What is the Future of PR? (Plus 4 Traditional Tactics That Still Work)

Jun 12, 2023

The media landscape is constantly changing, but the past few years have brought huge shifts to PR! What once worked 100% of the time isn’t the right strategy anymore, and new social channels are impacting consumers far beyond expectations. PR pros need to be ready with new tactics as the future of PR continues to take shape!

4 Ways the Future of PR Is Changing 

PR is a dynamic industry by nature, but some major changes are coming down the pipeline. Get ahead of the curve now by preparing to pivot to the new, timely strategies that media contacts are looking for. Here are four ways the future of PR is shifting and how you can easily adapt to them. 

#1: Cross-Platform is the Way to Go 

It’s always a good idea to bring a campaign to multiple platforms, but using multiple channels at the same publication will be a key tactic going forward. Big outlets have their print and digital sectors, of course, but they also have their social media pages, possibly a podcast, and maybe even a TV or radio show! You can take advantage of all or most of these to get your clients in front of the widest audience possible. 

To make an impact in the future of PR, PR pros will need to know how to execute a campaign across multiple platforms and change their message to suit each channel. What resonates with print readers likely won’t have the same impact on TikTok viewers! Executing these campaigns effectively requires you to either start offering social media services alongside your standard PR services or collaborate with your clients’ social media departments. 

Taking a multi-phased approach is important here, too. A slow rollout across a single publication’s platforms can really build momentum and establish your client with the outlet’s audience. You can also tweak your strategy as you analyze your client’s impact on each channel. 

#2: AI Is Your Friend, Not Your Enemy 

AI (artificial intelligence) is here to stay, and it’ll be a BIG part of the future of PR. You can’t stick your head in the sand and ignore this anymore!  Brands, publications, and other PR pros already use AI to streamline their processes and even create or inspire content. 

You can use AI in those same ways in your agency, but you also need to prepare for how AI will affect the media as a whole. AI gives everyone with an internet connection the ability to spread fake images and incorrect information that appears very real. Credibility and reliability will play a huge role in your media relationships going forward! Virtual/Augmented reality and digital events have the potential to make a big impact on the media and the public, too.

Related: How to Use AI in PR for Your Clients (Is It Even Ethical?)

#3: Old Strategies Won’t Get Media Attention 

Up until a few years ago, sending press releases out to media contacts was a great way to get your news to multiple sources at the same time…but they won’t hold that much authority in the future of PR. That goes double if you’re sending that information out under embargo. Honestly, that press release email might go straight to your contacts’ trash!

Journalists and editors are looking for stories tailored to their specific niche, outlet, and readership. Rather than fall into old habits and offer stories under an embargo, go for exclusives instead! Exclusives give your media contacts ample time to research, conduct follow-up interviews, and craft a powerful story that will resonate with their readers. They’ll deliver maximum value to their audience and you’ll get a high-impact feature — talk about a win-win! 

#4: Focus on Empathy, Values, & Social Consciousness 

Today’s consumers are plugged into local, national, and global news, so you need to be, too. Empathy is everything. All copy, communications, and pitch angles must be socially-aware and take the state of the world into account. Consumers don’t want to support a brand that carries on as usual during a crisis, even if it’s happening on the other side of the world. 

Value-based storytelling will resonate the most with consumers in the future of PR. And they want to see your clients walk the walk, too! A true commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion policies will be a priority when consumers decide which brands to support. 

4 Traditional PR Tactics that Work No Matter the Future of PR 

Okay, a lot is changing with the future of PR. But don’t worry — you don’t have to throw away all your tried-and-true strategies! Let’s dive into four traditional tactics that will always be a hit with the media, regardless of what’s happening in the industry. 

#1: Do Your Research! 

Sure, AI can provide some research shortcuts once you implement it into your agency, but you still need to verify the info! AI doesn’t catch everything, either, and you don’t want to miss a key piece of information before pitching. Manual research can be time-consuming, but even in the future of PR, it’s still the best way to fact-check and gather all the info you need to write a killer pitch. 

Research is a key part of every stage of the pitching process. You’ll understand what your client’s competitors are doing, what your media contacts are covering, and where your client fits into the whole puzzle. Plus, you’ll rest assured you’re not passing off misinformation to your media contacts…and destroying your credibility in the process. 

#2: Personalize Everything 

One thing that will never change regardless of the future of PR? The need to personalize! Journalists don’t want generic spray-and-pray pitches that are robotic and void of your personality. Those will only sour your relationships with your media contacts and negatively impact your reputation. 

Your pitches need to speak to who the editor is, why the story is important to them and relevant to their audience, and why it’s the right choice for their publication. Focus on truly connecting with your media contact and crafting a message that’s for them and only them. Don’t forget to inject your personality into your pitch, either; the journalist should get a sense of who you are as a person and as a PR pro from your email.

Related: 8 Easy PR Pitch Tips That Will Improve Your Results Today

#3: Zoom In and Go Local 

Large national media corporations certainly have the reach clients want, but they might not be the best way to get your clients in front of their audience. Local news has a significant impact on its community and can be a driving factor in growing your client’s customer base. You can pitch your client for local publications, regional magazines, and local news radio or television shows. 

National coverage is really hard to secure, too, especially in the future of PR! Local news can help your client establish a media presence and gain recognition with a wider audience. TV and radio segments give your client public speaking practice, which is super valuable when working up to securing national press. Just make sure your client’s expectations are aligned with reality when it comes to local and national press coverage. 

#4: Pitch Your Client as an Expert 

If you work with a product-based client, listen up! Pitching your client as an expert is a great way to get their brand into the media between launches and as the future of PR shifts. Your client’s deep expertise in their niche is of great value to journalists: they can be the focus of an interview or contribute a few quotes to a story. Websites like HARO are a great place to find these expert contribution requests! 

When your client appears as an expert in the media, it gives their brand a major credibility boost with new audiences. It inspires confidence and trust in your client’s brand and keeps them in the best light in the media. Plus, as a PR pro, you’ll show media contacts that you’re a helpful, reliable source and can provide them with value beyond your usual pitches.

The future of PR is shifting as we speak, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for it! Just a few tweaks to your existing strategies and pushing traditional tactics to the forefront will help set you up for success as the industry changes.