PRs not only had to remain nimble and change some of their thinking and ways of operating as an industry, but they had to advise clients on how to best navigate these challenges on an on-going bases with the view of helping them to recover when the time is right.

They could no longer rely on implementing PR strategies and campaigns the traditional way and so this gave rise to new trends. Here are such three trends:

1. Online content reigns as king

In 2020, we sadly saw the closure of too many print publications or some of them moving online. PR professionals can no longer rely on the traditional press release but have had to find creative ways of tailor-making content for different audiences that are utilising different platforms.

It is essential to understand how to package content for social media platforms, which require bite-size information supported with visuals or video content, rather than a traditional long-form article.

This, prior to the pandemic, meant gaining a basic grasp of social media or appointing in-house social media personnel to leverage social media channels, thereby ensuring maximum reach for clients.

2. There are new ways of networking

The closure of publications also saw a reduction in staff, thus fewer points of contact. Face-to-face networking with media at events has also become a thing of the past, which means putting in more time to be efficient to stay connected via phone calls and virtual conversations.

Now more than ever, it is necessary to do the research to try and gain an understanding of what journalists and publications require and tailor-making content to that individual or publication's needs.

In 2020, many people experienced a quick catapult into the digital and remote working space, which has now become second nature for some businesses — with several making it a permanent option for employees.

With that came a need for implementing innovative virtual media events. These events will most likely continue, but with both physical and virtual participants and attendees.

3. The higher need for understanding consumer needs

As PR professionals, it is our job to advise our clients on the best communications strategies for their business. In this regard, research and understanding of consumer behaviour and how the consumer landscape has changed plays a vital role.

Having an understanding of how consumers feel and what they expect from brands need to be taken into consideration when drafting strategies.

This stands true whether it be buying from brands that align to their core values, using new tech to make more personalised human connections and improve the customer experience online, or transparency about how organisations are prioritising the health and safety of their customers and their staff.

The ultimate challenge in 2021 will be for PR professionals to place further emphasis on innovation by driving and bringing the big ideas to life to capture media and consumer attention in an already cluttered environment and a fragile economy.

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