Long after we close the books on 2020, the impact of COVID-19 will remain – not only for the lives lost to the pandemic but also for the truly seismic changes it forced in the way we work. And while every industry was forced to undergo sharp, sometimes painful transformations in the last 12 months, the PR industry was particularly disrupted. And more change is on the way. Here are three major trends that we should all be paying attention to
First, remote work is here to stay. The days of being in an office 24/7 are over. Remote work and work from anywhere is overwhelmingly becoming the norm. Besides the obvious (it leads to a healthier work/life balance, happier and more productive employees and less internal politics) it also is something that most people are going to look for when they search for future employment. Look no further than Facebook, Square, Slack or Twitter – all of which have told employees they don’t ever have to come back to the office. While in-person team collaboration is certainly something that I think many of us are looking forward to, any company not offering the flexibility of remote work post-pandemic may find themselves losing out on talent and falling behind the rest of the industry.
Second, companies should rethink their overall approach to media. According to the most recent Muckrack “State of Tech Journalism in 2020” report, 39% of journalists surveyed felt the way tech companies share information is outdated. Are you putting out a product announcement? Then sending a press release and pitching a targeted group of media may not be enough. Post to social media, or better yet – use a video summing up the news and post that to social media. The same survey found that 84% of journalists go to Twitter and 61% go to LinkedIn to find company news. Try creating a personalized asynchronous video for your pitch efforts. The more creative the better and remember there are even fewer journalists now than pre-pandemic. Competition is fierce and more is required to stand out.
Lastly, in a year that truth was constantly under attack, trustworthiness and credibility are still highly valued. In fact, in the same report mentioned above, CEOs came out on top as the most credible source (85%) followed by academic subject matter experts (78%) and social media influencers (72%). While only 34% of journalists found agency spokespeople to be credible – worse off, only 19% of company spokespeople were viewed credibly by journalists. The clear mistrust journalists have for both agency and company spokespeople is concerning and further proves how important credibility is. Lose it, and it may never come back.
Looking toward 2021, you do not have to look very hard to see that the nation is on edge. Truth and facts are under attack. The PR industry has always been counted on to counsel clients through stormy times, and now is no exception. While the above data paints a snapshot of where we are as an industry, in order to get where we need to go, we must all consider these trends and embrace the change that is coming