With a forecasted global revenue of $129 billion by 2025, the PR industry continues to evolve from just another marketing tool to a foundational structure of all marketing strategies, with an aim to connect businesses with the outside world, increase brand visibility, and maximise online presence.
In our latest workshop, ‘PR in 2023 – What to Expect and Where to Start’, our panel of experts shared the impact of changing consumer behaviour in the PR world, practical guidance for building a modernised PR strategy in the new year, and the game-changing trends they're expecting to see in 2023.
In this Article:
- The rise – and risk – of demonstrating your brand purpose in the right way with PR
- The importance of data-driven PR strategy
- Integration of Digital Strategies into PR
- Balancing reactivity with authenticity
- Making the most of PR in 2023
READ OUR KEY LEARNINGS FROM THE SESSION BELOW, OR WATCH THE FULL WORKSHOP HERE
Key Challenges facing PR professionals in 2023 with Alex Halls, Account Director at Hatch Group
4 PR Trends to Shape your 2023 Marketing Strategy
Trend #1 - The rise – and risk – of demonstrating your brand purpose in the right way with PR
With more choice than ever before and consumers becoming increasingly skeptical of the brands they purchase from, the need for businesses to demonstrate brand values in alignment with their audience continues to grow – which is where PR comes in.
An effective PR strategy can help control your brand message, showcase your values and communicate the story behind your business, which builds a trusting and transparent relationship between brand and consumer.
Today, with advances in technology and increasing data analytical services, there has been a huge shift to ensure PR campaigns are reaching the right audiences, and meeting intended KPI’s such as brand awareness and visibility - ultimately leading to a tangible ROI.
Rob Skinner, Founder & MD of Skout PR says, “from a consumer perspective, they are becoming much more savvy in terms of scrutinising what a business’ purpose is and how much they're living up to it. Therefore, PR efforts must avoid falling under the category of greenwashing or other spurious claims.”
Alongside this, consumers are becoming aware of when they're being "PR-ed". So, it's crucial to focus a bit more on the nuts and bolts of PR efforts, from a marketer’s perspective, rather than a consumers perspective.”
Trend #2 - The importance of a data-driven PR strategy
It should come as no surprise that data has become a vital part of a modernised PR strategy as of most marketing strategies. Data can be utilised in a variety of ways to determine the effectiveness of current PR efforts or measure brand performance in terms of reputation and online presence.
Measuring data at every stage of your PR campaign can help evaluate limitations in your plan and act upon those.
Abigail Outhwaite, Associate Director at PR Agency One states, “you must consider whether your PR campaigns are going to speak to the targeted audience in the right way. Therefore, conducting research to identify how you’re currently resonating with your audience, your business values and brand purpose. Then utilising this data within the creative planning stage to achieve a purpose-led PR strategy, in terms of areas to focus on and where to dial down on.”
It's about treating your stakeholders and your audiences like intelligent people and using the data to work out what's resonating with them. You can use social listening to help you do that, extracting data on what sort of things they're interested in.”
Trend #3 - Integration of Digital Strategies into PR
With influencer marketing becoming a growing force in PR trends over the past several years, our experts predict a strong integration of PR and digital performance activities in 2023. From the use of micro-influencers on TikTok to celebrities with millions of followers on Instagram, such digital activities can result in unprecedented media coverage and brand visibility for businesses.
In a recent survey, 88% of PR specialists believe that digital storytelling is the highest value skill in successful PR campaigns, reiterating the crossover between traditional and digital PR in recent times.
Sam Cobden, Digital PR Executive at Dark Horse says, “When we speak with businesses, they're trying to get more out of their channels, they're trying to make sure they're more aligned and I think digital PR and traditional PR coming together is a part of that.
It's something that business owners should consider, rather than seeing them as separate but to bring them together and to develop KPIs around that joint venture.”
Ashley Carr, Managing Director at Neo PR adds, “specifically in B2B and due to the aftermath of the pandemic, other forms of marketing have become more expensive, like Pay-Per-lick or less accessible, like trade shows. Therefore, businesses are now focusing on direct market activity and brand awareness, which means driving SEO and inbound lead generation.”
Trend #4 - Balancing PR Reactivity with Brand Authenticity
Alex highlights the importance of balancing reactive Digital PR activity with authenticity, “the most important thing is collaboration and making sure that the message is consistent across the board. On social media you have complete control of your brand voice, so you can be consistent and take risks if you choose but do this in way that is authentic, or it can go wrong.
For example, Weight Watchers once humorously commented on a Kanye West story, and it went viral but the responses after that highlighted that this was something they had never done before as they didn't really know how to deal with it.”
Furthermore, Alex highlights the importance of utilising elements such as social media or influencer marketing within PR Strategy’s in an authentic way, “for example build proper authentic brand ambassadors so you can build longer term relationships.”
Making the Most of PR in 2023: Where to Start with your Strategy
A Strong Foundation for PR
Ashley shares 3 key tips for a strong PR campaign:
- Have a firm grasp on the region you’re going to start your PR efforts in – ‘you’re there to stay.’
- Have a well thought leadership campaign that’s relevant to the targeted audience.
- Have a spokesperson who is media trained and available.
A PR Strategy that works for you
In today’s age, a PR professional must wear several hats and require a diverse skillset, including knowledge of SEO, influencer marketing, social media campaigns, link building and trending topics.
There are many statistics to reiterate this point such as 33% of PR professionals using social media tools daily and 90% of surveyed in-house marketers struggling to create quality content to drive results from Digital PR efforts. Which leads - to no surprise - that over 60% of online companies have outsourced their digital PR efforts in 2022 with a 30% growth of PR agencies.
Sam says, “once you really understand your space, and you've taken the time to build a lean digital PR process. It comes to the conversation of - how much time does that take? And can you tap into that specialisation with working with an agency?
Then, it's a case of looking at the budget requirements there, and making the best decision on bringing in and investing in an agency
So, I don’t think PR is inaccessible, I think it can be scaled to the needs of your business and then the conversation can be had - is this worth bringing in-house or should we reach out to an agency?
If you're investing in PR Strategy in the new year, make sure you're getting the most from your time. GO! offer cost-free agency recommendations, pitch management, and more - get in touch to get started.