skip to Main Content

Muck Rack’s State of PR 2021 Report With Lexie Smith (Your Host!) – Podcast Transcript

Muck Rack’s State of PR 2021 Report With Lexie Smith (Your Host!)

Episode 38 – Pitchin’ and Sippin’ – Muck Rack’s State of PR 2021 Report With Lexie Smith (Your Host!)


Lexie Smith

Hello, this week is a solo episode because I have some really powerful super cool, important exciting stats and data to share with you guys about the state of PR in 2021. And today’s episode is not sponsored by Muckrack, but my primary source was Muck rack’s study and report on the state of PR in 2021. So we’re going to dive right in first a bit about who was surveyed for the report. Muck rack surveyed more than 1600 communications professionals from April through May and 2021 of this year. 50% were from agencies 35% were from brands and 15% were from nonprofits. 81% were based in the US of A industries were all across the board. 94% of those surveyed were responsible for Media Relations and 97% were at a managerial level or above. Okay, we’re going to discuss the key findings. First up when asked which of the following challenges does your PR or communications team face 59% said getting responses from journalists. So if you have been having crickets lately, you’re not alone, my friends. the second biggest problem at 49% was budget limitations. Third place measuring business impact. To break those numbers down a bit more agencies are more likely to say getting responses from journalists are their biggest problem. So 65% versus 51% for brands and nonprofits, while brands and nonprofits are more likely to say measuring business impact is their biggest problem. Next question. The top challenges faced during covid 19 reported getting coverage in the new cycle and finding relevant pitch angles. So I was super eager to learn the answer to this next one. Or this next section. Rather, what tech and tools do PR teams use to do their jobs. So they broke this down by people using it daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and never first 51% report using news monitoring tools like Muck rack or meltwater daily 20% use them weekly and 18% never use them. 47% use a media or journalist database like scission daily, however, 14% say they never use them.


49% reported they do not ever use PR reporting software, whereas 11% only use it daily. And when it came to wire services like PR Newswire and business wire 36% use a wire monthly 23% never do and 21% use it yearly. Okay, more tech stats. 31% of PR pros use dedicated project management software such as Trello, Asana or Basecamp daily. However, 47% never use it. brands and nonprofits on the other hand are more likely to use it coming up at 35% reporting daily use marketing software Okay, so PR is best friend was also reviewed. I’m just gonna pull out a few highlights here that I found personally fascinating: 75% of those in PR, never use a CRM. So CRM is customer relationship management software. 74% never use a marketing automation software like HubSpot, for example, and 75% never use the Marketing Cloud. So lots of Nevers here, and add a bit of my little two cents PR should not be automatic or excuse me, PR should not be automated, in my opinion. So good job clapping my hands to all those interviewed social media tools. Here’s a quick summary of findings. 33% of PR pros use social media tools daily. However, brands and nonprofits actually are more likely to use them. They came in at 43%. So the next section of the report is all about how PR pros are connecting to journalists. So if you have been zoning out with all the numbers In Tech Talk, shake it out and come back to me. When asked which of the following components do you believe is most important in a pitch, 42% said that the subject is relevant to the journalist. So that was the number one thing they think is important. Second place was customizing the pitch. Third was timeliness and fourth was a catchy subject line. Now listen up, because according to the state of journalism report 2021, which I did cover on the last episode of season two, whereas this report, we’re reviewing right now interviewed PR pros, that report interviewed journalists, bad timing, was the number one reason journalists said they reject otherwise relevant pitches. Second place was lack of personalization. So PR peeps, are my founders doing some DIY, you know, maybe think about reordering your priorities a little bit and always make sure it’s timely. Moving on, when asked which of the following channels do you find to be the most effective for pitching journalists? 96% say individual emails. Second place was mass email, which makes my heart hurt because I am very much anti mass email in PR specifically. Now on what day of the week, do those surveyed like to send pitches 19% said Monday 59% said Tuesday, which was first place and then 11% on Wednesday, and it trickles down from there. Now, while Tuesday remains the most popular day to send pitches. Past editions of the state of journalism report show that journalists have said they prefer to be pitched on Mondays. Now. Here’s mine. So Lexi, two cents is this question of every member of the media that comes on the show? And honestly, the answers are kind of all over the board. So long story short, test it out on your own. Okay, so timing of pitches, while 55% of PR pros say late morning is the best time to send a pitch so 9am to 12pm. According to the report, in the state of journalism report, they found that journalists have a slight preference towards early morning, first late morning, but literally that slight difference was only 1%. 

So really, it’s an early morning, late morning, summary morning. 


Okay, so pitch length 94%. say they keep pitches under 300 words, which is in alignment with what journalists reported preferring So Good job everyone. Keep it up and keep it concise. follow ups 49% say it is okay to send a follow up. 42% said follow ups are okay. My consensus. I agree. It just depends. 90% of journalists agree that one follow up is a Okay. Now, when or how much time should pass in between you sending that Oji pitch and following up? Well, 56% of those interviewed said wait three to seven days and 50% of journalists agree with that. Okay, so we’re going to shift gears to all things social media. The question was, do you expect to spend more or less time on the following social media networks this year? For context, the platforms listed are LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, tik tok, clubhouse, Facebook and Reddit. No surprise that people are still using Twitter. But LinkedIn took the lead in terms of 57% of PR pros, saying they’re going to be using this platform even more. So that’s not to say LinkedIn is the number one platform being used. It’s saying more people are going to start using LinkedIn. When asked what social networks are important for your company’s social media, and comms strategy, LinkedIn came in at number one again, followed by Twitter rather than Instagram than Facebook. I will say that I have a lot more questions on this one as I’m super curious, and I know it’s going to depend on the types of companies who are weighing in here. So I’m going to skip a couple sections specifically on internal PR budgets and measuring reporting success. If you’re yelling at me right now saying no, Alexa, tell me those things. Go ahead and download the full 71 page report from Muckracks, website, full permission. Okay, so what I am going to talk about though is the future of PR, which I recently talked about on an episode with Diane Schwartz of PR daily a couple episodes ago. Tap back after this one if you’re interested. So those interviewed 48% to be specific, only expect PR to change moderately in the next five years. However, 73% said they believe public relations will need to be redefined. In five years. I agree. For the record. In fact, I think there’s actually I know and I believe strongly that there’s a massive lack of understanding in the market on what PR truly is, and all that entails. Although mainly with brands, not those working in the profession itself, hence why I do what I do with the PR bar. So nearly half of PR pros believe the number of total agencies will increase over the next five years, which to me is good news as in theory, it represents increased demand. 3% believe the importance of PR and communications will grow in the next five years. Diane and I talked about this in her episode too, by the way. Now, if you want to dive into this more specifically, we can then ask or not, we can then ask the report that asks which of the following skills will be important to your PR organization’s success in the next five years. So anyone listening looking to further develop their skill set, get that next job, or just really brush up on their current peer knowledge. Here are the top five skills that people are suggesting is going to become increasingly important. First place strategic planning, second place Media Relations, third, social media, fourth, diversity, equity and inclusion. And then fifth data and analytics. There you have it.

The remainder of the report breaks down a lot more of the demographic details of those interviewed. And again, if you would like to download and read the full 71 page report. You absolutely can by all means go to my crack calm. I will actually link to where you download it in the show notes. But to wrap things up in true Pitchin’ and Sippin’ fashion. I do need to obviously give a beverage shout out and today I want to shout out the Cayenne cleanse flavor of kombucha by health aid because it gives me life Cheers.

Back To Top