The field of public relations is transforming, with new PR trends emerging every other day. While it may not appear significant to those outside the sector, the ongoing changes are generating many challenges. Whether you’re doing PR for your company, you’re a PR specialist who works at an agency or you’re an independent PR practitioner, you must adapt to these changes. This is a unique time, so if you don’t keep up with the dramatic changes in the field, you will not be as effective at your job. Both agencies and their clients need to adapt to ensure that these changes are benefiting your publicity efforts rather than hampering them.
Let’s talk about these changes, what’s causing them, and what PR trends to expect in 2022 as a result of these changes.
What changes are happening in the PR industry?
Both internal elements inside the sector and external influences such as the media and enterprises are currently affecting the industry.
Internally, the business is being influenced by the increasing number of small agencies springing up all over. These are usually small boutiques or agencies with a few employees who focus on local market PR and compete with the industry’s established players by decreasing pricing. This has resulted in the rise of low-cost PR. While we think this is a good thing, keep in mind that you often get what you pay for. Cheap PR services could mean lower quality of work is performed, thus harming the PR industry’s reputation as a whole.
The media has evolved as well. COVID resulted in cost cuts and the decreasing demand for print news, thus contributing to a substantial drop in the size of newsrooms at the average media outlet. As a result, the media went online, and newsrooms started looking out for stories from online platforms. However, they lacked the staff to keep up with demand. The evolving media ecosystem forced PR firms to adjust. Feeding news stories is critical to producing regular content. Even so, how do you filter out the apparent noise that is normally peddled as news? In this way, PR has become both a solution and a challenge for the media.
What factors are behind these changes?
It’s possible that COVID isn’t the primary reason for this shift. It was already happening before the pandemic, but it was further amplified thanks to the lockdowns and chaos that followed the pandemic.
The root cause of all these changes is actually twofold:
- Businesses are aware of digital marketing and how it may produce measurable and trackable benefits. They now expect these results from PR. On the other hand, PR has previously lacked a trackable result that wasn’t mired in controversy and was therefore not the most practical measure of success.
- Startups became more relevant as more investment cash flooded the market. For some reason, a portion of this cash went to public relations. As a result, non-corporate marketers were confronted with traditional PR standards that clashed with the startup culture.
5 emerging themes to watch in public relations
Let us look at some overarching and broader themes that the industry will most likely see emerging this year.
1) Digital nomads
With the introduction of vaccines, the relaxation of restrictions, and a general desire to return to “normal,” 2023 will likely be the nearest we get to the fabled pre-COVID days when the majority of the globe was blissfully oblivious to what it was like to live through a pandemic.
Despite the fact that some areas of life will return to normal, COVID-19 has caused a dramatic shift in the public mindset toward daily business, including where and how we work. Top firms like Microsoft, Google, PwC, Facebook, and others have all adopted a permanent remote work policy. This allows workers to work from anywhere in the world without affecting their everyday lives. The “digital nomad” lifestyle that was once merely a thought experiment for cutting-edge companies now appears to be on the verge of becoming the new normal.
It’s true, there are some advantages to in-person meetings, shaking hands, and sharing meals in the corporate world. Be that as it may, most aspects of daily public relations work can – and now are – handled remotely. The gig economy has grown in prominence within the sector, giving firms an appropriate outlet for service-related details and hastening digitization.
When it comes to hiring, PR firms that embrace digital nomads will see their candidate pools swell into literal oceans by the end of 2023. When location is no longer a criterion for hiring, agencies will be free to hire the best and brightest, putting talent first.
This work culture isn’t suitable for every job – including digital nomads in your workforce will require careful consideration of which positions are most suited to remote work. Nevertheless, organizations that use digital nomads thoughtfully when staffing up this year will see their capabilities soar.
2) Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly important in a variety of industries, and public relations is no exception. With technology that can now automate repetitive PR tasks (such as media monitoring). You can also accuracy when drafting communications deliverables (with software like Grammarly and HelloScribe). Additionally, you can help better assess sentiment among a brand’s target audiences. As you can see, AI has had a significant impact on the PR profession.
Although many PR professionals are unaware of how AI can boost their work, these software solutions are improving and becoming more widely embraced by communications practitioners. For this reason, many more PR professionals will notice how AI enhances how we provide results for our customers daily in 2023.
Another use of AI in PR is building and improving the metaverse. PR teams can now use these new, virtual worlds to develop creative and immersive publicity tactics for the brands they represent. Brands will use the metaverse for exceptional virtual experiences to reach their most tech-savvy clients as the metaverse becomes more popular.
Take for example virtual conferences, where attendees will be able to log into the metaverse as avatars and attend events such as meet-and-greets, trade exhibits, concerts, and private shopping events. Brands are already purchasing land in 3D virtual reality worlds like Decentraland and developing buildings and plazas where customers can shop and interact with their brands in new ways.
With the new internet, evolution will come new ways for marketers to communicate with their audiences. We will see this field grow as AI technology progresses and more companies join in.
3) Keeping it simple
With the world becoming increasingly complex, it’s easy to lose track of the people that brands need to reach. People are connecting more with straightforward brand messages that are free from exaggeration and unnecessary flair. As a result, simplifying a brand message will be one of the essential PR trends in 2023.
As more individuals absorb news in a personalized manner via digital online media, having a quick and succinct message to describe what your firm does and why it is valuable to your target consumer is more vital than ever before. This simplified brand message will be easier to disseminate across all marketing teams, from public relations to social media to content marketing.
It’s common for marketers to use long-winded language, but this is the wrong approach. PR firms can help to simplify and shorten the narrative by getting to the point while explaining what they do and why it matters.
4) Live events
It’s been a long time coming, but live events are finally back. Last year, many professional groups chose virtual or even hybrid approaches for their gatherings to safeguard everyone from COVID-19.
As we turn the page on the calendar, the pandemic appears to be under sufficient control, thanks to vaccines, boosters, and rapid testing programs. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and people are itching to go back to networking face-to-face.
In-person business events, which have long been a staple of marketing firms’ arsenals, are among the top trends set to resurface prominently.
There are many types of live events that marketers can use to get the word out about their clients and forge partnerships – face-to-face. From trade shows and industry conventions to award ceremonies and networking functions, marketers can choose from a wide variety of events. Other tactics that can be used with a captive audience include sponsorships and in-venue display promotions.
5) PR with a purpose
Many businesses were scrutinized in 2020 for out-of-date policies and a lack of diversity and inclusion programs. We also saw non-existent viewpoints or participation in national social concerns. In 2021, companies amended their rules, overhauled their Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, issued public statements against social inequities, and pledged to do better. In 2023, brands will place a greater emphasis on their mission-based activities in their public relations communications.
Businesses must demonstrate accountability from a branding standpoint and prove that they are implementing the changes they promised in 2021. PR efforts will focus primarily on regular philanthropic activity and remaining socially conscious and committed from a corporate standpoint. Conscious consumers will scrutinize legacy brands to see if they are “walking the talk” and delivering on their promises.
6) Greater focus on personalization
Consumers are demanding to be treated as unique individuals now more than ever before. At the same time, as audiences move their attention to their favorite social networks, the historical reach and impact of mass media continue to dwindle. As consuming patterns (and demographics) evolve toward distributed platforms and channels where consumers actively seek relevant, intriguing, and engaging material that matters to them, customization and message relevance play an increasingly significant role, This reality is driving PR pros to think critically about earned / conventional media and effectively engage audiences by orchestrating complex programs mapped to customer-centric journeys (e.g., experiences) across an expanding mix of digital experiences and channels at scale.
As you can see, all of the emerging PR trends that our industry experts have identified point to one conclusion. It’s time to step up your game and invest in quality work. As we go into 2023, everyone – including consumers and clients – is becoming more educated, which is why the methods that went viral in 2018 are unlikely to have the same impact in 2022. Trends change and grow all the time, and it’s critical to stay on top of them, so you don’t get left behind.
Do you need help leveraging these PR trends for your brand? Luckily for you, there are many PR professionals who are up to date with these trends and have devised strategies to help brands stand out in 2023.
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. This helps 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 can start generating the publicity your brand deserves.