Looking into 2021: PR Trends
If we had known what awaited us in 2020, many of us probably would have liked to stop the clocks before the twelve chimes. However, despite all the misfortunes we have suffered, 2020 has also had some positive aspects in the field of marketing and communication, which will be extended and consolidated in the next year. Do you want to discover some of the main trends that we think will set public relations in 2021?
Online events are here to stay
We cannot deny that we are all a bit tired of joining videocalls at work, with our families, attending webinars and other remote communication formats. We are looking forward to seeing each other again in 2021 during an event, a press breakfast or a trade show.
But in any case, online events are here to say. It’s not a surprise that the only international fair on live format conducted this year, the GITEX Technology Week at Dubai, was also available online for those who couldn’t or didn’t want to attend, despite the security measures.
The online events platform Eventbrite has registered an increase of more than 1000% in virtual professional events, much of them paid. We still do not know if large meetings such as the Mobile World Congress 2021, scheduled for June, will be held normally. But surely there will be virtual alternatives that will allow us to expand the scope of these events, thanks to the wide variety of formats that exist to organize an online event.
Podcasts are consolidating
Podcasts have strongly benefit from the increased consumption of online contents during the pandemic. Only in the first quarter of 2020, listeners to podcasts in Spanish have grown 94%. According to Deloitte, this is a market with 1,000 million users around the world.. In 2021, the podcasting phenomenon will continue to boom, thanks to the push of sites like Audible, Amazon’s podcast platform in which other formats such as audiobooks are also offered. Apple and Spotify are also making significant investments in this type of content.
Many companies and professionals have started to create their own podcasts in recent months to join this phenomenon (including us, we have created our podcast dedicated to communication, you can listen to here). We are seeing many brands launching their own corporate podcasts, such as Badoo, or sponsoring other programs (such as Mini with Negra y criminal, from Podium Podcast).
It’s a similar situation to the one we experienced with blogs, but the question is: will we be able to consume them all? How many of these podcasts will be consolidated next year? As with all content, only the strongest proposals will remain, those with a specialized focus, professional production, a well-defined audience and a solid monetization.
From press releases to journalists engagement
One side effect of the inability to organize press conferences, media tours and other types of events this year has been the loss of personal contact with journalists. Sending press releases is not a substitute for these face-to-face interactions, and it also reaches worrying saturation levels. But there are other ways to achieve this engagement.
As an example, the Bhalia portal allows to publish press releases, interviews, by-lined articles and other content that interested journalists can consult. Reportaro offers access to experts so that the media can use them as sources when working on teir information. On a global level, Medium is committed to professionalizing blogs, turning them into a new formof collaborative journalism.
The objective is to promote two-way communication with journalists, offering them information and support to do their job, instead of bombarding them with press releases that in the vast majority of cases they are not interested or do not have the time to read.
Another important change we have seen in 2020 is the generalization of paywalls in the main generalist media. Practically all the large national newspapers in Spain – and some regionals, too – have implemented paid subscriptions to access their content. This trend also extends to TV channels, which launch paid streaming services to access exclusive content.
The immediate effect of these paywalls is a crash of most online newspaper audiences. It is still not clear if the income obtained with the subscriptions will compensate this fall in traffic and if all the headers that have implemented this formula will maintain the stake, or some will decide to back down. However, it seems clear that the public that is not willing to pay to consume news will look for other alternatives that offer free content, even if they are not of equal quality. Will this encourage users to look for information on social media and be more exposed to fake news?
Another consequence of paywalls is that more and more companies are betting on brand media, that is, their own publications with which to reach their audiences. It is a way of overcoming the double barrier of achieving coverage in the media and that readers are then willing to pay to have access to that content in the media.
The new reinvention of agencies
But companies are not alone. Some PR agencies are also supporting their own media, such as The New Barcelona Post. Why are they doing this? We have already commented some of the key reasons: it’s becoming more and more difficult to secure organic coverage in the media and there is a rise of branded media.
In the end, what is truly significant is that we are evolving towards comprehensive communication services. PR agencies are no longer just taking care of media relations, but we also manage online presence, social media, event organization, and even design and production of marketing materials.. Clients are expecting a service where they do not have to worry about anything. And this is what we have tried to reflect in our new brand image. Especially this year in which we have had to be more versatile than ever!