One of the guiding elements of public relations is all about using content and use to highlight messages about companies, their solutions, or even people, and then using any available channel to reach the target audience.
Throughout the years, the industry has changed a lot, largely depending on which communication channel has been the most effective at any point in time. However, it’s important to distinguish that public relations aren’t the same as advertising or marketing.
That’s because public relations is focused on storytelling and shaping the images of clients.
However, with all the different technological advancements lately which have changed practically all communications aspects, as well as interactions, public relations has changed the way it tells stories to the public.
These days, most companies tend to be a lot more ambitious about reaching their target audiences, with a focus on building, nurturing, and even gaining a larger target audience through public relations efforts.
To stay on top of the changes in the public relations industry, it’s important for agencies and PR professionals to constantly read and research articles and stories within their target market so they can make note of any new outlets, journalists, and editors, and then be able to craft a tailored pitch for those people and outlets.
These days, simply creating a press release and then mass emailing it to outlets doesn’t help the clients of PR agencies.
That’s because the demand for content has now started to put a lot more focus on the return on investment (ROI) for companies, which means creating a press release is just one element, and PR professionals need to make those press releases attention-worthy and relevant to whoever they’ll be sending them out to.
Additionally, one of the biggest game-changers in public relations has been the Internet.
Although the Internet has been available and accessible to most people for a while now, the number of users is constantly growing, and for public relations specifically, it means that the Internet is one of the biggest communication channels available, and is going to remain that way until the next communications revolution happens.
Aside from all the ways that PR agencies and professionals can help their clients reach their goals, there are numerous changes that will be happening inside the public relations industry itself in the future.
Everyone inside the public relations industry needs to have a role to play in progressing diversity and inclusivity in it.
That’s because participation and commitment can drive diversity and inclusion a lot more forward. Public relations professionals and agencies need to surround themselves with diverse sets of people to learn from them, as well as seek out other resources which they can learn from.
This commitment to inclusivity and diversity needs to be focused on leadership positions, as well as recruiting talent and working with clients.
When it comes to hiring new talent, it’s important to not just look for people that act, or speak in a different way.
The best way to advance inclusivity and diversity is simply by getting a bigger and more diverse crowd to join the industry.
In terms of working with more diverse clients, PR agencies will have a big role to play in being more inclusive and diverse, because words and communication are the core of public relations, and those things are very important.
Since the public relations industry is focused on storytelling, the way that agencies and professionals determine how they’re going to be sharing their stories and creating them will be detrimental to the repercussions and the outcomes of diversity and inclusion on a much bigger scale.
One of the ways that agencies and professionals can go about this issue is not just talking about different issues that are important to the public, but by taking action through strategic objectives.
When agencies are able to take real and meaningful actions that will further support the statements that they’ve made, it’s the only way that they can make a true difference.
There are plenty of companies around the world that have spoken out about various social issues, but they’ve never actually followed through with them by taking action.
That’s not something that PR agencies can avoid any longer, as they’ll have to start making space for more inclusivity and diversity internally.
The public relations industry tends to be a very female-dominated world, however, most of the executive positions inside agencies and PR firms are still held by men.
This type of gender imbalance and seeing only one gender in various specific industry roles will be changing in the future as the entire world will slowly start accepting more fluid identities and eliminating the various inequalities between genders.
Plenty of companies, as noted previously, have already started to become more inclusive deliberately.
This is a great starting point because identifying and acknowledging what needs to change is one of the first steps that the entire public relations industry will need to take.
As those first steps are taken, it’s also important that the intentions behind them are also genuine.
In the last few years, most of the women in mid-level positions in public relations have started leaving the profession and even the entire workforce to look for better options, such as freelance which has a lot less oppression and a lot more control over their daily lives and careers.
However, that’s not an ideal solution as it’s important for the public relations industry to have different leaders and people in leading positions with balancing points of view so they can get the best possible results for their clients.
Plenty of women have already started carving out their own spaces inside the industry where they can become leaders themselves.
This initiative is quite inspiring, but women still need to be more welcomed and accepted into these leadership positions across the entire industry. And fortunately, these days, women that start out in the public relations industry have a lot easier time being accepted by their peers than they used to.
That means they’ve been able to present themselves as professional public relations strategists. In the past, many women weren’t able to do that simply due to the assumptions that their peers used to have.
It’s certain that the public relations industry has been and will continue to evolve. Compared to where the industry has been in the past and the challenges that people in it have been facing, these days there’s certainly a lot more acceptance.
However, in the future, there’s going to be a lot more diversity and inclusion, as previously mentioned, and that diversity needs to happen at all levels.
With that diversity, there needs to be acceptance as well. Although people can identify themselves as different from the others around them, they should still be able to find acceptance in each other, as well as in the community.
Every person has a unique story that they bring to the table, and a fresh perspective that can help the industry expand and the clients to reach their goals.
With plenty of PR agencies starting to hire diversity coordinators or officers, these people and companies also need to be held accountable for supporting their statements with actions in terms of addressing the issues of diversity and acceptance.
Plenty of the companies that have hired diversity officers or coordinators have noted the benefit of getting to hear diverse points of view and diverse stories, as well as the value that different people can bring.
In fact, through diverse internal representation, companies and agencies across all industries can also be represented a lot more effectively because the agencies will have more points of view and more creative solutions for their clients.
The most important qualities that every PR professional will need to have in the future as the public relations industry continues to change is going to be communication, confidence, and the willingness to continue learning and growing.
With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals.