By Todd Murphy | December 21st, 2021
The obligatory post about PR strategy in 2022
Well the good news is I’m not going to talk about media monitoring, tracking organizational news across print, broadcast, web and social media content, but rather how PR Strategy is evolving. 2021 was a year of evolutionary discussion at the industry level for media monitoring organizations serving PR professionals. Much has been written and discussed around how this industry was previously a labor business and is now a technology service.
The evolution of news monitoring and measurement
- 1860-1990: People spent a lot of time reviewing, extracting, organizing, and then delivering results to PR professionals
- 1991-2018: People used technology to help them review, extract, organize, and then deliver results to PR professionals
- 2019-2021: Technology is advancing to the point where it does the majority of the work to review, extract, organize, and deliver results to PR professionals … with people controlling for quality.
- 2022 and beyond: The change to smarter technology has taken place and enabled our innovation to create valid insight from the data immediately.
What PR professionals should expect in 2022
For more than 100 years, media monitors have delivered data in one form or another. The current state-of-the-art technology is really only delivering earned media results, often times integrated with shared or owned media results, so the communications professional can determine the reach, impact, and the value of their efforts — and really only in terms of how much it would have cost to purchase the same amount of coverage as an advertisement. Communicators create a PR strategy, execute this strategy, then evaluate their effectiveness based on outputs. Outcomes and insights that provide a pathway to the next iteration of the strategy are really what need to be considered. In the New Year, PR professionals should expect actionable insights from their most trusted vendors, and they should rely on their monitors as partners to help achieve their communication and organizational goals; not just serve as a vendor.
PR strategy is no longer linear
By monitoring public relations strategies for hundreds of companies over the past 30 years, I can tell you that nearly every strategy has been linear. In other words, a straight line that starts with planning and ends with evaluation. In an expanded sense, PR professionals analyze goals, set objectives, create strategy, execute a strategy, monitor outputs, evaluate the outcomes, and then sometimes measure the effectiveness. It is in this final stage that we have been helping PR professionals connect the endpoint of their PR strategy with the starting point, thereby creating a feedback loop for PR strategy.
PR strategy has become a circular loop
By using a reliable media measurement framework, we help our clients understand their PR outputs and outcomes in order to incrementally adjust their front-end strategy. The end of the process now connects to the front of the process, providing ongoing insight on how to ever-refine the strategy. By doing so, a public relations strategy can now get smarter, more effective, more specific, or more refined as the strategy runs. In this way it is a loop, or a series of loops, and not just a straight line.
How will 2022 change PR strategy?
PR strategy is changing in 2022 because we are going to make the feedback loop smarter. We are currently developing more AI-assisted tools to help us analyze and evaluate more data, quicker. With more data we can create greater accuracy and predictability over time. With greater predictability we can generate actionable insights for our clients. With actionable insights our clients will operate far more impactful public relations campaigns, achieving their goals with greater efficiency.
What will PR strategy look like in 2022?
For some PR practitioners, 2022 will look the same as 2021 or 2020… slow growth or no growth as they continue to evaluate their outcomes in a linear fashion. Some agencies and PR professionals will continue to use the vendors and tools they have for the past several years. In some of these cases they will have no choice because they signed a multi-year agreement for media monitoring. But PR professionals who partner with their media monitors will experience the new tools and CommsTech environment that delivers real-time insight based on their monitored results AND additional social and marketing data.
Why is 2022 the Year of CommsTech?
2022 will be the Year of CommsTech because we now have the technology to pivot from delivering “pretty” data to delivering actionable insights that improves the efficiency of an organization’s public relations, marketing, and communications teams. These separate-but-related departments no longer will need to rely on their own data and vendors. Now one partner will be able to give the entire corporate communications team, whether digital, social, or traditional, the ability to make smarter enhancements to their strategy. The following benefits are just a few of what you should expect in the emerging CommsTech environment.
- The ability to accurately evaluate your public relations strategy in real-time. How well are you doing? What should you specifically change?
- More targeted media relations for greater influence. What journalists are truly best for your effort? Who would be most influential in reaching your target personas?
- Real competitive intelligence. What steps are you taking that have a positive, verifiable impact on your brand or service? Who is taking those steps? What emerging threats can you react to before they damage your efforts?
- Spot emerging trends and identify addressable markets. What is changing in buyer demand or preferences? How can you adjust to capitalize on new opportunities?
These are only four of the primary insights the emerging CommsTech tools will illuminate for public relations and communications professionals. Of course we will still be dealing with the coronavirus, supply chain issues, wage compression, and inflation for the near future, but the tools used to execute better communication strategies are here. Your new CommsTech tools will let you do more with less time and fewer personnel. Our insight will help clients climb out from under all the data that has collapsed on them over the past 24 months and start using refined insights to improve their outcomes.
Actually, 2022 sounds really nice when I look at it this way.
I would be interested to hear what you see coming in the new year, so please leave a comment.
Oh, and don’t think we’ve forgotten about SmartView NXT. The new media monitoring portal is truly nearing completion, but it has been a long year of delays. One thing we learned is that COVID doesn’t just delay airline flights and shipping containers. It really impacts software development when you’re using the best resources from around the world. We plan to have a big announcement for you in January… YES, of 2022.