Written By: Draven Marino, Research Lead

As 2021 comes to an end, bringing changes to culture, societal behaviors, and even some long-standing business practices, it is more essential than ever for public relations and marketing specialists to look to the horizon and adapt to the ebb and flow of industry trends. Public relations and marketing were two fields already known for constant change, but this has arguably been accelerated further by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, forecasting trends for the upcoming year is essential to allow firms to adapt their marketing, social media, and even crisis communications plans to a shifting landscape. Here are 5 key trends to look out for in public relations and marketing in 2022: 

#1: The Ever-Blurring Lines Between PR and Marketing

public relations and marketing

As the two fields become increasingly intertwined, PR specialists need to have more knowledge of marketing strategies than ever. It is no longer enough for a PR specialist to land a press placement or interview; they then have to know how to leverage it on social, digital, and even physical channels. The lines between PR and digital marketing are blurring, and PR practitioners have to be ready. 

#2: The Importance of Cultural Relevance

Social unrest, protesting, and cancel culture have remained prominent in recent years – the concept of social justice continually intertwining them. As stakeholders have become increasingly socially conscious, it has, in turn, become important for PR efforts to reflect that.

Because of this, in 2022 and beyond, tying one’s work and content to current events will be paramount. A survey by Ernst & Young found that there was a significant portion of consumers willing to adjust their consumption habits to prioritize the environment and/or the general well-being of society. This demonstrates a notable shift in consumer behavior, meaning PR specialists will need to adjust their public relations, marketing, and even crisis communications plan to prevent key stakeholders from perceiving them as socially ignorant. 

#3: The Ever-Evolving State of Media

PR experts work extensively with the media to secure various forms of exposure for clients. And newer forms of digital media have far more reach and impact than ever. The Pew Research Center found that 86% of surveyed consumers got their news “often” or “sometimes,” using a digital device, as opposed to 68% who said the same about getting their news from television. Additionally, while more traditional news websites remain the most popular avenue to get news (68%), social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook aren’t too far behind at 53%. In 2018, Pew Research Center found this figure to be only 47%. PR practitioners will need to adjust to this upward trend, especially given that social media use has seen a constant upward climb, starting at a mere 5% of U.S. adults in 2005, but climbing to a staggering 72% by 2021.

social media evolution

#4: Newfound Challenges for Building and Maintaining Relationships

building media relationships

The COVID-19 pandemic added a new facet to the workplace: virtual spaces. This is true not only of the public relations and marketing industries, but many others. This presents a myriad of advantages and disadvantages, one being the new challenge of fostering media relationships. For some who now work from home, face-to-face meetings are far less common, presenting public relations specialists with both new hurdles and new possibilities. Using the latest platforms and technologies, how can you effectively build relationships with media contacts, and stay on top of those relationships? This is certainly something for practitioners to consider as the new year begins.

#5: The Increasing Importance of Client Image

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many in the workplace to move to a remote environment, with some remaining remote for the foreseeable future. Because of this, some companies have struggled to hire and keep employees – many leaving for opportunities that allow them to obtain a more ideal work environment. 

Additionally, workplace diversity has also become more of a consideration for many; beyond the functions of the job, these workers want to feel completely accepted and comfortable in their work environment. 

These two considerations have implications for public relations and marketing firms as well. Not only do they need to work with the client’s initial needs, but they also need to be a brand strategist, positioning the client as an ideal employer.

zoom virtual meeting

Overall, these trends point towards the public relations and marketing industries having to navigate uncharted waters in 2022. However, these changing circumstances also present new opportunities. The team at Pittsburgh PR firm Premo Consultants is made up of experts in public relations, marketing, and crisis communications, and these diverse skill sets make us uniquely positioned to adapt to an always-changing industry. To learn more about how we can help your organization capitalize on trends like these, email us at [email protected].

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