The world of public relations is more dynamic than ever. With the events of 2023, we’ve seen some disruptive changes in the PR world. Industry trends are important to keep up with for PR specialists and businesses. In this article, we’ll go through what these trends are as they transform the industry and impact the business world.
Staying on top of industry trends is part of a PR professional's job. The industry is ever-changing. The issues that mattered to consumers three years ago might look completely different today.
It is crucial to understand how specific tactics and strategies may resonate with your audience at various times when it comes to PR, since PR aims to shape your image in the minds of consumers.
Like in any industry, PR trends are influenced by employee expectations, technology, consumer preferences, and more. As these change, your PR strategies and processes must adapt alongside the change as well. Now, let's dive into the trends that define PR today.
This transformation focuses on human experiences.
A more humanized approach is a strong and steady trend that’s being practiced more frequently and is a fantastic opportunity for PR strategies to prosper. Data-driven ideas are born that are backed by the use of technology, increasing the reach of these ideas. What is more, the two-way communication that some platforms offer is perfect for eliciting responses that will lead to improved PR campaigns. It’ll allow PR to have a tangible impact on the target audience.
Authenticity is a key metric for a brand's success and a key industry trend.
PR specialists must ensure that brands have an authentic voice and genuine belief in what they stand for.
For brands that slip up, audiences will notice, and your credibility will be impacted. Technology can be a great tool to find out about your target audience, but PR experts are still needed to ensure a human connection. The way brands personalize their messages and content in general will need to be more authentic.
Many unexpected things happened as a result of the pandemic. Audiences are now more critical and suspicious of information because of the rise of fake news and online misinformation. This is why authenticity is needed, and brands must ensure they go the extra mile. Consumers will be unforgiving in the face of non-authentic content.
Twitter and LinkedIn will continue to be important in 2024. As will TikTok. These platforms can be used to showcase thought leadership content and to develop relationships with the media or customers.
Public relations strategies that have traditionally placed a high value of coverage in traditional tier 1 media, such as the Financial Times or Wall Street Journal, will start to see social media as a viable support tool. PR professionals adept at handling media and social media will begin to shift this dynamic.
As a PR professional looking for opportunities to connect with new audiences, Twitter is also beneficial. The platform is often used by journalists, writers, videographers, and bloggers looking for new pitches or sources as Twitter undergoes a radical change in leadership under the reign of Elon Musk.
With more than 700 million users from all over the globe, LinkedIn allows organizations and individuals to demonstrate their knowledge and capabilities to a wider audience.
For these reasons, it's also a great place to showcase your thought leadership to audiences looking for expertise on various subjects. The platform is the best way to establish an effective online presence, offering the chance to publish articles, ignite discussion, network with others, and share insights, all while creating a strong personal brand as you do so. In 2024, this will be a powerful tool for individuals and businesses seeking to position themselves as industry leaders.
Whether we like it or not, influencer marketing will flourish as a key PR trend in 2024.
Micro-influencers on TikTok and accounts with millions of followers on Instagram are among the many types of influencers popping up all over the web.
Understanding TikTok and video-reel creation is necessary to support influencer marketing campaigns. The first step to understanding influencer marketing is to understand authentic influence. An influencer is someone who influences through their work.
Authentic partnerships begin with identifying who and what is affecting your audience. By tapping into a trusted person's audience, influencer partnerships and campaigns can create social proof points for brands, building engagement, and driving sales.
At the core of good public relations is creating and distributing original newsworthy content. Some best ways to generate this content are interviews, events, and conferences. This also includes in-depth interviews with industry leaders and hosting meetings and round tables.
Customers have high expectations of brands. Whether connecting customers to their brands or connecting people from different perspectives, consumers expect brands and leaders to act as connectors. How does a brand connect with its consumers? Trust is important. An alignment of brand values is also essential.
To stay competitive in 2024, you must simplify your copy to make it short and punchy.
A brand's messaging must be concise, catchy, and authentic. Focus on why your client is so important. Short messages translate better on social media. Regardless of where your client's target audience is, you can reach them across multiple platforms. A short, attention-grabbing subject line is best for pitches, along with images and videos that convey your client's message. Keep key messages simple. It will be easier for brands to stand out from their competitors if they differentiate themselves and focus on their target audiences.
The average representative of the new generation will use their smartphone for at least 3 hours daily. In many cases longer.
PR experts must focus on Gen Z - the next generation of consumers.
So kick off the year by analyzing this generation's trends, interests, causes, passions, communication channels, etc. It is important to be authentic, however. This generation is susceptible to inauthentic content. Either way, Gen Z is a highly emerging trend in public relations that all PR experts need to turn their eyes to in 2024.
PR pros are used to being flexible. You must be ready to shift and overhaul your strategy in the blink of an eye. Having a plan b, c, and d will be crucial to client success. You may have drafted the perfect pitch and researched publications and reporters you'd like to reach, but what if all your prospective reporters don't respond?
Public relations professionals must be responsive to changing news while producing content that captures these constantly evolving stories.
It could mean developing multiple pitch angles in advance, brainstorming different strategies with your team, or staying on top of developing news that may affect your clients. Goal posts and client expectations change. If things go differently than planned, be ready to adjust quickly and explore new strategies. Adaptability to changes in the workplace is also a quality of a PR professional.
Interested in seeing what we can achieve for your business? Schedule a free intro call to learn more.
Upskilling is a necessity as technology advances and the PR industry evolves.
Individuals must therefore take the initiative to upskill themselves.
Boosting your skills will prevent you from losing out to your competitors. The rise in the use of analytics for understanding the effectiveness of campaigns and activities across all media channels is just one area where knowledge and skills would be helpful.
As PR professionals, we have many opportunities to upskill. Public relations practitioners should look to upskill when possible. A PR professional who fails to learn risks falling behind. Lifelong learning is imperative.
We are already observing how the industry is shifting to a more data-driven approach, especially with the advancement of software in data analytics.
Companies in 2023 have heavily turned their attention to big data. Clients and brands invest in tools to acquire data, but more is needed.
There is a need for more detail in the process of working with data. An environment needs to be established where data is collected and adequately customized, tracked, analyzed, and applied.
With this in mind, the PR industry will provide its clients with deeper insights into their target audience's behavior, which will improve the personalization of targeted messaging.
A more meaningful and targeted message for the audience can go a long way and have a lasting impact on the brand in question. So keep an eye on data analytics and the tools that make a data-driven approach possible.
More and more sites will move to paid options in 2024 due to smaller newsrooms.
Smaller newsrooms have come under strain recently from decreased advertising revenues and more competition. Paid subscriptions have thus become a viable model for keeping them afloat. Due to the nature of paywalls, subscribers can often be more engaged with and loyal to the outlet, providing a strong source of revenue. In the clickbait era, sensationalism often is the substance, but paid models turn the tables around and encourage outlets to focus on producing quality and trustworthy content.
With this in mind, we’re seeing that larger outlets are increasingly acquiring smaller companies to expand their reach.
In today's digital landscape, clients frequently demand media services with a global reach, something smaller media outlets may struggle with.
By buying them out, they benefit from a ready-made audience with similar tastes and, by doing so, can provide better and more comprehensive services. With the difficulty smaller newsrooms face, expect to see an increase in the number of small or medium-sized outlets taken over in 2024.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can improve a company's public relations efforts by providing the tools to reach audiences. This trend shows no signs of slowing. If you have a website, artificial intelligence could help you create new content and maintain your existing content. AI can help automate this process. With more companies implementing AI, those who get on board early will have an advantage. You will have more time to devote to projects supporting growth by utilizing AI to automate scheduling, data mining, and automation tasks.
The increased time we all spend on our smartphones shows the growing and continuous importance of multimedia content.
Multimedia can be used to nurture the experience of customers.
You can implement your client’s brand, product, or service into different audio and video formats and customize them to better reach your target audience via their preferences.
For example, you can work with different podcasts, YouTube vloggers, or other media outlets to place your client’s brand into the relevant media the viewer or potential customer is enjoying. PR experts need to keep an eye on this trend and look out for new and different platforms.
E-commerce accessibility has led to more competition.
PR experts need to focus on their outreach to ensure that the content not only satisfies and engages the target audience but reaches it in the first place.
It is vital to personalize your content. Use data analytics to create more personalized content, and to place your client’s brand in the right spot.
Consumers sprint across many platforms, searching for engaging and relevant content that fits their interests. A well-crafted personalized PR pitch not only engages people but also has a higher chance of being selected by journalists and other media outlets and platforms.
Follow this trend in 2024 to establish more trust in your client’s brand and show depth and credibility in your campaigns.
If a PR agency can supply content to media outlets, to support the creation of news articles and features, it could be an excellent way to expand a PR campaign’s reach. Typically full-time journalists are busy with more prominent news articles, meaning PR agencies can support the creation of less demanding news and features.
The opportunity for 2024 is that PR agencies can focus on thought leadership pieces that can be widely distributed by media outlets, which need external content sources.
Luckily, articles that touch on the topics of thought leadership and other PR strategies are well-received by journalists and consumers, which means media outlets with a high demand for external content will engage with the content you pitch.
Metrics such as engagement, impressions, and reach are easily accessible with digital PR. With tools like Facebook Business Suite, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite, tracking digital PR success is easier than ever.
Tracking traditional PR, however, is more complex. Newspaper articles and magazine ads are hard to quantify.
You can see results much more quickly when you use digital PR methods. You can convey your message more creatively and subtly with digital PR.
You can easily make your company's messaging creative and unique with the tools available on social media and content creation sites. Digital PR focuses on SEO and visibility, so creativity is vital. In addition, it's easy to make it subtle.
PR ROI has historically been challenging to quantify. Outlets can provide data such as unique visitors or ad impressions, but that does not give brands the complete picture they need. PR aims to improve brand perception, convince clients to purchase, and increase loyalty, among other metrics. These things are becoming easier to measure thanks to PR analytics tools. To know what they should measure, they will need KPIs.
Over the past few years, there has been a focus on the role of ethics in business practices. This follows from two notable examples of company’s letting consumers and stakeholders down through poor ethics - Volkswagen’s carbon emission tampering and Wirecard’s missing 1.9 billion. Ethics is of importance to buyers. Data supports the notion that customers believe companies need a strong social conscience, while many believe companies need to do more. While consumers demand that companies do more than talk about social causes and donate money, they also expect them to act on what they're saying. They expect them to embody it.
To stay ahead of this public relations trend for 2024, you must make sure all communications, copy, and pitch angles are socially aware. Brands should communicate their social values.
While companies have competitors within the market, that doesn't mean we can't build off each other to create valuable industry news and foster innovation.
Competitors allow us to learn and grow.
This is especially the case in the tech industry. Tech is meant to improve the lives of people. Arguably, its purpose is to innovate as a society, not just as an individual, and not just as one firm. A trend for 2024 is to recognize this.
In the age of social media, crisis planning has become critical. It doesn't take long for news to spread, and your actions can either work in your favor or against you. Sooner or later, every organization will experience a significant PR challenge. When negative news hits the media and the brand experiences negative publicity, social media will continue to play an important role. The issue may be minor or major. It could be a faulty product, an accounting oversight, or a supply chain issues. It doesn’t matter; unresolved issues can quickly escalate into much bigger ones, causing significant financial and reputational damage to your business. It is possible to regain the trust of your audience by using social media as a crisis management tool. Expect to see more of this in 2024.
The cost of PPC-paid social and the increased use of e-commerce have increased the importance of search engine optimization. PR is vital in SEO as it is the primary source of building links.
The relationship between SEO and PR will become more critical. SEO techniques can provide targeted traffic to your website by improving its ranking and reaching a targeted audience. You are already losing customers if your brand doesn’t appear in organic searches. So, PR professionals should improve their SEO skills to make the most of this growing trend.
Increasing internet usage and growing technological demand are forever changing the digital market. Customer expectations of online businesses are high. Public relations professionals will continue to use more varied digital channels to identify the right PR opportunities as PR opportunities evolve and change.
Companies will explore more creative ways to reach potential customers.
Virtual reality and other immersive experiences are now on the table.
Podcasts are also relevant and are set to become more popular. The fact that these podcasts are about particular, niche topics may lead to fewer listeners and subscribers in some cases, but they will have a highly engaged and interested audience, however. The metaverse is another avenue that may surprise everyone yet and finally take off. Customers can return to it repeatedly by creating space, and brands can build customer loyalty.
Customers can take advantage of exclusive deals, early access to new products, or special events in the metaverse if they are loyal to the brand.
There will be many changes in the media landscape in 2024, but these PR trends will shape how PR specialists get results for their clients. Start strategizing and building killer press plans for next year with this knowledge!
More than ever, combining new and old strategies is crucial to capturing attention and spreading positive brand messages. Increasingly, consumers are becoming more demanding and less forgiving as time goes on. Stay on top of the latest PR trends by following our blog. In this new normality, brands must remain authentic and fresh.