In an industry so intertwined with the ever-changing news cycle, it’s imperative that PR professionals adapt accordingly. Since 2016, America has witnessed two volatile elections and a myriad of events that have evoked calls for social change. The legacy of 2020 was sealed with several connected crises: intensified economic inequality, the COVID-19 pandemic and progressively visible racism. These events shape the news cycle as much as they shape the way we view the world and conduct business.

As a result, the past five years brought many changes to the PR industry, and as PR professionals we can embrace these changes to better promote and support our clients’ needs.

Thought leadership is emphasized more than ever

Leadership positioning is no longer just the cherry on top of a successful PR campaign. It’s critical. People are more socially aware than ever before, and consumers are turning to business leaders for their stance on industry topics and social issues. People want a connection to the brands they support, and they want to trust a brand’s leadership. The best way to establish this trust is to create content that showcases authority.

Thought leadership allows business leaders and companies to position themselves as experts in their spaces, and it serves as a great framework for related PR tactics and campaigns. Experienced PR professionals know what audiences to put their experts in front of in order to create the most impact through contributed articles, speaking opportunities, blogs and more.

Earned media dominates paid media

Between personal updates, viral video trends, recipes and beauty tutorials, customers are mired with content during endless internet scrolling. It’s getting more obvious to consumers what content is authentic, too. After all, only 6% of millennials think online advertising is credible.

We’re all bombarded with paid advertising every time we open a browser, scroll through an app, drive home from work, the list goes on. Earned media can cut through the noise and reach consumers more authentically. Instead of self-promotional sponsored articles popping up on customers’ newsfeeds, PR professionals build relationships with the press to share a brand’s content. We’re all drawn to more authentic reviews and earned media helps to lead customers to your brand more genuinely.

Newsjacking is one of the most powerful PR tools

Newsjacking, or producing content that references breaking news and hyper-relevant stories, can be one of the most effective PR tactics. Any major breaking news can interrupt the news cycle, but in the last year, the news cycle has been more unpredictable than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic and related breaking news forced PR professionals to get familiar with pivoting what they share with the media to keep their clients as relevant as possible.

When a company jumps on a trending topic, media coverage gets more eyes on the business. This content can take many forms, including articles and blog posts on your website, social media posts, custom graphics, videos and more. Trained PR professionals know how to bring your brand to the table when news breaks.

Customers are looking for authentic social impact

Gen Z has taken over as the new focus for brands and has become the most socially conscious generation to date. Following their lead, most consumers seek to align themselves with organizations that have values that align with their own. Almost three-quarters of U.S. consumers believe it’s “more important than ever” to buy from companies that reflect their values.

Many brands have started to take a more consumer-centric approach to social initiatives, but talking the talk isn’t enough. Reporters and consumers are quick to see through shallow charitable efforts. To counteract empty promises for social good, PR professionals must take the opportunity to share stories of impactful social initiatives that aren’t only skin deep.

The media landscape is ever-shifting, but PR professionals know how to keep up. Implementing new strategies and shifting to accommodate changing news cycles is key to a successful PR campaign. 

Still have questions about the evolution of PR? Schedule a conversation with our Director of Business Development to learn how we can craft the best strategy for sharing your news with media.