Comms Pros Confront Changing Set of Challenges

August 6, 2021

JOTWSwordandScript Top Comms Challenges Aug2021Some 8 in 10 communications professionals say organizations place a greater emphasis on communications now than before the start of the pandemic. This is per the most recent survey [SlideShare] of more than 300 communication professionals from Ned’s Job of the Week and Sword and the Script Media.

The level of importance for communications in every area has increased in the past year, especially areas of employee communication (93%), customer communication (78%), partner communication (59%) and investor communication (51%).

Some 6 in 10 say their organization measures the results of its communication efforts always (18%) or often (42%), And, while more than half (58%) say their communications efforts are adequate, communications professionals are facing some unique challenges.

Last year, communications professionals said their biggest challenges were proving ROI and the executive team not understanding communications. This year concerns about ROI have fallen down the list of concerns. Instead, the biggest challenge is too many priorities, with 2 in 5 placing this challenge among their top 3. While balancing priorities has been a challenge in years past, it has never been so high on the list of challenges.

Communications professionals are also facing the challenges of cutting through the clutter (37% selecting within top-3), lack of understanding from leaders (36%), ever-expanding duties (35%) and not having enough staff (29%) or budget (26%).

Confronting Challenges

As too many priorities is the main challenge, coupled with a shortage in staff, 54% of communications professionals expect their organization to increase the volume of work they outsource to outside agencies, consultants, and freelancers.

And, when it comes to improving measuring the efforts of communications, the largest share (23%) of respondents say measurement know-how would be the most helpful, followed by more budget (19%), leadership support (19%) and better technology (18%).

However, not every challenge is being tackled. Even though 6 in 10 say media relations has gotten more difficult in the past year, only 1 in 3 (29%) say their organization will be investing more in media relations.

Tools Comms Professionals Are Using

The survey also revealed some insight into which tools communications professionals are using. Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) use social monitoring and online and print media, while fewer are using social media engagement (63%), a media database (57%), press releases (48%) and internal communications platforms (48%).

Sponsored media doesn’t appear to be a favorite among communications professionals. While 54% say sponsored media should have a place in an earned media toolkit at least sometimes, only 1 in 10 use it frequently or very frequently. Indeed, only a few say that sponsored content is always (1%) or often (16%) credible.

View the slide share here.

About the Data: Findings are based on an April-May 2021 survey of 305 professionals working in communications, public relations, and public affairs.


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