New research into the role of in-house communicators in the UK shows that 90 percent are now working across more areas than ever before with more involved in social and digital activities (92 percent) than media relations (84 percent).

A summary of the findings from Mynewsdesk, a leading all-in-one brand newsroom and multimedia PR platform, and Corp Comms magazine suggests that 2014 may be the tipping point for social and digital public relations: nearly nine out of ten in-house communicators (88 percent) expect their social media output to increase over the next twelve months and 60 percent predict they will be blogging more in the coming year. Conversely, only 55 percent expect to be producing more press releases in the same period.

This greater focus on social media and digital activities is occurring despite key challenges communicators say they face, such as measuring return on investment in social media and digital, and achieving management buy-in to the practice area.

In terms of the frequency of content creation, currently, nine out of ten in-house communicators produce social media posts at least weekly, 70 percent of respondents doing so daily. Meanwhile 60 percent produce press releases at least weekly, but just 25 percent do so on a daily basis. The next most frequently created content format is images, over half of communicators (52 percent) creating such content at least weekly, with 19 percent of respondents creating images daily.

According to Adam Cranfield, head of marketing at Mynewsdesk: “The dominance of text based communications is being challenged by the growth in richer formats. Nearly two thirds of in-house communicators say they are focusing more on visual led content than ever before, and eight out of ten are producing image content at least monthly. However, the format to watch is video, as over half of the in-house communicators we questioned have produced video content at least monthly over the last year. This compelling content is now a viable format for most professional communicators due to the reduction in cost of production and the new technologies which make the creation and digital distribution of this format so much easier. ”

Proving return on investment for social media activities is difficult for most in-house communicators, and methods of measurement vary significantly across the industry. Three quarters of respondents (74.5 percent) find it difficult to define what type of content delivers the most effective return for the resources invested in producing it. Only one in five in-house communicators said that they use sales leads generation as a metric for measuring social media success and no two respondents used the same combination of metrics to measure their social media or digital activities, giving further insight into the need for an industry wide set of standards for measuring public relations professionals’ digital activity.