Cathy AngelCathy Angel

The world of public relations is more dynamic than ever. The constant emergence of new online PR tools, an increasingly complex social media landscape and the evolution of traditional media into comprehensive digital platforms are combining to create a new world for PR professionals. In that new world come endless opportunities for brands to amplify their reach … but it’s important to know how to navigate it all. From purpose-driven messaging to AI-driven productivity, there are several key trends that brands must dive into, understand and later embrace as part of their communications strategy, to remain competitive, elevate their offerings and grab the attention of consumers who are inundated with content on a daily basis.

The power of authenticity

Today’s consumers are overloaded with around 10,000 brand messages daily, and almost three-quarters of consumers feel loyalty towards a particular brand or company, according to the 2020 Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report. Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, and people are more likely to connect with brands that are genuine and transparent. For this reason, the role of authenticity in public relations can’t be overstated. Authenticity is living your truth and embracing who your brand is in every form of communication with your audience. To build loyal fans, brands must create emotional connections and rise above the noise with messages that are in sync with their core values. The first step in creating brand authenticity is to develop guidelines that align with the company’s mission and values. Once these brand guidelines are established, consistency in messaging across all platforms is key. Brands should also be where their customers can reach them—such as the right social media platforms to engage with their target demographic—sharing helpful information, answering questions, listening to consumers and most importantly … taking thoughtful action when they receive feedback. These interactions help to humanize a brand, creating a deeper connection with its audience.

Personalized media pitches and connections

Content is king, but too much of a good thing … you know the old saying. The media—and consumers—have content coming at them from every direction and in addition to reacting, they also have 24/7 access to the content they’re seeking. A strategic approach is necessary to ensure a brand’s message reaches its audience at the right time, in the best possible way.

This article is featured in O'Dwyer's May '24 PR Firm Rankings Magazine
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Earned media placements are one of the top ways that brands can build credibility and trust with their target audiences. Earned media is free exposure for a brand, but to secure it, the message must stand out amongst the thousands of emails journalists receive in a day. When connecting with a journalist, it’s important to prove what you have to say is interesting, important and newsworthy. In addition, according to Muck Rack’s 2024 “State of Journalism” report, 83 percent of journalists prefer to be pitched via a one-on-one email. Personalized pitches are the best way to build relationships with journalists and show them that you have considered their interests and are willing to lend a helping hand. Mass emails are impersonal and are many times obvious. Serious thought should also be put into subject-line copy, which, as simple as it is, can make or break a pitch. To ensure your email is opened, make sure your subject line is relevant to the journalist’s interest, has a strong hook and draws them in quickly. Tailor your pitch to make it personal and relevant to each contact by mentioning one of their articles that you read recently, offering fresh angles or insights and explaining why your content would be helpful to their audience. Keep in mind that relationship building is just as important as the pitch. Make time to chat with your media contacts outside of pitching them story ideas, get to know them as you would a friend. Be concise and respectful and always show gratitude once an article or story about your brand has been published.

The use of AI in public relations

The public relations industry has been harnessing the power of AI for quite some time with media monitoring and data analysis. AI and automation will continue to be integrated into public relations practices, and at a higher level, over the next few years. This will provide opportunities to streamline everyday tasks, freeing up PR professionals to focus on relationship-building, strategy and creativity. AI content is much quicker to produce than human-written articles, but it is critical to understand that as of today, there are limitations, and there is not yet a one-size-fits-all approach. Humans still have a significant advantage over technology when it comes to writing with passion and delivering a specific brand voice, tone and personality. Tools like ChatGPT can help with research and creating quick content, but a human touch is necessary for fact-checking, relationship building, adding personality and making sure your content is in line with your brand standards. Search engines—and the media, hurting your credibility—have begun flagging AI content because it is similar to previously published materials. Since AI content is generated from pre-existing content, it still requires a person to drive the strategy and fine-tune the result. Also important to remember is that people tend to share articles they feel a personal connection to, but as AI does not have the emotional intelligence to create a story, your content should be developed by those who know how to deliver your brand messaging—and understand your consumer—best.

The world of public relations will continue to evolve. The most successful brands will be those that create authentic, consistent and engaging content while establishing and preserving genuine connections. By leveraging these trends—and paying attention to the next—brands and their PR partners can ensure they are creating effective, modernized strategies that will help them attract their target audiences and reach their goals.


Cathy Angel is Vice President at Hemsworth.