As we close the chapter on 2021 and move into 2022, it’s time to take a beat to reflect on the whirlwind of the last two years. At Dotted Line Communications, we are looking to internalize how the PR industry has changed, and what we as an agency should be ready for.
As we enter the new year with a continued level of uncertainty, there are several topics we predict could be on the forefront for PR pros:
1. The Great Resignation will continue—including for journalists.
The pandemic has driven an exodus from the workforce due to burnout and workers seeing more flexible career options. With the newsroom becoming a thing of the past––and journalists having to work overtime more than ever, taking on new beats to pick up the slack––more and more journalists are seeking new career paths. The Wall Street Journal shared that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, journalism jobs could decline by 4.8% by 2030.
We personally felt the effects of this trend this year, as finding talent was a major issue. Our sector already skews female, and the COVID burnout on women in particular was rough, with 60% of female marketing professionals leaving or considered leaving the profession due to COVID-19. That’s more than any other industry per data from LinkedIn.
2. Elevating the human connection.
As COVID cases rise and we’re experiencing a little bit of déjá vu, it’s crucial to remain connected while we socially distance once again. Whether it’s with clients, the media or your colleagues, remember to sprinkle some human touch into everything you do.
As a virtual agency since inception, before WFH was required or en vogue, this is something our team have always worked hard to engrain with colleagues and partners. Leaders must continue to find creative ways to build relationships and rapport.
3. The importance of storytelling.
As PR practitioners continue to place an emphasis on human connection, the power of storytelling will become all the more crucial. Weaving strong, compelling narratives into everything we do in the PR industry, from messaging and pitching all the way through core strategy components, will become even more imperative to PR success.
That said, providing purposeful and meaningful value through storytelling will be the key to helping your clients stand out in a sea of stories.
4. The evolution of the workplace.
Working from home has had an impact on more than just the workforce itself. After nearly two years of working from our kitchens, living rooms and home offices, remote/hybrid work has also left its mark on corporate culture writ large. The result of this has and will continue to trickle down to company values, altering strategy, branding and messaging as we move in 2022 and beyond.
5. Remaining flexible when it comes to…everything.
If the past two years working through a global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of being able to turn on a dime. We’ve all had to learn (sometimes the hard way) that plans suddenly change, events get canceled, conferences pivot to remote platforms, and strategy you’ve worked on for weeks can, in an instant, no longer make sense. As PR pros, we should always have a plan B (or C, or D) in our back pocket, along with the ability to quickly alter strategy in a way that reflects the current state of the world while also putting our clients’ priorities, goals and best interests at the forefront.
6. News will break across different platforms.
Traditional media is taking a backseat and PR will (and should) evolve accordingly. A PR win may no longer be a feature in print or even an online publication. Instead, it could be a short form video across social platforms like TikTok, Instagram and LinkedIn.
And as our wins begin to look different, so too should our methods. If you’re not already keeping tabs on social platforms for newsjacking purposes, or determining what your target reporters are following, you’re already a few steps behind.
7. Read the room.
COVID-19 has shown just how fast the news and topics of interest can change. With publication layoffs, natural disasters and new variants, among other challenges and news cycle sweepers popping up at every turn, PR professionals must be mindful.
It’s all the more critical for us to stay tapped into the latest global events in order to strategically execute successful campaigns and announcements while upholding brand values and showing empathy to past, present and future audiences.
Aimee Clark is the co-founder of Dotted Line Communications.