It’s hard to believe that in the blink of an eye, we are already staring at 2022. In the words of Smash Mouth, “the years start coming and they don’t stop coming.” Nothing seems to ring more true than how quickly 2021 flew by! At Konnect, we’ve grown accustomed to the fourth quarter craze and are well underway with 2022 planning for our clients. It’s always an exciting time of the year when we get to look back at what trends and tactics were successful, and which emerging practices can be implemented by a public relations agency to make our clients “All-Stars” in the new year ahead.
Why You Need A Public Relations Agency To Help You Keep Up With Trends
The worlds of PR, marketing and communications are ever-changing and rapidly evolving, particularly in the digital era we live in. Platforms and technologies that appear to be promising fizzle out quickly, and new rules and regulations seem to emerge daily. As a business owner, it is impossible to keep up with these shifts on your own, which is why investing in an agency is one of the best decisions you can make to grow your business and stay at the forefront of marketing trends. At Konnect Agency, we touch many brands across many categories, giving us broad insights into the tactics that seem to work favorably across many client types. Read on for the trends we believe will be impactful for 2022.
Four Marketing and Communications Trends Your Public Relations Agency Can Help You Implement Now
Affiliate Marketing Dominates Product PR
This isn’t exactly a new trend for 2022 as we’ve seen affiliate marketing creep into earned media coverage for a couple of years now. However, we predict that in the next year or so, affiliate marketing will dominate the goods & services segment, rendering product coverage nearly impossible to secure without it. Some agencies are already shifting in the clients they accept, only taking on brands who are established on affiliate platforms, and there is a new wave of editorial job titles solely dedicated to e-commerce. Brands that sell products via major retailers like Amazon, Target, Nordstrom, etc., are safe for now. For DTC brands relying on earned media to build product awareness, affiliate marketing will become a “must-have” vs. a “nice to have.” We find that the combination of Share-A-Sale plus SkimLinks is a winning platform strategy for garnering top-tier media coverage.
What does this mean for the two disciplines who seemingly overlap in their outreach efforts? If executed properly, PR and affiliate marketing can work harmoniously to maximize your brand’s opportunity in digital media.
While the pandemic took the entire marketing and communications world by storm, it can be argued that the hardest hit segment was in-person events. Consumer expos, industry trade shows, and product sampling all had to make massive pivots in order to survive. Thus, the virtual event was born, providing a way for people to connect with brands from the comfort of their home. And while most people agree that nothing virtual can replace the in-person interactions they once enjoyed, this new virtual format proved to have a ton of benefits. Using media and influencer events as an example, in-person event attendance has historically been limited by location. With virtual gatherings, reporters and content creators from across the globe can now be invited to participate. This format also opened the door for attendees who couldn’t yet go back into public spaces or whose tight schedules didn’t allow for the travel time to and from events. Needless to say, virtual events have now become the preferred format for many.
With that said, there is still a major appetite for in-person events to return. How do we bridge the two camps? With hybrid events! In 2022, you can expect to see hybrid events become the next “new norm,” with some even going as far as adopting VR and AR technologies to drop at-home attendees right into the live experience. If that sounds like too much of an undertaking for your brand, fret not! Having a simple digital component (i.e. a pre-recorded panel or livestream option) for attendees who cannot join in-person will be more than sufficient.
Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies
When Google announced that it would be phasing out third-party cookies by 2022, the marketing world was set abuzz. Fortunately, nothing has replaced the third-party cookie yet and Google recently announced that this transition is being postponed to 2023. However, we should expect to see pivots to remarketing strategies in 2022 in anticipation of this change to come. One of the best things that marketers can do right now is to ensure they own their data. Email and phone number capture will become even more important for email and SMS marketing, two channels that have some of the highest ROIs in the industry.
Streamlined Reporter Relations via SubStack
It’s no secret that every reporter worth their salt gets inundated with hundreds of emails daily, with many asking the simple questions, “What stories are you working on right now?” or “When is that story we worked on together going to be live?” Since no person has the time or desire to answer these same questions dozens of times per day, we are seeing a trend in reporters moving in droves to SubStack e-newsletters to streamline the relationship between themselves and brand publicists. They are creating weekly (even daily) lists of the stories they have in the works, current pitches they are accepting, and recently published stories. The publicist simply subscribes to this e-newsletter to receive up-to-date info, and the reporter gets a more manageable inbox. It’s a win-win tool for everyone, and one we believe is here to stay.
What does this mean for brands who are engaged in PR? Fewer shots in the dark! We are all fans of working smarter, not harder, and this is the crystal ball we’ve been waiting for. Gone will be the days of sending out hundreds of pitches in hopes that a reporter is working on a related storyline. This new way of interacting with reporters allows for targeted pitches that meet the mark every time to achieve desired results.
While there are many more trends and technologies expected to impact brand marketing & communications in 2022, (we’re looking at you, Artificial Intelligence!) the few buckets above are simple to implement now to set your brand on a path to success in the new year.
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