This year in PR: league table rankings
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.
I’ve been looking back at the weekly entries for 2022 (January to November) and crunching the numbers. That’s 1246 pieces of content across 44 weekly entries (we missed a few for system or human downtime).
Viewing each piece of content (article, tweet, LinkedIn post etc) as a single vote, I’ve been ranking the names and the numbers for the year to date.
Each inclusion in #ThisWeekinPR is my qualitative assessment of the value of the piece of content. I’ll have judged it interesting, useful, entertaining or significant that week, or I’ll have noticed that several of you have ‘upvoted’ a piece of content so that’s swayed my decision to include it (isn’t that how public relations works?).
I’ll have also tried to spread the votes around by rationing each individual to one mention per week, though I do sometimes break this rule when there are two very different pieces of content (a podcast, say, and a photograph) worthy of inclusion.
So, with minimal commentary, here’s how the numbers look when presented as league tables.
Pic of the week
Qualification: two or more appearances. Congratulations to these star photographers (and please note this disclaimer: Kevin Ruck and Ann Pilkington are both directors of PR Academy which supports #ThisWeekinPR).
Thank you also to Rebecca Roberts whose photograph is the stunning memory I’ve used to illustrate this post. August is only four months ago, but I’d forgotten about the Commonwealth Games in the midst of this busy year for news (one football World Cup, two monarchs, three prime ministers…).
#ThisWeekinPR appearances (January-November 2022)
And here are the total number of votes cast for all content pieces included (qualification: five or more appearances):
|8||CIPR (inc sectors and groups, but excluding individuals)||20|
|16=||Maja Pawinska Sims||13|
|9=||Calm Edged Rebels (Jenni Field, Advita Patel and Trudy Lewis)||8|
|Tim Le Couilliard||5|
There are some interesting stories within the data. Among the media covering public relations, I’d expected PRovoke Media to be the most prominent. Maja Pawinska Sims, Arun Sudhaman and Paul Holmes all appear in these tables, making them the strongest team in our sector in my opinion. But the outstanding achievement in these rankings is by Ben Smith, publisher of PRmoment, for the PRmoment podcast he hosts. I’d expected Danny Rogers, editor in chief of PR Week, to appear more prominently – but the stats don’t lie.
Indeed, the success of podcasts has been one of the stories of the year. Emma Drake is regularly featured for her skills-based podcast and among the group efforts Calm Edged Rebels also appears prominently. (NB I’ve double-counted these numbers giving Jenni Field – the outstanding individual of 2022 – credit for her role in the Calm Edged Rebels podcast alongside Advita Patel and Trudy Lewis.)
Among professional bodies, unsurprisingly CIPR and PRCA outgun IoIC, IABC, IPRA, ICCO and Global Alliance in my weekly round-ups. But the stats suggest the CIPR outperformed the PRCA this year, especially if we add the individual votes for Jon Gerlis to the collective effort of the CIPR’s various groups.
One final observation is qualitative rather than quantitative. The problem of rankings such as these is they may favour the most prolific communicators rather than rewarding the most thoughtful (or to put it less subtly, this may be a loudmouth’s charter). But as well as meaning no offence to those who rank highly, I’ll make special exceptions for three individuals who either just missed out on the league tables or made it to the lower end. I’ve frequently been impressed by the tireless campaigning tweets from Kate Jarman (@KateBurkeNHS). She’s a reminder that the balance of our industry is female; that more of us work in-house than for agencies/consultancies; that mid-career females are so often in the ‘squeezed middle’ with carer and/or parenting responsibilities; and while there are many rewards for working in the public sector, the role of public sector communicators is often subject to critical media and political scrutiny. It must be exhausting.
The other special mention goes to Darryl Sparey. In reviewing the year, I noticed how he so often takes to social media to big up others – but never himself (‘a fat lad from a council estate’) or rarely even his own agency.
Darren Caveney is another whose work is about putting others forward through the comms2point0 community and through the annual Unawards ceremony. Like Kate Jarman, he also champions the work of public sector communicators.
This is also the idea behind #ThisWeekinPR – to give praise to skilled content creators and the pick of our profession’s visual, verbal and oral communicators. In future, I may find a way to include the best aural communicators (those with demonstrably strong listening skills).
I’m just a humble curator, complete with my flaws, biases and blind spots. This feels like a task readily capable of automation yet this this still seems some way off. I keep an eye on Google alerts for ‘public relations’ and other keywords, but rarely find anything notable. For one thing, it’s global while my focus is primarily national; for another, it seems to privilege defensive statements from ‘public relations officers’ cited in the media. No news there then.