According to public relations guru Ronn Torossian, the public relations industry has become more dynamic than ever and with the unexpected and unprecedented events from the pandemic, the industry has gone through some very disruptive shifts. Additionally, with a larger number of PR campaigns switching into the digital space, there are plenty of new trends that have been developed in the last couple of years, as well as the last few months. It’s important for companies, as well as public relations professionals, to keep up with the latest strategies and trends in the PR industry to achieve more success and achieve their goals.
These days, most consumers aren’t trying to get access to information, and instead, they are trying to get access to the right sources of information. For brands that want to be more successful, this means they need to be a lot more authentic in all communication efforts and nurture that authenticity as a key element of their public relations campaigns. That means companies should ensure that they have an authentic brand voice and that they truly believe in what they’re trying to support in terms of social causes. To do that companies need to first double check everything before making any sort of public statements and ensure they’re supporting every statement with facts, evidence, and actions. One of the tools that many customers are using to separate the companies that have hidden and potentially negative incentives from the legitimate businesses is fact-checking. If a business makes a mistake, its customers will take note and respond, and that response can end up damaging the company’s public reputation or its attempt at increasing the brand presence in digital spaces.
There are two key areas that have made authenticity an important factor in public relations. The first one is the shift toward content marketing that stems from the pandemic, while the second one is the increased use of artificial intelligence. While technology helps both customers and companies learn more about each other than they ever could before, businesses still need to make sure they are making a human connection with their audiences. This cannot be replicated through artificial intelligence. By making a human connection, companies can easily personalize all of their content and promotional messages in a very authentic way that connects with the customers.
Ronn Torossian notes that the pandemic also made a big change into plenty of other directions, such as overall content, branding, and messaging that businesses use, and all of those changes have made a lot of customers feel burnt out. For those reasons, many customers these days have become a lot more suspicious of the information they receive, as well as more critical given the amount of disinformation and fake news that’s become commonplace to share in digital spaces. That’s why companies need to utilize authenticity in all of their PR efforts and go the extra mile in terms of being authentic with their target audiences. If companies don’t do that and present themselves in a non-authentic fashion, the customers will be quick to make judgments, and they’re not going to forgive the business.
Channels and opportunities
These days it’s more important than ever for companies to be aware of all the different channels for communication that are available to them. As previously mentioned, with authenticity being an important conversion factor for many customers, it’s important for companies to ensure they’re authentic and paying attention to as many channels as they can. With consumers becoming a lot more skeptical of every piece of content and information, or even news stories that they come across on a daily basis, whenever they feel that something is insincere or deceptive, then they will start to feel frustrated. When companies are following all the different channels that are available to them, they’ll be able to figure out which channels are considered a lot more credible and trustworthy compared to others and start focusing their communications efforts on those channels a lot more.
Additionally, companies can also get a lot more credibility and authenticity to show to the audience when they’re using those channels to communicate with the customers. Additionally, by keeping track of the right channels, companies will also be able to secure a lot more media opportunities and positive coverage, because they will be following the right outlets that share authentic content. It’s very important for companies to keep track of all the communication channels that are available to them because those are the opportunities they get to share the right content at the right channels with the necessary authenticity and credibility already in them, which will generate a lot more engagement and trust with the target audience.
Companies that have their own PR teams, as well as those that work with outside specialized PR agencies have started increasing their expectations of the PR professionals they’re working with. The biggest expectation is in the form of delivering the right results. To do that, companies and their PR professionals have to network with the right people. When companies are able to develop relationships with journalists or media outlets, they can create a strong enough connection with them so that in the future, they can always rely on those journalists or outlets to share the company’s key messages with the rest of the world.
There are plenty of different ways that companies can connect with journalists and media outlets, but one of the best ways to do so is by being creative. Through creativity, companies can stand out from the rest of their market competitors and grab the attention of the right people, and by incorporating creativity with a data-driven approach when presenting a fresh or unique perspective on a specific topic, companies can generate a lot more media coverage. In fact, companies that are able to be both creative and utilize data in an interesting way can become quite popular with media outlets and journalists, because they’re always going to perceive the business as a trustworthy source of information that they can rely on whenever necessary.
According to research, the average consumer these days tend to use their smartphones for about five hours every day, and nearly all customers have a smartphone they’re using on a daily basis. In fact, the average customer these days can’t go more than half an hour without looking at their phone and checking if there are any updates or notifications. Companies will need to start focusing on this generation of customers, the Gen Z generation, that has already started breaking the records for being the most exposed generation to the digital space where digital marketing and public relations strategies have been dominating for a while. Focusing on this young generation of consumers is not something that companies can ignore, which is why they need to start doing so by analyzing the entirety of this generation in terms of their interests, passions, trends, and channels of communication they prefer. As always, it’s important for companies to remain authentic because this is a generation that has a particular skill in uncovering any disinformation or in authenticity that’s shared in the original spaces.
People and technology
Companies can’t rely on tools and technologies alone, and they have to operate them with other people involved. Although the last couple of years have taken a lot out of the human experience, replacing many elements of it with different pieces of technology, it’s still that human element that helps businesses create experiences and stories that inspire customers to make purchasing decisions. One of the biggest benefits of the emerging technologies have been the opportunity for people to work remotely all at the same time, while still achieving inclusivity and a global reach through the Internet. All of that is to say that both the real world and the digital world have plenty of benefits to provide to companies, which is why companies should be using them both at the same time, instead of preferring one or the other.
Technology can be used as a tool and should be used that way too, to bring people together, so they can get to the second element, which is the human contact made through socializing and connecting. Companies need to start focusing on this trend and expand it so that both real life and digital experiences can both complement and coexist with each other. This is the best way for companies to achieve a lot more success and be a lot more impactful with their PR campaigns, and motivate a lot more members from their target audiences to engage with the business and start to convert.
Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR.