With everything moving so quickly in public relations, we now find new trends emerging on an almost monthly basis. It’s true, traditional staples such as press releases or paid advertising will always exist. Nevertheless, the path to effective public relations continues to twist and turn in every direction.
But what does this mean exactly?
It means that public relations continue to evolve and many companies will fall behind due to lack of understanding or awareness. More specifically, this also points out the inadequacy of outdated PR strategies and campaigns that fail to recognize the importance of creativity, trust and authenticity.
Recent studies show that by 2030, around 50 billion IoT devices will be in use around the world. This increased connectivity means more data and this essentially means that people are far more informed than ever before. For this reason, the PR industry has needed to adopt new technology and data in order to track and use the information to see what actually works.
While the following is not a definitive list of emerging trends in public relations. It’s important to note how the old way of doing things is no longer effective. That is to say, there is a right and wrong way that you should know about in terms of launching or growing your business.
Now, let’s take a look at emerging trends in public relations for 2021 that you should know about:
The Problem Facing Businesses – High cost of PR & Marketing
In recent times, high costs have prevented many small and medium-sized businesses from adopting PR-related technology. However, as more and more time passes, we can see the lackluster agencies disappear and better pricing come into effect.
As we continue in 2021, we should also see the accessibility or affordability of data to enable these agencies to help small and medium-sized companies for a much lower fee. For example, an agency like Pressfarm can provide cost-friendly PR packages for startups and established companies that want to get featured in the news or industry blogs.
With a winning press release, some compelling guest posts and a creative media kit from the experts at Pressfarm, you can make a huge splash with your brand. Besides creating quality content worthy of making heads turn among both the media as well as your target audience, Pressfarm is skilled at developing effective distribution strategies.
By featuring your content in respected media outlets, Pressfarm boosts your online presence, helping you feature in relevant search results across different search engines. Similarly, with custom media lists built personally by an account executive. You can connect with the best journalists in your niche. With an affordable package from Pressfarm, you could now start generating the publicity your brand deserves.
Creating Niche Content that Cuts Through the Noise
As you know, we won’t be seeing the role of PRs replaced by artificial intelligence anytime soon. However, the high quality of resources and data should continue to enable PR agencies to implement better formulas, campaigns and results.
As a result, how audiences interact with media will also change and create a need or demand for clever campaigns. That is to say, PR agencies will need to use as much data as possible to create niche campaigns and creative content that cuts through the noise. After all, cutting through this noise is most often the greatest obstacle and great content is a solution!
Smart PR for Building Relationships Between Clients and Customers
Online audiences are more wary of content in general. In this age, content needs to be more transparent and authentic than ever – content that provides something new in particular. For this reason, agencies and PR professionals will play an increasingly important role in 2021 when it comes to creating content strategies that work.
Just so you know, much of the focus will be placed on strategic writing that connects with online audiences. In this sense, building a meaningful connection and relationship with the audience will help increase transparency and trust. At the same time, any success in respect of the above will help solidify a better relationship between the client and the agency or PR professional.
At the moment, the top five communications tactics based on a weighted average are: 1) data & analytics; 2) storytelling; 3) content marketing / blogging / brand journalism; 4) business social responsibility; and 5) thought leadership.
Early-stage startups that just launched will need to build a voice in that aspect. For this reason, media outreach to industry blogs and publications will become even more important to cement your voice as a young startup in the industry.
Shifting Attention to Authentic Influencers
We will see a shift toward influencers that deploy more transparency and authenticity. What’s more? This shift will also see smaller influencers come into the fold as companies look to create partnerships that provide more than just numbers to the brand. In terms of logistics, these smaller influencers are also a lot easier to manage and most often more willing to work with companies in the first place. When you think of it, this also makes sense because some influencers with smaller numbers tend to have a closer connection with their following than say an influencer that might use paid advertising or mass tactics to build up the numbers on social media.
PR Strategies Will Experiment with Interactive Content
Let’s be honest, it’s only a matter of time before augmented or virtual reality takes over. When this happens, PR strategies will inevitably use unique content to give people what they want.
We are talking about interactive content that will stand out in the competition. When the likes of VR take over, there may be no other way to compete. With this in mind, PR professionals are likely to experiment with this kind of content over the coming year.
Leveraging Creativity to Incite More Emotion
Most of the PR trends for 2021 rely on data and technology. However, algorithms and artificial intelligence is not nearly enough to drive PR in the coming years. Humans are emotional beings and this element requires that PR strategies are meaningful and purposeful.
With this in mind, PR professionals need to develop content that is truly relevant and valuable to the consumer. And it’s true that value and relevance has always been the key. This is even more important than ever now. Professionals need to leverage creativity and avoid any messaging that seems irrelevant and lacking in creativity.
Email Strategy Will Live On in Spite of Decline
Social media and chatbots have significantly reduced the amount of time that PR professionals spend on email strategy. However, email outreach continues to provide an exceptional tool and the return on investment is still just as impressive.
More than 80% of marketing professionals cite email strategy as being the main driver for retention and acquisition. What’s more, 70% of customers prefer email over any other form of business communication.
When sending a pitch, email has a much better chance of finding its way to the front cover. In a recent study, journalists and bloggers still prefer email as their primary way of contact. At Pressfarm, we combine email outreach with a couple of other methods like social media outreach. However, we have been very successful in pitching our startup clients to journalists and bloggers through email outreach.
Emphasis on Artificial Intelligence for PR Will Grow
It’s impossible to really say where the world of artificial intelligence is going right now. But at the same time, we know that AI is already a huge component of society as a whole. In public relations, AI technology was once thought about with skepticism but now these tools are commonplace.
Automated emails and chatbots are good examples of AI but regardless, PR professionals will need to better understand these tools and learn how to adopt them as part of PR strategy going forward.
Editorials/Advertorials Will be Increasingly Important
The PR industry evolves faster than most other sectors and companies need to keep up in order to stay ahead of the competition. As you know, PR agencies and professionals are also known as a sort of “fast-track” and a way to cut through the noise, while making the most of the numbers.
Editorials and advertorials are a great example, for they have been around forever but continue to provide an excellent boost for PR. An advertorial is an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper that provides information in the style of a journalistic article.
An editorial is easy to choose but picking the right advertorial is essential for receiving a worthwhile return on investment. Needless to say, this is where PR professionals come into play to write engaging advertorials that convey the right message to a particular audience.
Using Data and in-Depth Analysis to Craft Better PR Strategies
You might’ve noticed that we have managed to avoid the topic of data until now. The truth is, data is right at the forefront of PR trends for 2021. With real-time access to critical data, PR teams can make informed decisions and use this data to measure the success of each component of their strategy.
For this reason, data will guide PR efforts and help determine the effectiveness of these tactics. Every PR campaign relies on accurate data and in-depth analysis is now the driving force behind any PR strategy that is well crafted, evaluated and executed.
Using Stories and Experiences for Media Pitches
We already mentioned the importance of transparency and authenticity. However, there is also a rising trend that requires companies to consider their digital and social footprint. Cause marketing is a great example of this movement as many products or companies use charitable causes to help improve the connection they have with a particular audience. But more on that in a moment.
When it comes to PR, companies need to be more strategic when they look for coverage or when pitching ideas. More specifically, it means that incorporating stories or experiences into their email pitches will gain more traction.
Embracing the Power of “Cause Media” and Earned Media
Companies can gain ground by moving forward with ideas that serve the public interest. In such instances, these ideas will generate traction in the form of online shares and coverage from media outlets. In fact, successful attempts will likely turn viral to some extent and enable companies to help a certain cause, while connecting with their audience.
It’s important to note this rise in earned media and the basis for which is largely infused with trust, transparency and authenticity.
PR Tools and Technology Will Become More Affordable
The truth is, time and money is the biggest obstacle for companies in terms of PR. Simply put, the high costs associated with PR agencies have prevented companies from reaching out to the media. However, most PR tools are now attainable for companies regardless of budget and this helps PR agencies collect data and deploy strategies more efficiently.
For these reasons, agencies like Pressfarm can now offer an impressive return on investment for small and medium-sized businesses that wish to experience the benefits of having a PR team on board. Pressfarm services such as the writing and distribution of a press release can help startups grow exponentially through PR at very minimal budgets.
Professionals Will Continue to Shape the PR World
One thing is certain: public relations will shape how companies launch or grow in the coming years. Whether this refers to marketing products and services or raising capital for a certain venture, these teams and individuals can be used as a “fast lane” to generating publicity.
After all, PR has evolved with lightning pace in recent years and lack of understanding or resources is sure to prevent most companies from gaining their desired traction or results without the assistance of such people.
Paywalls will Make Company Blogs more Popular
While huge media outlets can afford to use paywalls and charge for their content, many people can’t afford to pay for this content. Companies that realize their customers won’t pay for content opt to set up informative blogs instead. They then offer their target audience free access to their content.
The good news is people love a quality blog. The bad news is that, as a startup, you are competing with tons of other companies, each of which has their own blog. In order to stand out from these blogs, you need to invest in creating content that is not only valuable but also unique.
Proactive Reputation Management will Save your Brand
2020 brought us the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a lot of social unrest. Think about the American election and Black Lives Matter movement, for example. In 2021, we’re still seeing more of the same social unease – look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for example. At a time of massive unrest, it’s easy for brands to say or do something that can upset huge numbers of people.
During a particularly sensitive time like this, brands need to be very strategic about their reputation management. Building a memorable reputation will help you when – not if – a crisis strikes your brand. Having a reputation management plan will help you build a robust brand image and be prepared to protect it when something goes wrong. Ultimately, if you can build a good reputation, people will be willing to give you the benefit of doubt. Rather than condemn your brand immediately, your customers will be willing to wait for you to respond and fix the problem, even when you are in the wrong.
Embracing Humanity will Win you More Customers
At a time when lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have left people feeling isolated, customers are gravitating more towards brands that make an effort to connect with them. Even so, it’s one thing to say you care about your customers. Putting those words into action is a completely different thing. Are you genuinely doing everything you can to help your customers feel less alone? Are you pushing new products in their faces just to make a quick buck, or are you taking time to find out what kind of products they need at this time?
Some brands have created online communities where customers can engage in conversations and connect with other people. Other brands host regular webinars where customers can interact with each other as well as the brand itself. The bottom line is, if your customers feel seen and heard during this pandemic, they are more likely to stay loyal to your brand.
Live Events won’t Be Back in Full Force for a While
As many parts of the world practice social distancing and adhere to stay-at-home orders, the number of live events has gone down. Moreover, of the in-person events still being held the number of attendees is restricted. As people try to keep themselves safe, more and more businesses are opting to host their events online instead.
In fact, PwC estimates live events, conferences and tradeshows shrunk 64% as an industry. Event revenie has declined from $16 billion in 2019 to roughly $6 billion in 2020, according to Marketing Charts. These figures may take until 2024 to recover.
If a big part of what you do at your brand is hosting events, then you can continue to do this online. Hosting webinars, conferences and other events online is actually a creative and effective way to foster a sense of community among your target audience and help them to connect with your brand.
Leveraging Live Streaming for PR Strategies
Live streaming is showing no sign of slowing down and we already know that a live video is likely to receive almost ten times the number of views or comments as an article. This is even more so, now that a large percentage of the world’s population is stuck at home as we wait for the effects of the pandemic to blow over. This makes live streaming a great opportunity to amplify a particular piece of content and initiate discussions, interviews and interaction for the campaign.
It should be said that live streaming is often ignored for the fact that people have little or no experience with going live. However, the results speak for themselves and this is certainly a great way for PR agencies to leverage their efforts.
And that’s it – the most notable emerging trends in PR for 2021. Whether you are part of a PR team or not, these are the most invaluable trends to follow in order to maximize traction and results.
While the PR industry continues to race forward, taking time to understand the emergence of new technology and data is key. With this information, PR strategies can be built on informed decisions and accurate data can help define campaigns that will connect with the audience.
These PR trends allow for each campaign to be measured. By leveraging these trends, you can work within your budget and deploy PR strategies that will better serve your business.