The public relations (PR) industry is always changing—that’s what makes it so exciting! That also means it can be challenging to stay on top of industry trends and patterns. Here, we rounded up a few of the most innovative PR trends we’re seeing today, from campaigns that do good to a return to audio. Each trend has the power to make a massive impact on your brand’s overall marketing strategy. Read on to learn more about the most groundbreaking trends in public relations today.

1. Cause Marketing

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Cause marketing is an up-and-coming trend in the world of public relations. The practice involves a collaboration between a non-profit organization and a for-profit business with the express goal of bettering society. Although this practice isn’t new by any means, new methods for sharing cause marketing stories are burgeoning in the PR scene today.

The key to successful cause marketing is making sure the partnership aligns completely with both companies’ brand values. The partnership needs to feel organic and authentic, and there needs to be real results that consumers can point to when making purchasing decisions or that PR teams can share when pitching stories. Any partnership that feels “for show” or misaligned with a brand’s image can do more harm than good.

At the end of the day, not only is cause marketing making a tangible difference in the world at large, but it’s helping consumers connect with brands on a personal and emotional level. Companies are learning to embrace humanity while consumers are beginning to understand the people behind the products. It’s a win-win!

2. Adopting an Experimental Mindset

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It feels like a new social media app drops every week. How can brands—and their PR teams—possibly stay on top of every platform? The most innovative PR teams have learned to adopt an “experimental mindset,” which means they are always ready to try something new but are comfortable if the campaign fails.

Take, for example, Chipotle’s discount code offers during the early days of BeReal. At that point, brands didn’t know how to interact on this incredibly unfiltered platform. Chipotle found a way to capture the attention of its followers (who doesn’t want a free meal on the house?!) while also matching the energy of individual users. Their strategy was raw, they took a leap, and it worked. 

On the flipside, lots of brands dipped their toes into audio content on Clubhouse. While the app ultimately fizzled once the pandemic started to wind down, experimental brands were able to learn from their mistakes and perhaps even connect with new audiences in the process. They never would have known this if they hadn’t taken the leap!

3. Casual Aesthetic 

Sometimes, innovative PR looks like taking a step back! Unfiltered, “raw” videos and photos are all the rage, from use on social media platforms like Pinterest to major advertising campaigns. 

For brands who choose to participate in this trend, user-generated content (UGC) can be an extraordinarily powerful tool. Most consumers aren’t using high-tech photography equipment to capture their day-to-day lives, so the result is real, unfiltered imagery of brands’ products in the wild. These types of images and videos are incredibly effective in helping new audiences picture what their lives would look like with your product or service.

The casual aesthetic of many current PR campaigns also plays into a strong ‘90s nostalgia that can be seen all over social media, in ads, and even in the products companies are producing. Lean into the grungy feel of UGC and make the trend work for your brand.

4. Quality-Over-Quantity Mindset

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Media pitching remains at the core of public relations. PR firms are often hired to control the public narrative surrounding a brand, and regular proactive pitching can help do this. But in the past, many PR firms sent generic pitches out to dozens of publications without much regard for each individual contact’s specific beat.

Innovative PR firms have adopted a “quality-over-quantity” mindset for capturing earned media, which means they spend a lot more time writing fewer pitches, but each one is highly personalized to the publication and reporter. The extra time spent on each pitch often results in more favorable and higher-quality coverage for the brand. This strategy is made possible by continually improving technology that allows PR firms to do extensive research on specific publications and reporters before making pitch selections. 

5. Expanded Content Marketing Strategies

Gone are the days of bland pitches and basic editorial calendars. Brands are beginning to take a high-level approach to public relations strategy that includes a comprehensive content strategy. Content strategies expand beyond media relations to include social media, community management, blog and SEO strategy, digital marketing, influencer marketing, and more. Each of these facets work together to tell a complete and compelling story for brands.

What’s more is that great content strategies help fill in the gaps when stories are misrepresented or not picked up by the media. Brands can employ one platform to connect with audiences, while another is more focused on pushing sales, but both work together to reach overall business goals. There are so many new platforms that exist, and brands and PR firms are starting to take full advantage to support their missions.

6. Podcasts Pull Ahead

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One trend that hasn’t fizzled? Podcasts! These audio-based outlets offer the opportunity for long-form interviews and increased connection with listeners. Smart PR strategists are including podcasts in the majority of their pitches; the industry continues to boom, thereby creating more and more coverage opportunities in the world of thought leadership, product marketing, and beyond. In fact, podcasting is expected to become a $4 billion industry by 2024!

How can my brand get involved in these innovative PR trends?

A creative and thoughtful PR team is the key to jumping on all of these ingenious trends. PR teams spend their time keeping up with industry shifts, and they’ll be able to guide your brand strategy while keeping a pulse on the next big thing.

Want to chat with a member of our team? Contact us to get something on the books today!