Marketwired Survey Shows PR Industry Still BehindBy Gini Dietrich

Just before the holidays, Are You a Content Machine?, a Marketwired survey, was released.

I took the survey in October and, when I saw the questions, I told them I was interested in seeing the results…for two reasons:

  1. They asked if PR professionals are using the PESO model; and
  2. They asked what is being measured.

When they released the results, they focused on whether or not PR pros plan to increase their content marketing efforts this year (they do), but I’m still more interested in the two points above.

Marketwired Survey Says

Before we get there, though, the other Marketwired survey results are rather interesting. See if it matches your plans:

  • PR and marketing professionals are using an expanding range of content in their communications: Blog posts (55%), photos (29%), and news releases (24%) were identified as the content used most frequently by respondents. Newsletters, video, infographics and white papers were also named, along with case studies, webinars and tip sheets.
  • A notable 61 percent of respondents said they are using influencers and brand advocates to help amplify their content, reach new audiences and increase engagement. For those who answered “no” to using influencers, they commonly cited budget and/or resource restrictions and not knowing where to start with an influencer program as their primary challenges.
  • Half of respondents use visuals on a weekly basis to support their content efforts, and an impressive 30 percent do so daily. As consumers increasingly look for relevant and engaging multimedia content, it’s no surprise that PR and marketing pros are answering the call by producing and sharing photos, video, infographics and other visual content with their audiences.
  • PR and marketing pros are taking advantage of opportunities to connect with and engage their audiences across multiple platforms. Twitter (75%), Facebook (73%), and LinkedIn (63%) are the most commonly used social channels for sharing visual content (video, photos, and infographics). Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest are popular choices as well, and social networking newcomers Snapchat, Periscope, Vine, and Meerkat also made the list.

OK, so blog posts, Twitter and Facebook, influencers, and visuals are all really important to the industry.

Very good.

But what are we doing that is new or innovative?

It turns out…not much.

Earned Media Reigns Supreme

When asked which of part of the PESO model was most important to their communications programs, it was not surprising to see earned media ranked number one—36 percent said it is the most important.

Owned media followed a close second with 33 percent saying they are using it consistently.

What’s disappointing, though, is only 17 percent said they’re using paid media and only 16 percent said they’re using shared media.

The latter is rather shocking, considering pretty much everyone has at least one social network today. Perhaps it’s a case of “get us a Facebook page” and when no one showed up there, they stopped posting.

What I’d like to see in a future survey is what the mix of use is for PESO. In other words, is it an even 25 percent split (that’d be ideal) or will earned always be 50 percent or more, with owned following closely behind?

As an industry, we should push to see an even split…someday.

Marketwired Survey PESO Model

Reach is Not Measurement

What’s worse, though, is the type of “measurement” the industry is doing.

I guess I can’t really complain…at least we’ve graduated from impressions and advertising equivalencies.


Measuring reach and engagement is not measurement. And, web analytics isn’t really measurement, either, unless you’re using analytics to dig into what people are doing and buying.

Marketwired Survey Measurement

Yes, you need to know if your content is resonating. Reach and engagement will tell you that.

Yes,  you need to know if people come to your website and stay there. Analytics will tell you that.

But then what?

How are you measuring wether or not your content is driving qualified leads? How are you measuring whether or not it’s helping to convert those leads to sales?

In fairness, there were a few respondents who get it:

Marketwired Survey Measurement

Granted, I think I’m the one who said, “I want to show we are an investment, not an expense.” But the person in the blue and yellow quotes get it. They really get it!

The PR Industry Gets a C-

The industry has a long, long way to come. It’s rather disappointing because those of you who read Spin Sucks are already there. We have, after all, been talking about this for years.

And yet, we’re still stuck on vanity metrics and media relations.

No wonder people equate PR to getting their name in print. The PR industry hasn’t changed, so why should executives think differently?

What do you think? Will we ever get there?

If you’re interested, you can find the full Marketwired infographic here.

image credits: Shutterstock and Marketwired

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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