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What Can PR Pros Expect in 2018?

Sharon Reis   January 16, 2018  

To learn more about how the changing national political environment is affecting workloads and to understand how communications experts are preparing for 2018, The Reis Group surveyed members of the Public Relations Society of America, and we are eager to share what we found.

2017 emerged as the year when communications professionals were asked to do more, sometimes a lot more. Just over one-third of PR professionals reported an increased workload and approximately one in 10 said their workload is in a constant state of change because of the political environment. No one said their workload has decreased.

Many were asked to provide ROI projections to justify the investment of time and resources by leadership and subject-matter experts. These findings lead us to believe that our jobs are becoming more challenging, and not necessarily more appreciated–unless we can justify our value.

The current environment is affecting how PR people expect to spend their time in 2018. The top three growth areas are predicted to be social media, messaging, and issues management, followed by thought-leadership, consumer education, and research.

Time spent on earned media, advocacy, and branding is expected to decline in the coming year. This is surprising and brings into question whether the growing competition for share of voice in the media and among policymakers is partly to blame. It’s becoming increasingly challenging to stand out in the roller-coaster perpetual-news cycle.

PR people are worried about the economy, and for varying reasons. One exec alluded to the surging economy driving up demand for communications services. Others voiced concerns about a possible looming recession and the reduction of federal monies that fund health care campaigns and their communications budgets.

Many of these changes are to be expected, so being asked to do more with fewer resources isn’t a new challenge for our field. However, what we are tasked to do on a day-to-day basis is changing, and PR pros need to be ready for this.

If 2017 was a year of increased workload, then 2018 will be the year of figuring out how to stay “present” on a range of communications channels and document the impact you are having for the organization. If you can’t measure it, you probably shouldn’t do it.

Some content for this blog was adapted from an article published in October 2017 edition of O’Dwyer’s.

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