The Merit Mile 2019 Media Relations Survey

Challenges That Brands Are Facing in 2019

Public Relations (PR) strategies can be a highly effective tool for organizations in every industry and of every size. The right PR can build brand awareness, amplify credibility through thought leadership, enhance a company’s reputation in front of customers, and help bring in more sales (albeit indirectly).

However, PR doesn’t just happen. It takes the right ideas and the right personnel in order to develop the right strategies and approach, have the right conversations with carefully selected media and build a successful brand narrative. When each of these aligns, organizations reap the benefits of quality PR.

The challenge is that many organizations find it difficult to successfully implement all three of those ingredients. This was highlighted in Merit Mile’s most recent 2019 Media Relations Survey. This report illustrates the challenges and opportunities many organizations face today in achieving successful PR results.

Among the highlights of the report:

Biggest Challenges in Obtaining Press Coverage?

The majority of respondents (76%) said their biggest challenge is that they want to get more press coverage but that they don’t know the right strategies to start with. This was followed by 69% who said they don’t have the right time/resources to pursue coverage and another 69% who said they feel they don’t have the right media contacts.


What Kinds of Stories are PR Departments Pursuing?

Most respondents (80.6%) said they would like to pursue thought leadership stories in industry publications, followed by 78% who said more blogger social influencer stories, 74% saying more interviews with consumer media, and 72% saying more business press in industry publications.

Having Success with Media Tours?

While 52% say they plan 1-2 media tours each year in select media markets, nearly a third (31%) say their media tours have not been successful. As many as 44% of respondents said they utilize internal corporate communications staff to plan their media tours.

What Kinds of Success with Newswires?

Nearly two-thirds (63%) said they rarely see their newswire-placed releases end up in journalist-written stories, or even are contacted by journalists as a result of a newswire release. Forty-five percent say their newswire releases are most effective in getting content on search engines.

Are PR Departments Tying PR to Lead-Gen Activities

More than half (57%) said they are interested in tying their PR efforts to lead-gen strategies, but that they are unsure how to effectively develop those strategies.


Monthly Spend on PR?

Approximately half (52) said they spend $5,000 per month on external PR services, while a third (33%) said they currently spend between $5,000 – $8,000 on external PR support.

“It’s hard to read through any magazine or online news article today and not see the impact and role that PR has in helping to shape story narratives through the information that is delivered to journalists,” said John Sternal, partner and PR director of Merit Mile, and author of the survey. “Brands today recognize the importance of PR, but many of the PR departments even in some of the world’s largest organizations find themselves strapped for time and resources in building stories that can advance their brand’s mission through critical thought leadership and awareness.”

To learn more about how PR can add value to your brand, click here to schedule a consultation with Merit Mile’s PR awareness experts.