Coming into 2024 those in the PR industry are looking to put a fresh twist on classic ways of working. The landscape is changing rapidly with new regulations by both the ASAI and Revenue being placed on influencers and how agencies and businesses work with them. While this will have implications it will also create opportunities for more traditional channels and emerging forms of media.
Many businesses and consumers have a complete misconception of what PR is and how it can positively influence a brand and its trajectory. Ironically, PR as an industry has had a terrible time promoting itself and educating people on its benefits. It’s not rocket science though. If a brand has a story to tell, they need to share it. The question is, how? That’s where PR comes in. New data driven approaches, tone of voice and more will be crucial in the new year.
In order to maximise promotional opportunities in 2024 there are five top tips for business owners to consider.
1: Data driven stories will be huge in 2024. Data has always been important to consumers and media alike. When pitching stories with hard stats that can be backed up, it’s easier than ever to transparently showcase the impact of or appetite for a business or service. Until recently the most effective way to do this would be through research led activity, surveys and the like, which still work very well for bigger plays. However, businesses are rarely aware of the incredible amount of data at their fingertips. Almost every aspect of business is now online and with that comes the possibility to track trends, statistics and more. From Google Analytics to regional sales data, social media audience insights and more, there is a never-ending stream of data available to businesses that not only allows for strategic insight into consumers and their habits but also offers the business stories to tell. Backed up by solid data, savvy businesses can inform media of emerging trends and become a voice for their industry.
2: Why so serious? Have fun with your brand voice. According to a recent global study by Oracle, “91% of people prefer brands to be funny and 76% would choose a brand that uses humour over the competition even if they have to pay more”. Brands like Liquid Death and Surreal are leading the pack with humour led marketing. Smaller businesses with leaner budgets can make real impact by simply knowing their customer, taking some risks with their marketing / PR and jumping on topical trends in record time. Fearlessness is crucial to this approach.
3: Monitor and understand results. PR has a bad rep for not always having the most transparent or tangible results. This is largely a misconception though, now more than ever. Tracking results has become easier with simple SEO tools now readily available to even the biggest technophobe. Through a combination of tracking sales / leads data, web traffic, trackable links and more, seeing the return from PR has never been easier. There is and will always be an intangible aspect of PR, the sentiment piece, but even that can be tracked to a certain extent by speaking with consumers directly. If in doubt, ask your customer.
4: Understand the difference between PR and influencer relations. This misconception has become more and more prevalent over the past few years. I would bet good money that if you asked the average consumer what PR is, they would say something akin to “it’s when an influencer receives a gift.” The only time the average consumer or social media user has heard about PR is in this context. For PR professionals this has become a new challenge. Explaining the benefits of PR to clients who have never engaged the tactic before is part of the gig, but now we must also explain that PR is not just influencer gifting. It is certainly one element of PR, and even with the clamp down on gifting, it will continue to be an important part of consumer facing PR strategies. However, there is so much more to PR than just sending product to influencers. PR is the voice of your business; it is how consumers learn about why a business is different and it is most often the compelling factor to purchase / engage.
5: Know when to call an expert. In the post-covid world the employee landscape has drastically shifted. Hiring specialists for internal roles is becoming more difficult, especially at a senior level, and PR is an expert discipline best delivered by a seasoned professional. I frequently speak with clients who have themselves attempted to do their own PR with some success. However, for businesses that really want to amplify their brand voice, reputation and market position, engaging an expert is not only the fastest but oftentimes more cost-effective approach than throwing budget at the wall to see what might stick. From one-time projects to longer term strategic partnerships, working with a PR expert can open countless avenues for brand growth. Coming into 2024 it’s the businesses that engage expert third parties that will flourish and maximise PR opportunities.