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9 Biggest Challenges for Communications Teams and Reporting

Sophia Scearce March 29, 2021
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Communications teams constantly face new challenges, whether it is rebranding, getting the right message across or reaching their target audience. And on top of that, they need a way to measure their effectiveness and prove their work to their executives and stakeholders. 

More than ever, communications teams face new challenges with the pandemic, countless platforms to track and ever-changing goals.  These challenges can change throughout the year and from organization to organization but no matter the business or the goal, every communication team can probably relate to the points below. 

What are some of the biggest challenges that communications teams face today?

1. Information rabbit holes
We’re all guilty of mindless scrolling on social media, after all roughly 45% of the world’s population use social media for an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes per day.  However when it comes to reporting, mindless scrolling is not ideal!  Information rabbit holes are full of clickbait and glitzy headlines with meaningless content is a huge time waster. These rabbit holes are especially apparent on social media when link titles can be cleverly hidden with links and more time wasters.  

2. Incomplete data sources
Assuming that a communications professional were to put together a report while avoiding rabbit holes and without meaningless meetings, there is still a chance that the data sources found are incomplete or biased.  Some media outlets are left, some are right and without a good mixture of multiple sources and voices, a report could be missing a key voice demographic. 

3. Missing perspectives
Similar to an incomplete data source issue, a missing perspective is when a perspective is blatantly left out of a report.  Potentially this isn’t even a search issue, but instead an oversight of a key, yet small, part of an audience.  Whether this missing perspective is based on a psychographic or demographic a missing perspective could make a report appear slightly ignorant in nature, even if by total accident.  After all, missing information when hunting for information manually is easy to do.  Turbine Labs has a database of 5,200 publications from a wide variety of perspectives to make sure every voice gets a little more volume.  

4. Paywalls
It’s annoying at best when a link or headline fits the description of what a search needs, only to find that it’s hidden behind a paywall. Putting publications, or special content from publications behind a paywall is a growing practice, in the United States, 76 percent of newspapers publishing online were paywalled last year and it’s safe to say that number will continue to increase as more publications look for ways to monetize their services as the news industry moves totally away from the world of print. 

5. Unuseful data
Just like a favorite sugary snack, some news is just junk.  Going beyond just a rabbit hole or an incomplete data source, unuseful data are the “news articles” which are meant only to backlinks or are just long scrolling pages with few words that may be good for someone’s SEO strategy, but not useful for those looking for information.  News sites can just pop up over night with no real news to provide.  Cut through the noise and get right to the point.  

6. Outdated information
Breaking news can happen in an instance and in a world where news can break on social media before it does on a major news network, information can become outdated extremely quickly!  For a communications professional who is trying to track a big ongoing event, real-time product launch or even a crisis, breaking news is critical.  Real-time updates can be invaluable for those trying to make a decision quickly, so when there is a situation where search engines are only turning up last year’s earnings reports or last week’s product launch, and not the re-launch, this could be damaging.  

7. Search results show the most popular info, not the most useful
Search engines are getting better at blacklisting immoral SEM practices, but there are still some that sneak through and somehow manage to rank high in organic search results.  Because of these practices, search engines are constantly rolling out new search algorithms which alter how organizations run their internal SEO, and also how users can search for things.  Google is reported to change its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times each year. This means that a key search term that worked for last month’s report may not work next month because of these changing algorithms.  

8. Too many tools
The problem with using so many data platforms is that there will never be a holistic data story put together, but instead a piecework of information, similar to what putting together a puzzle in bad lighting would be like.  The number of software apps deployed by large firms across all industries world-wide has increased 68% over the past four years, reaching an average of 129 apps per company by the end of 2018. This means that there are constantly going to be more tools and changing them constantly or adding more to ones that already exist within an organization are not helpful when working on a deadline.  

9. Missing public influence data
While there are a lot of articles and masterclasses written about it, having something go viral on social media is more of an abstract concept than a solid idea.  Some communications professionals can’t even agree what “viral” is. Taking this into consideration, it can be difficult to measure impact or understand the influence something has on social media users.  Deciding impact or decoding influence can be next to impossible from a manual perspective which is why Turbine Labs created its TIER tool, for example.  

The next step for any communications professional is to get ahead of these issues.  Consider taking just 15 minutes to schedule time with a specialist at Turbine Labs to understand how our services may help you.  Schedule an assessment here