5 Massive PR Trends in 2022 Your Brand Should Be Dominating

Group of lightbulbs with one yellow colored in the middle signifying a PR trend amongst the bunch.- TJ to update
Group of lightbulbs with one yellow colored in the middle signifying a PR trend amongst the bunch.- TJ to update

Public relations professionals play a huge part in a brand’s online reputation. Good PR helps you promote the image you’ve built and protect it. And by employing the right PR strategies at the right time, you can maximize good PR while making bad PR matter a lot less.

Part of a PR professional’s job is to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends. Why does this matter, you ask? It’s simple: our world is ever-changing, which means PR is changing, too.

What mattered to consumers three years ago might look incredibly different today. And since PR is all about shaping your image in the minds of consumers, you need to know how certain tactics and strategies may resonate with your audience at any given time.

Let’s take a look at five top PR trends that should pilot your brand strategy in 2022:

  1. Data and Analytics Take Center Stage for PR Strategies

  2. Diversity and Inclusion Reign Supreme for PR

  3. Influencer Marketing Is Still Going Strong

  4. Consider the Personalized PR Pitch

  5. Authenticity is Paramount in Post-Pandemic PR

Just like marketing firms, public relations firms experience trends, too. We’re seeing more noticeable trends emerge each year as the gap between PR and marketing narrows.

And like marketing, a number of things influence PR trends: consumer preferences, employee expectations, and technology, for example. As each of these areas evolves, your PR strategies must also evolve if you want to continue presenting your company in a favorable light.

For example, let’s say your new product is receiving tons of negative reviews. Who should respond: public relations or marketing? Just a few years ago, this might have fallen solely on PR departments. Today, however, it’s an increasingly shared responsibility.

Check out this blog if you want to learn more about the differences between PR and marketing.

Paying attention to PR trends can help brands know the who, how, and when in addressing problems and opportunities. This helps reduce the chances of PR opportunities falling through the cracks. Plus, you gain a better sense of how to promote or respond in a way your audience will appreciate.

Now, let’s dive into some of the top public relations trends we’ve seen explode in the last year.

Data and Analytics Take Center Stage for PR Strategies

In the not-so-distant past, businesses didn’t know how to measure the impact of their PR strategies. Their online reputation was a bit of a mystery shrouded in guesswork and hunches. Brands would issue announcements, publish some press releases, and hope for the best.

PR market value worldwide in 2020, 2021, and 2025.

Source: Statista

Today, brands can and do expect more from their public relations team. The PR industry alone is expected to be worth $88 billion in 2020 – and $129 billion by 2025!

And yet, many marketers and PR pros still aren’t sure how their investments are paying off. With today’s analytics and PR reporting technology, data will play an increasingly essential role in PR strategies.

In 2022, tracking the impact of your public relations efforts will be key. PR teams need, at a minimum, basic KPIs like brand awareness and favorability, social media engagement, and quality web traffic.

The need for good PR is increasing while headcounts in PR departments are decreasing. Having data and analytics to support your decisions and their results will help PR professionals appeal to the C-suite regarding job performance and resource requests.

What’s more, having data-driven insight into your PR strategies can help you see where and how you’re moving the needle. Use this data to adjust your approach so you can improve your PR over time.

Diversity and Inclusion Reign Supreme for PR

Smiling group of diverse employees.

More companies are doubling down on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and for good reason. When employees can show up in a workplace where they can be their true selves, employees are more engaged, productive, and satisfied in their jobs.

Many companies see a DEI workplace as being a competitive advantage, especially during the ongoing Great Resignation. Companies that promote diversity and inclusion as part of their public relations tactics are not only appealing to customers, but also prospective employees.

However, no good deed goes unpunished. Recent reports note that the majority of companies are simply going through the motions of DEI and are falling short of creating a truly diversified, equitable work environment.

This is an excellent example of why a solid PR strategy is so important! When companies are truly invested in creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace, they can easily share the things they’re doing to uphold their DEI initiatives. Vague and generic statements are traded for action-packed evidence that shows instead of tells.

As more consumers and employees raise their expectations of brands to embrace DEI at work, PR teams can expect it to be a recurring theme in their PR campaigns.

Influencer Marketing Is Still Going Strong

Influencer creating a video podcast to create brand awareness and press for a clothing brand

Influencer marketing has been a central force in PR trends of the past several years, and 2022 will be no different. Influencers continue to crop up in every corner of the web, from micro-influencers on TikTok to influencers with millions of followers on Instagram. What's more, they're creating entry points into niches that might not yet be on your radar.

Micro-influencers have led companies to pull back on celebrity endorsements and mass media channels in favor of tapping into smaller niches. And since it works so well, PR campaigns will continue to lean on influencer promotions for brand growth.

An influencer can be just about anyone whose opinions are trusted. For example, a local radio DJ, podcaster, or online blogger or vlogger could be an influencer. These individuals may not have the fame or audience size of a celebrity. But they have enough credibility and followers to sway the opinions of those who are listening.

Finding the right influencer to work with can be tricky. Our social influencer marketing solution help brands identify, collaborate and pay influencers.

In 2022, the PR aspect of using influencers will be on maintaining good relationships with existing influencers and connecting with new influencers. Interacting with influencers requires a unique approach, as influencers are usually not represented by agents, nor do they have established systems for brand partnerships. In many cases, influencers are busy professionals that may or may not be “full-time influencers.”

To fully leverage influencer marketing, PR teams need a good understanding of the influencer’s audience, niche, and content. These aspects go several layers deep and are full of nuances that can vary from one influencer to the next. Without learning about these nuances, you could end up doing more harm than good to your online reputation.

One way to avoid potentially damaging influencer experiences is to add dedicated influencer resources to your PR team. Someone who is well-versed in influencer campaigns and relationships can do your heavy lifting for the best results.

Consider the Personalized PR Pitch

A person highlighting a customer profile with a red circle indicating a highly targeted approach to the person's PR strategy

The concept of personalized marketing has spilled over into the PR world. In marketing, personalization serves to build customer loyalty and increase sales because it meets the customer wherever they are in their journey. The same can be said for personalized PR.

Tailoring PR pitches to individual journalists or influencers helps you create messages that speak directly to their interests. It steers away from one-size-fits-none pitches and instead presents an eye-catching idea that’s hard to miss. This helps to create instant trust and credibility when pitching new sources, and deepens the trust you already have with media outlets and professionals.

As a result, you have a much better chance of being published by the outlets or resources you target.

Authenticity is Paramount in Post-Pandemic PR

Along the same vein as DEI and personalization, authenticity continues to shape the expectations of consumers and PR agencies alike. However, we’re expecting authenticity to be much higher on the radar in a post-pandemic world than it has been.

We’re seeing two key areas driving up the need for authenticity:

First is the growing use of AI technologies to create personalized digital experiences. While technology allows us to learn more about a target audience than ever before, many agree it lacks the special connections that only a human can create. As more marketers and PR pros are using technology to develop custom experiences, it’s essential to maintain the human element that makes personalization authentic.

Second, the pandemic itself has led to a shift in content marketing, messaging, and branding. Fake news and misinformation abounded, leaving consumers wary of whom to trust.

Seemingly overnight, consumers increased their expectations of the companies they do business with. They expect brands to walk the talk, be transparent about ethics and values, and go beyond “marketing speak.” Authenticity is the intersection of these things. It’s no longer enough to spew generic phrases like “We’re in this together,” but rather back up your statements with actions.

The bottom line: people have had many months to re-evaluate what’s important to them. They’re more discerning over how they use their time, which brands they engage with, and how they’re spending money.

Consumers continue to be less forgiving and more demanding. Brands need to be prepared to address this “new normal” by remaining authentic at every turn.

As we say goodbye to 2021 and welcome 2022, these five top PR trends can help to guide your strategy. And so can Meltwater! Reach out today to discover more about Meltwater’s media monitoring solutions and PR toolkit to learn how we can set you up for success in the new year and beyond.