There are a number of market trends currently impacting modern PR firms. As you might expect, many of those trends are labor-centric, but new services and internal initiatives continue to make a splash.
Digital PR growth continues to be strong and should be an active component of a modern PR firm’s plans today. As we head into the tail end of Q4 of 2023, spend some time assessing your business plan against these important trends.
Tight labor market and Gen Z
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow six percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS also projects that about 31,000 new jobs for public relations specialists will be added from 2020 to 2030.
This is due to businesses—finally—realizing the importance of managing their reputations and communicating with the public. This is leading to increased revenue for PR firms and increased demand for qualified PR professionals. However, this increased demand is going to come at a cost. The costs of operating a PR firm are rising, due to factors such as inflation and the tight labor market. This is putting pressure on PR firms’ margins. Coupled with a tight labor market, maximizing the effects of this increased demand can be stressful for today’s PR firm owners.
How to attract and retain Gen Z talent
Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet, and they’re entering the workforce at a time when the PR industry is facing a labor shortage. To attract and retain Gen Z talent, PR firms need to focus on the following:
Values: Gen Z values organizations that are making a positive impact on the world. PR firms can offer opportunities for Gen Z professionals to work on campaigns that make a difference in the world they live in, such as campaigns that promote social justice or environmental sustainability.
Work-life balance: Gen Z values work-life balance. PR firms can create a more flexible work environment for Gen Z employees by offering hybrid or remote work opportunities, unlimited paid time off and other perks such as pet insurance, dependent and elder care programs and concierge services.
Training and development: Gen Z wants to learn and grow. PR firms can invest in training and development programs to help Gen Z employees stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies in the PR industry.
How to compete in a concentrated industry with digital PR
The PR industry is becoming increasingly concentrated, with a small number of large firms accounting for a large share of the market. In addition, digital PR is becoming increasingly important, as businesses focus on communicating with their audiences online. This is leading to increased investment in digital PR services by PR firms.
If you’re not one of the largest firms in the industry, how do you compete? Focusing on high-value services—such as digital PR—can help to make you more competitive. According to a 2023 report by Cision, digital PR spend is expected to grow by 12 percent in 2023, outpacing the growth of traditional PR spend.
Here are some tips for competing in a concentrated industry with digital PR:
Focus on a niche. Specializing in a particular industry or area of expertise can help you to stand out from the competition.
Invest in digital PR services. Offer a wide range of digital PR services, such as social media marketing, content marketing and search engine optimization.
Use data and analytics. Use data and analytics to track the performance of your digital PR campaigns and identify areas for improvement.
Build relationships with influencers. Partner with influencers to reach a wider audience and promote your brand.
Make time to evaluate your business plan now that we are in the last quarter of the year. Budgets should be drafted—if not final—for 2024 and hopefully you’ve budged items for internal programs to attract Gen Z as well as making investments in Digital PR. Don’t forget to assess your clients. Do they pay you timely? Do they compensate you appropriately for out-of-scope work? Do you like dealing with them? If the answer is no to any of the above, cut them loose. Focus your efforts on the right clients and make sure you’re addressing current market trends to have a great 2024.
Dominic Rovano, CPA is a partner at Janover LLC and leads the firm’s Professional Services Group.