94% of PR practitioners are not skilled in influencer relations according to a new report by PR industry body


Around one-in-three (32%) of PR practitioners identify influencer relations as an activity they work on according to a PR trade body annual study. 

The State of the Profession 2020 Survey by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations goes on to say that influencer relations is more commonly undertaken by senior practitioners (34%) compared to junior colleagues (27%).

It is the first time that influencer relations has been included within the survey as an activity. The discipline immediately slotted into 16th place in a list of top activities undertaken by PR people. 

However, skills competency within public relations professionals was found to be poor. To the survey question: “In which areas of public relations practice do you think your skills and experience are strongest?” just 6% responded with influencer relations. 

To address this skills shortage the CIPR recently set up an Influencer Marketing Panel. The panel seeks to educate and empower CIPR members to practise influencer marketing both ethically and effectively for the brands which they represent, while giving a voice of authority to the developing conversation about this developing communication discipline, and enabling communicators to think about their own influence and how this is managed effectively and ethically. 

I am a co-chair of this panel alongside Anne-Marie Lacey Chart.PR FCIPR, Filament PR and Deb Sharratt Chart.PR FCIPR, Deb Sharratt Communications.

10 years of CIPR’s State of the Profession survey

For a decade, the CIPR’s State of the Profession survey has reported on trends, issues, and challenges impacting public relations, presenting industry-leading data on a range of aspects relating to the PR profession. The report explores skills, salaries, diversity, challenges facing the profession, the gender pay gap as well as issues such as mental health, and allows us to authoritatively comment on how the profession has changed over the years.

See also: CIPR State of profession study 2018: expanding PR industry but over-reliance on tactics

See also: PR has a diversity and inclusion problem claims report

This year’s research delves into the issue of social mobility and explores the background and views of PR practitioners compared to the general population. It also looks into the idea of public relations as a professional community and, if so, what practitioners want to get out of it.

PR practitioners are more likely to possess a degree compared to the general population (76% vs 35%). Twice as many practitioners say their parents or guardians completed a university degree or equivalent (43%) than the one-fifth (21%) who received income support or free school means during their school years.

When it comes to views about social mobility, the views of the profession differ from the UK public in many respects. PR practitioners are more likely (37%) than the general public (20%) to think their background gave them career advantages and believe that it is becoming harder for less advantaged people to socially and professionally progress (42% to 39%).  

See also: Unconscious bias in influencer marketing

Public relations is still failing to show substantial progress on addressing the lack of ethnic diversity within the profession with little movement shown following last year’s results. More than nine in ten (91%) classify themselves as white – compared to 92% in 2019.  

The CIPR teamed up with Chalkstream Ltd to survey 1,298 people between 18 November 2019 and 27 January 2020.  To access the full report visit the CIPR website.

Feature image by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Scott Guthrie is a professional adviser within the influencer marketing industry. He is an event speaker, university guest lecturer, media commentator on influencer marketing and active blogger. He works with brands, agencies and platforms to achieve meaningful results from influencer marketing. That tells you something about him but it's not giving you a lot of detail, is it? So, read more here.

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