PRCA and CIPR launch mental health tracker for 2023

Annual mental health survey for the PR and comms community relaunched by CIPR and PRCA

To address mental health challenges in public relations, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) have teamed up once more for their annual mental health survey

In partnership with Opinium, the Wellbeing in Public Relations Tracker 2023 from CIPR and PRCA will aim to benchmark progress on mental health and wellbeing within the industry.

2022’s survey results found that PR professionals are significantly less likely to take time off work to rest and recover from poor mental health when compared to other UK professionals. One in five (22%) PR practitioners who experienced issues with mental health had taken time off from work in the last year, when compared to the national average of 41% across all professional industries. On a positive note, the survey showed a return to pre-pandemic levels of mental wellbeing scores.

CIPR Chief Executive Alastair McCapra said of the survey’s relaunch:

‘I’m very proud that both bodies have joined forces once again for this important piece of work.

‘The modest progress revealed last year is encouraging and demonstrates a step in the right direction but clearly much more is needed. By completing the survey this year you can help us identify where that action is needed. Too often, working in public relations can feel overwhelming and for too many, their relationship with work is the cause of poor mental health. That is unacceptable and unsustainable. We have a long way to go and I hope this collaboration helps move us closer to embracing a healthier approach to work.’

PRCA Managing Director Renna Markson added:

‘While last year’s survey did highlight a small improvement in mental wellbeing scores, which had returned to pre-pandemic levels, there’s still much work to be done.

‘Our industry is still a place where people have a lower quality of mental health than they should. Employers and employees alike have a part to play. Both our organisations are committed to improving mental health across our industry, and this survey helps us work out where our priorities should lie. We encourage our members to take part, have their say, and help to set a healthier agenda across public relations, communications and public affairs.’

Take part in the Wellbeing in Public Relations Tracker 2023 here to have your say. 

How to build authentic connections with Gen Z

From ethics to activism — are Generation Z who you think they are?

Our recent webinar How to build authentic connections with Gen Z explores the diversity of personas within the Gen Z audience and how brands and organisations can successfully communicate with this younger generation.

Leading the discussion and breaking the stereotypes will be Vuelio’s Insights Content Lead Hollie Parry who will talk us through our audience analysis and the results of our recent industry survey on engaging with Gen Z.

Which industries are successfully engaging with this demographic? What do they care about? And, in what ways have we misunderstood their values?

 

Fill in the form below to check out our webinar and learn 👇

  • Which media platforms and social media channels are most used by Gen Z
  • What the most common misconceptions of the Gen Z audience are
  • How having a tailored Gen Z strategy can help you access one of the most valuable audiences
October 2023 trends on the Journalist Enquiry Service

Festivities, fitness, and topical trends – what journalists need from PRs in October

It’s still nearly two months before we can open the first door on our advent calendars, but journalists and bloggers have already been looking to get their hands on them for reviews and features.

Wondering what else the media are looking for? This roundup of all the topics and trends on the Journalist Enquiry Service in September will shed some light and provide you with pointers for getting media coverage in October.

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

A flurry of festive enquiries

Christmas requests started to trickle through from July and are now the dominant keyword on the Journalist Enquiry Service. Last month, over 13% of the total requests contained the keyword ‘Christmas’. This is double the number we saw in August.

A lot of these requests have been for a ‘gift guide’, which as a key phrase occurred in 8% of the enquiries. While ‘advent calendar’ also performed well and there were just under 3% of the total requests looking for these. Journalists at heat magazine, MailOnline, The Sun and Glamour have used the key phrase ‘advent calendar’ while reporters at Town & County, Bella, Yours and The Guardian have sent enquiries for ‘gift guides’.

This will remain pretty constant throughout October and November, meaning plenty of opportunities to get products and samples out and covered in both consumer media and national press titles.

A strong showing for fitness

A keyword that you would normally expert to find in January that was prevalent last month (appearing in just under 3% of the total requests last month) was ‘fitness’, perhaps because of National Fitness Day on 25th September.

Some journalists were looking to get ahead of the curve with one looking for information on ‘Health, fitness and wellness events taking place in 2024’. Others were more focused on the here and now, as another journalist asked for ‘Fitness gear for fall: must-have equipment and apparel.’ This resulted in a very healthy 23% increase for the Leisure & Hobbies category.

A BOO-m for Halloween

We mentioned last month that ‘Halloween’ would naturally increase in popularity throughout September and that proved to be the case as the amount of requests doubled. This holiday is normally popular with children and the Children & Teenagers category saw a 23% rise as a result.

Journalists from the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Metro and Stylist.co.uk all sent Halloween-related requests last month. These varied from wanting suggestions for costumes, to events for adults and kids, to Halloween home decor ideas. This should continue to be a trend until we reach the holiday at the end of the month, so still time to get coverage in the media if you have products/events along these lines.

Topical trends – From AI to mental health

Seasonal events like Christmas and Halloween will always do well on the Journalist Enquiry Service, but what about the trending topics each month? 

‘AI’ performed strongly with just over 2% of the total requests featuring it as a keyword. This has been a trending topic for most of the year but could also link into legal issues for ChatGPT around copyright relating to ‘Game of Thrones’ and other media properties. The Consumer Technology category had the second biggest increase from August as it rose 24% – only Men’s Interest improved more at 27%.

Another trend that we have, unfortunately, seen for a while is around the cost-of-living. September’s focus has been on energy, with journalists asking for advice from experts on reducing bills ahead of the Winter months. ‘Energy’ as a keyword featured in just under 2% of last month’s enquiries. The Times, The i paper and ITV News all covered this topic and it should remain a keyword, presenting more opportunities to get an expert featured in the national media.

‘Mental health’ has been another key phrase performing well on the service, with World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September and World Mental Health Day coming up on 10 October. Enquiries around this topic are usually for experts or information and statistics. The Health category, which is regularly the second most used each month by journalists , saw an 8% increase as a result.

What are journalists using the service for?

The majority of journalists using the service in September were looking for a spokesperson or expert (34%). Review products was the second most popular enquiry type on 24%, with information for an article next on 22% and personal case study fourth on 11%. Most of the journalists were from consumer media (35%), with national newspaper/current affairs second on 26% and trade/business/professional media third on 18%.

51% of people sending a request were staff journalists, while 27% were freelance journalists – making up nearly 80% of the service. In terms of the top outlets sending requests, eight of them were national press and the other two were consumer titles.

Opportunities for PRs in October?

‘Halloween’ will see a final flourish as a keyword and ‘Christmas’ is likely to increase again as the festive season approaches. Both keywords present chances to get review products featured. 

If you work with experts and spokespeople, then health is the hot topic this month. As we mentioned, World Mental Health Day is coming up, as is World Menopause Day. It’s also time to celebrate Black History Month, so we expect journalists to be looking for comment. We could also see a boost for the Travel category, with the October half-term holiday in a couple of weeks’ time.

To start receiving requests from the UK media to your inbox, find out more about the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service.

Gen Z journalists

When, how, and what to pitch when working with Gen Z journalists

The first rule of PR is knowing how to engage with journalists. Knowing when to pitch, how to get in contact and what a journalist is looking for can help to build the foundations of a relationship. But what do the new generation of journalists like – and not like – when it comes to working with PRs?

We spoke to Livingetc news editor Lilith Hudson, Telegraph global health security desk journalist Lilia Sebouai, and woman&home senior fashion & beauty writer Amelia Yeomans to find out about working in the media industry as a Gen Zer, contact preferences, and the importance of social media.

Industry perceptions

Everyone has thoughts or ideas on what the workplace will be like before they start on their career path. Lilia’s perception of journalism mainly came from film and TV and this wasn’t the reality she was greeted with: 

‘I didn’t expect that I would be in an office everyday, I kind of expected to be out on different jobs in new areas each day, but this changed with the rise of social media.’

The importance of technology within journalism was picked up on by Lilth and Amelia. Amelia ‘didn’t realise how much of the industry would rely on things like SEO and e-comm, and how highly valued skills in those areas are.’ 

Lilith backed this: ‘Within lifestyle journalism and interiors as a whole, there’s been a massive move towards digital’ and that journalists therefore ‘have to adapt to producing the content’ as a result.

Getting in contact

All three journalists agreed that email is the best way to get in contact with them. For Amelia, it’s useful having everything in one place so she can then search for something specific: 

I look back through my emails all the time to search for experts or products, so an email with a clear subject line stating what’s in the body of the email is always appreciated.’ 

A lot of Lilith’s work is with the US and therefore ‘when it comes to commentary, it’s usually email responses’ that are the most beneficial.

The stereotype is that Gen Z don’t like contact via phone, but neither Lilia or Lilith were against it. Lilia said that ‘for articles with a deadline, it’s often best to just have a quick call’ as her work at the Telegraph is closely tied in with the news cycle. Lilith hasn’t had a phone call from a PR but will call switchboards for big PR firms that she needs comment from as she’s ‘not afraid to pick up the phone.’ 

However, for Amelia, phone calls are a definite no. 

‘We’re so pushed for time that I really don’t have a free minute to answer the phone – much better to lay everything out in an email and I will always get in contact if it’s relevant to what I’m working on.’

Relationship building

Establishing a good working relationship with PRs is as important to the new generation of journalists as it is to the current one. Amelia said that she will ‘speak to PRs daily for things like product recommendations and expert quotes, so if there’s someone I know well and know I can rely on that makes everything so much simpler.’ 

Lilia also recognised the need for good communication with PRs. She said ‘building PR relationships can be good for securing interviews with high-profile interviewees/guaranteeing us exclusive access to stories. I prefer face-to-face meetings for long-term projects like this.’

Lilith’s work has changed now that she is working more for a US audience but still thinks it’s ‘really key to have a real rapport and real relationship’ with PRs. She gave the example of how recently a few sources had not come back to her with commentary so she reached out to a PR that she had an excellent relationship with. She asked if they could get anything over to her within 24 hours and the PR did it within 12. 

‘If it wasn’t for the fact that she knew my name, and she knew to look out for me in her inbox, I don’t think that would have happened.’ 

This underlines the importance of building and maintaining a strong relationship with journalists, and showing that you are a reliable and helpful source when it matters.

Social media preferences

Most journalists, whether Gen Z or not, are on a variety of social media platforms. But should PRs be contacting them there? Amelia isn’t really a fan:

‘I really don’t like PRs contacting me through them unless it’s someone I already have an established relationship with. Once I know someone and have met them multiple times it’s fine for them to drop me a message, but I’m not comfortable with being contacted by anyone I’m not friendly with as my social pages are personal and I want to keep my work separate.’

That separation between professional and personal social media is where the lines can be blurred. Lilith agreed that ‘it’s kind of a difficult line to toe in terms of whether it’s a professional or personal account.’ She also isn’t keen on PRs reaching out to her on socials unless she is using X (formerly known as Twitter) for a quick comment with #Journorequest. Lilia will also use X for work, as well as Reddit and TikTok. However, again there is crossover as she will use TikTok for pleasure too, alongside Instagram. Generally, it’s probably best to avoid contacting Gen Z journalists via socials.

Gen Z stereotypes and the future of work

Each generation comes with their own stereotypes and Lilia ran through the negative ones for her age group and the ‘Gen Z’ label: ‘Gen Z are obsessed with their phones and unoriginal and lazy’. 

But she actually likes the term ‘Gen Z’, and rather than believing any negative connotations, everyone at the Telegraph ‘expects me to be all over TikTok’. Amelia put a further positive spin on this saying that ‘most people associate Gen Z with being in touch with current trends, which is good as a journalist’.

Lilith agreed that ‘there’s an expectation that you will be more clued on socials’. She also pointed out there’s been a lot of talk around ‘quiet quitting’ being a Gen Z movement. However, Lilith feels that their generation ‘just have very different expectations around their work life – ‘we’re not prepared to give up our entire lives for our work.’ 

The future of work is in flux with the introduction of AI and concepts like the Metaverse. Gen Z are stereotypically pro technology and up to speed with new innovations. However, all three journalists were unsure of what impact it would have on journalism, with Amelia commenting that ‘so much is unknown at the moment’. 

Whatever the future does hold, it’s clear that Gen Z journalists are as keen as previous generations to work closely with PRs.

Want more on how to work with Gen Z? Download our Vuelio white paper ‘The PR Guide to communicating with Gen Z‘. 

To start getting enquiries and requests from journalists like this, straight to your inbox, check out the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service

 

 

How journalists are writing about Gen Z

Work, life, and finances: How the media are covering Gen Z

The first real digital native generation, Gen Z, or those born between 1997 and 2012, is an age group in demand with industries from fashion to dating desperately trying to get its attention.

The media frequently covers the demographic, so we examined their approach and the opportunities for PRs that we’ve seen via the Journalist Enquiry Service.

Gen Z: A popular topic for the media

Gen Z as a keyword has fluctuated in popularity as a keyword over the last six months on the enquiry service. However, the number of requests containing ‘Gen Z’ has doubled from August to September.

These requests have tended to focus on the generation’s attitude towards work and the workplace. This included a request from a national press journalist who was looking for comment on the trend for so-called ‘lazy girl jobs’ – which is quite often associated with Gen Z. While a trade journalist wanted to know if Generation Z was having a hard time adapting to in-person workplaces.

Gen Z at work

This focus on Gen Z and work meant that a lot of the requests came from trade titles. In fact, 44% of requests around this keyword were from trade/business/professional media. Journalists at HR Grapevine, Business Leader, People Management and StartUps.co.uk have all been exploring this topic over the last few months. It has varied from looking for information, to wanting case studies and expert comment, so if you have any clients with expertise in this area then there should be more opportunities.

Money as a motivator

Closely associated with the topic of work is finance, and there have been several enquiries looking to explore this area. These have included looking for a figure/research on Gen Z’s discretionary spending each month and for information on whether money is the biggest motivator for them. All of these enquiries around work and finance meant that 52% of the requests containing the keyword ‘Gen Z’ were in the Business & Finance category, 45% were for the Education and Human Resources category, and 31% were in Personal Finance.

Life as a Gen Zer

However, it hasn’t just been work and finance that journalists have been looking into around Gen Z. The Women’s Interest category was the third most used category, on 38%. A national press journalist was looking for case studies of women choosing to freeze their eggs in their 20s, and another national press reporter was looking for a sex and relationship expert to comment on why Gen Z are having less sex.

Most interested in writing about the age group? National press

In fact, 33% of all enquiries around Gen Z as a keyword were from national newspaper/current affairs outlets. This included The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, PA Media, The Guardian and the Evening Standard. They varied from looking at the women’s interest/health angle, to work and finance, to exploring Gen Z’s relationship with technology as well as what their interests are. On the tech side, one journalist was looking for an academic for a piece on the relationship between AI technology and Gen Z workers. Another was looking to hear from publishers/literary agents/YA experts about why royal-themed romances are so popular with Gen Z.

This shows that while requests around Gen Z in work and their finances are the most popular, there is a great deal of variety of enquiries around this topic. The need for experts/spokespeople, as we see on a monthly basis on the Journalist Enquiry Service, is the most in demand, though. 48% of the enquiries for Gen Z as a keyword fit into this enquiry type and this definitely provides the best avenue going forward for securing coverage in the media.

Want to start receiving requests from UK journalists, broadcasters, and influencers direct to your inbox? Check out the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service

Competitor analysis

Five easy mistakes to avoid in your competitor analysis

With more and more players in any given marketplace, it is essential to consider competitors in any media strategy. After all, it’s all well and good to show progress in your own efforts, but you might be missing a trick if you don’t contextualise this against players competing for a voice.

Diving blindly into your PR strategy will leave you lost in the proverbial trees. Putting a little thought into your competitor analysis provides a holistic perspective of the media awareness in your focus area, so you can better understand your benchmark and which moves to make next.

Here are five mistakes to avoid when designing your competitor analysis:

Tunnel Vision

You likely already know your immediate competitors, but there’s often dark horses that can sneak up on you without some level of monitoring. There may also be companies that exist within your market that you consider out of reach in one way or another — prematurely excluding these can stop you from meeting them on their turf.

Alternatively, there may be peer organisations that, while not directly competitors, share similar strategies and seek similar market exposure. Researching hidden, aspirational and indirect competitors can help you to see what works, adding confidence and inspiration to your own efforts.

Crowding the Field

When building an understanding of direct and indirect competitors, it can be tempting to try to capture every possible brand for monitoring and analysis. However, being too broad can result in obscured takeaways and the headache of sifting through endless content later. Refine your search by focusing on areas that need greater media awareness, such as a certain topic or company value.
If narrowing the field is proving difficult, you might consider creating multiple baskets of competitors, based on distinct products, strategies or areas of expertise, analysing them separately according to priority.

Lack of Purpose

Even with an ideal competitor analysis, things can easily get off track if there is not a clear goal or direction in mind. Using a set methodology or set of S.M.A.R.T. KPIs can help you see where you need to place your focus and why. This will greatly improve the value and efficiency of your competitor analysis, while exposing where to invest your limited resources wisely.

Tip: consider your organisation’s wider objectives when formulating your goals. Aligning with a particular outcome another team is seeking can also prove fruitful. For example, it could be beneficial to run a competitor analysis on target audiences for your sales team’s growth strategy. These purpose-driven considerations allow you to directly link the value of your work to organisational goals.

Lack of Consistency

While a one-time overview of the competitive landscape can be useful at a given point in time, fortunes can change quickly. Regularly keeping track of the changing tides ensures you are prepared for any challenge or opportunity that may come your way, as you are more effectively able to continue learning from – or reacting to – the wins and losses of your peers.

The Vuelio Insights Team recommends you perform a refresh of your competitor analysis no less than once a quarter to fully keep tabs on current happenings.

5. Ease over Value

Amidst your many competing priorities, taking the simple route for competitor analysis may seem attractive. However, the most valuable takeaways are often those that require zooming in on specific goals, widening the scope of possibility for competitors and measuring the true value of this coverage.

For example, quickly quantifying volume, reach, and Share of Voice is often a first stop on a competitor measurement journey. While these can be valuable touch points, it’s often a misconception of the true story. Despite the well-known saying, bad PR is, often, just bad PR.

Taking the extra time to measure the quality of coverage – rather than just the quantity of coverage – is essential to understand if a competitor is actually lagging behind you, or if they are quietly outcompeting you by maintaining a better quality coverage profile.

Tip: sentiment is a go-to metric when measuring coverage quality, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Consider comparing your organisation across a variety of other qualitative measures, such as prominence, key message penetration, press release coverage, quotes, etc. Quality measurement might also include looking at Share of Voice analyses on some of those qualities above (e.g. positive or negative share of voice), or within a defined list of target media.

Considering just a few of these small changes can help you to capitalise on new opportunities illuminated by new competitors, while avoiding their mistakes. This is a launching pad for achieving your S.M.A.R.T. KPIs and knowing how to confidently scale your successes moving forward.

Don’t have the time or headspace?

It’s one thing to read the tips, but it’s another to find the time and resources. The Vuelio Insights team does the work for you by creating expert-led, highly digestible media strategy reports just for you, so you can see exactly how you’re performing against competitors without the sense of analysis paralysis along the way.

Brand personality in practice - assembling your assets

Brand personality in practice: Assembling your assets

Brand personality portrays the traits and emotions your customers associate with your business. A whole team, multiple departments, even a number of brands under one company umbrella can share a brand personality. That’s a lot of people communicating across a myriad of avenues. That comes with plenty of opportunities to go wrong.

A team tooled-up with what they need to communicate in one voice will be able to adapt depending on situation, audience, platform and the wider industry context at play.

They need a toolbox to work from, and this includes assets – a bank of logos, social cards, templates and guidelines to use. Here’s how to get these assembled to communicate and reinforce your brand personality:

A single source of truth

Brand guidelines that are clear and easily accessible to all who will be communicating on behalf of, or as, the brand are essential. No hasty guess work or last minute creativity will be needed in times of calm, or crisis if everything is already laid out:

‘Guidelines and messaging frameworks can take time to create, but they’re an essential part of aligning messaging across all departments,’ says DivideBuy’s senior content and PR manager Heather Wilkinson.

‘Collaborate together to agree on tone of voice, words to use and avoid, and official spelling and grammar guidance. Having a single source of truth document is great practice and allows everyone to move forward with confidence.’

‘To avoid PR and comms teams sounding like a bunch of tone-deaf amateurs, here’s the secret: create guidelines, and stick to ’em,’ adds Jade Arnell, founder of Rebellion Marketing.

‘Establish a clear tone-of-voice that mirrors your brand’s personality. Are you a sassy rebel or a refined intellectual?’

What should brand guidelines look like?

‘A brand style guide or a company communications handbook,’ says Rosser Jones, head of PR at Unlimit.

‘This guide should be used to restructure or redraft the company’s entire communications, internal and external, and it needs to be followed by everyone from the CEO to middle managers and the business development team.’

For external comms, make sure the guide is easy to work from by making it as concise as possible, says Tank’s head of PR Martyn Gettings. Include fonts, brand colours, which logos to use where:

‘Having external PR messages clarified on a single page for each client is a great way to ensure consistency across all comms. These messages are created with the core brand identity in mind, so you can be confident that they are a solid basis for the vast majority of communications. This will help the brand personality filter down through the whole team and ensure it remains authentic.’

Double-check: Is everyone onboard?

No brand personality is going to work with its intended audience if it smacks of inauthenticity – a cause of this could be team members with a reluctance to use assets they didn’t sign off on. Those at the c-suite level being hesitant to embrace and reinforce new guidelines also won’t help:

‘When launching a new brand personality, or updating an existing one, it can also be helpful to have a robust internal approval process with brand champions available to ensure nothing goes out the door which isn’t aligned with the brand guidelines,’ says Laura Price, partner at Pagefield.

‘While this can seem painful at the time, consistency and dedication to showing up with a unified brand personality is the only way to truly embed it within the audience’s perceptions.’

All aboard (E.g. agencies)

Ensuring an in-house team is all communicating in one voice is challenging enough. But what if you’re bringing in an external agency to communicate for your brand?

‘When an agency is brought on to support a brand’s PR and communications activity, it’s vital to introduce processes that support consistent and aligned messaging,’ says Jess Farmery, PR lead at SomX.

‘This can be achieved incredibly effectively with the right support mechanisms in place. During the agency’s onboarding, dedicate time to explaining and exploring your brand guidelines, tone of voice, any ‘dos and don’ts’, and contextualised examples.

‘Following this, ensure that everyone is provided with easy-to-access reference documents, templates, and further examples of how your brand guideless translate into communication content across several different channels.’

Bringing everyone on the journey (E.g. clients)
What about the other way around – when you’re an agency who has put a personality together for a client? Here’s advice from Mia Hodgekinson at Sway PR:

‘Communication is at the heart of all marketing and comms strategies, so we find that regular meetings and being kept up to speed on what they have coming up in their content calendar aligns or informs any PR activity we undertake.

‘It’s really important to visualise yourself as another cog in a big wheel. We all have our roles to play and, while those roles are different, they all need to work together to achieve the end goal – driving awareness of a brand or company.’

Repeat until you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet

Brand guidelines and the use of associated assets need time to be embedded into the muscle memory of your comms team, as well as in the culture of the company at large. This can only come with time, practice, and repetition, believes Laura at Pagefield.

‘Companies need to allocate resource to focus on this, investing time in brand and messaging training to make sure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and is clear on the dos and don’ts of the brand voice.’

This doesn’t mean army-like drills every morning (unless that works with your company’s culture…). More practically, infographics can be pinned up around the office and quick reference guidelines printed out for desks at home. Absolutely vital, whenever people are working from – a shared online resource to dip into, whenever needed.

Refresher sessions

Those truly ‘living’ the brand personality in the day-to-day – social media managers replying to public enquiries, newsletter writers, campaign creators – will still need regular reminders of specifics as time goes on:

‘It’s important to have regular brand/messaging ‘refresher’ sessions. Encourage members of the team to demonstrate and share with their colleagues how they’ve applied that tone of voice across a variety of different formats,’ adds Laura.

‘Many brands also stop after training staff members on the brand guidelines,’ says FizzBox’s head of marketing Tom Bourlet.

‘The next step should be regular quality checks. This isn’t about micromanaging, but simply ensuring everyone is communicating in the pertinent manner.’

Evolve and adapt

As times change, brand identity and assets will need to evolve:

‘Remember to keep team members and agency partners abreast of any evolutions to your brand and communication guidelines,’ says Jess at SomX.
‘The easiest way to do this is to schedule regular comms team all-hands sessions to share relevant updates. Listen to what your agency partners have to say regarding TOV, too – they are actioning the guidelines day in day out, which gives them a unique perspective on how the brand is cutting through and resonating with the media and with stakeholders.’

Review, review, review

Onboarding, training, and refresher sessions can only do so much – everyone makes mistakes. Just as there’s safety in numbers, getting as many eyes as possible on content before it goes out can avert any dangers (be that typos, or something much worse).

‘Before any content is published, it ought to go through a centralised review process to ensure consistency and alignment,’ says Jess. ‘Any edits should be collated and fed back to the relevant person(s).’

Have a ‘The Buck Stops Here’ person, or people, that have ultimate sign-off, or are available for advice and support to ensure words and imagery stay consistent throughout:

‘’Brand bibles are usually developed and maintained by brand guardians, which is a politer name than brand police,’ says Susannah Morgan, deputy MD at Energy PR.

‘When a brand is fairly new, or the guidelines are really crucial to business success, then you have to be strict. It is very risky to leave any elements of brand application open to interpretation.

‘Brands are built with consistency over time. Inconsistency is very damaging – it confuses the audience and prevents them knowing what to expect, so a clear brand is never formed. PR teams need to know what not to do, as well as what to do. What would a brand never do, look, or say, is often easier to remember than how to get it right.’

Don’t forget: Measurement is also an asset…

Yes, really:

‘Including key brand messages in reporting processes as a KPI helps to ensure consistency in the long-term,’ says Tank’s head of PR Martyn Gettings.

‘Reporting on the cut-through of brand messages on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis makes it easy to see which elements of your brand’s personality resonate most with your key audiences. There is little point investing in a brand voice and personality unless its performance and impact are measured.’

Sign up for our the white paper ‘Stand out from the crowd: A guide to personality-packed PR’ here for more on this topic.

Trends in UK journalism: What are journalists writing about in August?

Summer trends in UK journalism: Holidays, Christmas, and Barbie

The school holidays only began a couple of weeks ago but journalists have already been spending July sending out requests on the Journalist Enquiry Service for back-to-school products and information.

Festivals, gardening, Barbie and even Christmas have been some of the other keywords cropping up in the last month. Read on to see what else has been trending and where you might be able to get featured in the media in the coming weeks.

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

Features and content often have to be finished months in advance and writers have therefore been gathering information on the return to school in September already. That’s meant an 8% rise for the Education & Human Resources category from last month. ‘School’ appeared in just under 3% of all the requests on the Journalist Enquiry Service in July with just over 1% of those being about ‘Back to school’.

Journalists from PA Media, The Times, MailOnline, Pick Me Up! and Bella all submitted enquiries with this keyword last month. This is likely to remain a trend throughout August so it still means there are opportunities to get products and information featured.

‘Summer’ remains the hot topic on the Journalist Enquiry Service with just under 5% of all requests in July containing the keyword. There were a variety of enquiries too with journalists looking for summer DIY tips, summer workouts and gadgets and summer beauty. Obviously summer travel advice and days out/activities to do with the kids have also been regular requests, too.

The Travel category is up by 16% compared to this time last year, with ‘holiday’ appearing as a keyword in just under 4% of all enquiries last month. If you have any clients that are travel experts or can provide advice then you could get coverage on titles such as The Guardian, The Sun Online, The i paper, Country & Town House and Closer. Journalists from all of these outlets sent requests in July.

Despite the poor weather in July, tips and advice around gardening has remained popular on the Journalist Enquiry Service. ‘Garden’ cropped up in just over 3% of all the requests for last month, making it three consecutive months that this keyword has appeared in the top three keywords. Requests included ‘How to paint a garden shed’, ‘Experts needed on roof gardens/office gardens’ and ‘The best cordless lawn mowers for large gardens’.

A new word on the keyword list, and one that will only grow in popularity over the next few months, is ‘Christmas’. Around 2.5% of all requests in July were for Christmas related content. A lot of feature writers for magazines will have to file copy months in advance and Christmas in July is a common occurrence.

However, it seems to be even more popular this year with the amount of requests containing the keyword ‘Christmas’ up 35% compared to this time last year. Journalists from the Independent, Woman’s Weekly, BBC Good Food, Good Housekeeping and HomeStyle were all looking for Christmas-related content or gift guides last month. If you have any clients with products to review or information about the festive season, then there are bound to be plenty of opportunities to get them out in the media via the Journalist Enquiry Service.

More topical issues last month also meant they appeared as keywords. The on-going issues in the housing market meant that the word ‘mortgage’ was in just over 1% of all enquiries in July with ‘inflation’ popping up in just under 1%. The Construction & Property category is up 24% compared to this time last year as a result. There were also a few enquiries in this category around ‘Barbie’ inspired room makeovers, as the film was finally released. ‘Barbie’ cropped up in 1% of all enquiries as a keyword. Plus there was the heatwave across Europe meaning a lot of journalists were sending out ‘weather’ related enquiries, making that a keyword at just under 1%. Journalists in general are covering climate change and issues more as well, with the Environment & Nature category up by 12% compared to July 2022.

57% of the journalists using the Journalist Enquiry Service last month were staff journalists, up by 5% from June’s figures. 28% were freelance journalists. Consumer media were the largest media type at 36%, with national newspaper/current affairs second on 27% and trade/business/professional media in third on 21%. The journalists were mainly looking for a spokesperson or expert (37%) followed by information for an article (27%) and review products (15%). Seven of the top ten outlets were national press with two consumer titles and one trade.

August is likely to see the keyword ‘school’ perform strongly again and ‘Christmas’ will continue to gather momentum on the service. There is likely to be a decline for ‘summer’ as a keyword but ‘Autumn’ could be a new one, along with ‘Halloween’. Both the Food & Drink and Arts & Entertainment categories should see a boost in requests with events like Notting Hill Carnival and Reading Festival and days like National Prosecco Day (13 August) and National Rum Day (17 August). Therefore: plenty of opportunities with different angles and topics for the coming month.

Want to help UK journalists with their features, interviews, and news? Check out ‘How to connect with journalists in 2023‘, featuring advice from our Vuelio webinar with Wadds Inc. founder Stephen Waddington, ‘From pitch to published – A guide to media relations in 2023’. 

Getting to know you - how to build your brand personality

Getting to know you: How to build a brand personality

Brand personality – isn’t that just the realm of the marketing team?

Successful communications strategy means creating campaigns that resonate, build reliability, and even likeability – and that’s the role of PR.

A strong brand personality can really help with the day-to-day – after all, how will your messaging land if you don’t really know your brand, and yourself, you know?

But before booking in couples counselling for you and your brand, here is expertise from PRs pros who know how to pack personality into every campaign…

Brainstorm: What is your brand – and your team – all about?

Before you start building a brand personality, you’ll need to figure out what the brand you’re working on actually IS. What does the company stand for, what is it for, what is it offering to your audience? The team behind the brand is worth considering – after all, everyone is on the team for a reason:

‘A great starting point is to get the team of internal stakeholders together and brainstorm who they are and what they stand for,’ advises Pace Communications client director Caroline Anson. ‘The team behind the business needs to breathe the values and persona of the business, so it helps if they are integral to creating them.

‘Ask questions about why they do what they do, how they are different from everyone else, what style is their output, etc. – this will soon start to create a picture of personality type.’

Learn from the best: which brand personalities draw you in?

‘Once you’ve got some thoughts about yourself on paper, it’s time to look outward,’ says Malineo Makamane, digital PR specialist at Sweet Digital.

Figuring out what you and your team like about established brands is another way to uncover aspects of your own brand’s core traits:

‘Study those you admire and write down their defining characteristics,’ adds Malineo. ‘Reverse-engineer the things that make these brands special, and figure out how to put your own personal twist on it.’

Know thyself: If your brand was a person, who would they be?

Considering a company’s traits alone can lead to something cold and robotic. Choosing human traits is how you get to an engaging personality (and, in turn, engage your team or clients in the journey, too).

For Nicholine Hayward, brand strategy director at Teamspirit, clients must be involved in the workshopping process from the start:

‘Take them through a series of exercises to uncover the ‘human’ attributes of their brand, for example, projective exercises – if the brand was a famous sportsperson, a figure from history, a politician, etc. Which causes would they champion? What would they be like to work with? How would they deal with success or failure? It’s also looking at the archetypes – which of the 12 do they feel best reflects their brand and why?’

The basics: ‘Which three words describe you?’

Still not sure where to start? Begin with adjectives. Think of the age-old interview or first date question – which words would you use to describe yourself, or in this case, the brand?

‘Ask your team (or even the wider business) to choose adjectives they associate with your company’s public face – for example, at DivideBuy we are “authentic” and “empathetic’,” says senior content and PR manager Heather Wilkinson.

‘This will give you a strong foundation on which you can build your comms personality.’

If you’re working with a client that doesn’t know what their brand story is yet, dig deep and listen, says Mia Hodgkinson, head of consumer PR at Sway PR:

‘Our role as PR professionals is to dig deep into their story and find those nuggets of information that are PR gold dust.

‘This could be anything from the reason for the company’s inception, the stories of the people behind it, the processes they use or even just their vision.

‘Active listening is essential. This means focusing on what the client is saying and also not saying in order to understand what they are hoping to achieve as a brand. It’s amazing how many clients don’t realise their PR potential until they start talking to an agency. Once a client has established their brand identity they can engage better with their audience, attract new audiences and we can get the best level of media coverage for them.’

What definitely isn’t part of the brand’s personality?

‘The most successful brand personalities are rooted in the business culture. You can’t pretend to be something you aren’t,’ says Susannah Morgan, deputy MD at Energy PR.

‘Getting your culture clear and codified is important. Then you can define what that looks like in terms of behaviour – what you do and don’t do, what you do and don’t say. Your personality should become clear from that process.

The ideal: Who do you want to engage with your brand?

Once you know your brand’s core values, it’s time to figure out who your ideal audience is.

For Brand Building Co., this makes for a much deeper connection and loyalty long-term:

‘The goal here is to connect with consumers in a deeper way, give them access to a more memorable and brand values-driven story that differentiates a brand from their competitors,’ explains founder and director Rachel Humphrey.

‘Look at the brand’s target customer or customer profile, if there is one. If they haven’t defined this yet, then we work with our clients to refine it through workshops and strategy sessions. We then get under the skin of this customer, looking at the psychographic piece. This is looking at what the customer consumes, from media to other brands, their stage of life, their general lifestyle. Once this area is clearer, we then look to produce PR plans that will align and meet this customer – through relevant copy, the target media we work with and the themes and angles we integrate into our plans.

‘We also align this vision with the business goals. To really tighten the strategy to ensure it is meeting the brands goals commercially too’.

Understand your audience: Will they actually like this personality?

Compatibility is as important in consumer and brand relationships as it is in human relationships.

‘It sounds simple, but understanding who a company wants to speak to and how they want to be perceived by those people, is critical,’ says Laura Price, partner at Pagefield.

‘Companies should research and understand their target audience’s demographics, psychographics, preferences, and needs. This knowledge will help shape the brand personality to resonate with the audience effectively.’

If your audience really, really like you, they’ll be with you for the long-haul:

‘Work out who your audience is, what they would react positively to and how your brand personality can resonate with them and turn them into brand advocates,’ says Fizzbox’s head of marketing Tom Bourlet.

Finding your voice: What is the right tone?

‘Having established audiences and values, companies should think about brand archetypes – based on common human characteristics – which will help define the brand’s character and personality,’ believes Pagefield’s Laura Price.

‘This will then help shape the tone of voice, the style of public content and the way in which the company is talked about.’

Authenticity is key, here – forcing a ‘fun’ personality on a decidedly unfun service or company, for example, isn’t going to cut it:

‘A brand cannot just bootstrap itself personality overnight, it will come off as inauthentic, and audiences are just too smart and too savvy not to notice,’ advises Rosser Jones, head of PR at Unlimit.

‘When a company is searching for a tone of voice and looking to inject some personality into its communications, it needs to ask itself important questions, like: Who are we? What are our values? Do we have a unique perspective? What do we want to be, and to whom do we want to matter? The search for a company’s personality starts with some introspection.’

Be bold… but just how bold should you be?

Going viral with a ballsy brand personality might be tempting. Being bold with responses on social media to the public, and even calling other brands out, has worked for Wendy’s, Lidl, and Tesco Mobile, for example. But hold back before you build in too much sass…

‘It’s no surprise that in today’s competitive marketplace, brands are looking to stand out from the crowd,’ says Sophie Baillie, associate director, head of client services at Conscious Communications.

‘But, reward doesn’t come without risk and brand should always be memorable for the right reason.

‘Being bold can undoubtedly generate buzz but there is something equally admirable when brands exercise caution and reliability. Not all brands should be disrupters. It’s the brands that strike a balance between bold campaigns and vigilance that will stand the test of time, who will continue to effectively engage with their target audiences while avoiding alienation and reputational risk. Through careful evaluation of the market and of the potential impact of marketing decisions, brands can navigate the fine line between risk and reward to achieve long-term success.’

Considered Content founder Jason Ball adds: ‘Trying to make a conservative accountancy practice into the life-and-soul of the party when it’s not will never work. On the flip side, if the firm is that extroverted in the real world, this could be a major source of differentiation’.

Assemble your assets: What does your team need?

A team of one with a clear idea of what a brand’s core traits are can create comms across all platforms, all in-line with the personality. A team with multiple people is going to find it harder (despite the greater resource) if there are no shared guidelines.

Tank’s head of PR Martyn Gettings advises getting assets – from tone of voice guides, to image banks, even glossaries – assembled early on:

‘Our PR team takes the brand identity and refines the key messages we want to resonate across all of our comms. Creating these messaging documents in workshop-style sessions also helps to engage key decision makers with the PR process and ensure everyone is on the same page before we start speaking to journalists and other external audiences.’

Keep consistent: Do your comms back up your brand identity?

Brands can – and should – evolve with the changing times – people change, and so should brand personalities. But change things up too much, too quickly, and you risk losing consumers who have previously been devoted to you.

‘Communication and personality needs to be consistent, from web content to social posts and emails out, so everyone in the company needs to be in-tune with each other and the brand communication methods,’ says Tom Bourlet at Fizzbox.

Rebellion Marketing founder Jade Arnell agrees: ‘Consistency is key, so ensure your personality shines through in all communication channels. From marketing materials to customer interactions, let your brand’s personality take the spotlight. And remember, as your company evolves, keep refining and adapting your personality to stay relevant and captivating.’

Keeping in touch: Are you giving your audience enough attention?

Making a strong first impression and then disappearing isn’t going to do your brand any favours. Back up your personality by communicating across channels, regularly, says Impression’s head of digital PR Damian Summers:

‘Creating a rounded brand personality requires multiple channels all working in tandem to communicate the same themes and messaging. From a PR point-of-view specifically, it’s important that there’s consistency across all comms and messaging.

‘PR and comms teams should ensure they have a dedicated spokesperson, someone that can build authority, expertise and trust among customers, and the industry.

‘An authentic brand personality through PR is formed over time and comes naturally through consistency and expertise.’

Sign up for the upcoming Vuelio white paper ‘Stand out from the crowd: A guide to personality-packed PR’ for more on brand personality, and watch our webinar ‘How to build a reliable reputation in the press’ for original research from Vuelio Insights.

Brand reputation in the media

How reliable is your brand? Here’s how to boost your reputation in the press

News travels fast – particularly quickly if it’s bad news. And in today’s 24/7 news cycle, the reliability of your brand is at a greater risk than ever.

To protect – and grow – your brand, here is how to build a trustworthy reputation in the press, with tips from our latest webinar led by Vuelio’s Insights Content Lead Hollie Parry.

What does it mean to be a ‘reliable’ brand?

Before getting into specifics, what exactly do we mean by ‘reliable’ when it comes to media reporting on your brand? For positive representations and write-ups in the press, we’re focusing on two aspects:

Firstly, that your brand has a trustworthy voice. With this, journalists will want to talk to you and your spokespeople more than your competitors. When trending or controversial topics that run the risk of misinformation arise in the news cycle – like climate change, or crypto – the media will know your voice is one they can rely on.

Secondly, that your communications and company updates are seen as both legitimate and impactful – therefore, more likely to be picked up by the press.​

Over the past year, Vuelio has conducted several in-depth research studies on sustainability, finding that brands that are deemed more reliable are more likely to attain coverage in the media, and, ultimately, greater awareness.

Building your brand’s reputation not a priority? According to our research, this creates a higher risk of false claims and future crisis.

Let’s look at which brands are getting it right on reliability…

Case study: who is getting reliable reporting in the press, and how?

We conducted a six-month study into national press coverage of pharmaceutical brands and their sustainability efforts following last November’s COP27 to find out. The eight brands we studied were the most-mentioned throughout the study period: Pflizer, Takeda, Roche, Bayer, Merck Group, GSK, Samsung Biologics, and Astra Zeneca.

Positive share of voice graph

The stronger the diversity of sustainability praise throughout the year for the brand – the higher the volume of coverage in the press. Astra Zeneca and GSK had the most write-ups and the most sustainability recognition from the media.. ​

In contrast are Bayer and Pfizer. Despite being ranked as highly sustainable around the time of COP27, other brands fared better due to proactive and regular releases of around their sustainability efforts.

The lesson: investing in trust for your brand throughout the year, even when it doesn’t seem necessary, always pays off in the long-term. ​

How can brands measure their reliability in the press?

Regular releases of initiatives (with backing by an accreditation, where possible) is an investment that pays off in brand reliability. Now it’s time to prove this success:

Choose a specific topic to track

Gather coverage of a specific topic that would be valuable to have a trusted voice on. If your brand is in tech, you could lead the discussion around artificial intelligence. For an education charity, commentary on new policies are likely to be snapped up by reporters in need of expert comment.

Focus on quality over quantity

Key messages: What messages keep coming up about you versus your competitors, and how does this tie back to your trust as a brand?

Target publications: Is your reputation growing in the right places? Are you being trusted by sources of value to you? It’s no good having high reliability in an outlet unrelated to your audience and brand.

Article features: Where are you being heard and how widely is your reliability demonstrated versus your competitors? For example, do you have a few quotes, where your competitor has extended studies or statements featured?

Accreditation recognition: How often have your efforts been mentioned? Analyse broader coverage about your chosen topic as a whole and exclude articles where the main focus is your effort itself – you’re looking for examples of your reliability being organically boosted within a wider discussion.​

Vuelio impact score: For bespoke measurement built to your brand’s objectives, Vuelio’s impact score can serve as a marker of reliability. Create a score based on what you define as your reliability metrics, this could be getting key messages in a set of target publications for specific audiences, for example. You can also apply this to competitors and build a share of impact score.

7 quick tips for boosting your reputation in the media to take away

  1. Assess and refine which areas of discussion are most important to your brand reliability​
  2.  Consider how much you can invest over time​
  3. Choose a consistent set of general and reliability metrics​
  4. Diversify your efforts ​
  5. Utilise partnerships ​
  6. Consider hiring around areas of struggle ​
  7. Research your target audience(s)

Find out more about Vuelio Insights and how to start measuring your own successes in the press here.

Social media on Vuelio

Which social media platform is right for your next PR campaign?

The ability to get PR clients or your company featured in national newspapers and major magazines is as important today as it’s ever been, but it’s also crucial to evolve your strategy for ‘new’ media. Securing coverage across social media is an increasingly valuable alternative for engaging new audiences and amplifying your brand among different stakeholders.

But how do you go about engaging with Instagrammers and podcast producers? Fortunately on the Vuelio Media Database, you can filter contacts by media type, and find bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, Instagram and TikTok influencers and Facebook Groups, too. Read on for which platform you should reach out to for your next campaign.

Instagram and TikTok

The rise of these two social media platforms has been meteoric, especially TikTok. This has largely been helped by the young audience that are engaging with it on a daily basis. The recent Reuters Digital News Report highlighted the impact of TikTok; the social network now reaches 44% of 18-24s across markets, with 20% for news. Furthermore, audiences are paying attention more to celebrities and influencers on these networks when it comes to news.

If you want to target a younger audience, then TikTok and Instagram should be top of your list. Content creators on these platforms are generally more consumer-focused. 24% of the Instagram influencers listed on the database are interested in covering lifestyle or fashion, and over 28% of TikTok creators are wanting to cover those same two topics. Other topics like travel and food are also well represented on the database.

Creators will often be open to brand partnerships and products to review and promote. Many of them will have thousands, if not millions, of followers, meaning a wide reach for you or your PR client.

Blogs and Vlogs

Blogs and bloggers are much more established in the media landscape than influencers on Instagram and TikTok. Vuelio has had bloggers on the database since 2008. Around a year later, the top ten blogs series was started, highlighting the best performing blogs for different categories, such as travel, beauty and interior design. There are now thousands of bloggers listed, offering lots of avenues to get experts and information featured.

Vlogging feels like a much newer concept but has essentially been around since YouTube began back in 2005. Again, like Instagram and TikTok, it generally attracts a younger audience. However, vlogs will tend to be longer than Instagram and TikTok content and some of the more established vloggers have built up loyal and large followings, with the likes of Zoella being in the millions. This presents the opportunity to connect with a different type of audience. Those listed on the database are more consumer-focused with lifestyle, fashion and beauty vloggers all well represented and keen to engage with PRs.

Podcasts

The popularity of podcasts has been on the rise for a number of years now and reports suggest it could be a $4 billion industry by 2024. This is hardly surprising when the worldwide listenership is said to be over 460 million, equating to around 22% of all internet users. With the amount of listeners said to rise still further over the next couple of years, it’s a good time to be exploring this platform and engaging with podcasters.

On the Vuelio Media Database, there are a real mix of topics covered by the podcasts listed. Football is the most popular, with 4% of all podcasts covering that topic, but news & current affairs and politics are close behind. With a lot of podcasts opting for the interview format, this offers opportunities to get experts featured. An alternative could be product placement, with many podcasters making space for adverts and sponsors within their episodes or across a series.

Facebook Groups

Social media giant Meta is perhaps not quite at the heights it was back in the late noughties/early 2010s, especially with the younger generation. However, it still has nearly 3 billion monthly active users and 66% of the entire UK population are Facebook users. Facebook groups were launched back in 2010 but since 2017, Mark Zuckerberg has really pushed for these to be a way to start a community, and gave group admins new tools such as insights and membership questions to help.

This has worked quite well, and many people now get local and community news via established Facebook groups. Over 27% of the Facebook groups on the Vuelio Media Database are covering community news, with 12% for regional general interest and 9% for local news. If you are working on a hyperlocal campaign or have information that would really interest people in a particular community or area then getting in touch with group owners and admins can be a useful route. Some of these groups will have hundreds or possibly thousands of members with the opportunity to hit a targeted audience.

Want to start reaching out to these contacts and engaging with a different audience? Find out more about the Vuelio Media Database here.

media outreach isn't what it used to be

How to connect with journalists in 2023

If you worked in PR back in the 80s and 90s, you might still have nightmares about press clippings, heavy directories filled with often out-of-date journalist contacts, and networking in sticky or smokey (and sometimes both) pubs. Thankfully, times have moved on, and so has the PR-journalist relationship.

For our latest webinar, ‘From pitch to published – A guide to media relations in 2023’, founder and managing partner of Wadds Inc. Stephen Waddington shared up-to-date approaches for connecting with the media now. Here’s what all PR and comms people need to know.

Watch the full webinar here, and download the accompanying white paper ‘From pitching to getting published: A PR’s guide to media relations in 2023’.

The basics of building media relationships

Get to know the media before you get in touch

‘The fundamentals of media relations have never changed throughout my career and getting to know journalists and broadcasters is as important as ever. Get to know their beats, their publications, and their interests.

‘When I started my career, we had to read the national newspapers every morning and listen to radio news. Research was all part of the role, and we’d do well to remember that now.

‘With LinkedIn and Twitter, it’s easier than ever to understand what journalists are writing about. We have no excuses.’

Remember that journalists are people and not content machines

‘The relationship between a journalist and a PR practitioner should be equitable. It’s a common view that there’s been an erosion of equality since the height of COVID-19 because of the lack of face-to-face meetings. That can be true. But a personal approach – understanding their professional and personal sphere (which you can, thanks to social networks) – goes a long way to creating a relationship.

‘Recognise birthdays, recognise anniversaries, comment on articles that journalists write. It surprises me how few PRs ever thank a journalist, or even share their copy after it’s been produced. We all have our own social media channels and we can do that.’

Exchange value

‘Newsrooms have always been driven by deadlines, but nowadays metrics are an important feature and all journalists have KPIs to hit. Understanding that and how your content can help them hit those metrics can provide you with an additional opportunity to appeal to a journalist’s interest.

‘Provide a package of material that will provide longevity as assets on that media outlet’s website – give them more than a press release.’

Be honest

‘It’s important that you support journalists to hit their deadlines; don’t waste their time. Be straight-forward, be honest, and be candid in dealing with these relationships.’

The impact of working from home on pitching

Be creative with your storytelling

‘It’s harder than ever to do a call around and get hold of journalists. Instead, we use Twitter DMs and online platforms to establish relationships. A journalist’s phone number is a ‘second level’ of the relationship now. This puts an extra pressure on PRs – you have to be creative with your pitching.’

Get social on social media

‘Us PRs are going through a weird relationship phase with Twitter because of all the change happening. The media still uses it and so do PRs. It’s a really useful way to spot opportunities when journalists are calling out for sources and for material.’

Change with the new working cycle

‘Working from home changed newsrooms – it’s less collaborative. The notion that there was a fixed cycle to the way a newsroom works – sending pitches before morning conferences – has changed. The morning conference is still there as a medium to discuss the news agenda, but there are opportunities throughout the day – we can newsjack an emerging news story.’

The role of technology in managing relationships

Use social media as a listening tool

‘Twitter and Linkedin are great ways to keep track of a journalist’s work. When I started in PR, I used a rolodex, and I encourage anyone working in media relations practice these days to use your social network in the same way.’

Dip into databases

‘Databases like Vuelio provide a way to sift through a media list. Reach deeper into those to build relationships.

‘There’s been a shift to using CRMs and media databases to build and track relationships you have as a team – particularly in large organisations and in Public Affairs. A single point of truth for a team when pitching helps you understand who has pitched a journalist and how it landed.’

Manage your messages

‘There are a range of platforms for connecting with the media – I’m going to call out the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service, but there are also hashtags on social media where journalists are asking for contacts and case studies.’

The changing value of face-to-face meetings and press events

‘In-person meetings are viewed as premium opportunities now. It’s going to be really challenging to get a journalist out to come and meet you. There has to be significant public interest or a level of complexity, you have to offer something additional.’

Tools and techniques

Think like a journalist

‘You have to think like a journalist in the modern public relations environment. Immerse yourself in the news and take a genuine interest, in real time. Understand what they need in order to write a story. We’re all under pressure in a commercial environment – help journalists meet their objectives.’

Pitch to your audience

‘Journalists are an intermediary between you and the audience you want to reach, so if you take an audience perspective when pitching, that’s going to put you in good stead.’

Be human

‘When interviewed for our white paper, advice from 10 Yetis’ Andy Barr was simple – don’t push a dead story, do your research before pitching, and don’t be creepy in your pitching. In other words: “Don’t be a dick”.’

For more, download the white paper ‘From pitching to getting published: A PR’s guide to media relations in 2023’.

Going beyond the publishing paywall

Going beyond the publishing paywall

Publishing isn’t the money maker it used to be. With a huge amount of content constantly shared across channels, everyone from freelancers to international powerhouse publishers have to find new ways to make publishing pay.

For those making a living in the modern media industry, this means trialling different formats to keep audiences interested, launching new revenue streams, and gating content behind paywalls. For those in the PR and comms industry, all this change – ‘out of all recognition is an understatement,’ says journalist and author Tanith Carey – comes with the need to keep informed on how they can help.

Let’s go behind the publishing paywall to find out what’s paying off in revenue and engagement…

Download our white paper ‘How to pitch to journalists‘ for how to help out journalists with relevant interview subjects, event details and more, divided by sector and niche.

News-avoiders need to be enticed back

News avoidance is on the up in the UK as people turn away from negativity and, instead, self-soothe with streaming and scrolling. This has huge ramifications for news publishers.

Journalism innovation and inclusion consultant Shirish Kulkarni believes the news exists to make sense of what’s going on in the world and that the news model needs to realign to sense making. As an example of this, Tortoise Media has taken a ‘slow news’ approach with its publishing. Its Sensemaker newsletter and ThinkIn sessions enable audiences to fully engage with the stories that actually matter to them, providing both value and clarity on current events.

The numbers have to be right

As shared by Times Media’s director of subscriber retention Abdullah Ahmed at Journalism.co.uk’s Newsrewired event, the cost of acquiring a subscriber can be three to four times more than keeping a current one. This invites a crucial question: how do you retain readers during times of economic strain?

The Washington Post’s head of consumer product marketing and subscription Anna Lorch believes that with so much free content available, people are only willing to shell out for something genuinely relevant to them. Publishers are increasingly using data analytics to inform their retention strategies and create more relevant content.

Going local can pay off

Trust in the media is down in the UK, but local news fairs a lot better – providing it’s actually rooted in the community it serves. According to Public Interest News Foundation founder Jonathan Heawood, locally-owned media gets a net positive trust score. These publishers bridge the disconnect that can happen when news is filtered down from larger umbrella organisations – a great example of this are Social Spider’s community newspapers.

The audience wants their say

Find vox pops a bit cringe? Bad news: they’re still relevant. According to deputy head of newsgathering at Sky News, Sarah Whitehead, vox pops are much more than just another way to inform viewers. In recent years, Sky News has opened up its content to the audience with regular Q&As, bringing them back into the story (and encouraging shares on social when the segment has aired, naturally).

Social media is the new testing ground for journalists

Building up a following doesn’t happen overnight, but a dedicated readership can be a shortcut to commissions and clicks for individual journalists with bills to pay.

‘Coasting’ author Elise Downing mentioned social media as the place for journalists to try new things during a June Journo Resources webinar. The Reels on Instagram getting the most views, the videos driving the majority of traffic on YouTube, the Facebook posts generating the most content – all are a conduit to an audience, and with an audience, hopefully, come commissions.

Stories will always be an endless font

As consumers have increasingly moved from print to screens, publishing has drastically changed. Journalist and author Julie Cook, who started her career at South West News 24 years ago, remembers the ‘heady’ times that were publishing in the 90s, when ‘there was lots of money around, lots of promotions. It was really exciting’.

‘That’s all changed now,’ Julie says. ‘Magazines are selling fewer copies and the pay has not increased in years. It’s harder to sell stories now – but can still be done if you’re canny.

‘It may be a very uncertain time, but in true life, health and tabloid writing, there is one thing that will NEVER run out – that’s people’s stories.

‘They are an endless font.’

People still want stories – to tell them, read them, watch them, engage with them. As long as there’s an audience out there, the creative industries – journalists and PRs included – will be able to find them. Providing that what they’re creating is worth checking out.

Now you know what’s happening behind the publishing paywall, get in touch with relevant media with tips in our latest white paper with Wadds Inc.’s Stephen Waddington ‘From pitching to getting published: A PR’s guide to media relations in 2023’.

From Pitch to Published webinar

From pitch to published – a guide to media relations in 2023

What’s the best way to build relationships with journalists in 2023?

Remote working, emerging technologies and media fragmentation have reshaped media relations. Our latest research looks into the changing face of the industry and how PR professionals should approach media relationships in this new environment.

In our recent webinar From pitch to published – a guide to media relations in 2023, Stephen Waddington, Founder and Managing Partner of Wadds Inc. presented the findings including best practice tips for pitching to the media.

 

Fill in the form below to check out our webinar and learn 👇

  • How remote working has led practitioners to explore more creative ways to connect with the media
  • Whether press conferences and face-to-face meetings still provide value in 2023
  • How inbound tools and social media can help identify PR opportunities and to build strong rapport with journalists
Trends in UK journalism Summer 2023

Trends in UK journalism: What are the media writing about this summer?

We are now just over half way through the year (where did the time go?) and entering a summer of sport. The Ashes, Wimbledon, Women’s football World Cup and the on-going Formula 1 season are all taking place over the next few weeks and months, leaving sports fans spoiled for choice.

It also provides plenty of opportunities for PRs in this sector to get featured in the media as journalists ready to cover these major sporting events. However, there are still plenty of other trending keywords and topics, and journalists have been using the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service to get what they need. Here is what the UK media have been requesting over the last month.

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

With so many different sporting events going on, it’s unsurprising that the Sport category saw the biggest growth between May and June. It increased by just under 20%, with journalists from the Sun on Sunday, City AM, Living360 and Bindy Street all looking to get information on the upcoming events.

Two of the top keywords for June were also associated with the Sport category as both ‘fitness’ and ‘diet’ appeared in 2% of the total requests last month. The enquiries for fitness were mostly looking for experts, as well as some opportunities to feature products. Journalists from Women’s Health, Tom’s Guide, The Telegraph, The Daily Express and Stylist all submitted requests to PR users of the Journalist Enquiry Service. ‘Diet’-related requests were a mix of expert opinion and case studies asks, coming from the MailOnline, GoodtoKnow, best and Hello! Online.

The top performing keyword last month was ‘summer’ as it appeared in over 7% of the total requests in June. This spanned across many of the categories on the Journalist Enquiry Service with requests such as ‘things to do in London this summer with the kids’, ‘affordable summer beauty products’ and ‘summer cocktail and mocktail recipes’. The majority of the enquiries were from national papers and consumer media including The Evening Standard, The Sun Online, Pick Me Up, Sheerluxe and The English Home.

A lot of the consumer-related categories saw a boost as a result, with Women’s Interest & Beauty up by 11%, Leisure & Hobbies increasing by 6% and Home & Garden rising 4% compared to May.

The category which saw the second highest increase in requests was for Children & Teenagers, which jumped up by 19%. There were a variety of enquiries here with some looking for gifts for teachers, others wanting to know about back to school uniform and products, plus what to do with kids over the school summer holidays. The Education & Human Resources category also saw a boost as a result too, rising by 18%, with several requests wanting academic experts to talk on digital literacy, the state of secondary education and teacher shortages. All providing a great opportunity to get any parenting and education experts or information featured in the press.

As mentioned, the school holidays are nearly upon us and ‘holiday’ has performed well again as a keyword, appearing in 2.5% of all requests. This is slightly down on May’s figure but still helped the Travel category to increase by 10%. Last month also saw the first of the big music festivals this summer with Glastonbury. ‘Festival’ has appeared as a new keyword and was included in just over 2% of the total requests in June. The Daily Mirror, BBC News, Fabulous, The Independent and PA Media all made enquiries including one or both of these keywords, presenting more chances to get clients featured in some of the biggest publications and broadcasters.

Away from the excitement of the summer and festivals and holidays, the cost-of-living crisis continues to rumble on. Both ‘cost of living’ and ‘mortgages’ had 1% of the total requests last month as interest rates increased. June was also Pride month, with London Pride taking place last weekend. ‘Pride’ and ‘LGBTQ’ combined had 1% of the requests on the service.

Overall in June, 52% of journalists using the service were staff with 31% being freelance journalists. 37% of those were from consumer media, followed by national newspaper/current affairs on 26% and trade/business/professional media on 20%. The majority were looking for a spokesperson or expert (37%) with information for an article second (25%) and review products in third (16%). Eight of the top ten outlets for June were national press.

The month ahead should continue to be a strong one for keywords such as ‘summer’, ‘holiday’ and ‘festival’, despite the weather. This in turn means the consumer categories should continue to perform well. We should also start to see our first flurry of Christmas related requests as feature journalists start compiling information on what products and themes will be popular come December. There is also International French Fry Day (13th July) and National Junk Food Day (21st July), so the Food & Drink category should see a boost, too.

For more on connecting with journalists, here are 6 reasons to stop searching #JournoRequest and start using the Journalist Enquiry Service as well as what journalists want from PRs and how Vuelio can help

How healthcare providers can improve their crisis comms

From industrial action to labour shortages, the need for quick and effective crisis comms can be a matter of life or death in the healthcare sector. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for clear and transparent B2C communications has grown quick and fast. Reassurance is a foundational consumer need, particularly in times of societal upheaval.

Between 2019 and 2022, consumers expecting pharmaceuticals to aid stability in uncertain times rose from 38% to 50%, on par with their expectations of educators, friends and family networks. 

It sounds high-pressure, but it doesn’t have to be. A data-led crisis strategy is your best friend —building a template now will save you from drowning in the deep end. Knowing the who, what, when, where, and why of your coverage means you’re better equipped to reach the right audiences and minimise reputational impact in the process. 

Using industry research conducted by the Vuelio Insights team, here are five insights tips that can support your crisis strategy:

Assemble your squad 

First and foremost, a crisis committee is a sure-fire way to guarantee reliable and effective support. Involving key members from each department boosts internal alignment, efficiency and execution when it’s go time.

Measure more often than usual 

Crisis coverage often evolves at a rapid pace, so it’s a wise move to measure more frequently than usual. ROI is less of a focus in this scenario. Instead, you’ll want to produce a separate and specific set of metrics that reflect where you’d like to be when you come out of the crisis. 

Daily measurement is ideal during the peaks of the event. Many organisations choose to outsource this support, so they have more time to focus on strategy and execution.

Define your voice 

Sentiment alone won’t cut it when it comes to saving your reputation during a PR crisis. Your coverage needs to protect your reputation for key stakeholders. One of the best ways to make that happen is by having a killer set of key messages that are relevant and lightning-fast. These messages not only help you refine and prepare your response, it helps you measure how you’re doing compared to the competition and give you a chance to tweak along the way. So, let’s get started:

  • Whip up three-to-five key messages that say what you really want to say.
  • Decide where you want to shout those messages from—pick your prime platforms.
  • Check out how your coverage went—did your messages hit home? How’d your rivals do?
  • Set some KPIs to revamp any messages that fell flat or flopped. Take a look at this five-step guide to master the art of crafting key messages that hit the bullseye with your target audience.

Sorry isn’t the hardest word 

Whether or not to apologise in a crisis is an ongoing debate. When measuring 15 high-profile retail crises over the past year, our research showed that brand reputation is negatively impacted if a clear apology and resolution is not provided, but only under the circumstance that one or two brands have caused the crisis.

Where it is an industry-wide problem, public expectations are lower and independent reputations are less affected. However, in all circumstances, public recognition as early as possible had a fundamental impact on reputation in all cases. 

When Shell was called out across international press for purchasing Russian oil in March last year, it rapidly resurrected some respect by following what Pink Elephant Comms refer to as the ‘Three R’s’ – Regret, Reason and Remedy. While the story peaked around the world between 6 and 15 March 2022, the supplier’s negative sentiment rate dropped from 89% to 68% after it released an extended apology on 8 March 2022.

Prioritise trust throughout the year 

Greenwashing, woke-washing, and alike are just some of many ways that organisations can be called out in the press for making false promises to the public. 

The best way to avoid this kind of misinformation-based crisis is to engage in activities that will both boost your credibility and be of interest to the media. For example, since COP27 in November last year, STEM companies that are part of the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) have a much lower rate of allegation and investigation-based coverage than those who are not.

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

Will AI replace PR pros?

Can AI Replace PR Pros? The Writing Prowess of Artificial Intelligence versus Human Creativity

This is a guest post from Mary Poliakova, PR consultant and co-founder of Drofa Comms.

Mary-Poliakova

Although I’m a professional with more than 15 years in journalism and PR with a corresponding university degree, I never cease to educate myself and improve my professional skills. There is nothing more disheartening than a C-level executive stuck in the past. Thus, I’m currently enrolled in yet another higher education program for business owners. And one of the first lectures I attended as part of this initiative was dedicated to – you guessed it – AI.

Although the concept is as old as advanced tech can go (the 1950s, to be precise), 2023 gave it a new wave of hype. The PR industry is no exception to the trend – professionals ask themselves whether PR professionals should be concerned about recent developments and how creative industries respond to the challenges and moral aspects of generative AI applications. Not to be unfounded, I’d like to add some tangible data to the conversation around AI.

Presenting the Results of the AI Experiment

Recently, the PR and Content teams of my agency conducted an experiment where colleagues from different departments analysed three incognito texts of up to 150 words on the same topic: the role of AI in PR. One commentary was written by a human, a mid-level PR professional, and two were generated by AI. You can read the three texts, the criteria, and the detailed results of the experiment in our blog. But here are the main takes from it.

First, the text written by a human received the highest score. We calculated each short text on a 100-point scale, and the text created by a PR professional got 80 out of 100 points. Two other texts generated by ChatGPT and Notion AI received 76 and 62.4 points, respectively.

Overall, experiment participants noted that AI-generated texts have word-for-word repetitions from a given assignment and wordy sentences. On the other hand, machine-generated texts had a clear structure but lacked smooth, logical transitions from paragraph to paragraph.

As 40% of the correspondents were content writers and editors, all of them agreed that the text written by a human had the highest originality score. They likewise stated that AI-generated texts provided a purely theoretical stand, looking like an explanation to a required task rather than expressing a genuine opinion. However, several participants noted that a text created by a PR professional may have lacked factual argumentation compared to its AI counterparts. So what conclusions can we draw from this experiment?

The Future of AI in PR

The small experiment we’ve conducted leads us to believe that even the most advanced technology cannot exist without a ‘human touch’ to it (at least for now). AI can be of great assistance to the creative industry and PR pos when used cautiously and responsibly. And decent results can only be observed when a human professional knows how to correctly assign tasks to generative AIs. Even then, any written content generated by artificial intelligence must be fact-checked and edited to meet the criteria. After all, AI-generated content is based on the existing one on the Internet. And the risk of plagiarism varies depending on the AI model you use.

Overall, PR professionals should stay tuned for tech developments to test and incorporate effective tools while being cautious about potential changes to regulatory frameworks around artificial intelligence solutions. And executive PR teams must conduct training for managers on how to work with AI tools ethically. I would likewise recommend developing thorough instructions with clearly defined guidelines for using diverse types of advanced solutions in everyday work. The labelling of corporate materials, generated entirely or partially with the help of AI, is also an essential aspect of the ethical utilisation of advanced tools.

After all, I believe AI cannot replace the PR profession, but as it evolves constantly, experienced professionals with the ability to incorporate technologies into everyday work will be in great demand.

For more on how AI could impact public relations, for good or bad, download our white paper with Danebury Research ‘Reputation management: How PR & comms can maintain trust in an AI-assisted future‘ and watch the accompanying webinar ‘The AI Conundrum: Paving the way for the future of comms‘. 

From Pitch to Published webinar

Vuelio webinar: From pitch to published – a guide to media relations in 2023

Remote working, emerging technologies and media fragmentation have reshaped media relations completely. 

To help you keep up with all the changes, we’ve teamed up with Wadds Inc. founder and managing partner Stephen Waddington to uncover how PR professionals need to approach media relationships now.

What’s the best way to build relationships with journalists in 2023?

Join us live on 5 July for our webinar ‘From pitch to published – a guide to media relations in 2023’, where Stephen Waddington will share best practice tips for pitching to the media as a PR.

Expertise shared comes from PR and comms professionals working across the industry who are regularly gaining coverage – and building long-lasting working relationships with journalists, broadcasters, and influencers – in the UK press and beyond.

Sign up for the webinar to learn:

  • How remote working has led practitioners to explore more creative ways to connect with the media
  • Whether press conferences and face-to-face meetings can still provide value when the media world is so digitally connected
  • Where inbound tools and social media can help identify PR opportunities and aid in building strong rapports with journalists.

Can’t join us live? Register here and we’ll send you the recording.

For more on Stephen Waddington, check out our Top 10 UK PR Blogs (spoiler: he’s number one).

Want a primer on reaching out to relevant journalists with your story? Take note from our recent explainer ‘PRs on PR: How to pitch to the media‘.

Lessons from the rights and wrongs of health and pharmaceutical communications

Lessons from the rights and wrongs of health and pharmaceutical communications

There have been plenty of challenges in health and pharmaceutical reporting and communications over the last 30 years, with the last three being particularly tumultuous for those tasked with communicating both complex and constantly evolving news to the public.

At a Vuelio lunch held at the Gherkin last month, Channel 4’s health and social care editor Victoria Macdonald shared the lessons to be learned from the good and bad of her 30-year career covering health and pharma.

Read on for her thoughts on high-profile political flubs you won’t want to replicate, the importance of ensuring any promises made can be met, and just how unhealthy misinformation can be to your audience.

PR teams: prime your spokesperson properly

‘Looking back over the various points in my career and the exciting breakthroughs – the scandals, the pandemics – I would say that Covid was an interesting roller coaster.

‘I was the journalist who asked Boris Johnson if he was still shaking hands. I wasn’t actually trying to catch him out; I was genuinely interested. His reply was so astonishing – “Yes,” he said.

“I am shaking hands,” Johnson added. “Only last night I was in a hospital shaking hands with coronavirus patients.”

‘The chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser went pale as they stood beside him. An hour or so later the Downing Street press office rang to say that of course he hadn’t shaken hands with coronavirus patients.’

Promises must be met

‘My first interaction with the pharmaceutical industry, and whether it was making excessive profits at the sake of people’s lives, was around reputation.

‘I am thinking about a court case in 2001 in which the South African Government won against 39 pharmaceutical companies that had sued because of a provision that would have allowed the production and importation of generic drugs for HIV/Aids. That case was dropped in the end because of national and international pressure.

‘I was there reporting it and it was a momentous day – undermined by the Government actually failing to distribute drugs until they, too, were taken to court.’

Balance celebration with caution

‘There’s news of another Alzheimer drug that can slow cognitive decline by 35%. And the quote was that this could be the beginning of the end of Alzheimer’s disease. The thought is so thrilling and anyone in this room who has seen or is living with family members who have Alzheimer’s knows what it’s like to watch it happening in front of your eyes.

‘This may be too late for our mothers or fathers or grandparents – but maybe it will be ok for us – I hope so.

‘Yet this is another one of those announcements where you have to be so utterly cautious when reporting and communicating it. You want it to be a celebration, you absolutely want it to be the beginning of the end of Alzheimer’s, but you have to tell your audience that there are many caveats.

‘The last thing you want to do is rain on someone’s parade, but neither do you want a relative ringing up and saying where is this drug, why can’t my Mum have it now?’

Inoculate your audience against misinformation

‘That most wonderful moment nine months into the pandemic when the announcement of the first vaccines was made – we had had so many briefings early on in 2020 that no vaccine was in sight and then suddenly there really was.

‘Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said the Astra Zeneca vaccine’s reputation had been battered by a toxic mix of misinformation, miscommunication, and mishaps.

‘Yet there were trial problems – and reporting on these was very difficult because you didn’t want to lose the excitement of such an important development, but had to give as much information as possible.

‘There was a real change in communications during the pandemic. At first, Government press offices were slow to get up and going. But it got better very quickly.’

‘Looking back on Covid – so much changed and yet also so little’.

For more about maintaining trust and communicating complex campaigns clearly in health and pharmaceutical sectors, download the Vuelio white paper ‘Medical misinformation: How PR can stop the spread’.

8 facts you need to know about brand reputation

Don’t be scared, be prepared: Stats on brand reputation you need to know now

You and your clients have a rep to protect, and crisis can come from many different places. One big source of brand reputation problems? The digital space, where the negatives can spread just as quickly as the positives.

No PR can be omnipotent or always-online, so a reputational crisis will happen at some point. In our webinar ‘The AI Conundrum: paving the way for the future of comms’, Danebury Research founder Paul Stallard shared findings from our collaborative white paper to prove just how prepared PRs need to be.

Watch the webinar here.

Read on for the numbers on accountability, fake news, and how valuable public relations is.

Business leaders are worried about reputation…

– 94% of business decision makers have had to deal with a brand reputation issue
Every business needs to maintain their reputation, and this is a big concern for those at the top of the hierarchy. Causes of potential headaches and sleepless nights for industry decision makers come from both inside and outside of company structures. According to our data, 53% of reputation management cases were due to actions taken by an employee, while 46% came from a customer or external person.

– 67% worry that poorly managed brand reputation issues would seriously damage their company. Half of business decision makers would be unsure how to reduce the impact of a brand reputation issue
Ensuing damage is a concern for over half of polled business leaders across the financial services, utilities, pharma, media, retail, and transport sectors.While the number of decision makers that wouldn’t know how to stop a reputational crisis in its tracks is slightly concerning, business leaders do know who can help them.

…but the majority know that PR is a problem-solver

– 82% agree PR support would be vital to manage a brand reputational issue
Good news – 84% of business leaders proactively use PR to improve their reputation in the media and online, and 79% already have a plan in place to deal with any brand reputation issues.

Appreciation for public relations continues to rise. As we found in our previous white paper with Stephen Waddington and Dr Jon White (‘Elevating the role of public relations in management’), PR people are increasingly part of strategic decision making at the top levels of business.

Fake news and misinformation are a key concern in business now

– 77% believe fake news/misinformation would cause their company reputational damage
As mentioned by Polis Analysis’ Thomas Barton in the Vuelio webinar ’Why PRs need to take online misinformation and disinformation seriously’, fake news is predicted to be a significant challenge over the next 20 years.

80% of business leaders are already preparing and have taken steps to protect their company against fake news or misinformation. 75% believe fake news/misinformation is already on the rise.

Business leaders want the media to take more responsibility

– 71% think journalists and the media need to do more to validate sources to help prevent fake news/misrepresentation
Fact checking is baked into the journalist’s job, but what about AI content generation at publishing companies like BuzzFeed and Axel Springer?

37% of those on top of the business food chain believe content generators like ChatGPT will worsen the quality of media content, and that 83% of publications should mark when it’s been used to create a story. 37% even believe the technology could kill creativity completely. But is it all bad when it comes to AI?

AI is a source of trepidation for business bosses

– Only 22% of business leaders have personally used it for work-related purposes
AI technologies are still very much in their infancy for content creation – less than a quarter of decision makers have toyed with it so far. Perhaps due to this lack of personal experience of just what these apps can do, numbers show wariness. 37% believe ChatGPT is more of a risk than an asset, while a significant 65% think ChatGPT poses a threat to jobs.

AI is also a source of opportunity for PRs when building reputations

– While 62% of business leaders believe it’s too early for ChatGPT to be used in PR, 45% are actively investigating how it could be used as part of their communications

– 67% of business bosses believe ChatGPT prompting will be as important as SEO – a mainstay of comms – going forward.

On whether it really will take job opportunities away, a scary possibility much media coverage has put forward, not all business leaders agree. 45% believe it will improve productivity for the humans already working for them, and 78% agree the technology will free up time, enabling PRs to be even more creative with their strategies.

Whatever the future holds, anyone working in the field of reputation – whether building it, protecting it, or fixing it – will need to incorporate emerging technologies into their toolkit.

‘I have been in conversations with clients and they’ve asked what our stance is on the use of AI already, and whether we should be using it,’ said Paul.

‘We’re in the early stages in the PR industry so far – we’re excited about it, exploring and investigating it.

‘We need to embrace this as a tool and not be scared. We need to know the strength and weaknesses, so we can advise our clients correctly.’

Watch the full webinar ‘The AI conundrum – paving the way for the future of comms‘ and download the accompanying white paper ‘Reputation management: How PR and comms can maintain trust in an AI-assisted future’ for more on this topic.