We asked some industry leaders what they think of the future of public relations. Some thoughts:
Corina Leslie, PR Manager ZeroBounce said, “So far, the pandemic has helped the PR industry and it will continue to do so. As a small team, we’ve hardly been able to cover all the opportunities that have come our way in the past four months. Content creators are hungry for stories, opinions, and advice. In times of crisis, we look to others to find guidance, tips, inspiration, or a sense of calm. If you can provide that, you’ll be a valuable source for any writer.
There are so many topics PRs can approach and pitch right now. You can always find an angle that makes your example relevant in this specific context. Be creative – you have something to say that no one else does, and what you share can be of help to others. With an emphasis on the last part: in every pitch, be genuine and generous, and refrain from aggressively promoting your business. In the midst of the pandemic – and long after we’ll have transitioned to the “new normal” – PR is a tremendous tool. Use it right and it will make you memorable. More business owners will see that and will want to make the most of it, so the industry will expand in the next couple of years.”
Gregg Feistman, Assistant Chair for Public Relations, Temple University said “PR will be more important to organizations than ever. The pandemic will (hopefully) cause management to understand the critical need for ongoing strategic communication during and after the crisis. Without constant, consistent internal and external communication, organizations run the heightened risk of damaging or even losing their businesses. Along with this recognition, the type of communication will change, leading to my second point:
Well thought-out strategic counseling and messaging will take on added importance. The debut of the newest pair of shoes or grand openings will be less relevant than ever. Core concerns around employee and customer safety and health, employment status and company culture, positions on social issues (such as racial equity/BLM, social media platforms, privacy, immigration, etc.) will be more important than ever. The demand for organizations’ long-term social responsibility – actions, not just rhetoric – will influence customer and employee/prospects’ decisions like never before. Public Relations professionals are in a unique position to counsel management on these accelerated developments like never before and shame on the PR industry if it doesn’t use its knowledge and skillsets to benefit their clients, organizations and society at large for lasting positive change.”
Meanwhile, Caleb Rule of The Pedowitz Group said, “Personally, I think PR is expanding from crisis management, news coverage, and overall brand management to having more concrete needs in places like SEO. Link building through great news placement (and earning the backlink) supports long-term SEO strategy, which more and more companies are investing in as the pandemic shifted spend from short-term PPC endeavors. So ultimately, those in PR who are savvy in SEO and how it can relate to PR / link building I think will have a major edge, thanks to the environment that’s been created by the pandemic.”
Maria Eilersen of Be Conscious PR, said “The pandemic has demonstrated the importance and value of PR to safeguard brand reputation through uncertainty. When Covid-19 first hit, the brands who communicated consistently and transparently were praised, showcasing that they cared about their customers by leading with action and service. PR professionals have had to draw from the best practices of crisis communications to navigate the unfolding impact of the pandemic, eliciting the importance of having a crisis response in place and being sufficiently trained to execute it.Both the pandemic and Black Lives Matter have raised the importance of authenticity in PR, with brands being called out for disingenuous messaging that lacked follow through. Now more than ever, companies need to demonstrate their values through action as savvy consumers see through shallow communication.”