The Importance of Evolving Your Skill Sets in Public Relations

Public relations touches all facets of marketing. Gone are the days of traditional earned media practices, so how are professionals supposed to succeed in an ever-changing landscape of increased expectations and noise? The only solution is to stay on top of technologies and trends and constantly innovate and evolve. In today’s edition of Plain Talk, we’ll first recognize the brands that killed it in 2022. Then we’ll identify three “hot trends” that we anticipate 2023’s winners will integrate into their PR mix.

Brands that killed it in 2022 and why

While it’s impossible to detail every tactic these companies used to achieve lighting-in-a-bottle success, these are just a handful of triumphs that stood out when it came to organizations that rightfully earned their earned media prowess in 2022.

  • Spotify – In the digital age, Spotify took earned media to a whole new level through its humanistic approach to relating to its consumers through Spotify Wrapped. There has never been a time when one brand’s logo is more widespread than when listeners share their end-of-year breakdowns. According to an article from Meltwater, people share content to reflect their identity, grow and nourish relationships, engage with others and spread the news about topics. Spotify users did just that, helping the company successfully generate millions of online conversations with zero traditional PR tactics. It paid off! Scott Henkemeyer, Spotify’s global head of content strategy and publishing for owned editorial channels, said in a December 2022 Adweek article, “Spotify had record audience growth across all of its owned channels in 2022.”
  • Wordle – The New York Times’ acquisition of Wordle earlier this year had vocabulary aficionados buzzing – did the Times make the game harder? What changes would come from the purchase? According to an article from National, these global conversations helped meet the goal of the publishers, which was to attract a more significant number of viewers and subscribers by broadening their content channel. Even beyond these global conversations, which the acquisition earned on its own accord, the game itself teaches strategic communications professionals a thing or two about content strategy, according to an article by Associations Now. Either way you slice it, Wordle is an example of a word-of-mouth success story and worth a closer look for other companies looking for their own viral moment. Wordle’s popularity shot up rapidly in early 2022 to over 100x in about a month. [Google Trends]. However, while Wordle has a strong connection with daily users, mainstream interest in the game dropped nearly 91% between February 2022 and September 2022. [Wordlestats] Wordle will be pressed to reinvent itself in 2023 so as not to go the way of Farmville, Words with Friends, and Pokemon Go.
  • Apple – With the unveiling of the new iPhone in 2022 and, frankly, any other product from the brand, the company continuously creates buzz through their expert use of teasers and confidentiality to keep their consumers engaged and on their toes. Apple also regularly capitalizes on and maintains its cult following of users who covet simplicity, sleekness, and innovation simply by continuing to create products and enforce a brand image that aligns with these values. Through secrecy and scarcity, Apple has a magical way of dominating conversations on traditional and non-traditional earned media platforms through a cult following of creatives and tech gurus. Their September 7, 2022, mystery iPhone launch event resulted in more than 25 million impressions for the hashtag #AppleEvent on YouTube within the first two days. This was a vast improvement over last year’s event, which generated 20 million impressions in 11 months.

Current PR trends that will define 2023 success

So while it’s premature to predict who the big winners of 2023 will be, we are certain the winners will successfully utilize some, if not all, of these hot trends to exceed their goals.

  • What’s Hot: Conscious brand decisions and social responsibility is cool

    • According to an article from Agility PR, 51% of consumers and 58% of multicultural consumers are more likely to buy a product or service if that brand is perceived as standing for issues important to them. Now is the time to find ways to insert your company’s stance on social issues important to your audience tactfully and respectfully, such as a fundraiser or a company match. Authenticity and a more humanized approach will continue to be supported and glorified in the years to come.

TikTok users Worldwide 2020-2025 chart from eMarketer

  • What’s Hot: Outpace current social media trends

    • BackLinko shared that 4.48 billion people are on social media, which has doubled since 2015. Since influencer marketing stood as a top avenue for public relations success in 2021 and 2022, TikTok is reigning supreme … but what’s next? In 2022, TikTok expanded its investment into e-commerce, and according to an article from GRIN, more than 40% of users use TikTok over Google to find answers to questions. With this data, the app will continue to advance its search capabilities in 2023, even going as far as testing an update that allowed specific keywords within comments to become searchable buttons. Additionally, TikTok will prioritize local content through a “near you” tab in the future.With the social media landscape operating at breakneck speed, public relations professionals must conduct daily research to ensure they’ve got their finger on the pulse for recommendations in 2023.

4.48 Billion People Use Social Media Image

  • What’s Hot: Engage the senses and the masses

    • Going beyond traditional print and digital news stories is key to a successful and robust earned media strategy, which is why podcasts and live PR, such as live videos on social media, will reign supreme for current earned media tactics. 68% of people agree that short-form social media video is their favorite way to learn about new products or services, according to HubSpot. Additionally, according to insights from Nielsen, the podcast audience is projected to double in 2023. Podcasts will give your company more opportunities to get in front of your target audience as they’re on-demand and can be listened to while doing other tasks, increasing chances of exposure.

How Do You Most Prefer to Hear About New Products Graph

Public relations has come a long way and will continue to change. As the industry keeps evolving, employees in these positions will become some of the most integrated into the market. Still, it’s essential for professionals to keep their skills sharp and not sleep on doing their continued research and education.

If your company is seeking assistance with public relations, send us a message or give us a call at 502.499.4209. We are ready to help!

Today’s article was penned by Senior Public Relations and Social Media Specialist, Lauren Guess