When you’re trying to generate publicity for your brand, it’s important to study what other brands are doing successfully. While you don’t want to replicate someone else’s publicity efforts exactly, understanding what has worked well for someone else can help you to develop an effective public relations strategy that aligns with your brand goals. Once you’ve identified PR trends in your niche, then you can experiment with them and see what works for you.
The first step in developing any strategy is evaluation. What values drive your business? What’s unique about it? What are you doing well? What can you improve on? What are other brands doing better? What gaps exist in the market and how can you fill those gaps? You can employ a suite of PR tools to get this information, but it’s also important to seek feedback from the market you serve. If you already have an established business, then connecting with current clients is a valuable way to get feedback on how well you’re serving them and what they’d like you to do differently. Remember that retaining your current clients is much easier than converting new leads into paying clients. Ultimately, seeking and acting on client feedback is a good way to retain clients.
A big part of your evaluation efforts should be focused on studying the emerging PR trends in your niche. While this can be challenging, this is one of the things that PR specialists are good at. As PR professionals, we love predicting the new trends poised to break through. Let us dive right in and talk about the trends that we’ve seen emerging in 2022.
1) Closer positioning to social media content regulation
Every public relations professional understands the value of a well-executed social media campaign. It’s (essentially) free, it’s a medium where your target audience is engaged, and it’s available to almost everyone on the planet right now.
However, the social media ecosystem is evolving rapidly and success requires patience as well as the ability to keep up with what’s going on behind the scenes. Concerns about misinformation, political tensions, and, some argue, the consolidation of a great deal of power have all combined to produce a very different environment than you may recall from years past.
Brand strategy and messaging are influenced by questions about where the responsibility of a content creator ends and where the responsibility of the platform begins. According to PR specialists, as audiences shift away from traditional media outlets and toward social media, brands have more chances to take control of their brand narratives than ever before. In reality, businesses are already stepping up their enforcement of norms to prevent internet misinformation.
The point is that in order to succeed with social media, you need to be conscious of the necessity for complete transparency at all times and to avoid placing all of your social media eggs in one basket. In fact, in the coming years, justice and openness are expected to be hot topics, which leads right into our next significant trend.
2) Greater emphasis on social responsibility
You’ve probably observed that transparency and accuracy in communication are becoming increasingly important in the PR world. Some see it as an unavoidable stage in the evolution of social-first journalism. In contrast, others see it as a link between brands’ more significant interest in social responsibility and other concerns they can’t directly solve.
Consumers want to feel like they’re doing business with reputable companies, and they don’t want to be linked with a scandal or anything remotely resembling a scandal. There is a growing interest in where large businesses stand on ethical issues, whose programs they support, and, most importantly, what this means for the communities they serve. Consumers no longer trust a mission statement or a corporate spokesperson who claims a company does the right thing; they now demand proof. Customers will seek out, support, and engage with firms that share their values, and they will be quick to point out dishonesty and inaccuracy. Consumers will trust and support your company if you communicate accurately and consistently across all media platforms.
What does this imply for public relations professionals? It’s simple: our responsibility now is to make sure that our clients represent a worthwhile, respectable cause connected with their firms’ aims and consumer base and that the world is aware of their efforts. Keeping up with these challenges, as well as charting the route forward, is getting increasingly difficult. If you’re a PR professional yourself, the best thing you can do is to proceed with care and do all possible to stay on top of your clients’ marketplaces and sectors. If you’re the founder of a brand, you should ensure that you’ve made your brand values clear to the public and that everyone from the bottom up upholds those values.
3) The rise of Artificial Intelligence and data science
Don’t get too excited; we’re not predicting doomsday. However, this is one of those long-term trends that has hit a tipping point. The year 2022 will see statistical data analysis become a central component of good public relations strategies.
A good pitch will be critical to providing relevant data and analytics, statistics, and reports. While having the correct story angle is important, but anchoring that pitch in a dynamic statistic is ten times more important. It’s even better if you can provide a crucial stakeholder who is knowledgeable about the data. Working with clients on how to gather and own the relevant data on behalf of a firm is something that publicists should explore.
Additionally, Artificial Intelligence is becoming a must-have for successful data collection. AI enables you to identify and pull all critical information more quickly, and it’s also a key factor in communication and process automation. Data-driven AI enables public relations professionals to automate routine tasks such as finding the most relevant channels and media contacts, determining the best time of day to send press releases and other media materials, choosing the best type of content for a given campaign effectively following up, and more.
4) Digital events will be the new normal
Webinars, workshops, conferences, interviews, and public pronouncements are now being conducted online, and the majority of people appear to be on board. Given the ongoing pandemic crisis, this trend should not be surprising. However, this indicates a significant change in how PR professionals should approach digital PR events.
People have gotten pickier about how they spend their time; therefore, a more targeted approach will be necessary to attract essential influencers. Success is no longer about the number of people who show up to an event, but rather about the quality of those who do. It’s also important to ensure that you work with the best contacts who are well aligned with your brand to create long-term brand champions.
It’s never easy to prioritize quality above quantity. Nonetheless, in the long run, this is beneficial to all parties. Make up for the lack of face-to-face networking opportunities by providing excellent information. Attendees gain helpful knowledge and the satisfaction of “receiving precisely what they paid for,” businesses benefit from the happiness of their target clients, and public relations professionals benefit from the boost to their own brand.
5) Reliance on contributed articles
Along the same lines as the previous point, even while the demand for internet content has expanded rapidly, newsroom employment in the United States has declined 26% since 2008.
This means that media organizations have to rely on fewer full-time writers to meet demand. As a result, the writers they do employ are frequently assigned to breaking news or more complex topics, areas where freelancers aren’t a viable option.
What this means for the PR sector is that there will be increased demand for contributed pieces from outside authors, i.e., the type of thought leadership that is so popular among B2B customers.
If you’ve been having trouble persuading your executive team to put in the time and effort required for excellent thought leadership, 2022 is the year to make it happen. While starting with smaller or local newspapers may make sense, many tier-one publications are also looking for expert contributions. A few examples are Entrepreneur, the Harvard Business Review, Mashable, and Fast Company.
If you’re in charge of PR for a B2B company, get at least one member of your executive team on board with thought leadership, and then pitch them to media outlets relentlessly throughout the year. Most media outlets are interested in interviewing thought leaders in specific niches, as well as getting insight on the data that these thought leaders have gathered.
6) The variety of podcasts will increase
While we previously stated that content is increasingly becoming the go-to technique for public relations professionals, one type of content merits its own spot on our list: podcasts.
The number of podcasts and podcast listeners is rapidly expanding. Podcast interviews, in particular, are excellent for gaining visibility since they provide founders with more opportunities to talk about their stories and their vision. Podcast listeners are committed individuals who want to learn and act, and engaging a potential lead with the right topic can shorten the time it takes to convert. Furthermore, because podcast episodes remain ‘online’ indefinitely, being on a podcast can provide you with a steady trickle of leads.
Getting your clients a slot on a popular podcast can pay off big time in the long run. Furthermore, because consumers have accepted the format, there is no need to educate your core audience on how to engage with your brand on a podcast.
Finally, by devoting a portion of your public relations strategy to podcasts, you will gain access to a whole new audience that enjoys this type of content, dramatically raising your customers’ brand awareness.
That’s what we refer to as a win-win situation. Podcasts are affordable and straightforward to make, the technology equalizes the playing field, and content is king, as they say in every marketing department on the planet.
7) Earned media will continue to triumph over paid exposure
Today, promoting your own business is easier than ever: all you have to do is press the correct combination of buttons on Facebook, and your most recent post will be visible to everyone your heart wishes. As a result, many of your potential clients will opt against hiring a full-time public relations professional.
With so much to consider, many businesses have decided that paying to appear at the top of the list is a preferable alternative. While this might seem like the easier option, working with a professional is always the safer alternative. After all, a PR professional will be able to adjust to the business environment and devise more educated PR strategies than an algorithm ever would.
Pressfarm works with startups and companies of various sizes to create newsworthy content that can be distributed to media professionals or published on their own channels. By creating email pitches and press releases, press kits and guest posts, our PR professionals have what it takes to get your brand the attention it deserves.
By submitting your brand to the right startup directories and professional networks, we can boost your online visibility and ensure you feature in relevant search results across search engines. Finally, as a client, you also get access to custom media lists containing contact information of the best media professionals in your niche. With these contact details, you can partner with the best journalists, bloggers and thought leaders in your niche. By partnering with these people, you can share your brand story widely.
Given that PR professionals have existing relationships with journalists, access to a variety of media channels, and wide experience, you will be better off relying on a professional instead of throwing money at an algorithm.
If partnering with a PR professional wasn’t already on your radar, it should be now. Work on improving your value proposition and making what you bring to the table crystal clear so that you can secure deals with the best PR professionals who can take your brand to the next level.
8) Quantifying business impact will become easier
It’s been tough to calculate the return on investment (ROI) on B2B PR efforts in the past.
Outlets can provide data such as monthly unique visitors, ad impressions, and so on, but this does not provide the complete picture that you are seeking for your brand. Brands want to know how their public relations activities affect brand perception, persuade customers to buy, and increase loyalty, among other KPIs.
These things are becoming easier to measure, thanks to PR analytics software.
However, these tools will not be sufficient to resolve all issues. Brands and their PR employees or partners must start with solid KPIs to determine what they want to assess and how essential each indicator is to their stated business objectives.
Furthermore, using digital PR as part of a larger, integrated marketing strategy (which every brand should be doing) provides brands with more analytical context to work with, allowing them to see how PR metrics fit into their larger marketing analytics picture rather than just looking at PR metrics.
9) Diversity and inclusion matters
Many buyers are skeptical of diversity statements these days, due to the long-standing failure of most corporate diversity and inclusion programs to deliver real change. This fact was recently brought to the forefront and has become even more apparent after the social and political upheaval of 2021.
Brands that want to keep loyal consumers and attract new ones, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, who now account for more than 60% of B2B purchasers, must be able to back up any diversity and inclusion statements they make, particularly in the media, with genuine outcomes. Any attempt by brands to utilize their diversity and inclusion initiatives as PR material, real or imagined, will backfire.
As you can see, all of the most likely situations envisioned by PR specialists have one thing in common: it’s time to step up your game and invest in quality work. Everyone is becoming more sophisticated, including consumers and clients, so methods that previously worked are unlikely to be popular with the public in 2022.