Growth in Polls and Surveys Offers PR a Vision of the New Normal

One part of the PR pro’s job is to keep up with trends. Fortunately, while many aspects of life are on hold, there's been an uptick in the creation of surveys and polls. In addition, the newly homebound are more willing to respond to pollsters. Poll data pouring forth is helping PR pros create a picture of the new normal. Some of the data may surprise you.

For example, a survey from CUNY, its sixth weekly iteration, reveals the virus has brought New York City residents closer together. 60 percent of Big Apple residents say they now feel more connected with fellow New Yorkers; 61 percent feel solidarity with Americans nationwide. So much for gruff, stand-offish New Yorkers. We are in it together.

A far less upbeat insight for communicators as they craft messages: the poll showed 40 percent of New Yorkers feel anxious and 32 percent say they’re feeling depressed.

Email Pitching Still Favored

Credit Cision for pivoting deftly, adding coronavirus-related data to its 11th annual State of the Media survey, a poll of 3,200+ global content creators.

Released today, it found content creators continue to prefer email pitches. In addition, it's helpful at this moment to let media members know that an executive or expert is available on Skype, FaceTime or other video platforms.

As it was before the virus, keeping email pitches brief is preferred. Skip the “elaborate, teaser introductory paragraph,” a journalist told Cision. In addition, “As for timing, many journalists mentioned that early in the morning is a good time, before they get slammed for the day,” the survey said.

Upbeat Insight

While many of the tips you’ve heard countless times were mentioned—avoid distasteful pitches, make sure your pitch is relevant to the publication and its readers, one follow-up is OK, more than that probably isn’t—there also was some hopeful insight.  One journalist quoted in the survey urged PR pros to “be even more proactive than ever with reaching out to media outlets…normal stories [during COVID-19] take a different turn. The possibilities are endless right now.”

While the survey found content creators are aware of coronavirus-news overload, they understand the situation is fluid. “Most audiences still want regular updates, especially on a local level,” the survey said.

On the other hand, one web editor told Cision, “I’d love to see more timely/local stories that are NOT about the virus. Even just one a day would be refreshing.”

The human angle is more important at this moment. “So, if you have a feel-good local story don’t be afraid to pitch it,” Cision said.

Another insight when dealing with journalists: “a little extra humanity and patience goes a long way in the current environment…we are all dealing with this unprecedented time together,” Cision said in the report. Quoting a journalist, “Be aware that we’re struggling just as much to figure out what comes next.”

Lower Budgets, Same Goals

Undoubtedly, there will be post-pandemic changes in commerce. On the other hand, business is business. A poll of marketers and executives from Conductor found 65 percent anticipate that marketing budgets will fall. Despite lower budgets, 72 percent believe their targets and goals will not change.

A survey of 403 PR executives from Peppercomm and IPR found many of the same trends contained in PRNEWS’ survey. In addition, employees are more engaged and collaborative since the pandemic’s start, it found. Communications departments, it said, are a “critical component of their company’s internal crisis responses.”

A troubling finding: diversity, equity, and inclusion messages are getting little attention. Just 19 percent of those polled said D&I messages were part of their companies’ internal communications. Most communicated topics were health guidelines and policy changes.

The survey also found this personal crisis is resulting in a rise in personal communications. Favorite tactics include direct communication through supervisors/managers (61 percent) and one-on-one’s (76 percent).

This article is part of PRNEWS' daily COVID-19 coverage, click here to see the latest updates.