How has the field of public relations evolved and what does the future hold?

Change is inevitable. Due to frequent and wide-ranging changes in the world, Public Relations today is a more challenging space than ever before. The fact that digital media trends are always changing makes it more difficult for individuals without a thorough long-term plan to build a strong PR strategy. To remain ahead of the curve, you must continually consider your public relations plan for tomorrow, not just today. It’s more important than ever to keep your eye on the future, given how quickly everything is developing, particularly digital innovation.

Before discussing how public relations and social media will develop in the future, it’s critical to recognise how drastically digital media has already altered the field. People can communicate with brands at a never-before-seen scale, and brands can exhibit more of their personalities. With this, PR has quickly changed to a focus area with bigger audience interaction and a much faster response time than PR approaches of the past.

Let’s delve deeper into the current public relations trends to enable in development of a future-proof PR strategy:

Intriguing and shareable content is a must

PR professionals need to break out of their traditional shells and adapt to the new chapter given how quickly news circulates these days. Today, high quality video content creation has become incredibly simple thanks to smartphones, and the medium appears to be here to stay.  To maximise the longevity of your PR effort, be sure to tell compelling stories that stand out from the crowd. This can be done in multiple ways, whether it is highlighting insights or processes in a quick social media video or by using videos to pitch press releases to the media. Videos and photos can help your PR strategy since they let you tell your brand’s narrative in a manner that is more relatable and invites more audience participation.

Influencer PR is an effective means

Social media is an effective marketing tool, and it appears that will continue to be the case for some time. Evidently, influencer PR is becoming more and more popular. But this is not limited to the bigger social media influencers with millions of followers. Micro-influencers that have a niche audience specific to your brand can have a big impact, especially for companies with sharply defined audiences. Because influencers are seen as relatable, reliable, and approachable, they aid in raising brand recognition.

A must-have is tailored social media promotion

Simply sharing your content on social media is insufficient. Instead, PR specialists should develop unique messaging based on the values of their target audience for every platform. You require knowledge of their wants and expectations for that. Therefore, while developing an effective social strategy, you should combine PR with social media, brand consultation, and digital marketing.

Personalisation is essential

Humans are, in fact, all unique, but they all share one fundamental characteristic: a need to be seen. As a result, the secret to creating a successful PR plan is customisation. Everything should have a personal, relatable touch, whether you’re making pitches, distributing press releases, or hosting events. 

Cross-promotion steals the show

This is one of the best strategies to amp up your brand’s awareness and branch out to a brand-new audience. In essence, cross-promotion involves sharing material with another author to reach a larger audience through a variety of platforms. The most often used forms of cross-promotion are podcasts, guest blogging, and partnered Instagram posts.

Inclusivity is the key 

Did you know that consumers now demand social responsibility from brands? Diversity should be a part of our PR strategy. Focusing on a variety of ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, disabilities, belief systems, cultures, and ages in PR efforts is crucial because inclusion is vital.

Data is the essential engine for innovation

As we have seen time and again in various industries today, data is priceless. While PR may seem like a qualitative focus area, since it tells your brand’s story, that narrative should be supported with statistics and analysed to strengthen your media communication efforts. Once the data is visible, you can know what works and what doesn’t, to come up with fresh concepts that actually work with your target audiences. Tools like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Listening and Monitoring, and social media metrics can help with that. 

Even though PR is known for its creativity, the pandemic has made operating in a virtual environment particularly challenging. In order to create, foster, and maintain relationships with media contacts, PR professionals must now find creative ways to engage with them. Meeting in person is no longer a straightforward option. Innovation is required to keep these relationships strong and to dominate journalists’ thoughts in the virtual world. The success of media pitches and story pickups depends on these connections.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.
These articles were published in the PRAXIS 2022 special edition print magazine of Reputation Today.

Shweta Munjal
With over 18 years of progressive experience working with global organizations across industry verticals viz. technology, retail, FMCG and financial, I have led almost every facet of communications – Thought Leadership, Marketing, PR, Media Relations, Digital, Employee Engagement, Crisis and Issue management, CSR, Re-branding, M&A communications and Advocacy.

I continue to partner with the Board of Directors, Leadership team, PR, Advertising, Digital firms along with Industry and Trade bodies to strategise and implement effective integrated communications programs.

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