badly as a token gesture, or support not awarded fairly across the business.

At Stand we aim to support our team from the day they start work with us, but as the cost of living continues to rise, we recognised more was needed. We decided to give a one-off payment to our staff. £800 split across two payments in October and January 2023 for those earning up to £30,000, and £500 for those earning over £30,000. Feedback on the payment was universally well received, particularly because it was announced months before government support was confirmed.

Alongside financial help, we introduced a number of smaller gestures in the office, including increased fruit and snacks, and additional breakfast supplies.

But support for teams must go beyond one-off gestures. We are constantly challenging ourselves to come up with new ways to show our team they are valued. We understand life can be tough, especially during times like Covid. After three lockdowns and other restrictions of the pandemic, we wanted to give our team better balance at work. Initially, we trialled a nine-day fortnight where every two weeks, everyone at Stand had an off day to spend how they wish. This has now been adapted into a 1pm Friday finish where we are encouraging our team to start their weekend early, or use the afternoon to do something creative or good for their wellbeing.

Wellbeing is particularly important for us at Stand. In addition to our annual £250 wellbeing allowance, we have trained mental health first aiders, free counselling and discounted gym membership and equipment through our private health cover. Everyone has a day off on their birthday, 2.5 volunteering days, creative time off to seek inspiration and the chance to take a sabbatical after three years of service.

The most important advice I can give alongside consistency and fairness, is introducing support and benefits that are co-created. Listen to feedback and try to read the room so you introduce support before people say they need help. But also have realistic expectations. Having a positive culture, a strong suite of benefits and giving extra support is not a silver bullet to recruitment and staff retention, but it is the right thing to do.

For more on the cost-of-living crisis and its impact on the PR and communications industries and their audiences, download our white paper Communicating the cost-of-living crisis… A guide for charities and the third sector.  

Digital PR with Vuelio

4 tips for mastering digital PR

PR has changed a lot since the early days of clippings books, printed features lists and heavy media directories either weighing down office shelves or stacked up under desks.

If you are very early in your PR career, you might not know what any of those very 80s/90s extremely cumbersome things even are – and lucky for you, you don’t have to. We are now firmly in the era of digital PR, so here is advice from Connective3’s guide to digital PR to help you navigate this Brave New World and nail it, too.

Download the full Digital PR Starter Pack from Connective3.

1) Learn from the best

The wonderful thing about working in the creative industries is that inspiration can come from anywhere – but industry-based inspo is particularly useful.

Keep up with big news happening in the wider PR, marketing, comms and media industry by signing up for newsletters from outlets like PRWeek, Campaign, The Drum and Vuelio to make sure you are always in the loop.

Want extra insight from industry leaders? Some extra advice from us – check out these 10 Top UK PR Blogs regularly sharing takes on new campaigns from big brands, as well as emerging trends you need to be aware of. And even digital PRs can benefit from more traditional publication formats – here are the best books for PR professionals to read.

2) Brainstorm

Blank pieces of paper, empty whiteboards and the open expectant faces of colleagues and clients – terrifying and not exactly conducive to creative thinking and ideation.

Connective3 recommend breaking down your brief before diving headlong into brainstorming. Remember at school when teachers would recommend reading all of the questions before starting your answer? Same thing here – decide where to start by reading over the key information first and keep your ‘why’ at the centre of your mind. Remember that no idea is ‘bad’ and try different approaches – writing, talking, different team combinations and session formats.

3) Download some data

Data can not only back up the points you are looking to hit in campaigns or content but can also help during the planning and post-campaign measurement phase.

Connective3 has suggestions for data sources you can tap including the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Freedom of Information Requests (FOIs) and YouGov while we can also recommend Media Monitoring (we happen to have that) to see how different media channels are reporting on your topics of interest. Social listening tools like Pulsar can also track the online conversations of your intended audiences.

4) Newsjack

With advice from industry greats, knowledge of what is happening in the wider industry, good ideas and decent data, it is time to find a hook for your story. Newsjacking, also known as reactive PR, is a useful skill for connecting your message to an issue already in the minds of the public and being covered by the media.

The Digital PR Starter Pack has a full list of Dos and Don’ts to take note of before you start newsjacking, but the basics just happen to be the building blocks of PR.

Back in the analogue days, much was done with press releases and/or the offering of expertise. Digitalisation has not changed this as a PR approach, especially for newsjacking.
Ready a calendar of events and awareness days happening throughout the year that campaigns can be pinned to. Alongside your calendar, prepare press releases with useful hooks and relevant links to the news you are hitching your story to as well as information journalists, broadcasters and influencers will need when reporting. Finally, ensure you share your releases with those who will find them useful – a media database can help.

Expertise is a valuable commodity for the media – in addition to the trusty press release, there are other online options for offering it out. Services like the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service enable PRs to connect with journalists asking for expert comment in specific niches, with no need for dragging out those dusty media directories of old.

Check out more advice from Connective3 in the Digital PR Starter Pack

Everyone has a podcast

Everyone has a podcast these days: 4 ways to be heard

While it feels like everybody has a podcast – you may already have at least three on the go in your spare time – there is no denying it is a valuable format. Podcasting is predicted to be a $4 billion industry by 2024, making it a platform with plenty of potential for brands and businesses with something to say. 

Considering starting a podcast, or want to steer a client in the right direction/away from producing something only their friends and family will listen to? Take advice from the experts. Here are tips from media professionals at brands including The Times, BBC Good Food and Women’s Running shared during this year’s Publisher Podcast Summit.

1) Be genuine

Unlike super-slick radio programming, podcasting should be more direct and friendly with listeners. Build a genuine bond with your community – or a useful parasocial relationship with the consumers you want to engage – with authenticity.

One instant way of doing this is to utilise existing camaraderie on your team, like Women’s Running editor Esther Newman, who found success and extra listeners by teaming up with co-host Holly Taylor for her podcast.

‘Your audiences will quickly become invested in you as people if they enjoy the conversations that you’re having,’ is Esther’s advice.

2) Branch out and do something different

Yes, there are many podcasts out there already. What gets attention in a noisy space is something you already know a lot about from your comms experience – telling a story in a new way.

A podcast is ‘a really powerful storytelling tool’ believes Big Issue’s future generations editor Laura Kelly. For Laura, the format provides a way to ‘reach out to marginalised voices’ and tell stories your audience may not have heard before, or provide a new twist on something they are familiar with. A podcast also allows for a deeper investigation and investment in a story:

‘You need a strong story with twists and turns,’ advises The Times and The Sunday Times podcast producer Will Roe. ‘It needs a decent central figure as well as an idea of the wider theme – what does this story actually mean?’

3) Turn off the business brain for a while

Building a following for a podcast is the same as building a community around any other form of content – too business-focused and you can lose the interest of those who took the time to tune in.

Approach a podcast as ‘a full package thing, rather than just a promotional tool to get your voice out there,’ says Wondery Media producer Theodora Louloudis.

The extra time and effort needed to produce a podcast can be a labour of love – an opportunity to flex muscles you may not otherwise get the opportunity to use during regular comms work.

4) Remember the audience out there

Recording a podcast can be an opportunity to showcase other communications skills and snap up new audiences… or a fast-track to self-indulgence and boredom for those listening in. Producing podcasts in isolation frequently leads to friendship groups thinking their conversations about cinema are of interest to those other than them. Frequently, they are wrong.

To avoid this pitfall, steer clear of giving the microphone to any team members who are overly keen to talk over others (we all know someone like that) and consider adding in plenty of guest speakers and interviews with people in your industry.

Alongside respected thought leaders, showcase those people ‘whose story has not been told, or who has got something really interesting to say that you might not have heard before,’ advises Janine Ratcliffe, deputy editor of olive magazine and BBC Good Food.

There are plenty of interesting voices to showcase out there and topics to cover, all while further building your brand in the background…

For advice on the benefits and pitfalls of parasocial relationships in communications and marketing, check out our overview of how big brands are doing it.

Not sure if podcasting or radio is the direction you want to go in for your brand and clients? Read this guest post from Broadcast Revolution’s Phil Caplin ‘Is radio or podcast better for your campaign?

3 reasons to get started with Web 3.0

Do robot-dogs dream of the metaverse? 3 reasons to get started with Web 3.0

What technology is disrupting the creative industries and shaping the future of the media right now? If all the excited industry reporting and write-ups devoted to it is to be believed, a major disruptor and area of opportunity is the metaverse, or Web 3.0.

As with the emergence of Web 2.0 before it, the media and the PR sector are busy investing, ignoring or desperately trying to understand Web 3.0 and whether it is actually useful for campaigns and comms. Should you be investing time, resources and brain space to the metaverse?

According to Deloitte’s chief disruptor Ed Greig, backed up by his robot dog Chip, the answer is yes. During the session ‘The tech disrupting the future of media: Metaverse, VR and more…’ for Media Tel’s The Future of Media, Greig shared why proven capabilities with the metaverse are must-haves for communicators.

The metaverse is the attention grabber du jour

After demonstrating Chip the robot dog’s ability to traverse stairs backwards, Greig admitted the robot’s links to the subject of his panel talk with host Omar Oakes were ‘tenuous’ at best but that ‘a robot is a useful tool for getting attention’. Capabilities with the metaverse and Web 3.0 is the same – a way to get attention.

The metaverse is a regularly-covered topic in industry reads like PRWeek, Campaign, The Drum and our own PR Pulse. It is a subject of great skepticism, suspicion and excitement. Your clients or brand mates will likely have heard something about it, or if they have not, it is a shiny new potential to tempt them with. Particularly if they want to engage Gen Z or the even younger Gen Alpha.

Web 3.0 is another way to connect and engage your audience

‘A greater degree of human connection is very powerful’ said Greig – when all the hyperbole about emerging technologies is stripped away, the metaverse is, in essence, another ‘opportunity for people to interact with others and be themselves’. Authentic and immersive interaction – what is more powerful than that for a communicator?

‘The metaverse is another space for people to connect with their passions,’ Greig explained.

For those struggling with the visuals they have seen that may not look too impressive, Web 3.0 can be thought of as a more visual version of the chatrooms of Web 2.0 or the WhatsApp groups you have with your friends and family:

‘It is the internet, you know – just more immersive. If anyone says anything more complicated than that, they’re trying to sell you something. Or they’re bullshitting’.

‘The most useful way of preparing yourself for learning about Web 3.0 is to consider what you wish you would have known about Web 2.0 back in 2004. Just avoid making the same mistakes.’

Other industry greats are already doing it – but it is not too late to get started

Brands that have already successfully invested in and entered the metaverse include Nike – ‘Their approach was good and they are testing and learning – not afraid to kill something if it is not working,’ said Greig – and ITV. No boats have been missed, however – if you watched the recent Meta announcement of legs and feet in its own Web 3.0 platform, you know there is still far to go with its development…

‘We are always in a test and learn phase,’ said Greig when talking about the creative industry’s relationship with technology.

‘For my clients, Web 3.0 is less a solution, but instead a test, a new channel. Is your organisation adaptable for this new channel? If not, you are going to struggle. This is about honing your organisation to be able to experiment.

‘Fall in love with the problem and not the solution. Engaging with and understanding the metaverse is about educating yourself and staying agile; being able to pivot when you need to. This is the really important thing about Web 3.0 – an opportunity to stay agile.’

‘The tools communicators use are always changing, but the human need they address is the same. Think big, start small and test often’.

For a primer on Web 3.0, read our previous post on the subject How to communicate in the metaverse… Also, what is the metaverse?

Want to engage Gen Z? Download our white paper The PR Guide to communicating with Generation Z.

Will the Online Safety Bill keep journalism safe alongside its audiences?

Will the Online Safety Bill keep journalism safe alongside its audience?

News avoidance and mistrust in the media is at a high – perhaps no shock when considering the negative impacts of misinformation and harmful content to audiences across the globe.

Will the Online Safety Bill (OSB) – dividing many journalists and press regulators – ultimately be a force for good in the fight against misinformation and audience disengagement? Or could an increase in regulations for digital content come with blocks to free speech and disempowerment of a public in need of information?

Vuelio teamed up with Prospect magazine for the fringe panel ‘Does the Online Safety Bill support good journalism?’ during this year’s Conservative Party Conference to uncover the bill’s potential impacts and opportunities.

Chaired by Prospect’s Alan Rusbridger, the panel featured insight from speakers Damian Collins MP, Matthew Lesh from the Institute of Economic Affairs and Keele University’s Dr Laura Higson-Bliss.

While the OSB’s remit is chiefly to protect the public from online harms, every panelist acknowledged its complications for the media. In 2022, online content comes to its audiences through a variety of formats – not just news websites and streaming platforms, but their comment sections, affiliated and unaffliated social media accounts and private messaging platforms like WhatsApp.

Knowledge of the legalities involved in sharing stories on social media channels is already a must-have for reporters wanting to avoid missteps that could be ruled as criminal, and the UK publishing industry already has legal regulations in place – where will journalism benefit from the Bill?

Holding social media to account

‘Everyone around the world is trying to grapple with this problem of online harms,’ said Collins – Minister for the Bill and a member of the Facebook Oversight Board.

‘There is a debate on whether Facebook is a platform, or a publisher. The users are creating the content here, but the key area is liability – the curation of the experience. Companies – the platforms – have responsibility for that. These are business decisions companies are making and should be held responsible for.’

‘There is accountability and liability already within the media industry – the editor of a newspaper has personal liability for what is in it, even the adverts. The addition of liability elsewhere would be a significant improvement for journalism’.

Where the current lack of these regulations fails the media, according to the MP, is in the danger of companies removing whatever content they want, when they want – the possibility of free speech being impinged while harmful content could be missed, left online and easily accessed.

‘Tech companies hide behind public statements that are very unclear. Companies make promises, but do those promises reflect what is actually going on?’

Using the example of YouTube’s removal of the TalkRadio show, Collins highlighted the nature of news as timely; arbitrary strikes and takedowns by businesses outside of publishing can remove time-sensitive news until it is no longer of use or interest.

‘For the news industry, the ability for platforms to start striking things down is very damaging,’ said Collins.

Freedom of speech: A unintended casualty of the Online Safety Bill?

Keele University’s Dr Laura Higson-Bliss raised the ambiguity of the bill, particularly around content deemed ‘awful but lawful’.

‘I have issues with a governing body telling adults what is harmful to them. How do we enact change in society if we create separate echo chambers? How can we then challenge those views? It is important that we protect that ability to challenge in the open,’ argued Higson-Bliss.

‘The Government say the goal of this Bill is to make the UK the safest place to be online, but that comes at the cost of visibility and self-expression,’ believes the Institute of Economic Affairs’ Matthew Lesh.

‘By aiming for safety, we are sacrificing our basic ideals of free speech. This will have a number of unintended consequences – I think it is the intention of the Bill to actually encourage removal. When you threaten companies with fines, what you’re doing is lowering the threshold for removals of content. You’re baking-in the removal of legal speech’.

Journalism as a protected class

Whether journalism does require more protection than views expressed by the public on digital platforms was a concern expressed by Higson-Bliss and Lesh during the discussion.

‘The media can create as much harm as social media, yet it will have protections in this Bill,’ said Higson-Bliss. ‘We need to look at it again’.

Lesh added: ‘I think it is fundamentally unfair to have a privileged class on social media, just because they happen to be a publisher of a mainstream British newspaper. The best way to protect journalism here is to rescope the whole bill and protect everyone’s free speech. Journalists are not more entitled to free speech than the rest of us’.

There are more perspectives from journalists and the media in our Insights analysis of why journalists are worried about the Online Safety Bill.

What PRs need to know about the future of journalism

What PRs need to know about the future of journalism

Journalism is evolving – the PR and comms industry needs to keep up. Check out these five takeaways from the Press Gazette Future of Media Technology Conference to stay ahead of the pace of change in the media industry and thrive in the digital future.

1) Locally-based spokespeople can rebuild trust

‘Quality, regulated, trusted journalism is the future’ – Rachel Corp, CEO of ITN
With news avoidance and mistrust in the media up, journalists must focus on rebuilding connections with their audiences. ITN CEO Rachel Corp in her keynote speech for the Future of Media Technology Conference highlighted the role that regulation will play in this, particularly when it comes to social media – an increasingly popular way of consuming news, especially for Generation Z). With ITN accelerating its digital plans, and Corp mentioning the ‘power of the simple vox pop’ and eyewitness journalism, locally-focused regional reporting with public voices front and centre is where the industry is likely to go. Being ready with case studies and spokespeople is where PR can help.

2) Brand affiliations are here to stay

‘Media brands are loved by people and they want to be part of that with branded products’ – Alex Wood, managing director, Europe at Forbes
People build connections with brands they trust, and this extends to the media brands they choose to engage with. Advertising, paywalls and licensing are well-established ways to grow revenue, but merchandising is where Forbes’ Alex Wood (revenue has grown by 40% at Forbes in the last year due to a consumer revenue focus) and Footballco’s chief executive officer Juan Delgado see potential. Authenticity with brand affiliations and mechandise should be a key concern.

3. Broader subjects will grab more attention

‘Young people are less interested in “narrow news” subjects’ – Nic Newman, lead author of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report
With 46% of the public – especially those Gen Zers – actively avoiding the negativity of the news cycle, the media has to pivot to cover subjects to pull attention and engagement back. According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, young people are interested in identity, social justice, mental health, culture and broader lifestyle topics – journalism needs to provide hope, empathy and dignity during the difficult times its audiences are living through. To help with this approach, the comms industry needs to be ready to work with long-form, solutions-focused and constructive journalists – find out more in this interview with Jodie Jackson of the News Literacy Network.

4. Publishers will be switching up data strategy

‘Companies are starting to take ownership of their own data’ – Markus Karlsson, CEO of Affino
With Google confirming the coming end for third-party cookies in Chrome, Affino’s Markus Karlsson believes publishers must prioritise a first party data strategy going forward and truly own their data. What this could mean for the future – one carefully-placed advertisement alongside editorial rather than five competing ones for a better return on investment. Switching up data strategies mean a need for PRs to switch up their media outreach plans, also.

5. AI will free up journalist time

‘Use the robots to do the routine reporting’ – Cecilia Campbell, chief marketing officer at United Robots
Regional reporting has suffered over the last decade, with shrinking teams caused by combined news hubs and the continuing toll of the pandemic on the media workforce. One way that local journalism can be revived is with AI and ‘robot reporting’, according to United Robots Cecilia Campbell. For her, data journalism and content automation means freeing-up journalist time by letting ‘robots’ produce regular content that can be automated, such as traffic and sport updates. What can journalists then do with the extra time? Cover stories of interest to them and their readers – plenty of opportunities for new stories and new engagement with all the audiences out there.

For more on engaging with the younger generation, as well as working with Gen Z journalists, download our white paper The PR guide to communicating with Gen Z.

Give journalists exactly what they need for their news and features by signing up to the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service and take ownership of your own data and track engagement for your future campaigns with Vuelio Media Monitoring.

A guide to the benefits of media monitoring for PRs

A guide to the benefits of media monitoring for PRs

Measuring the impact of your story across every platform you use to share it is a key part of determining traction with journalists, influencers and their audiences – media monitoring is how to do it.

Media monitoring services covering print, online, broadcast and social media can track the reputation of your business and even real-time reaction to your messaging. Here is how to do media monitoring, featuring tips for getting started as well as an explainer of the key benefits of tools like Vuelio media monitoring.

Understand every channel

The ability to understand the impact of your content across broadcast, print, online and social media means you can measure which formats are working for you right now, and which could use more of your focus in the future.

Print

Print monitoring allows for analysis of mentions in traditional press including national, regional and local newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, industry newsletters, trade journals and much more. Alongside this, you can analyse press write-ups alongside those online and on broadcast channels – meaning full visibility of current and emerging conversations and their impact on each medium.

Broadcast

Vuelio’s broadcast monitoring service streams thousands of hours of content from a variety of sources, allowing for easy editing and sharing. Mentions are monitored 24/7 across regional, commercial, international and national channels, giving an accurate representation of how your story is making its way across the news industry and hitting different audiences.

Online

As well as measuring your successes, monitoring across a combination of platforms means you can see how far your story goes, and where, including online channels. This can offer up additional avenues for your next campaign and ways to rethink or refresh your content creation.

Monitor competitors

With complete brand, competitor and industry tracking across a combination of media types, media monitoring can deliver the reports internal stakeholders and key decision makers will find most useful – including how you measure up against key competitors in your sectors.

Vuelio’s Executive News Briefing, a manual reporting service, delivers concise summaries of the news stories, industry updates and competitor information most important to you. This daily news brief is created by our analysts to summarise key coverage – yours, and those other brands you benchmark against – in one easy report.

Monitor the broader industry

Insights from media monitoring can inform your PR and communications strategy going forward by tracking trends across the broader industry you are a part of and work with. Prepare for any potential crisis on the horizon for your market, or opportunities for your business and comms team by picking up on topics you should know about early on in their journey through the press.

Subjects of interest for your brand are not the only elements worth tracking across the media. Evaluating media coverage to identify trends and insights means a deeper understanding of the reputation of your brand as well as the opinions of your consumer base. Media analysis tools can measure metrics including volume, circulation, sentiment and more to uncover the return on investment for communication campaigns.

After analysing what the press is reporting and the public are sharing, access a fully-integrated database of journalists and influencers, press release distribution services and advanced evaluation tools to follow up on the work so far, all in one platform.

Dive into digital channels

Modern monitoring goes way beyond the ‘traditional’ methods from PR’s past of newspapers and magazine clippings. Dive into all forms of digital media including newswires, digital publications, the big social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram alongside blogs, forums, website comment sections and other video and image sharing sites.

With access to both print and digital, it is possible to compare coverage across each to gain a full understanding of trends, as well as tones, used across different platforms. Vuelio online media monitoring offers unlimited keyboards and unlimited coverage for a flat-fee.

Watch for emerging issues and topics of interest

The media moves fast, so reviewing how your story is being reported in real-time is a must. Track developments across print, online and social media to ensure you pick up on all of the issues of interest to you, your brand, or your clients gaining column inches and shares across social right now.

For more on monitoring tools and making the most of them, check out our previous posts on the topic:

7 easy ways to measure your content
Top 5 measurement mistakes and how to fix them
How low media coverage can yield high value

PRCA survey findings on corporate reputation

PR and communications: Particularly popular with business leaders right now

A new survey from The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has found recognition among business leaders for the PR and comms industry following its role in supporting businesses through the tumult of the last few years.

Among the ongoing pandemic, the uncertainty of Brexit and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, PR and comms teams helped with business direction and focus as well as comms for external and internal stakeholders. To measure the impact of this, the PRCA surveyed CEOs and CFOs of organisations with over 250 employees in their workforces.

92% of respondents believe their communications teams played either a ‘very important’ or ‘important’ role in helping them through the financial and societal shifts since the beginning of 2020.

PRCA survey on CEO and CFO perception of PR

The survey was carried out by PR group Yolo Communications, starting in June 2020 and built upon by the Value of PR group.

Findings also showed:

– An increase in the strategic importance of the contributions of comms professionals (up 21 points to 89%), indicating the impact that crises and issues can have on recognising the value of having a capable communications function in place.
– That communications were ‘very important’ when it came to strengthening and protecting corporate reputation for 80% of respondents, up from just 39% who gave the same answer in 2020.
– 89% said that communications teams provided strategic advice to members of the senior leadership team, compared with just 68% two years ago.
– 62% said they expected their comms team to play an even more strategically important role over the next two years.

Strategic council from PR

Director General of the PRCA Francis Ingham said:

‘The PRCA represents more than 35,000 professionals worldwide and this study is further evidence of the valuable and important role that those individuals play every single day in directly impacting the business objectives of their organisations. What is more, business leaders’ confidence in their communications teams is expected to increase in the future. We should take a moment to reflect on this achievement and then continue to keep doing what we are doing.’

PRCA Value of PR Lead Adam Honeysett-Watts added:

‘There is no denying that most business leaders understand the value their communications teams bring to their organisations. While we hoped this would be the case, it is great to hear the feedback directly. The lesson here is that those businesses that have communications teams and plans in place are better prepared to weather a crisis and those that don’t are operating at a significant disadvantage.’

Find out more about the PRCA survey here.

For more on communicating during times of uncertainty, download our white paper ‘Communicating the cost-of-living crisis… A guide for charities and the third sector’.