Communications and public relations (PR) professionals had expectations that 2021 would be the year we could finally return to some semblance of “normalcy,” along with the rest of society. Even the most precisely tuned PR campaigns at the beginning of last year were eventually deemed ineffectual or abandoned altogether, on account of how the pandemic has continued to upend every known strategy in the PR playbook. There is not a single profession that has not been in some state of flux since the onset of the pandemic.
As we face another year that is already rife with ambiguity and uncertainty, PR professionals are befuddled in terms of what strategies they can genuinely rely upon to amplify their clients’ and their own organizations’ messages successfully.
In a sense, the pandemic has served to make certain concepts of PR even more glaringly obvious: An organization’s message must be promoted in terms that are very precise, and consumers need to be targeted based on their circumstances and what they consider to be relevant. PR professionals capable of achieving as much in our post-pandemic society will make themselves indispensable to their clients and/or employers.
The following strategies can help you promote your message on a broader scale while also being enormously influential in terms of business development in the coming year.
A target audience is still largely defined as the members of society who are most likely to respond in a positive way to your message and take some form of action. For your message to be heard amid a very crowded media space, you need to understand the habits of your target audience.
For example, half of the global population is active on one or more social media platforms, so organizations should customize the most critical components of their PR campaigns to fit this habit because this is where a large target audience focuses a significant amount of their time and attention.
PR professionals who build a solid understanding of their clients’ target audiences put themselves in a stronger position to make the best decisions about the wording and content of their PR campaigns.
I mentioned social media earlier, but the new PR playbook calls for PR professionals to embrace technology on a wider scale to achieve success. In today’s world, to understand your target audience, you also need to understand machines. For an organization to get its message heard in such a crowded media environment, your message needs to find its way through a wilderness of filters, algorithms, content optimizers and recommendation engines. To beat their way through this jungle, organizations are relying heavily on technology.
Technologies can also be very effective in revealing trending topics and, more importantly, demonstrating to PR professionals how society is reacting to those topics. To stand out in modern society, an organization needs to understand how to use technology to create the proper digital footprint.
Successful PR campaigns employ the use of a wide array of tools and resources to help an organization promote its message. Consumer education, product placement and internet websites are all commonly used components in modern PR strategies. Take the time to create a team of reliable go-to consultants and vendors who can assist with creating precise messaging, content, media distribution and more before you need to launch a PR campaign.
In our society, especially for messages geared toward the Millennial and Gen Z segments, PR efforts will yield greater success if organizations are proactive in communicating what actions they are taking to improve the climate, how they are contributing to social justice and/or simply what they are doing to make the world a better and more inclusive place. Successful PR in 2022 means organizations must go beyond merely providing “shareholder value” to dedicating routine resources to providing tangible support to humanitarian efforts, society and the environment. This is one of the most crucial keys to successful PR in modern society because it can instill a sense of trust within an organization’s target audience.
As we navigate the new year, PR professionals who are willing to adopt the technologies that can help them to better understand their target markets as well as demonstrate a commitment to philanthropy and social justice are those who will enjoy the greatest level of success getting their messages heard in the crowded media space. Once the above strategies are adopted, a conscious society will be listening.