This year in PR (2023)

About the author

Richard Bailey Hon FCIPR is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

It’s been wild & wonderful here today #Orkney. Photo: Laura Skaife-Knight
It’s been wild & wonderful here today #Orkney. Photo: Laura Skaife-Knight

With the exception of a few holiday weeks like this one, on each Friday in 2023 we published a roundup of noteworthy content (#ThisWeekinPR). Each piece of content was chosen by our editor as interesting or as useful (following the golden rule of social media content: ‘be interesting. And if you can’t be interesting, be useful.’)

So each piece chosen was a qualitative vote in favour of that content.

Now, after 49 weekly entries and 1597 pieces of content, we can quantify all of these individual votes and name the year’s most prolific content creators.

We chose a ‘pic of the week’ to illustrate that week’s content from 30 different people. Here’s the ranking of those whose photos were chosen more than once:

Name  Pics of the week
Tony Langham 6
Mandy Pearse 5
Ann Pilkington 5
Alex Woolfall 3
Mike Collins 2
Kevin Ruck 2
Stuart Thomson 2


Our photo to illustrate this year-end is a stunning picture that tells its own story, but I’d like to add a further biographical explanation. Laura Skaife-Knight used to appear regularly in previous years when she was a director of comms for an NHS Trust. She’s no longer in that role, and so has not featured this year. Since April 2023 she’s been chief executive of NHS Orkney. While in theory comms leaders should be well placed to take on the role of organisation leaders, in practice there are few examples from the public or private sectors that I can think of (it’s perhaps more common in the third sector).

So to the numbers. I try to limit people to one appearance per week, but there are some who consistently produce quality content week on week.

Name  Mentions
Stephen Waddington 40
Ben Smith (PR  Moment) 35
Amanda Coleman 33
CIPR (including its groups) 30
Dan Slee 30
Stuart Thomson 29
Emma Drake 27
Jenni Field 25
Neville Hobson 23
Maja Pawinska Sims 21
Stuart Bruce 18
Advita Patel 16
Scott Guthrie 15
MHP Group (inc MHP Public Affairs) 14
Mark Borkowski 13
David Olajide 12
Paul Sutton 12
Andrew Bruce Smith 11
Dan Holden 10
Rachel Miller 10
Frankie Oliver (PR Week) 10


There’s a pattern to these names and numbers (some fit in more than one category). There are the veteran bloggers (Stephen Waddington, Amanda Coleman, Stuart Bruce among them); there are the prolific podcasters (Ben Smith, Emma Drake, Paul Sutton and Frankie Oliver among them); there are the LinkedIn commentators (Andrew Bruce Smith, Mark Borkowski) and there are publishers and journalists (Ben Smith, Maja Pawinska Sims).

That suggests one of the social media and content trends of the year. While podcasting is not new (Neville Hobson started almost two decades ago), it seems to have reached a new peak in 2023. LinkedIn has also grown in importance as X (formerly Twitter) has declined.

Indeed, there’s a sense that we’re witnessing the endgame for social media, to be replaced with private messaging services such as WhatsApp and that other repurposed channel, the newsletter.

This is not the place for a review of the themes of the year (AI is sure to feature in 2024). But looking back at the entries reminds me of the shock when I heard that Francis Ingham had died in March.