The Future of Public Relations: Trends, Skills, PR vs. Marketing

Public relations professionals say digital storytelling and social listening are the trends that will most influence the future of the field, according to recent research from the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations and the Association of National Advertisers.

The report was based on data from a survey of 875 public relations professionals (63% work for an agency; 37% work in-house) as well as data from a survey of 101 in-house marketers.

Public relations professionals say digital storytelling is the biggest future PR trend (88% cite it as important).

Social listening ranks second (82%) among PR professionals, followed by social purpose (71%) and Big Data (70%).

Marketers say social listening is the biggest future trend (88% cite it as important).


Some 47% of agency PR professionals and 45% of in-house PR professionals say public relations will become more aligned with marketing in the next five years.

Public relations professionals say the most important skills for future growth are strategic planning (89% cite it as important), written communications (86%), social media (84%), multimedia content development (82%), and verbal communications (80%).

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 875 public relations professionals (63% work for an agency; 37% work in-house) as well as data from a survey of 101 in-house marketers.

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