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Propel 100 Methodology

First of all, what is the Propel 100?

It’s our way of highlighting influential professionals in the PR industry for sparking positive change and using innovative techniques to get their messages across. It’s a carefully curated list of pros that are standing out and leading the conversation in their sector of the industry.

We take this chance to highlight specific examples of excellence, overall influence and more. With the Propel 100, it’s our goal to celebrate big things happening in PR and create new opportunities and elevate conversations across all backgrounds.

Our methodology

Today, people heavily consume social media on a daily basis, and it has become an integral part of our routines for entertainment, news and beyond. It’s also a communication channel PR pros especially engage with as a means of carrying out campaigns, leading the conversation and connecting with stakeholder groups. To begin our search for Propel 100 candidates, we reviewed metrics that can help quantify the influence on these social platforms within individuals’ respective industries.

We start with metrics like follower count and engagement rate, but make a point of going beyond these foundational numbers to factor in qualitative measures like profile biography and content topic relevance to arrive at a more well-rounded review in the end. Some of the metrics that we closely study include:

Audience - Total audience size and audience size specific to the PR industry (we determined the PR-specific audience by including users that stated they work in the PR industry within their bio).

Relevance - Number of times that they engage with topics that pertain to the PR industry and/or their vertical.

Engagement - Average engagement rate per post (i.e., likes, comments, shares etc.).

Experience - Number of years of professional experience related to PR/communications.

One of our favorite ways of building a strong qualitative approach to the Propel 100 research process is to consult industry professionals that know first-hand what it means to stand out in the field and make a serious impact.

We guide our qualitative analysis by feedback we solicit from various industry experts about what exactly, beyond numbers, makes someone influential in the PR space across different industry verticals.

This includes people like Darryl Sparey, MD of HardNumbers and Propel Advisory Board Member. Sparey played an important role in helping us make sure that our Propel 100 lists continue to account for the qualities of influential members of the PR space.

"I know there have been issues raised with some recent ‘top influencer’ lists that other companies have compiled in the PR space,” Sparey said. “That's why I've been impressed with the rigorous approach that Propel has taken to try and compile this list. They've looked at the ‘real world’ achievements of many of the cohort here.

They’ve interviewed a number of those on this list to bring their analysis beyond metrics that can be derived from social listening alone. I know they've made extra efforts to try and include a more diverse range of people on this list, and look at people who have genuine influence in the PR space."


At Propel, we value diversity and inclusion extremely highly as one of our core company values and hope this translates well in our list.

“As someone with a physical disability who wears leg braces to help me walk, I am personally passionate about diversity and inclusion, and appreciate its sacred importance. We made our best effort to find diverse voices to include on our list,” said Propel Co-Founder and CEO Zach Cutler.

A diverse team is a wonderful asset for any organization to have. We hope to continue spreading how priceless and important it is to be able to build new, uncapped potential by supporting and welcoming influence from all kinds of backgrounds. We made sure to apply this approach in our research by considering PR pros with countless types of differences, including skill set, ethnicity, ability, and the list goes on.