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Published January 6th 2021

The Top 100 PR Influencers To Follow In 2021

Who is most influential to the people whose job it is to influence?

Working in PR means wearing a lot of hats. One day you might be hosting an event, the next curating a viral social media presence or just calling a list of journalists with a press release. This is one of the many things PRs love about their jobs – no two days are ever the same, but it’s not always easy to shapeshift day in, day out.

Having a community within the PR industry can be a lifesaver. Following other PRs on social media offers support and inspiration (and sometimes benchmarks) in a world where it can sometimes feel like you’re shouting into the void.

So you might want to know who the most influential PRs are. There are a lot of big personalities out there and we’ve narrowed down a list of the top 100 PR influencers to follow in 2021.

Contents

  1. Methodology
  2. What does the typical PR influencer look like?
  3. What do the top 10 PR influencers look like?
  4. The top 100 PR influencers to follow in 2021
  5. What we’ve learned from the top PR influencers

Methodology:

Our list of 2020’s top 100 PR influencers is taken from BuzzSumo’s Twitter Influencer tool:

  • Focusing on the information provided in the ‘Bio’ section of the influencers’ Twitter profile – this search prioritised whether the influencers’ profile includes “PR”
  • BuzzSumo returned the top influencers sorted by relevance, which is how the list was sorted from 1-100
  • The only ways in which the data was cleaned was through omitting companies and non-English language profiles.

BuzzSumo’s Influencer tool identifies the most influential accounts with a particular bio keyword, or those who have mentioned a particular term or shared a piece of content.

It shows the most relevant accounts with their follower numbers, average retweets, retweet and reply ratios, and their page and domain authority – but initially sorts by relevance. Let’s see what it revealed.

What does the typical PR influencer look like?

Followers

The average number of accounts a PR influencer on Twitter follows is 7,823, and they have nearly three times as many followers, an average of 22,312. This might seem a good indicator of what makes them so influential.

Replies

The list also showed that, like all good PRs, the top 100 are a very chatty bunch. On average 30% of all tweets from the top 100 PR influencers are replies. In fact, the majority of their posts involve sharing…

Shares & retweets

35% average of all tweets from the top 100 were sharing URLs and content, and 21% were retweets. And people like what they say – the average number of retweets they receive is one per tweet.

Verified status

Taking a closer look at what might make them so influential, we noticed that 34 out of the 100 accounts on our list are verified by Twitter – in fact 11 out of the top 20 in the list boast a blue tick. Being verified might not be the key to being influential on Twitter, but it definitely helps.

Instagram influence

We also found Instagram accounts for 31 out of the top 100, although only six of those were in the top 20. Perhaps being on multiple channels isn’t a key factor in being influential here.

What do the top 10 PR influencers look like?

Followers

The top 10 PR influencers have 40% more followers (33,476 vs 22,312) and follow 40% more accounts (11,844 vs 7,823) than the average PR professional.

Replies

The top 10 PRs are also more likely to reply: 39% of all their tweets are replies, in comparison with 30% from the average PR influencer.

Shares & retweets

Interestingly, the top 10 PR influencers are less likely to share URLs than the average PR influencer, with 35% of all their tweets containing URLs in comparison to the 38% seen from the remaining 90 influencers. Could this be a classic case of quality over quantity? We’re all familiar with Twitter spammers – those who bombard our news feeds with links to their content on a daily basis.

The top 10 PR influencers are 3% more likely to retweet content (24% vs 21%) and are twice as likely to receive a retweet, which reaffirms the quality of their posts.

Verified status

The top 10 are all verified.

Instagram influence

Half of the top 10 PR influencers had built on their personal brand with a linked Instagram accounts.

The Top 100 PR Influencers To Follow In 2021

Position Influencer Twitter Handle
1 Rich Leigh @richleighpr
2 Natasha Koifman @natashankpr
3 Kami Huyse @kamichat
4 Stephen Waddington @wadds
5 Deirdre Breakenridge @dbreakenridge
6 Peter Himler @peterhimler
7 Sarah Evans @prsarahevans
8 Andrew Bloch @andrewbloch
9 Kelli Matthews @kmatthews
10 Brian Hart @brianhartpr
11 Tressa Robbins @tressalynne
12 Martin Waxman @martinwaxman
13 Ty Mays @perfectpitchpr
14 Richie Escovedo, APR @vedo
15 dorothy crenshaw @dorocren
16 Kellye Crane @kellyecrane
17 Mary Lower @prmoxie
18 Julie Bonn Blank @juliebonnblank
19 Jenna Oltersdorf @jennasnacks
20 Abbie S. Fink @abbief
21 Michael Sebastian @msebastian
22 Heather Whaling @prtini
23 Mark Borkowski @markborkowski
24 Kristie Aylett, APR @kristk
25 Bob Pickard @bobpickard
26 Andy Barr @10yetis
27 Rick Murray @rickmurray
28 Frank Strong @frank_strong
29 Ron Culp @culpwrit
30 Aleesha C @aleeshacpr
31 Marian Salzman @mariansalzman
32 Valerie Simon @valeriesimon
33 Ed Zitron @edzitron
34 Charlie Dahan @cbdahan
35 Sally Falkow @sallyfalkow
36 Cathy Larkin @cathywebsavvypr
37 Hans Kullin @kullin
38 Jennifer Berson @jenerationpr
39 Ike Pigott @ikepigott
40 Sachar Klein @sachark
41 Elise Mitchell @elisemitch
42 Todd Defren @tdefren
43 Melissa Agnes @melissa_agnes
44 Katie Moffat @katiemoffat
45 Thomas Pleil @tp_da
46 Peter Shankman @petershankman
47 Stuart Bruce @stuartbruce
48 Keisha McCotry @keishamccotry
49 Karen Swim @karenswim
50 Aliah Davis-McHenry @aliahpr
51 Shonali Burke @shonali
52 Elissa Freeman @elissapr
53 Todd Van Hoosear @vanhoosear
54 Alex Shapiro @alexshapiropr
55 Dirk Singer @dirktherabbit
56 TechPRMaven @techprmaven
57 Barbara B. Nixon @barbaranixon
58 Katherine Roepke @roepkepr
59 Daniel Tisch @dantisch
60 Christoph Salzig @pr_ip
61 Nathan Burgess @prcog
62 David Teicher @aerocles
63 Pam Perry @pamperry
64 Deborah Weinstein @debweinstein
65 Rachel Kay @rachelakay
66 Joseph Thornley @thornley
67 Michelle Olson @shelbyo
68 Courtney Forrest @courtyforrest
69 Jeremy Pepper @jspepper
70 Jon Silk @jonsilk
71 Charlotte Shaff @charshaff
72 Ashley Oakes Scott @ashleyoakes
73 Judy Gombita @jgombita
74 Karla Jo Helms @jotopr
75 Mark Ragan @markraganceo
76 Simon Huck @simonhuck
77 Bill Stoller @publicityguru
78 Shel Holtz @shelholtz
79 Kate Finley @kateupdates
80 Alison Brod @alisonbrodmc
81 Neville Hobson @jangles
82 Nicole Garner Scott @drgarnerscott
83 John Sternal @sternalpr
84 Mikinzie Stuart @mikinzie
85 Catherine Hill @chillpr
86 Paula Johns @paulajohns
87 Aerial M. Ellis @aerialellis
88 Stu Campbell-Carran @mrstucampbell
89 Sandra Fathi @sandrafathi
90 Candice Nicole @candicenicolepr
91 Adam Isserlis @adamiss
92 Lizz Harmon @lizzharmon
93 Kirk Hazlett @kirkhazlett
94 Ken Jacobs @kensviews
95 Stephan Fink @stephanfink
96 Sabine de Witte @sabinedewitte
97 Lacey Haines @laceyhaines
98 Brad Phillips @mrmediatraining
99 Mike Schaffer @mikeschaffer
100 Dave Fleet @davefleet

What we’ve learned from the top PR influencers

Followers aren’t everything

The honor of having the most followers on the list goes to, surprisingly, the 76th most influential account @simonhuck.

What about following? The account with the second highest number of followers on the list, @publicityguru, returns the love by following the most number of people – but sits in position 77.

Both of these accounts are relatively low in terms of influence, which goes to show that quantity of followers isn’t the key to being influential. It seems to be more important to focus on quality content and conversation to build influence.

Always create conversation

When we focus on the engagement-led conversational metrics BuzzSumo offers, we can see a different picture of influence. These metrics showcase the influencers’ ability to generate strong engagement – which can often be prioritized over followers – and is super important for both PRs and their clients.

For instance, if you’re launching a new product, retweets will help get the message out there, so you’re going to want to engage with audiences that are likely to retweet. And if you’re looking for influential PRs for inspiration and a sense of community, you might be more interested in accounts with high reply ratios, so that you can join the conversation.

The account on the list with the highest average retweets is unsurprisingly within the top 10 PR influencers. Taking position 8, @andrewbloch averages a mammoth 10 retweets per tweet!

Influence is multi-faceted

While the number one most influential PR account, @richleighpr, has fewer followers than some accounts on the list, he’s part of a tight community who will listen to what he says. He’s got a blue tick, 72% of his tweets are replies and he gets an average of two retweets for each tweet. His influence seems to come from having a polished presence, and leading the conversation.

This all goes to show that while individual metrics are important, it seems the way to get to the top of this list is to have the perfect balance of a few of them – something PRs know a thing or two about, given all those hats they wear.

Influence is a fickle creature, especially for PRs, but having an insight into what creates it can help. If you want to understand influence or create your own influencer list, BuzzSumo is here for you – try our 30 day free trial.

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