Digital PR: Is it Getting Harder?

Digital PR
5 Min read

Digital PR: Is it Getting Harder? [Infographic]

Written by Jane Hunt

Digital PR: Is it Getting Harder?

For those of us working with brands, the question of whether or not it is getting harder to get coverage is an important one. As digital PR continues to evolve, just keeping up can feel like a challenge.

With help from some key PR influencers, our new infographic addresses some of the most common concerns about the present and future of the digital PR industry.

Digital PR is it getting harder?



Digital PR: Is it getting harder?

Is digital PR getting harder? In some ways yes, but it’s not all bad news. Stay committed to good storytelling and embrace change – it brings a broad range of new and exciting opportunities.

For those of us working with brands, the question of whether or not it is getting harder to get coverage is an important one. As digital PR continues to evolve, just keeping up can feel like a challenge.

With help with some key PR influencers, we guide you through some of the biggest challenges in digital PR and show you how to turn them to your advantage.


Things that once seemed new, now seem old

What’s the problem? With so much great content out there, it’s getting hard to surprise audiences with something new.

Make it work for you Embrace new technologies like AR, VR and chatbots, but to keep those links flying in, focus on getting creative with existing formats. If you have to spend time on refining that angle or money on sourcing that quality data, do it and stick with strong stories that are authentic to your brand and your target audience.

New definitions

“Has public relations really changed or is it that we just have various new definitions for what is essentially traditional PR?”

New Tools

“The arsenal of tools available to the modern day PR professional makes tracking this work far easier!”

New challenges

“Dark Social, that is a whole new barrel of giggles for modern PR folk.”

Andy Barr, Owner, 10 Yetis


More background noise

What’s the problem? With new agencies sprouting every five minutes and 400 hours of video shared every one,  competition is stronger than ever.

Make it work for you For standout content embrace creativity, weirdness and trends. Make the most of your in-house talent. If you make great video content, work tirelessly to stay up-to-date with trends and refine your skills to build your reputation in that area. Obvious but effective.

More Noise

“Everybody has the ability to access so much material instantly without going through traditional media channels, filtered by ‘professionals’


There’s an opportunity for PR people to get their content directly to audiences without going through filters.”

Quality not quantity

“The challenge is to find out how our stories are best received. It’s not (just) about quantity, it’s about quality.”

Mike Love, PR Adviser, Burson-Marsteller


More channels and platforms

What’s the problem? As audiences flock to more channels and platforms every day it can be hard to know where to invest your time and energy

Make it work for you Rank social networks according to where the brand’s audience currently is and where they are likely to be in the future. Don’t just look at numbers but at engagement, demographic patterns, organic activity, alignment with the core product and content.

Be Flexible

“Modern relations practitioners must be able to work across all forms of media, and paid and earned.”

Reputation counts

“Media relations is making way for influencer relations. Journalists are working with influencers that have built their own networks on reputation.”

Be persistent

“Be absolutely persistent in your prospecting – but not annoying.”

Stephen Waddington, Partner and Chief Engagement Advisor, Ketchum

Harder-to-impress journos

What’s the problem? Journalists are so bombarded with pitches and requests (see Challenge 2) that it’s hard to get a response – let alone a feature.

Make it work for you Nearly 25% of email pitches are rejected by journalists for being too impersonal [Cision]. Personalise your emails and target your content so it’s relevant to your chosen site and its audience. Ask contacts if there are any specific topics they want covered and shape your campaigns and content around their needs.

How can you impress journalists with so much noise?

Quality PRs

“More and more PR pros are chasing fewer and fewer journalists. Journalists are being swamped with ‘spam’ press releases.”

Thorough research

“It’s time the PR industry took their research more seriously and tailored their pitches.”

Look Sharp

“90% of what is distributed needs to be cut out and the other 10% sharpened up.”

Michael Davies, Director, Roxhill Media


Jaded audiences

What’s the problem? As content online gets ever more varied, authentic and often bizarre – audiences have more or less seen it all.

Make it work for you Packaging your content in the right way works and promoting it innovatively helps but it will all be for nothing if the angle doesn’t work. Finding a strong, unique angle may take time, but it is time well spent. Gather your whole team together and try out some new brainstorming techniques. Our current favourite is the ‘hat’ or parallel-thinking method.

How do we surprise jaded audiences?

Target practice

“By being able to target particular demographics, we’re still able to ‘shock and awe’.”

Shock tactics

“If all you’re trying to do is shock someone, you first need to select an audience that will react to seeing such a thing.”

Mystic PRs

“By segmenting your audience, you’re able to more accurately predict how people will react.”

Quentin Langley – Author of Brand Jack, Chair of Global Affairs Committee PRSA


We’re so busy!

Technology has created a fast-paced 24/7 environment where PR pros are under pressure to be flexible and strong in multiple areas.

Make it work for you Try partnering up with other people to help bolster each other’s skillsets and take off some of the pressure. Social media and digital have made things more complicated but have brought infinitely more value – making PR far more credible as a discipline.

How can we work efficiently when we’re so busy?

Think Holistic

“At JBH, we think about PR holistically – we no longer see it as a separate discipline with different objectives.”

Work Together

“PR is now so closely aligned with SEO, social and influencer marketing, it makes sense to combine strategy and activity…”


“… This can provide brands with more opportunities to repurpose content and campaigns – plus it can lighten the workload!”

Jane Hunt, Marketing Director, JBH


We’re drowning in data

We know the importance of an analytical approach but it’s hard to know where to find tools that pull the PR value out of all the data.  

Make it work for you It already is! Today we hear news in real time and have access to everything we could possibly want to know about audience trends and behaviours. No one has time to analyse it all – pick three metrics (e.g. backlink profiles) that correspond to your goals and check on them religiously.

Is PR becoming more data driven?

Driven by data

“PR is becoming more scientific and data driven – a good thing. Content needs to be relevant, with clear benefits and actions”

Track stars

“PRs are now starting to track the effect of their output and feed this back into doing things better.”

Maud Davis, PR Trainer and Consultant,


Our job roles are changing

What’s the problem? We’re all under pressure to learn more skills, our roles are entangled and everyone is stepping on eachother’s toes.

Make it work for you No one can do it all. Work with your strengths and listen to new professionals as well as those from other disciplines. Accept help and offer yours to others. Stay receptive to change, no matter how long you’ve been in the industry.

How can we adapt to our changing roles?

Age v Beauty

“Time served is the typical measure of competence in public relations – a lousy metric in a business moving so quickly.”


“I’ve 20 years in practice but my social media listening skills are a work in progress and I’m not great at visual community management.”

Continuous learning

“Practitioners need to invest in continuous learning – pushing themselves to learn new things wherever possible.”

Stephen Waddington, Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum


Happy link-building!

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Post published on Thursday September 21, 2017

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