With 2024 comes a total solar eclipse, the Summer Olympic games and an election year, but what’s in store for PR professionals as they look to excel in the year ahead? Below are the trends we anticipate will shake up the industry and play a significant role in setting knowledgeable, high-performing PR professionals apart from the rest.
AI Implementation & Navigation
We’ll get the most obvious out of the way first – artificial intelligence (AI). This topic area likely ranks on all 2024 trends and predictions lists you’ll see – no matter the industry. A recent survey conducted by WE Communications and the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations found that 80% of communications leaders say AI is important to the future of PR, yet only 16% are “extremely knowledgeable” about AI applications. Identifying and creating the appropriate training regimens will play a huge role in closing this gap in 2024 and beyond.
Between ChatGPT, Bard and the many AI-powered tools launching within day-to-day platforms utilized by PR professionals, AI will be relevant to all of us going forward. While we will undoubtedly benefit from the efficiencies AI tools provide, we will simultaneously be required to navigate their ethical use with appropriate workplace policy and education given the accuracy flaws they have presented.
Media Relations Meets Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is defined as a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals. The use of affiliate marketing by influencers is front and center in the first few scrolls of a social media feed, and traditional media have taken a page from their book to monetize the sought-after product recommendations and roundups they publish for readers. If you’re not already working with affiliate marketing, 2024 is the year to get educated, on board, and in the driver’s seat of affiliate marketing strategy and execution to deliver a new kind of earned media for consumer brand clients.
Dittoe PR is seeing a major shift in media preferences that will soon become the norm: any consumer brand seeking earned media coverage should be enrolled with an affiliate network like ShareASale, Skimlinks or Commission Junction.
The integration of affiliate marketing management and media relations strategy will be extremely relevant to the future of our industry and enable PR pros to play an integral role in product campaign success. Affiliate marketing is the holy grail for showcasing tangible sales results from media placements. When PR pros own the setup and deployment process from start to finish, consumer brands are guaranteed a streamlined and strategic approach that maximizes investment.
Data-driven Storylines & Reporting
Data is the key to any reporter’s heart, meaning it’s a vital component in securing meaningful media opportunities for any brand. While PR pros can leverage third-party industry data to support story ideation and pitching efforts, strong data from a client’s unique platform and customer experiences adds an even more compelling case when working with journalists. In today’s media landscape, journalists cover more beats and receive more pitches than ever – outreach that is often not aligned with their focus areas. When coupling a personalized, one-to-one media relations approach with powerful client data, PR pros can serve as a critical resource to the media while more successfully painting the picture of a client’s relevance as an important contributor and leader in their respective industry.
Similarly, stakeholders’ expectations for ROI-connected data across all business units, including communications and PR, have greatly evolved given the big data era we find ourselves in as well as the surge in sophisticated SaaS solutions. In 2024, vanity PR metrics are out, and showing impactful correlations, causations and conversions tied to media relations is in. According to Muck Rack’s 2023 State of PR Measurement Report, measurable results are crucial, with 66% citing it as the number one factor that increases the value of PR among stakeholders.
PR has always proved to be the most difficult component of the marketing mix to measure, but we have more powerful tools at our fingertips to level up than ever before. The official changeover to Google Analytics 4 in 2023 presents huge opportunities in this area by establishing and closely tracking, PR-relevant audiences, events and conversions. Having already discussed the potential presented by affiliate marketing, utilizing and analyzing UTM links in the media relations process can also provide meaningful reporting evolutions and insights for B2B and B2C brands alike.