BLASTmedia is one of our favorite PR agencies, and we love collaborating with them when possible. To find out what the future holds for PR in 2023, we went to Grace Williams, SVP of PR at BLASTmedia to get her insights.
1. What are your predictions for PR in 2023?
The media landscape is highly fragmented. Journalists laid off from their jobs at large sites and papers are starting their own newsletters, blogs, medium sites and Substacks. PR coverage in 2023 isn’t always going to mean TechCrunch or the Wall Street Journal. We’ll have to get used to finding the value in non-traditional coverage.
We’ll continue to see internal and external comms merge. Crafting communications specific to your internal audience is still a unique and important process. Still, an unfortunate wave of RIFs and exposés have reinforced a need to craft internal communications as if they’d be shared with the press.
2. Has the pandemic changed PR?
Change is a constant when you work in media, so yes! Here are a few specific changes from the last few years that come to mind:
Tactically, things like phone pitching and “desksides” stopped working. Journalists weren’t at their desks to take meetings or answer phones. Interviews shifted to Zoom, and our reliance on email/social (instead of phone) as a form of communication increased.
Lead times increased across the board. We used to be able to pre-pitch a story and get it placed in about a week. With an increase in funding news/digital transformation stories, journalists had more news to choose from. Two or more weeks became a non-negotiable.
Overall, we saw an increased focus on PR — for a few reasons. First, in-person events were off the table in 2020, leaving budget open for other investments. Second, from social unrest and layoffs to pandemic-related messaging, finding the right words to communicate important info became more crucial than ever.
3. Let’s get out our crystal balls. Any forecasts about how PR could be different 5 years from now?
My biggest hope (and prediction) for the next five years has to do with where PR lives inside an organization — historically, that has been marketing. It makes sense — external communications have a direct impact on brand, and marketing owns brand. But it also causes tension. PR will have only a fraction of the impact on pipeline our counterparts in demand can produce. And with marketing becoming increasingly growth-focused in the face of budget cuts and an impending recession, it is time to find a new home. The reality is that communications isn’t just a marketing function — it’s fundamental to the business’s everyday operations.