According to Ronn Torossian, founder of 5WPR, the very first department for public relations was formed back in 1889 when George Westinghouse, the industrialist wanted to get more media coverage for an electricity project he was working on. Although public relations as a paid profession first started in the early 1900s, it’s certain that things have changed since then, and are going to continue changing in the future as well. There are plenty of things that companies can expect, and start preparing for in the future in terms of their own public relations efforts. Additionally, public relations professionals, as well as specialized PR agencies should always be staying on top of current trends to better prepare for what’s going to come in the future as well.
Metrics and performance
Since the beginning of the public relations industry, everyone involved in it has had a difficult time finding the right metrics and data to be able to measure the success and the performance of campaigns and the return on investment (ROI) for companies. Although impressions and advertising value equivalency (AVE) have been considered the norm for a while, with various tools and technologies constantly improving and new platforms becoming available specifically for the public relations industry, there’s likely going to be a reevaluation of the way that public relations professionals start measuring performance and success. Those types of measurements are precisely why public relations and content marketing efforts have started to join forces because content marketing teams have plenty of information and data available.
This type of data ensures that all the content that’s created for public relations purposes will be highly ranked on search engine results pages, and provide companies with engagement and sales metrics while informing them of which strategies are or aren’t working.￼ When companies start thinking about the difficult process of proving the performance of various PR efforts they’ve been pursuing, they will start to take note of all of the benefits that come with their public relations professionals and content marketing teams joining forces. Additionally, when companies start focusing on digital marketing and SEO, they can also start creating stories and content that are going to cater to the interests of the target audience while predicting interactions and engagements a lot more successfully, as well as adjusting or altering strategies whenever necessary.
Channels and opportunities
The types of public relations opportunities that are available to companies have constantly changed and evolved throughout the years. That means, if companies want to be more effective in their public relations efforts, they will have to start using a lot more channels, as well as more varied channels so they can identify any relevant media opportunities where they can receive positive coverage. Fortunately, there are plenty of platforms that can help companies in these endeavors, such as Muck Rack, and even platforms like Slack and Twitter, where journalists can reach out and request industry experts to respond to questions and give their opinions or expertise, and companies can reach out to journalists too. That means that there are going to be even more platforms and channels that companies can use to respond to those outlets and send pitches to at the same time.
Torossian On Thought leadership
As Ronn Torossian notes, according to studies, in the last 15 years, the newsroom employment in the USA has decreased by over 20%, while the demand for digital content from the public has been increasing exponentially. That means that plenty of media outlets don’t have as many full-time journalists and writers to rely on and satisfy the demand for online content as they used to. Because of that, any of the journalists and writers that are on staff tend to be relegated to writing about complex topics or breaking news stories, which are areas in which thought leaders or freelancers wouldn’t be able to operate. In terms of public relations, that means these outlets are now looking for more outside authors to contribute articles to their publications, which is a very effective strategy for thought leadership efforts. For companies, that means they need to start investing the time and effort that’s necessary to create better thought leadership efforts. Although it might take some time before companies can reach the well-established and authoritative outlets or publications that are constantly looking for contributed articles from experts. That’s why it’s best to start with local and smaller outlets first.
The pandemic made way for various new forms of interviews, such as those done through Zoom calls, or other types of tools where the guest can make a remote appearance and speak to a host. However, with the pandemic slowly disappearing all over the world, media outlets, as well as other channels such as podcasts will start bringing back face-to-face interview opportunities whenever they can. This trend in public relations is particularly true when it comes to creating profiles or in-depth features, as well as when reporters have to discuss various controversial or nuanced topics with professionals. The simple fact is that outlets and podcast hosts need to get a lot more information from their guests, which can only happen when they’re able to communicate with their guests face-to-face. Although phone calls and Zoom interviews are still going to remain popular, especially for anyone for whom face-to-face isn’t an option, or is simply not practical, companies should still be prepared to receive a lot more requests for in person interviews from outlets and podcasts hosts. That means they need to do their best to make their company spokespeople available for these in person interviews as much as possible.
One of the best ways that companies can break news has always been through local and national radio shows. However, in the last couple of years, podcasts have started becoming a much better option for having extended discussions, and a frequent opportunity where companies can discuss various hot topics. One of the best things about the increase in popularity of podcasts over those last couple of years is that there’s practically a podcast for every person out there. Although a podcast that speaks expertly about microbiology, for instance, might not have a large number of listeners or subscribers, the odds are that all of the subscribers that it does have will be very highly engaged with that podcast. That means, companies can start looking at podcasts and their hosts sit in a similar way to micro-influencers and macro-influencers.
While the content from the macro-influencers is going to be seen by many people, not a lot of them will engage with it. And on the other hand, the content from micro-influencers won’t be seen by too many people, but all of those are going to be a lot more likely to engage with the content, as well as the companies that are working with those influencers. The same is true for different niche podcasts. Additionally, there are plenty of more general podcasts that are hosted by big news organizations and publications that have millions of listeners. These types of podcasts also allow companies to have more in-depth and longer conversations on important subjects, which can be a great opportunity for any business that’s looking to pursue better thought leadership opportunities.
Diversity and inclusion
Plenty of consumers all over the world have become very skeptical of the supposed commitment to diversity that many brands have stated that they have. The main reason behind the lack of faith in them from consumers is that most companies have failed to deliver on the promises they’ve made in terms of diversity and inclusion, which has become a lot more apparent since the start of the pandemic and the subsequent political and social upheaval. The companies that want to attract new potential customers, and keep the current ones around for a long period of time need to make sure that any of their diversity and inclusion statements are backed up with real actions and results. Any company that tries to make its inclusion and diversity statements a part of its public relations efforts, without supporting them with true actions and positive results that deliver a change in the eyes of the public is going to end up backfiring for those businesses.
Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading PR firm.