It’s that time of year again where every thought leader across industries puts pen to paper to share their predictions for the new year. As we help our clients get their thoughts out there on everything from cloud computing to The Great Resignation, you didn’t think we’d miss the chance to share our own PR predictions, did you!?
As any PR professional knows, the industry is constantly changing with new trends emerging weekly. It’s what I personally love about coming to work each day – you never know what to expect (yes, I realize I sound like Forrest Gump). While things are constantly evolving in the PR world, there are a few stand-out trends our team at Next PR predicts will make waves in the new year. Let’s discuss a few of them:
1. ROI will drive PR strategy and reporting.
We asked our clients to share their biggest marketing pain points as they head into 2022. The number one response? Seeing ROI from marketing and PR spend.
Companies are still feeling the impact of the pandemic and approaching budgets cautiously. Marketing budgets fell to their lowest recorded level in 2021, dropping from 11% to 6.4% of company revenue. As companies look to show the impact of PR spending, we’ll continue to see the convergence of sales, marketing and PR efforts. It’ll take increased collaboration to report on the impact of PR efforts at every stage of the marketing funnel to ensure coverage is being leveraged in as many ways as possible. The bottom line: if you aren’t connecting PR to tangible results and lead generation, your strategy is sure to be questioned.
2. Increased focus on DE&I within PR.
Diversity, equity and inclusion in PR will continue to be a top priority for the industry. There’s a lack of diversity in public relations – the U.S. PR industry is 82.6% white and 70% female. It’s on all of us to seek ways to expand education and access in the new year and beyond. This means a focus on hiring, analyzing our cultures and biases, holding leaders accountable and introducing PR as a profession to students from all backgrounds.
We’ll also continue to see a focus on DE&I within our daily practices as PR professionals. At Next PR, we’re constantly updating our writing inclusivity guide and encouraging clients to use a diverse roster of spokespeople. Reporters are also seeking diverse perspectives and implementing more inclusive practices, such as asking for spokesperson pronouns and ensuring diverse representation on panels. It’s our job as PR pros to follow suit and fold DE&I into our daily routine.
3. Everyone wants to be in a category of their own.
One of the top 2022 objectives we heard from our clients was creating a new industry category. In a technology industry driven by innovation, it should be no surprise software companies want to break free from standard categories and define their own.
With category creation top of mind, analyst relations will rise in strategic importance in the new year. No PR strategy for category creation can be truly successful without the expert analysis and advice provided by analysts.
4. Funding isn’t slowing down, so founders need to get bold.
Funding used to be a sure-fire way for any startup to make a splash in the media, but that narrative no longer holds true. Global VC funding for 2021 is on track to top $600 billion, compared to $334 billion for 2020. Here at Next PR, we’ve helped with over 1 billion dollars in funding this year and continue to help clients announce new rounds monthly. Rounds keep getting bigger, while the number of reporters and media outlets covering them stays the same.
With the crowded startup landscape, CEOs and founders will have to get bold and share more of their business to attract media attention. It’s no longer an option to be shy with financials, customers or business strategy. Press wants to know, in detail, what sets you apart.
While I’m sure we could go on with more PR predictions for the new year, sometimes the best thing to do is wait and see. We’re excited by the opportunities and challenges the next year will bring for our ever-changing industry!