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Recap of the Top PR Trends of 2022

At the beginning of the year, we predicted the top public relations (PR) trends for 2022. So, what trends became a reality? Here are our Top 4 trends of the year:

  • Brand Communities Boost Customer Engagement

One trend is the impact of building a brand community to boost customer engagement. Customers that follow a brand on social media are more loyal to the brand. This loyalty is established through the company updates and shows the customer’s show of support through likes, loves, and comments.

Additionally, if your brand has an established online community, those who may not know much about your company will view the brand as trustworthy. In a way, a large community of loyal customers becomes its own form of publicity all on its own. These customers generate word of mouth around your brand and engage in conversations that will bring in more customers. 

  • Targeting Niche PR

Since online has become the destination for most people to receive news, connect with friends, shop, and do just about everything, it is no surprise that there are millions of online outlets to share brand information with. In addition, the creation of personal blogs, informational blogs, self-publications, and influencers has given PR professionals the ability to target the best possible outlet to reach their target audience. 

Many influencers and blog writers have a niche, whether it is food critiquing or transportation technology. With so many informational sources, it can be overwhelming. Narrowing down by niche topics, allows you to better reach your target audience. 

  • Data and Analytics

Now that many outreach and advertising efforts are being used online and on social media, collecting and analyzing data is becoming more of a task for public relations specialists. In addition, each year the PR market value rises, brands expect more from their PR teams. 

Tracking the impact of public relations endeavors has become an essential skill for PR professionals. Some skills professionals need to know are tracking social media engagement, web traffic, and measuring brand awareness. In the long run, this data helps companies track where their strengths and weaknesses are, which allows them to cater their PR strategies to in ways that maximize engagement.    

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

This trend is one that we predicted back in February, and it isn’t going anywhere. Embracing DEI within your brand benefits not only your public image and engagement but also the internal functions of the company. For example, when a workplace is diverse and safe for employees, they become more engaged and productive, significantly benefiting the company. Also, by showcasing your efforts for DEI online, you will be able to establish a more diverse and loyal customer base. Generic statements are not enough to showcase a truly equitable and inclusive space; these statements must be backed up with actions and initiatives to stay on top of DEI expectations.

It is essential to create a solid PR strategy for the year ahead. Organize the strategy in a way that understands the trends and how to best reach your target audience. Publicity opens the door to attracting new customers to your brand and fosters long-term loyalty.

PR Strategies that Work in Social Media

It is important to remember that social media is just as powerful a PR strategy as a press release or any other traditional approach, if not more powerful. That is why it is crucial to have a strategic social media strategy to create the audience you want and send out the right message.

These tips are a great place to start when thinking about building your social media strategy.

  • Consistency is Key 

The best thing you can do for your brand is to be consistent, especially in social media. In social media, it is crucial to be consistent with how frequently you post and how you present the brand voice and messaging style. Keeping your content regularly, in the beginning, may be difficult if you do not see results immediately; however, in the long run, it will pay off. 

This consistency allows your brand to develop an established tone and voice that sets it apart from competitors. It also gives you the benefit of a clean and organized feed aesthetic, and your followers will know what to expect.

  • Engage in Conversations

Social media is about being social, so engage with your audience! It’s no longer enough to post content and move on. You need to interact with your followers and participate in honest conversations. Audience engagement is a great way to humanize your brand as long as it maintains your brand tone and helps build a community. 

Once a community is established through social media, it opens doors for a loyal customer or fan base. Your audience will become more likely to share your content on their platforms and like or comment on your content which is excellent for the algorithm. 

  • Utilize Video Content

Video content is quickly becoming the leading form of content for audience engagement on social media, and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. With the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, brands are quickly hopping on that trend. 

Keeping up with current trends and the latest technology is essential for video content. Videos are an excellent opportunity to show how your products work, interview employees, send out messages from CEOs, and so much more. Videos are where you can get creative.

  • Highlight Testimonials and Case Studies

Social media is perfect for showing off what you’re doing and accomplishing. Showcasing third-party testimonials give your brand credibility and make it trustworthy. Establishing credibility is vital to keep existing followers loyal and gaining new ones.

  • Showcase your Employees

The people who make up your business are your most important asset. So, posting about them often or posting their accomplishments is a great way to humanize your business and develop a positive company culture.

For instance, you could post an employee’s “day in the life” each month or give them shoutouts whenever they receive an award. This helps build a relationship between followers and the company and boosts employee morale around the office.

How to Create Newsworthy Content

Every day, journalists’ inboxes fill with hundreds of stories competing for attention to be shared. So, how can you ensure you create newsworthy content to stand out and be selected?

Creating newsworthy content is an essential skill for PR professionals. However, it is not always easy to do. Playbook Public Relations is here to take you through the steps necessary to get your client’s story picked up and write the perfect pitch.

  • Think like a journalist

First, make the journalist’s life easier by thinking like one and creating the content they are looking for with as little editing as needed. To do this, consider what makes a story newsworthy from a journalist’s perspective. Then, keep this list in mind when reviewing your story.

Does it have…

  • Timeliness
  • Impact
  • Novelty
  • Conflict 
  • Proximity
  • Relevance 
  • Prominence 

The more things you can check off this list, the better, and if you can only check off one or even none, consider a new angle. However, it is crucial to remember the audience you are trying to reach.

For example, a hospital may focus on success stories of new procedures and surgeries on particular patients and their impact on the community. In contrast, a clothing store may focus on sharing the latest styles for the upcoming season.  

  • Stay on top of trends.

Whether it be external impacts on your industry that could affect your business or a more broad viral trend that you could make relevant, ensure that you cover those topics before the public moves on. Usually, there is a small window of time to write about a trend before it is “old,” so stay ahead.

For instance, this could relate to a brand’s social responsibility story. If a social topic such as a current climate crisis is relevant to your brand, that is a potentially great story. Or, more simply, if you are a skincare brand, around the summertime, a blog on sunscreen would be very suitable.     

  • Impress with facts and figures

People like to see the numbers. Whenever it is possible to access any data, whether it is qualitative or quantitative, include it if it fits the story. These figures give readers a measurable impact on their lives, which will spark interest. The more organized your data appears in the story, the better. Journalists often prefer infographics and graphs whenever possible to make the information clear and easier to read.

Not only do facts and figures add interest to your story, but they also will give you credibility. They create credibility because they can eliminate biases that journalists try to avoid.

5 Tips For Good PR Writing

Social media and digital marketing campaigns appear to outdo traditional writing in our modern digital age. However, good writing still matters. It is still arguably the most critical skill for communication executives and PR professionals. Yet, it is also the skill that requires the most improvement today. So follow along for some of our writing tips at Playbook Public Relations.

  • I-D-E-A-S

First, you need a good brainstorming session. In this process, you develop a list of topics and ideas you would like to explore. Specifically, focus on the acronym I.D.E.A.S:

    • Industry Context (trends): One of the most important things to be aware of in the PR industry is to be timely. One way to do this is to be attentive to trends around you that may be relevant to your brand and cover them in your writing.
    • Data: People like numbers. You may need to dig and do some deep research to find stats or collect some on your own through polls and/or surveys. 
    • Events: What is going on? If there are any critical conferences, galas, or other events that your organization is hosting or attending, make sure that you cover those.
    • Associates: Has anyone at your company done anything significant or won an award? If so, this is a great topic to write about because it gives a deeper insight into the company’s workers and is an excellent way to show off accomplishments.
    • Seasonal and Cyclical Happenings: Be aware of annual events or holidays that may be relevant to your organization. Writing about these topics may spark more interest in readers and can help you make connections with others who participate in similar events.

Following this list of points, you will undoubtedly find a great story.

  • Do Your Research 

No matter the story, it would be best if you did your research. This research could be as simple as having the correct names of people or the proper location of an event to content as complex as scientific data. However, both are equally important.

It would help if you also researched your clients. Look at old press releases or blogs to ensure that you write in a similar voice and maintain the same style to keep it as authentic as possible. 

  • Know Your Target Audience

Knowing your audience is also a crucial step in good writing. Your audience will determine the type of language you use to deliver more targeted and compelling messages that appear to be written for them. If you are aware of your audience’s demographics, needs, and motivations, it will be easier to write content that will spark their interest.

Researching your target audience will also help you to determine the mediums in which the message is shared. Then, depending on the medium, you may consider having a couple of versions of your message to make it fit each channel. 

  • Proofread

One of the worst mistakes you can make is skipping a proofread. First, it is essential to look over your work for any spelling or grammatical mistakes because if there are mistakes, the writing will appear sloppy and unprofessional. Then, you want to look it over again to check for factual errors. For instance, getting a statistic or location wrong could be destructive to the message.

In addition, ask for a second pair of eyes for a review. A fresh set of eyes may identify mistakes that you missed. Also, it gives you a reasonable, new perspective on your work. Finally, try to find someone who does not know everything about your topic. This will help you see if your writing is clear and concise from a new angle. 

  • Write Like a Journalist

Do not make your reader tired or confused by adding more information than you need. At the end of the day, when you are writing for PR, you are often trying to get the attention of journalists so that they pick up your story. So, you might as well write like one, follow these steps below: 

  • Concise: Be concise. Keep the main message straight to the point so that readers can walk away with the message clear in their minds. Also, limit the number of technical words and modifiers unless you are reaching a particular audience.
  • Good flow: Does it read well and tell a story?
  • Factual: People like to know the facts. If there are any crucial statistics, quotes, or other data that would support your work, it is always a good idea to include them, as long as the data is not too overpowering.

Essential Tips to Building a PR Portfolio in 2022

Whether you are new to the public relations field and trying to impress employers or an experienced professional trying to gain more clients, creating a PR portfolio is crucial in getting your work and your image out. Portfolios often include writing samples and designs, editing, and overall accomplishments. Playbook Public Relations will give you some tips to create a portfolio that “wows”.

  • Include Some of Your Best Writing Samples 

Writing is one of the most significant parts of PR. So, showcasing your best work is a must in your portfolio. When choosing which pieces to include, think of the examples that have obtained the most interaction, and select pieces that demonstrate the diversity of your abilities. 

To show variety, make sure to include press releases, blogs, social media posts, etc. Using an array of samples can prove your versatility because not all brands have the same voice, tone, or style. For example, writing for a law firm would be very different from writing for a children’s clothing store. The law firm would require a much more technical voice, whereas a child’s clothing store would have a more playful and lighthearted tone. Demonstrating an ability to show experience in contrasting companies such as these would make for a strong portfolio.

  • Include Social Media Work

Social media is another vital part of PR. Being able to show your knowledge of running different platforms and connecting with the desired target audience will help you build a more robust portfolio. In addition, most companies today require some form of social media presence, so having solid capabilities across all the platforms is critical.

Similar to writing, the way different brands use social media differs from which platforms they use to what type of content they choose to share. Continuing with the examples of a law firm and a child’s clothing store, their use of social media would also greatly contrast. The law firm would likely focus on promoting its services and offering advice. Their content would include graphics or headshots of their lawyers with straight-to-the-point messaging. In contrast, the child’s clothing store would focus more on their products and sales. The content they would use would include pictures of the clothing itself or children playing with more witty and youthful messaging.

  • Include Testimonials and Awards

This is your chance to show off. Including testimonials allows potential employers and clients to see that you are reliable and that your work was valuable to past clients. By including third-party credibility, you are building trust with those who may be viewing your portfolio. 

Any awards from relevant clubs or professional organizations are also a great way to show your credibility and value as a PR professional. 

  • Create an Online Portfolio that Stands Out

If you haven’t already, it’s time to create your own domain name. With numerous website-building platforms, this is the easiest and most efficient way to showcase your portfolio and connect with potential clients or employers. However, how can you make your site stand out, and what are the benefits of going digital?

To stand out, you must create a site that not only displays your best work but also does so in an aesthetically pleasing way. It should also be user-friendly and not overly complicated so that nothing you publish is hard to find. If you are new to creating websites, sites like Wix and WordPress are more straightforward ways to get started.

One of the main benefits of going digital is that it allows you to update your portfolio as you create new content quickly. Also, as public relations evolves, much of the work is now done virtually. Therefore, transferring that work is much more simple than with a physical portfolio. Finally, a website is also a great way to link your professional (or personal) social media tags and your resume so future clients and employers can easily collect that information.

How to Find the Right Influencers for Your Brand

Social media is an essential component of Public Relations and helps companies reach a broader audience. Influencers play a significant role in online social marketing. 

An influencer is someone in your brand’s niche or industry with access to reach and motivate your target audience. They can reach large audiences, followers trust them, and they have the training to use multiple social media platforms. A report on brand trust showed that 63% of 18-34-year-olds trust an influencer’s perception of a brand more than trusting the brand itself. 

Tips to get started with an influencer that fits your brand:

  • Do Your Internal Research 

It is essential to recognize what you want for your brand. What are your values? What are your goals? What audience are you trying to reach? These are all essential questions that must be answered before picking an influencer.

Identifying your target audience is arguably the most important aspect to establish. A target audience is who you intend to focus your message towards to sell your product or service or attract attention. You can create your target audience based on location, age, gender, or even interests. 

Another aspect to consider is which social media platforms they are using most. Is this the same platform that your target market is most engaged with? This information will help you nail down which influencers would make the best fit with your brand and reach the most receptive audience.

  • Research Potential Influencer

Next, do thorough research on your potential influencers. Some critical questions to ask are: What is the quality of their work? Who is their audience? How big is their audience? Have they worked with other brands? Does the imagery they use fit with your company’s ideas?

You want to ensure that your message is being sent as true to your brand as possible and that it reaches the right audience. For instance, a law firm that shares very serious and complex content will not want to align with a spunky, reckless influencer whose content is sophomoric.

  • Quality

The quality of the influencer’s work is vital because you want to make sure that your company still reflects a positive and professional image. If they create low-quality content, it will hurt the brand more than help. 

  • Audience

Knowing their main audience and the number of followers they have and their level of interaction is a significant factor in choosing the right influencer. The values and interests of an influencer are often reflected in their audience. For instance, a famous athlete most likely has a large following of people interested in sports, or a popular musician may have an audience of people who listen to their music. Knowing this information is helpful because it determines which influencer has an audience that matches your own.

  • Past Connections

Finally, looking at other brands that they have worked with is also essential to determine the likes of their past and current audiences. Also, if they have ever worked with a competitor, you must remember that their association with them may stay top of mind for audiences which might not be ideal for your reach.

What PR Pros Should Know About Using SEO Keyword Phrases

To start, SEO stands for search engine optimization. Therefore, SEO keywords are the words or phrases consumers often type into browsers to satisfy their searching needs- to find information. When people search for something in your industry, you want to rise to the top of the list. This is why it is valuable to identify your company’s SEO keywords to reach potential customers. You need to know the most relevant terms to your content and what people most frequently search. 

The understanding and effective use of SEO keywords is becoming essential to public relations (PR) because it is one of the best ways to make the most of a brand’s message and reach the largest possible audiences. Today, many common inquiries can be solved online, and it is often the consumers’ first place of action. 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine (Business Upside). Therefore, it is crucial to have specific SEO to help your brand. Here are a few reasons why PR professionals should focus on SEO:

  • Brand Awareness

Generally, people tend to choose what is familiar and trusted to them. Much of this comes from consistent exposure to a brand or product. In a tech-savvy era, this is where SEO and digital PR work together. A strong SEO strategy helps PR specialists assist their clients in achieving their desired recognition goals. Also, with the right strategy, you can boost brand visibility, generate more traffic, and meet several brand signals such as news mentions or branded searches. 

  • Social Sharing

SEO and Public Relations work together to ensure that a brand’s message reaches the right audience. Effective SEO strategies encourage audiences to engage in a brand’s content. Therefore, people will be driven to share that content to achieve even greater audiences.

  • Reach a Larger Audience

Reaching larger audiences is a significant benefit of SEO. So, a brand’s message is more likely to reach its target audience and inspire them to complete their desired action, such as clicking on a link or joining a newsletter. In addition, search engine results pages (SERPs) can help a brand identify where they stand in search engine results, which may help further which words work best for larger audiences and keep track of the audiences that the content is reaching.

  • Manage a Brand’s Reputation

An essential task in Public Relations is creating messaging that is true to the brand and gives them a positive image. The goal of SEO teams is to make sure that audiences actually see the messages online. A good message can only go so far if the SEO strategy is weak. Hitting the mark with the SEO strategy will help your organization become top of mind and appear at the top of search results.

  • Trust and Authority

Another essential task in Public Relations is creating a blog on a company’s website. A blog gives a company a platform to update their audience on what is new or is just a space to put engaging content. SEO tools can help a blog gain credibility and climb the ranks in SERPs. This can be done by focusing on calculated keywords and creating headings to lead to the best possible Google results.

 

Tips for College Students Entering the World of Public Relations

The transition from college to the professional world is never easy. There are many paths in the Public Relations (PR) field with a diverse pool of job opportunities. So much that it can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you reach your goals, no matter what path you choose.

  • Get Experience

Internships are a great way to gain experience in a variety of industries and settings. The field of public relations is vast. There are options to work for non-profits, corporate, healthcare, and more. The more experience you gain in any setting will make you a more well-rounded PR professional and appealing to employers. Interning in various industries will also help you discover what you are interested in and what fields might not appeal to you, Understanding your professional interests will help you focus your time and effort on areas where you can thrive.

  • Network

Put yourself out there! If you learn nothing else from your time in college, as long as you know how to network and build relationships with others, you are on the right track. This is arguably one of the most critical skills in PR. Who you know can sometimes be even more important than what you know. Networking can be done in a variety of ways.

Get involved on campus. Student organizations can offer extensive leadership opportunities to prepare you for your career. If your school has a PRSSA chapter, joining the organization would be a great start. In itself, PRSSA offers events to connect students with potential mentors, and sometimes guest speakers will come in to share their advice.

  • Learn Relevant Skills

We live in an increasingly tech-savvy world, and PR keeps up with that trend. Therefore, it is essential to research software and tools needed in the industry, even if it is outside of the classroom. Looking at entry-level job descriptions is one way to see what skills you may need to learn. Of course, you are not expected to be professionals with these technologies at the very beginning in most cases, but anything you can do to learn will give you an advantage.

Some tools to be familiar with are Critical Mention and Sprout Social for media monitoring, WordPress for web design, and Canva for simple graphic design.

  • Focus on Refining Your Writing Skills

You will write more than you can imagine in public relations. So, if you do not like writing, this might be the right career path for you. But, before you learn the bells and whistles of all the new technology, you must go back to the basics of being a solid writer. 

Writing concisely, clearly, and effectively is the most critical attribute for a career in public relations. Build a portfolio of your writing now to show potential employers or to use in interviews. Some great work to include could be press releases, blogs, research communications, and social media posts. 

  • Understand Media

PR students should understand all types of media like the back of their hand. For social media, it is crucial to demonstrate your ability to use social media tools to communicate with audiences across all platforms effectively.

Also, you might be required to get the media to cover your news or events in a job. So, it would be beneficial to know how TV or news stations work or how an editor might assign stories. It also would not hurt to make connections with local journalists. One way to get involved with this side of the media would be to find an internship with a news outlet.

Key Elements of a Successful PR Plan

The main function of public relations is about influencing, engaging, and building relationships with partners to help shape the public’s perspective of your brand. Over time, the definitions of PR have shifted and developed along with advances in technology.  Regardless of your business’ approach to public relations, a solid plan is essential for a successful PR strategy. Your organization should understand what about your business or situation is worthy of news and where are the people you want to reach with your news.

  • Research and Situation Analysis

Before a plan can be formed, your organization must identify specific situations and needs for communication. Do your research into the situations you identify as information that you want to spotlight. You will want to know how do other companies share similar news, what are the outlets and journalists that might cover this type of information, and who are your partner contacts for sharing.

  • Define Goals and Objectives

To ensure that your PR efforts stay on track, the next step is defining your goals and objectives. Your business’s goals are more extensive visions for the future of the business, whereas the objectives are much more specific and describe how the goals will be achieved. PR goals match the overall company goals. 

Objectives should follow the “SMART” rule. This means that objectives must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This method ensures a more definite plan for reaching your stated goals and offers an outlook on your plan’s progress.

  • Identify Target Audience

Next, it is crucial to identify your target audience to plan what strategies and tactics will be most effective. You can specify your target audience using your goals and objectives. Through this research, you may find that multiple target audiences with varying demographics are needed to help you increase your reach. You can better prepare specific messages and strategies that appeal to your target audience.

  • Outline Strategies and Tactics

Now comes the most complex part: creating a game plan. Similar to the differentiation between goals and objectives, strategies are more of a broad approach to how you will accomplish the objectives. In contrast, tactics are the specific actions that must be executed.

For instance, a business’s objective may be to increase brand awareness. A strategy that could be used is to partner up with popular influencers that would be a positive image for the brand. With this broad approach, you can get into the specifics of tactics.

To build off the strategy of partnering with influencers, some tactics could include training the influencers, managing social media, or encouraging them to participate in community and industry events. Ideally, this strategy and attached tactics would meet the objective of increasing brand awareness.

  • Measure Your Progress

Finally, to detect the success of the PR plan, it is essential to reflect on the plan’s progress. This is why the SMART rule is so important because it ensures that the objectives are measurable and timely. Measurements may include data from social media or a website, customer feedback, sales uptick, or other measures of reach. Measuring your progress keeps your company’s objectives top of mind and holds PR specialists accountable for staying on track.

 

PR Trends to Watch Out for in 2022

PR Trends to Watch Out for in 2022

As we enter a new year, we compiled a list of what we think will be the top PR trends in 2022.

  • Influencer Marketing 

With the pandemic that began in 2020, billions of consumers were forced online and onto social media platforms to stay connected. Public relations specialists have had to follow the trend over the past year. This change in the market is not going anywhere in 2022. For example, TikTok has grown exponentially since 2021 and has enhanced one of the most successful PR trends of 2021: influencer marketing. Social media influencers pick up your brand and promote your products to their followers, whether they have a few or a million. As long as the influencer is trusted, like a celebrity or local radio show host, they could be suitable for marketing purposes. PR experts will need to further research the influencer’s audience to ensure their target market matches the brand’s target market to establish a mutually beneficial relationship.

  • Personalized PR Pitch

Developing a personalized angle for an individual influencer or journalist allows brands to appeal to the individual’s direct interests. With their interests in mind, this approach encourages the subject to pick up the campaign or product because it builds additional trust and credibility between the subject and the brand. Journalists will become more likely to publish, and influencers will want to promote the brand because you offer them what they want.

  • Authenticity Approach

The downside brought with the shift to a more digital market during a global pandemic is the increase in fake news. This drastic increase makes it difficult for consumers to trust any source or brand they see online. Therefore, consumers have developed increased expectations in the authenticity and transparency of brands they usually pursue. It is no longer enough for brands to make statements on their values and initiatives in the eyes of their consumers; they now must actively be making them happen. 

Additionally, being in a more virtual world, new artificial intelligence technologies make PR strategies feel less humanized to the public. Although these technologies may make it easier for brands to reach their target market, consumers lose the “human element” that makes specific strategies feel personalized and authentic. So, in 2022 PR strategies need to emphasize a “genuine” connection to the audience that feels authentic.

  • Be Culturally Relevant

It has always been important for public relations to be top-of-mind, but it is crucial now more than ever to be relevant. The term “cancel culture” has become popularized over the past year. So, it is vital to portray a brand with recent local or global news and cultural values in mind. Consumers tend to put their trust and business into brands that mirror their values. Otherwise, if the brand is seen as negligent or does not match a consumer’s values, it could be “canceled” in the eyes of the consumer. 

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