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PR trends and predictions for 2021 are beginning to emerge as corporate management teams try to plan their way forward into a new year. Strategies that embrace an increased focus on digital marketing, podcasts, live streaming, thought leadership, and corporate social responsibility are more likely to thrive.
Public Relations Trends for 2021
1.) Larger budget amounts will be dedicated to digital marketing.
Fueled by budget constraints, increased online audiences and a rocky 2020 economic climate, Adweek predicts a continuing shift to digital promotion from traditional media as 2020 wraps up. Marketing professionals are starting to accept the fact that the writing is on the wall about the future of digital marketing. Forbes reports that the most effective way to register with customers is to speak to them where they are which is online.
2.) Brand purpose and corporate social responsibility (CSR) takes center stage.
The Balance reports that there is clear evidence that companies who prioritize corporate social responsibility enjoy higher profits and improved customer relations with an impressive 86% of S&P 500 companies publishing data about their brand strategies for improving sustainability and embracing their role as a contributor to positive change. There are many popular initiatives being forwarded to promote this newly prioritized PR strategy.
Specifically, a renewed focus on environmental responsibility is one objective that is getting a lot more attention these days. Company executives are striving for improved efficiency as a way of reducing their environmental footprint. New strategies designed to recycle, manage supply chain waste, and decrease energy consumption and pollution are a few of the most popular ideas favored by businesses.
3.) Thought leadership emerges as a key criterion for brand recognition and viability.
Entrepreneur reports that a whopping 55% of decision-makers claim to evaluate a company’s contribution to thought leadership as an industry leader before buying. Considering statistics like this, savvy PR managers are strategically positioning themselves as industry leaders by providing highly-visible and relevant content to promote that image.
Another impressive Entrepreneur statistic backing up the importance of establishing a company as a thought leader is that 47% of sales are attributed to buyers who claim to research and read about three to five different content pieces before they finalize a purchase. Staying competitive is strongly associated with having a voice of authority as a trusted purveyor of information.
4.) Live video arrives.
Another marketing trend that can’t be ignored going forward is live video. Boasting an enormous user base, live streaming is growing fast. Respected marketing guru Neil Patel recommends live video as a practical and almost free way to reach thousands or even tens of thousands of potential new customers.
Neil Patel reports that live-streaming is predicted to double from 2016 revenues of $30 billion to an estimated $70 billion in 2021. The positive statistics don’t stop there. The marketing expert goes on to say that 63% of young consumers under the age of 34 are regular live-streaming viewers. Even more surprising to some, their older peers in the age group of 35 to 54 are also jumping on this bandwagon, often producing their own videos with the new technology that is popping up everywhere.
5.) Podcasts grow in popularity and marketing relevancy.
Podcasts have been around for decades, suddenly becoming a major marketing player in the past decade. Statista published Edison Research results that reported that 5 out of 10 Americans have listened to a podcast. This newfound popularity is believed to be attributable to an overall increase in digital media viewership and the impressive number of podcasts available on every topic imaginable.
Business Wire reports that over 100 million Americans tuned in to listen to at least 1 podcast every month throughout 2020. Companies are increasing their podcast budgets to embrace this new trend.
Public Relations Predictions for 2021
OnePitch COO, Jered Martin, reached out on Twitter to ask other PR professionals what their predictions were for the new year.
Here are what some had to say:
1.) The continuing rise of email newsletters
NEWSLETTERS. They allow reporters to curate their own content, while defining a new journalistic paradigm. Additionally, for PR, a big trend will continue to be the ability to think on your feet. If we’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that agility is key in your comms program.
— Mary Brynn Milburn (@marybmilburn) December 15, 2020
2.) The growing challenges with media relations
In short- media relations continues to get tougher. So brands need to be open to turning to self-publishing, guest posting/contributed articles & other avenues to accomplish goals. Also look @ tools like @sparktoro for insight on where their audiences _really_ are. May not be WSJ
— Michelle Garrett (@PRisUs) December 15, 2020
3.) A shift to more in-house content creation and distribution
Companies, more than, ever will need to become their own content developer and distributor. #PR
— Rachel Ford Hutman (@RachelHutman) December 15, 2020
4.) The shift for smaller brands to non-traditional PR tactics
Big brands will continue on and be relatively unaffected by the changes that are happening.
Smaller brands will get squeezed out, requiring numerous non-traditional tactics to stay relevant. Social media, influencer marketing, content/bylines, research initiatives are important.
— James Gerber (@JamesGerber) December 15, 2020
5.) The push to bring greater VALUE to outlets
We need to continue to provide value to each outlet and do our research first. It will be a challenge, but a good one.
— JLMStrCommunications (@jenlmcginley16) December 15, 2020
While many of the topics above will grow into popularity, a few we’ve already written about. Learn more about ways to leverage podcasts for your PR efforts as well as how to find the right journalist to pitch your news to.
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