The Future of Best PR: Emerging Trends and How to Stay Ahead

Short Summary

This blog covers 8 key emerging trends in PR and the strategies to stay ahead. If you are a brand, agency or digital marketer, read until the end of the blog to learn more about the topic. 

Introduction

Public relations (PR) is evolving rapidly alongside advancements in technology, the media landscape, and society as a whole. PR professionals who want to remain competitive and provide value to their clients must stay on top of emerging trends and develop dynamic skill sets that align with industry shifts.

This blog will provide an overview of key trends that are emerging and transforming modern PR and practical strategies for how PR agency and communications teams can lean into these changes to drive success.

The future of best PR: Emerging trends and strategies

Here are the 8 key trends and strategies for the future of best PR.  

#1 Digital and social media dominance

The popularity of digital and social platforms has exploded in recent years, radically shifting how brands market themselves and interact with consumers. Studies show that over 50% of the world’s population now uses social media, amounting to nearly 4.2 billion users worldwide.

With the tremendous reach of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more, PR strategies must focus heavily on social media and digital engagement. 

Failing to meet target audiences where they’re most active online severely limits a brand’s ability to build awareness, shape perceptions, drive website traffic, boost sales, and achieve other core PR objectives.

Forward-thinking PR agencies like Dentsu M21 are responding to this trend by:

  • Creating social-first PR strategies centred on viral digital content, influencer partnerships, and community engagement
  • Publishing shareable assets like videos, images, and gifs tailored to specific platforms
  • Monitoring online conversations 24/7 to identify partnership opportunities, manage crises, and understand audience needs
  • Experimenting with emerging platforms like Snapchat, Twitch, and Clubhouse early on to determine if they warrant brand investment
  • Optimising press releases and owned media for search visibility
  • Running targeted digital ad campaigns to amplify reach
  • Implementing sophisticated social listening and analytic tools to track performance and derive actionable insights

#2 Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has cemented itself as a core pillar of brand communications. In fact, the industry is on track to grow to a staggering $85 billion by 2028.

Cultivating partnerships with influencers allows brands to tap into their credibility and loyal following for increased awareness, positive associations, and direct sales. 

To leverage this high-yield trend, brands should

  • Identify influencers that genuinely align with the brand and have an engaged and targeted audience
  • Negotiate creative, multi-channel partnerships (content, events, etc.) with clear performance benchmarks
  • Ensure influencer partnerships feel authentic to followers by allowing creators the freedom to infuse their unique style
  • Educate influencers thoroughly on products/services to enable natural integration into their content
  • Track performance diligently using unique promo codes, pixels, URL shorteners, etc., to quantify ROI
  • Forge long-term relationships with brand ambassadors when possible to build credibility and allow influencer marketing efforts to compound over time

#3 Content is king

Content remains the lifeblood of cutting-edge PR. Strategic owned, earned, shared, and paid media helps brands attract customers, shape narratives about the organisation, strengthen credibility, and drive revenue.

Leading brands are taking an “always-on” approach to content that involves

  • Producing a high volume of owned media content tailored to different formats (blogs, videos, podcasts, eBooks, etc.), platforms, and audience interests to fuel a consistent drumbeat of engagement
  • Securing high-profile earned media placements in tier-1 publications read by target buyers
  • Creating share-worthy content designed to propagate across social channels
  • Using paid ads to amplify content reach and target different demographics
  • Optimising website content for SEO visibility and conversion
  • Tapping influencers to infuse branded content with third-party credibility
  • Monitoring analytics to double down on top-performing content across platforms and adjust unsuccessful angles

#4 Data-driven decisions

Gone are the days of making gut-instinct PR decisions. Data and analytics now fuel everything from strategic planning to campaign optimisation and reporting.

PR teams should tap into data to

  • Uncover audience insights that inform strategy and creative
  • Set quantifiable benchmarks and KPIs for each campaign, initiative, and piece of content
  • Make data-driven decisions around platforms, messaging, content formats, and more
  • Course correct campaigns mid-flight based on performance

#5 Crisis management

PR crises can gain traction across global media outlets within minutes in our digitally-driven era. This intense public scrutiny makes crisis readiness non-negotiable.

Savvy PR teams mitigate risk by

  • Creating crisis response plans detailing workflows, internal/external communications protocols, leadership roles, and scenarios
  • Establishing ongoing media relationships so reputable journalists turn to the brand as an expert source when crises emerge
  • Training leadership on crisis communications best practices
  • Monitoring online conversations closely to detect brewing issues
  • Rehearsing crisis scenarios to stress test strategies and alignment
  • Maintaining response materials like holding statements and dark website pages
  • Conducting simulations to pressure test plans, surface gaps, and build muscle memory

While crisis preparation requires heavy lifting up front, it enables rapid, coordinated responses that limit damage when disaster strikes.

#6 Personalisation and Customisation

Consumers have grown accustomed to highly personalised digital experiences catered to their unique interests and needs. This expectation now permeates B2B and B2C communications.

PR pros should tap into data and technology to deliver tailored messages on an individual level across channels ranging from owned media websites to email marketing campaigns.

Tactics include

  • Building detailed buyer personas based on demographics, interests, pain points, and location data
  • Creating customised content that speaks directly to different persona groups
  • Automating email communications so each prospect receives messages aligned with their client journey stage
  • Serving website visitors specific content based on their past engagement
  • Running tailored social ads focused on individual interests and characteristics

While resource-intensive, personalised communications drive engagement, loyalty, and conversions.

#7 Ethical and transparent communication

Consumers increasingly support brands that operate transparently and align with their values. This makes ethical communications rooted in truth a baseline expectation.

PR teams should

  • Ensure brand promises reflect reality before going to market
  • Provide balanced perspectives in crisis scenarios instead of spinning negatives
  • Create responsible content that avoids marginalising groups
  • Call out improper actions internally to uphold integrity
  • Disclose information legally required for transparency

While ethical PR may involve short-term growing pains, it ultimately earns consumer trust, which drives profitability.

#8 Artificial intelligence and automation

Basic PR responsibilities like press release creation, media monitoring, and reporting are increasingly automated using artificial intelligence.

PR teams should evaluate solutions like

  • AI-powered media monitoring dashboards that aggregate coverage, track sentiment, and deliver insights
  • Automated news generation and distribution across websites
  • Chatbots that qualify new sales prospects and instantly answer FAQs Predictive analytics platforms that model the outcomes of strategic decisions
  • Algorithms that create first drafts of reporting documents

Automating and administrative tasks allow PR pros to focus on strategic counsel, creative messaging, and relationship building.

Integration with other disciplines

Modern PR rarely operates in siloes. 

Leading agencies recognise communications, marketing, CX, policy and other disciplines and must work together to engage audiences holistically across touchpoints.

PR should collaborate closely with

  • Marketing to align objectives, amplify reach via owned/paid channels, and cohesively measure impact
  • Customer experience to humanise the brand through empathetic communications
  • HR to codify company values, culture, and DE&I priorities before projecting messages externally
  • Policy teams to ensure communications comply with regulations
  • Sales enablement to equip client-facing teams to convey brand narratives skillfully
  • IT to capitalise on data-driven communications opportunities

Why continuous learning and adaptability is crucial?

The PR industry is rapidly evolving, requiring continuous learning and adaptability from professionals. 

To stay relevant, teams must prioritise education through ongoing coursework, industry events, and independent research on emerging trends. They also need a structure that allows for agility, with two-way communication of insights and decentralised decision-making. 

Agencies can future-proof their value proposition by embracing change and constantly refining strategies based on new data. 

Those who view disruption as a threat rather than an opportunity will struggle to keep up in this shifting landscape. Continuous learning and adaptability are the keys to future PR success.

Why Choose M21 for an unmatched PR?

Dentsu M21 is a full-service agency that can deliver integrated PR solutions for ambitious brands. 

With dedicated digital, advertising, events, and public relations divisions under one roof, we offer unmatched expertise across all communications channels. 

As a full-service agency, we take a holistic, consultative approach to understanding your brand's unique challenges and leveraging the full power of integrated communications to surpass objectives. 

Contact Dentsu M21 and gain the support of a market-leading agency that consistently delivers outstanding results for clients across the region.

Conclusion

Major forces like automation, social media, personalisation, and ethical communication are disrupting public relations. The key to the best PR is to navigate this evolution with the steps outlined above to allow agencies to capitalise on trends rather than being made redundant.

With strategic foresight, investment into dynamic capabilities and a culture embracing change, PR agency can continue driving tremendous value for brands well into the future.

Those who cling to traditional strategies will quickly become obsolete. By taking an adaptive, data-led approach, progressive PR teams can ride the wave of emerging trends to success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1). What are the emerging trends in PR?

The emerging trends in PR include a heavy emphasis on digital and social media engagement, the rapid growth of influencer marketing, the increasing importance of data-driven strategies, the shift towards personalised and ethical communications, and the integration of PR with other disciplines like marketing, customer experience, and sales.

2). What are the best PR strategies?

The best PR strategies involve a strong focus on social media and digital engagement, leveraging influencer partnerships, creating high-quality and diverse content, utilising data analytics for informed decision-making, preparing for crisis management, and prioritising personalised and ethical communications.

3). What is the fastest growing trend in the PR industry and why?

The fastest-growing trend in the PR industry is influencer marketing. It's rapidly evolving due to its proven effectiveness in reaching and engaging target audiences, driving brand awareness, and directly impacting sales, making it a pivotal strategy for brands across various industries.

4). How do you do a good PR campaign?

A good PR campaign involves thorough audience research, clear and measurable objectives, engaging content creation, strategic use of different media channels, robust crisis management preparedness, and an ongoing commitment to adapt to emerging trends and market shifts.

5). What is the biggest challenge for PR pros in future?

The biggest challenge for PR professionals in the future is likely to be the need for continuous learning and adaptability. With the rapid evolution of technology, media platforms, and consumer behaviours, PR professionals must constantly update their skills, strategies, and knowledge to remain effective in an ever-changing landscape.

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