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Global PR Survey 2020: Results announced

Global PR Survey 2020: Results announced

The results of Prezly's global study into contact management within the PR profession will be released to the public on Thursday 30 April 2020.

Results have been used to inform this extensive and free guide to contact management.

Key findings

  • Social media is massively underused as a research tool: 80% of PRs still rely on manual research for sourcing contacts; only 2/5 use LinkedIn for their research, while just 1/5 use Twitter
  • Most PRs can save hours each week on updating contacts: Using spreadsheets for contact management can cost you 5.4 hours a week, CRM 3.4 hours and offline methods a whopping 15.8 hours – equivalent to two working days
  • "Keeping the database current" emerged as the biggest pain point (61%), while "nurturing relationships" is the least painful (20%)
  • Strong relationships remain the key to success: 92% of PR professionals agree that they get the best results from the contacts with whom they have nurtured a good relationship
  • PRs are overly self-critical of their own performance: 61% of PRs think they're doing worse than average when it comes to the number of "good relationships" they have with their media contacts

Relevant charts are included at the bottom of this press release.

Leuven, Belgium – 30 April 2020: The results of a worldwide survey into contact management are in! The full findings, together downloadable resources and expert commentary, will be published openly on Thursday at

A first look at the results will be held via livestream during Thursday's PR Roundtable, featuring expert guests Paulo Senra, Head of Global Communications and PR at OverActive Media, and Manon Gerlo, Communications Manager at leading full-content agency oona. Further details and registration for the livestream available at:

Quotes from respondents and commentary available on request, please email

Who took part in this research?

To give statistically relevant results, the survey sampled 412 respondents from all parts of PR globally; 400 respondents can represent a population of up to 10,000,000 with a narrow ±5% margin of error.

  • 26% Inhouse PR team
  • 20% Large PR agency (10+ people)
  • 19% Small PR agency (1–10 people)
  • 13% Inhouse PR manager (no dedicated PR team)
  • 13% PR freelancer/consultant
  • 9% Other

Breakdown of key findings

Social media is massively underused as a research tool

When asked what resources they used to source new media contacts, 80% of PR professionals say they continue to rely on manual research, such as going through articles and noting down details, and just over half (52%) preferred events.

Only 38% use LinkedIn to find new contacts, and just 23% use Twitter.

The figures are similar for updating existing contact details:

  • 74% Manual research
  • 60% Check auto-response
  • 34% LinkedIn
  • 20% Twitter
  • 13% Other 
  • 6% Bought media lists

Most PRs can save hours each week on updating contacts

Respondents were asked to report how many hours each week they spend on updating their contact database. This is the breakdown of the average number of hours spent each week by tool used:

  • CRM – 3.4 hours each week
  • Email – 4.6 hours each week
  • Spreadsheets – 5.4 hours each week
  • Offline (e.g. paper address books, Rolodex) – 15.8 hours each week

The biggest pain points identified

Participants were asked to select the contact management tasks they consider to be most painful from a list; they were able to select multiple answers.

  • 61% Keeping the database current
  • 43% Following up with unresponsive contacts 
  • 30% Building a contact database from scratch
  • 23% Establishing relationships
  • 20% Nurturing relationships

Two out of three respondents (61%) said that "keeping the database current" was the most painful contact management task; of these, 45% consider this the most frustrating part of their entire job, and a further 23% said it’s definitely in the top 3. 

Strong relationships remain the key to success

92% of PR professionals agree that they get the best results from the contacts with whom they have nurtured a good relationship, but what do most PRs define to be a "good relationship"?

  • 48% They reach out to you for stories and updates
  • 30% They reply to your campaigns whether they're interested in the story or not
  • 10% You receive their personal contact details
  • 6% They follow you when you move to another company/agency
  • 6% Other

PRs are overly self-critical of their own performance

Respondents were also asked to share the number of "good relationships" they have with media contacts, and to give the number of "good relationships" they think a PR professional should have.

On average, respondents revealed they have a “good relationship” with 14% of their contacts.

Marking this against each person's expectation of the number of "good relationships" a PR person should have, it was found that just 39% of participants feel that they meet or exceed this figure, while 61% of PR professionals believe they have fewer "good relationships" than they should.


About the survey

This survey is run by Prezly, the team of techs behind the Prezly PR software. A total of 412 PR professionals responded to the survey, bringing together over 3,611 years of combined PR experience. The survey has been widely promoted across geographies and platforms online to get as diverse a response as possible.

In the increasingly complex world of modern public relations, Prezly seeks to create simplicity by arming brands with the tools to tell authentic stories. Prezly's software brings together contact management, newsroom publishing, distribution, analytics and coverage reporting to give you and your team the full picture of your PR.

In their spare time, the Prezly team enjoys building open-source resources to help comms professionals share their experience and build something better, together.

For more information, interviews, photos and collaboration opportunities, contact:

Kate Bystrova

Kate Bystrova

Chief Storyteller, Prezly


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