5 Solo PR Pros Share Their Predictions for the PR Industry in 2021
This month, we asked our panel of solo PR pros to tell us how they are planning ahead for the new year.
Read on for their helpful tips.
1. Keri Tomsic, Strategic Communications Consultant & Owner, T Squared Communications, LLC
Optimistically, I look to a bright future for strategic communicators. We are the original content marketers – digital, print and visual. We have been crafting succinct, authentic and transparent key messages for decades. When in-person touchpoints were suddenly at a minimum, the strategic communicators stepped up and helped brands break-through the Zoom screen with the right word and at the right time to keep brands top-of-mind.
Unfortunately, it took shut-downs, and seismic shifts of 2020 for many in the C-suite recognize the critical value of consistent communications to internal and external audiences. As we near the end of this year, there is a spotlight shining on communicators and our work. Here’s to an illuminated 2021 and the future of our industry.
2. Jennifer Wilbur, Principal, JRW PR & Marketing
The PR industry has had its own perception challenge for some time now. When people hear “PR”, most think of only media relations. While we have excellent people in the industry focused on this one important tactic of PR, it’s not all we are or can do for brands.
PR is the storyteller of the organization. We can drive the narrative that propels sales better than anyone. I think attitudes will begin to shift in 2021 to see PR as the integrated content and communications revenue driver it is.
3. Ben Finzel, President, RENEWPR
2021 will be another “change year” for the PR industry. The national conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion will continue to drive changes in hiring, but I think many of the larger, legacy PR firms will have trouble if those hiring changes don’t translate into real, consistent action. The bottom line nature of big PR firms/networks will make it hard for them to keep their commitments if they don’t see a return on their investment in the form of increased client engagements and billing.
In addition, the transition to new, saner federal government leadership will prove to be both positive and challenging as PR counselors determine how best to counsel clients in the new political climate (which will continue to affect business and communications writ large). The public relations professionals who can adapt and engage authentically will be the ones who are successful.
4. Laura Frnka-Davis, APR, Principal, LFD Communications
In 2021, the public relations industry will play a significant role in helping businesses regain footing as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. As we (hopefully) emerge on the other side of COVID-19 with the arrival of vaccines, messages about safety and wellness will undoubtedly continue to be important for brands to communicate to their audiences both externally and internally.
Businesses will need to be sincere, thoughtful, and deliberate about what they are communicating and when. As we settle further into 2021, it will be a year of healing.
5. Christine Pietryla Wetzler, Founder & President, Pietryla PR & Marketing
I believe that all PR professionals are going to have to offer insight on more than just traditional media relations to be competitive. We’ve all been talking about blended models and integrated communications but the time has come to do more than talk.
In 2021 and beyond, we’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that traditional journalists aren’t our only targets anymore. The tools we use need to accept that reality too and integrate influencers and other creators into searches.
The one thing that hasn’t changed, in my opinion, is the need for transparency and accuracy in the content we create and encourage. The new digital media landscape has created a free-for-all that can be intimidating for brands and I believe we can be useful to companies in both navigating the opportunities as well as behaving in an ethical way.