The 2021 PR Trends You Need to Focus On Now

Jul 26, 2021

PR is constantly evolving, and to do your job successfully, you need to know exactly what’s happening in the industry! Staying up-to-date on the most important 2021 PR trends helps you generate amazing results while knowing what’s really going on behind the scenes. 

As someone who’s run a successful agency for over 16 years now, I’ve seen SO many changes happen in the PR landscape! 

Since my goal is always to help other PR pros be successful…I want to support you in staying on top of trends, especially now with so many changes happening. 

Why Is Keeping Up With 2021 PR Trends Important? 

Before we dive into some specific 2021 PR trends you should know about, let’s talk about why it matters. 

PR is always changing. In order to create impeccable strategies and generate impressive results for your clients, you have to know what’s happening in the industry

To be successful in growing and scaling an agency while working with your dream clients, you need to be aware of the most prevalent 2021 PR trends. 

As a service provider, part of your role is to steer your clients in the right direction—both with your PR strategy and your holistic approach to marketing recommendations. In order to do that, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of PR and know what’s out-of-date, what’s up-and-coming, and what’s hot right now. 

6 Important 2021 PR Trends You Should Know About (and Implement For Your Clients)

If you’re ready to uplevel your PR game, these trends are the key. Of course, foundational skills like pitching and relevance are essential. But these six 2021 PR trends will help you strategically weave together PR efforts in a way that works now

1. There Will Be More Of A Focus On Core Values and Social Responsibility

PR and communications as a whole are evolving with a shifting social climate. After all, PR is all about connecting people with brands through storytelling, so we have to shift the narrative to reflect what people need and want!

That means that one of the biggest 2021 PR trends is an intense focus on brand or company values (and meaningful actions that align with those values). 

Now more than ever, people don’t just want enticing brand messaging about values—they want to see an impact. 

With recent social events, more people have a clear awareness of performative activism and allyship versus true activism. Consumers are looking at the companies to see their stance on issues, which really has catapulted business leaders into the limelight. 

As a PR pro, you’ll need to steer your clients in the right direction to establish core values if they haven’t already. Even more important, you’ll need to help them practice what they preach in terms of values. 

All of these changes also mean that there’s an increased focus on companies’ diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Your role is to communicate a brand story in a positive way….so you need to be aware of this important shift! 

2. Communications Will Be Even More Of A Priority For Brands

This is one of the 2021 PR trends you should get excited about. 

Even more companies than ever before are willing to invest in PR as a service (or bring in a team internally). Public relations is rapidly becoming a huge priority for companies. 

We’re now seeing that PR is sometimes even more of a priority than paid marketing ads or other strategies. Especially since the landscape of paid and organic social media has changed drastically and become less reliable, PR is a more comprehensive, trustworthy strategy for growth. And companies and brand leaders are recognizing that shift! 

That means there are more opportunities than ever for you to land your dream clients and work in a niche that you love. 

3. Social Media and Influencer Marketing Should Be A Huge Focus For PR Pros

In 2021, there is an even bigger reliance on social media (and the creative use of social media platforms to really connect). 

Social media as a part of your PR strategy will need to be highly personalized and creative. This is especially important since video content is more prevalent, like Tiktok and Reels. Audio platforms like Clubhouse are also becoming more popular as a new way to connect. 

Short pieces of “snackable” content are doing well—especially things like IG stories that feel very in-the-moment and limited-time-only. With more people working from home or remotely, the landscape of advertising and social media has changed. Short-form content is more effective because there are fewer commutes and less downtime. 

There will be even more of a focus on influencer marketing—2020 saw huge growth in this type of PR, and it’s going to continue to be prevalent and grow even more.

Related: How to Handle Clients with No Social Media Presence

4. There Will Be An Emphasis On Brand Storytelling

Brand journalism storytelling is another of the most important 2021 PR trends. 

Particularly with the events of the last year, people want to shop with brands that matter and tell a real story. This ties into the values and activism mentioned above, but on a more daily level. 

Brands (and PR pros) need to relate to people’s emotions, lives, and struggles. That’s going to impact the way you pitch, but also the way you vet prospective PR clients. When you’re vetting potential clients, consider how honed in they are to their audience. This is going to be SO important in helping you position them in an appealing way to the media. 

5. Thought Leadership Will Be More Important

Thought leadership is going to be even more powerful in 2021—for you as a PR pro and for your clients. 

As you look to become an expert PR authority in your niche, more thought leadership will be needed. Thought leadership demonstrates your expertise, and now more than ever, it’s necessary to connect with high-level prospective clients. 

Thought leadership will also be incredibly important for positioning brand leaders and executives this year. As you work with your clients, you’ll need to develop executive thought leadership campaigns and content. This stems from consumer desires to align with brands with the same core values and beliefs. 

As a PR pro, start using social media to give your client leaders a platform and voice to make a real difference in people’s lives. Then, make sure to consistently seek out opportunities for thought leadership for your clients. 

Related: How to Get Your Client Quoted as an Expert Source

6. Virtual Desksides and Virtual Events Will Remain The Norm

Creative digital (and hybrid) events will continue to be the norm. The move from in-person events to virtual or hybrid models has created incredible opportunities for communications teams to step up their game. 

Online events draw in audiences that may not have been able to previously attend. This forces marketing teams to think of new ways to attract their attention, online. But it also means you can scale your events to new heights! 

You will need to rethink how you appeal to a wider audience while hosting engaging events. 

For PR pros, deskside meetings offer a unique, personal opportunity to connect with media professionals. Over the last year, virtual desksides have really grown in popularity—and they’re here to stay. As one of the key 2021 PR trends, you need to know how to effectively host virtual desksides and virtual events. 

The Pitch Lab is packed with information on these topics and other ways to strategize based on 2021 PR trends and fundamentals alike! If you’re a PR pro who’s looking to uplevel your PR skills and provide excellent service to your clients in 2021, The Pitch Lab is perfect for you.

Knowing about the most important 2021 PR trends helps you strategize and provide the best service to your clients. Staying on top of trends means that you’re relevant and on-target with what consumers are looking for now!