- PR firms are investing in data and analytics and expanding into areas like
- Its growth potential is also attracting newfound investment from private equity firms.
- Insider compiled this guide to how the field is changing for people looking to grow their PR business or break into it.
Below are resources to guide people looking to learn about the industry, grow their existing PR businesses, or break into the field.
Hiring, pay trendsThe PR industry employed around 270,000 people in the US as of 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It employs people who work in-house at brands as well as agencies of all sizes.
PR firms have cut hundreds of jobs in the downturn, but the field remains high-paying and intensely competitive. Recruiters still see growing opportunities in pharma, tech, healthcare communications.PR salaries can vary widely. A VP at privately-held consulting and PR firm Teneo can earn $205,000, while the same role at Publicis' MSL brings in a base salary of $165,000. Read more: PR industry salaries revealed: How much top firms like Teneo, BCW, and FTI pay employees, from consultants to managing directors What it takes to get high-paying jobs at strategic consulting firms like Finsbury and Kekst CNC, from handling tricky questions to nailing writing tests
The industry is attracting new investment dollars
Private equity is pouring money into the PR industry, drawn to its high recurring revenues, diversified businesses, and cash flow.
Notable deals have included Golden Gate Capital's stake in Sard Verbinnen & Co. and Stagwell Group's investment in PR firms.Read more: 8 big investors like Golden Gate Capital and Stagwell Group that are pouring billions into public relations firms Investment giant Apollo is planning to sell Notified, one of the biggest PR software companies
Some areas are thriving in the downturnWhile the industry took a hit in the downturn, CEOs of some of the biggest firms like Edelman, BCW, and
Advertising and strategic communications are growth areas
A lucrative but less understood niche is strategic communications, which involves crisis, litigation, financial, and other high-stakes public relations. It comprises firms like Finsbury, Kekst CNC, and Gladstone Place Partners that often use rigorous screening to seek people who thrive under pressure.
Firms are also gearing up to take market share from advertising and management consulting companies, arguing that they can help clients deal with crises and promote brands to people who may not be receptive to traditional ads.Read more: Porter Novelli's CEO lays out his plan to revive the PR firm after office closures and years of decline CEOs of PR firms like Edelman and BCW reveal why they're focused on winning business from advertising and consulting companies coming out of the pandemic. Meet PR exec Jennifer Prosek, who built a $60 million business spinning for clients like Goldman Sachs and The Carlyle Group, and now faces her biggest challenge yet These are the top 15 financial public relations pros CEOs call when their companies are on fire
How technology is changing PR
Public relations pros are facing increased pressure to prove the value of their services to clients.These pressures have given rise to a $4.5 billion communications software industry that helps PR pros do things like monitor news coverage and social
Some PR firms like Edelman and MSL have responded by developing their own tools to monitor news and track the impact of PR for clients like Procter & Gamble and Cadillac.PR agencies are beefing up their data services to keep consulting firms like Deloitte and Accenture from eating their lunch
PR giant MSL breaks down how it's using tech tools to prove its work drives results for clients like P&G and Cadillac Public relations giant Edelman is poaching execs from WPP, Google, and others to build a data analytics powerhouse Healthcare marketing giant W2O just snapped up two more companies as it seeks to take on consultancies like Accenture and Cognizant