Increased corporate visibility for marcoms, rise of data analytics and a shift in social media in the PR repertoire

The world of PR is changing at a rapid pace as digital communications continue to evolve and organizations need to adjust their content strategies in the wake of COVID-19. Data is driving decision making like never before. And note: statistics are becoming as important in the PR toolkit. Even the social media channels we use to interact with the world are shifting. Audiences are now more spread across platforms – with now many preferring watching TikTok vs. scrolling through tweets. This has all been highlighted in the Cision and PRWeek 5th annual Global Comms Report, suitably titled “Paying – and Earning – Attention.”

The ability to constantly assess how to continue to convey the correct message to the correct audience is something every PR Professional needs to ponder. So hot off the press is IBA on some of the report’s key findings.

  1. PR cements its seat at the C-Suite table

One of the less surprising, but still vitally important statistics in this year’s report, was that 87% of comms leaders say the C-suite has sought the counsel of comms more in the past year. A majority of respondents said this was due to the impact of COVID-19. Rewind to the start of the year and IBA had seen this rise during 2020, and we shared some of our top tips on how PR and marketing departments could keep this seat at the leadership table.

PR showed itself early on during the pandemic to be the most agile sector when adapting to new ways of working. Compelled to rapidly adjust, the PR industry swiftly set about adjusting to the new normal. It was used by their companies to help bring new solutions to the market – new services all fast forwarded by the pandemic and all needing to be communicated to the eager ears of potential customers.

One of the key reasons for PR maintaining this seat was highlighted in the Cision report: “If there was ever a time for comms to seize an opportunity, given its increased profile, it’s now. For years, the sector has heard that numbers speak louder than words in the C-suite, but the numbers PR pros were bringing back had little meaning to other executive level managers. However, with the function’s relationship with the C-suite so strong, those pros are expressing a desire to step up their data and analytics capabilities.”

Which brings us to our next takeaway…

  1. Data crunching – the secret weapon in the B2B professional’s toolkit

In the Cision report, which surveyed 560 agency and in-house senior-level professionals across the world, a staggering 91% of PR Professionals agree that not only is writing an imperative skill but also the ability analyze data. A massive 49% of those asked, see data analytics as their top challenge currently within the industry.

In the report Jay Webster, chief product officer at Cision, said “PR pros need and want to be more data-informed.” We could not be more in agreement with Jay and have data at the very heart of our ethos!

We agree. At IBA we always have used the data behind all decisions on client campaigns, from where and who to pitch to for our clients to metrics and PR reporting. The use of data in this way allows us to move a client into a new market and quickly measure get results with our Pitch&Place service. Take a look at another of our recent blogs to see the key role data and metrics play to inform strategic PR campaigns.

  1. Not all posts are equal – the evolving digital landscape of social media

The use of social media to speed and amplify message delivery has long been one of the most important domains to gain traction in any campaign, both for us at IBA and in wider B2B PR in general. This is however, an area where change is far from stagnant, and it is imperative to use whichever social platforms reach the highest targeted audience for your products and solutions.

The report asked all participants to identify the four most important sites for broader content strategies, and there were some surprises. Globally, Meta owned Facebook and Instagram still rank first, and second respectively for the focus of strategies. However Twitter, once a bastion for content is on the decline and has been superseded by both LinkedIn and YouTube this year, while TikTok too shows increasing relevance for PR professionals—and most likely will continue to trend throughout 2022.

Again, we’ve explored this topic during the course of the year, with an IBA blog on the rise of TikTok and its applicability for the B2B sector.

At IBA we have long kept up with the latest social medias to make sure our clients get the exposure they need to the right audience at the right time. iBAengage is our proven method of doing this and utilizes several social media channels, depending on geography and industry to establish a client’s unique voice and promote its expertise and USP’s, while showcasing leadership when it comes to industry hot topics and customer pain points.

B2B PR – But not as you know it

At IBA we are certainly “paying attention” to the latest PR and Comms developments and have also recently covered Cision’s recent State of the press release report which is certainly worth a read! It’s clear that consolidating its already influential position, incorporating data and knowing the social media choice of the audience you are trying to reach is more important now than ever.

Joshua Ashworth is PR Executive at IBA International.

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