Five PR trends to watch in 2022

By Nikki Wright

The Rise of Employee Communications

  • Pre-Covid employee communications suffered from a Cinderella complex; seen as the less exciting area of PR. The pandemic transformed it overnight into a critical function for business. Every company was focused on the health and wellbeing of its people. Social media platforms like Facebook for Business, Yammer, What’sApp and collaborative tools like MS Teams became vital lifelines for employer and employees alike. Executives, compelled to adjust to new, more empathetic leadership and communications styles, found themselves having to reassure their teams as they adjusted to new ways of working. There is an opportunity for agencies to develop employee communications into a fully-fledged service offering and ensure PR’s seat in the C-suite.

Digital Will be Key to Engagement

  • With the global recovery hampered by ever-evolving COVID variants, PR pros will be called on to moderate anxiety levels through clear health and safety policy messaging, engagement, motivation and development. This encompasses every stakeholder a company has—customers, employees, partners, the government and the community at large. Public relations is the only marketing discipline that touches all of them, and will play an ever-more dynamic role, with digital as the medium of choice for creativity, collaboration and discourse.

Responsible Communications

  • In a world where disinformation and misinformation are rife, organisations need to emphasise authentic communication above all else. PR agencies need to engage with their clients to help them steer a middle course between profit motive and substantive, ethical messaging. This will involve looking at whether clients are honed in to their audience, and whether they can be positioned to be more appealing and relatable.

Marketing and PR are Blurring

  • The lines between PR and digital marketing are blurring, and PR practitioners should be savvy about maximising momentum. While the daily goal of many PR professionals is still to land that press hit, PR professionals must go further by amplifying those successful placements. That means sharing the hits on social media, and sourcing possible repurposing options across different formats, to extend reach via related audiences. This all requires a knowledge of digital marketing, and plenty of collaboration between the two spheres. By working cross-departmentally, staying up to speed on changes and trends in the digital marketing world, and making content that is highly personalised and creative, PR experts can ensure they’re maximising the potential of every piece of editorial.

More marketing dollars will go to sponsored content and influencers

  • PR strategies in 2022 will focus less on marketing to the masses, and more on marketing to targeted prospects, even if it’s a smaller group. Customers are making their purchasing decisions based on word-of-mouth. PR strategies need to recognise and shift to this mindset. Influencer marketing and user generated content is the best way to do so, because consumers are trusting of other people’s experiences, especially well-known people in society or experts in a particular field and want to emulate their choices and preferences. Thought leadership is critical here because it builds awareness and forms connections on behalf of your brand or business. Connecting with a relevant thought leader — and implementing an influencer marketing strategy — will increase brand awareness and build trust.

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