The State of PR in 2024: Three Key Takeaways

Known for being an ever-evolving industry, public relations (PR) is in the midst of a profound transformation shaped by technological advancements, shifting consumer behaviors, and a constantly evolving media landscape. From keeping up with the latest social media trends and tools to navigating the complexities of artificial intelligence (AI), PR professionals are at the forefront of shaping organizational narratives in an increasingly interconnected world.

Earlier this month, Muck Rack released its annual State of PR Report, highlighting current data and insights from over a thousand PR professionals working in various fields. The report summarizes information gathered from 1,116 people, with 37% of those working at agencies, 29% working for brands in-house, and the remainder working for other entities including non-profits, government organizations, and more.

Read on for three key takeaways from the 2024 report.

1. LinkedIn is the #1 social media platform for PR professionals… by a landslide.

According to Muck Rack, LinkedIn has solidified its position as the leading social media platform for PR professionals, with 50% of respondents prioritizing it – surpassing the combined preferences for X, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. 61% of respondents said they intend to dedicate more time to LinkedIn in 2024 (up from 53% last year), while interest in X continues to wane, with only 15% of respondents planning to spend more time on it this year. Despite a drop in daily use, X remains relevant for PR professionals, particularly when it comes to social listening, connecting with media, and uncovering trending topics. Meanwhile, TikTok continues to steadily gain ground, with 8% growth year-over- year. Snapchat ranks lowest, with minimal recognition from PR professionals.

LinkedIn’s popularity can be attributed in part to the platform’s versatility: It serves as a “one stop shop” where PR professionals can post about their work and clients; interact with media, brands (including prospective new clients), and other PR professionals directly; and access valuable resources for those in the industry.

2. PR professionals use a variety of methods to find journalists.

The Muck Rack report indicates a diverse array of methods today’s PR professionals use to connect with journalists, emphasizing a more multifaceted approach to media outreach than in years past. Media database tools (such as Muck Rack and Cision) and Google were widely favored, with a significant 57% of PR pros utilizing both regularly. Personal contact lists (50%) and social media (41%) also play crucial roles in media relations strategies. Over half of those surveyed said they consistently conduct thorough research on journalists, with another 31% doing so regularly. However, 14% admit to conducting research about half the time or less frequently, underlining varying approaches within the industry (disclaimer: we do NOT recommend this approach!).

It’s clear that the rise of social media and advancements in digital media databases have impacted how PR professionals identify and get in touch with new media contacts. Both mediums, for instance, can be used by journalists to update and broadcast their current company, role, and contact information in real time.

3. AI is a top priority.

The report concludes that learning about and becoming proficient with AI now ranks as a higher priority skill than media relations for PR professionals, with 44% agreeing that their companies “need to incorporate AI tools into their workflow to ensure success in the next five years.” This figure is up 13% from 2023, with respondents now ranking AI as a higher priority than media relations (43%), data and analytics (37%), and influencer marketing (30%).

With so many new tools readily available to help with everything from researching and writing to social media content creation and video editing, it’s no surprise that PR professionals reported wanting to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to AI. At Double Forte, we believe that media relations skills remain paramount for all public relations professionals just as much as being proficient with the latest technology. 

Want to know more about trending PR topics? Check out our latest Double Forte blog posts and our podcast for more information.