2023 is set to be a year of significant change in the world of public relations. As the world continues to adapt to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses of all sizes need to be agile and responsive to stay relevant to its target audience. Here are some of the key trends that are expected to shape the PR landscape in 2023:
Virtual and hybrid events
With many people still hesitant to gather in large groups, virtual and hybrid events will continue to be an important part of public relations strategies. This includes everything from virtual press conferences and webinars to hybrid trade shows and conferences.
Social media influencers
Influencer marketing has become an increasingly important part of public relations campaigns. As more and more consumers turn to social media for information and inspiration, influencers can help businesses and organizations connect with target audiences in new and meaningful ways. You can also see this shift in how platforms like Instagram are updating its search features to look for keywords versus just accounts or hashtags, functioning similarly to popular search engines.
From micro influencers on Tiktok to creators with millions of Instagram followers, brands are harnessing the power of influencer advocacy to spread awareness. In fact, many companies are pulling back on major celebrity endorsements and leaning towards social media influencers in order to target smaller niches. This is because smaller audiences have proven to hold more trust in their influencers than traditional celebrities.
Expect to see more PR teams partnering with social media influencers to spread their message to the appropriate audience throughout 2023 and evaluate if this strategy makes sense for your business.
Authenticity and transparency
Consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of traditional marketing messages, and are looking for more authentic and transparent communication from brands. Businesses and organizations that can demonstrate their values and commitment to social and environmental causes will be better positioned to connect with consumers.
Artificial intelligence and automation
Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and they are set to play a bigger role in public relations in the coming years. This could include everything from automating media monitoring and analysis to creating personalized content for different audiences. AI could also potentially help companies increase their output by auto-generating press releases and other statements. But even as AI increases pace and capability, there is very much still a need for a human behind the brand. There still isn’t a substitute yet for strategic planning and maintaining authentic relationships with key members of the media.
Humanizing the brand
Today’s audiences want to connect with businesses on a personal level. As a result, humanizing the brand will be more important than ever. This can be achieved by sharing behind-the-scenes content, employee stories, and other human-centered content. By fostering and relaying a culture of transparency, prospective clients or customers are more likely to create a connection and establish trust with a brand.
Prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion
With social justice and racial equality at the forefront of many people’s minds, businesses and organizations will need to prioritize these issues in their public relations strategies. This could include everything from creating diverse and inclusive content to engaging with communities of color and other marginalized groups.
Companies that promote a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) workplace have found that it has sharpened their competitive edge not only when prospecting new clients, but new employees as well. However, this only holds true for businesses that pride themselves on upholding a DEI workplace culture, not for those that do it simply for recognition. A recent report found that 80% of companies are simply checking off a DEI checklist and not holding themselves accountable. The same study also found that only 40% of businesses view DEI as a way to mitigate legal, compliance, and regulatory risks.
This is exactly why companies in 2023 are incorporating their DEI practices into their PR strategy. They want to show the public and prospective clients that DEI is not a fad, it is part of their core business values.
Proactive reputation management
In response to the recent divisive years in the country, from politics to the pandemic, many businesses have chosen to take a proactive approach to maintaining their reputation. Companies that reacted irrationally during these years ran the risk of upsetting large audiences, severely impacting their brand’s image. Now, businesses aim to surround themselves with positive messaging rather than relying on damage control. This lays a foundation in case there is a future PR misstep, the audience hopefully recognizes the mistake rather than redefining the brand.
Going hand-in-hand with humanizing a brand, consumers want to be told a story rather than a sales pitch. PR may take a more journalistic approach by covering a brand’s history, founding members, and mission to evoke emotions in the reader. How will this shift affect PR? Well, PR specialists may change their outlook when interviewing potential clients and creating pitches. They will be looking to how they can make the company more relatable to their target audience.
Overall, public relations in 2023 will focus on being responsive, authentic, and human, while leveraging technology to connect with target audiences in new and meaningful ways. Businesses and organizations that can stay ahead of these trends will be well-positioned to succeed in the year ahead.
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