2022 brings with it new hopes and new plans! Like every other industry, PR too is set to embrace new trends and blaze new trails. Here’s a look at what’s in store. 2021 was a year of lockdowns but yet there was plenty of activity on social media and virtual press meets were the order of the day. In 2022, this trend is likely to continue whenever lockdowns happen. While the importance of PR activity has increased greatly, PR crisis also looms large and handling this is quite tricky. It takes a seasoned PR agency to handle crisis and emerge out of it.
Paid news and the rise of AI
In recent times, there has been a key trend of the media coming up with diverse options for paid news. In fact, many media houses allocate specific spaces for this. This market is set to grow bigger.
Artificial Intelligence or AI will play a bigger role in public relations than ever before. Here are some of the ways AI will work its way into PR, writing data-driven stories, transcribing audio and video into text, creating media lists, monitoring social media, predicting media trends and help with crisis management. Multi-media search is another big thing that’s coming up in this area and it’s bound to shake things up. Some PR agencies have already started incorporating AI into their work and this is set to grow bigger. Mundane tasks will be allocated to AI. Rather than feeling threatened, getting the hang of AI can help PR professionals add more value to their work and also keep themselves in demand.
Marketing and PR to integrate more
This is a trend that has been growing and in 2022, it will scale greater peaks. With the media coming up with more innovative ways to integrate brands into its fold, there will be a surge in PR initiatives that integrate marketing. This will allow a more consistent brand output which will strengthen the brand image.
Relationship building will reach a higher scale. This is something that has always been important in PR but now it will encompass a greater number of areas. Relationship building will encompass not just the media but will also extend to vendors, influencers and others.
With the growth in technology, it has become easier to measure metrics and PR is sure to take advantage of it. PR tools help you to create beautiful graphs and infographics to help clients understand the value created. This also allows them to appreciate the work that has gone into the strategy and the results.
Combating fake news
With the growth in fake news, there is also a great challenge for PR agencies. There is a need to immediately respond to fake news and firefight to contain the damage and alleviate it. With social media usage on the rise, fake news goes viral very fast and companies need to have a readymade strategy. They must be quick to reach and have a one-point source for information.
PR To become a content partner
PR will no longer be a press release producing machine, it will become a content partner. It will work alongside the media and work as a content partner identifying good news stories and adding value. Instead f merely pitching stories, it will create advocates for the brand. It will also provide wonderful visual content.
Lines between earned and paid media are blurring!
The collaboration between journalists, editors, influencers and brands are increasing. This is leading to greater exposure through social networks, digital ads and influencer marketing making this a win-win situation where everyone benefits. The amount of publicity generated through these initiatives has also increased manifold. Earned and paid media no longer exist in safely earmarked silos and tend to overlap at times.
Brands will no more be faceless!
There are many brands where the CEOs, founders or leaders prefer to stay backstage and shy away from the media. However, this will change and needs to. Today’s consumers do not want a faceless brand or logo. To make a strong impact and a compelling and engaging story that will bring out the brand’s authenticity. Today’s consumers also look for accountability, you cannot run promotions that speak of eco-friendliness and at the same time release pollutants into the atmosphere. Walk the walk, that’s the message that’s coming in loud and clear from consumers.
While our world gets more complex, the need of the hour is for messages to get simpler. With the online media delivering personalised messages, straightforward communication is key to improve delivery and understanding. The fluff and the exaggeration will be cut out. The simplified messaging will make it easy to share with diverse marketing teams and channels. The reach will also be far greater.
The Digital First approach
Digital Media is too powerful to be ignored today. With the pandemic, this has gained an edge over other media too. Today, a tweet is one of the fastest ways to get your message across. Social media which was once considered a supplementary medium has today grown to the level of being considered a predominant medium to disseminate information. Podcasts have a loyal following and they are being increasingly used to discuss hot topics. Influencer marketing, LinkedIn marketing and regular updates on social media pages are becoming a preferred route to engage with the target audience. Youtube has also become one of the most popular mediums to deliver online content.
Handling PR Crisis
Today, a small tweet can whip up a storm and brands need to be extra careful and whet even the tiniest bit of communication before it goes out. Brands can be trolled and products boycotted. A piece of wrong communication or controversy can also spread like wildfire and result in great damage to the brand’s image. A PR agency needs to be proactive to ensure that no harm comes to the brand’s image. Yet, there are times when controversies still pop up and need to be handled right.
In recent years, influencer marketing has become really big. This helps you reach a specific target audience even if its niche in a far more personal way. It also has that bit of a trust factor that does not always come with the mass media. Simply because a consumer connects with and influencer in a more intimate way. However, a word of caution is that while picking influencers, look for those who have that aura of authenticity around them, they are the ones who are trusted more.
Now, that people have an idea of what Covid is and with the large-scale vaccination, the much-awaited live events are bound to be back. They are already happening with the necessary Covid protocols in place. Press meets, award functions, conferences, conventions and more are making a comeback and will be a much welcome trend in 2022.
2022 is bound to be an exciting and fruitful year for PR. Go ahead, experiment and go all out.