The past year has brought about many changes, new practices, and ideas to the world of public relations. Many businesses have had to pivot their business capabilities to meet the new needs of clients, thus forcing anyone using public relations tactics to build an audience and brand to rethink their strategies in order to thrive in the business climate that was caused by the pandemic. So what are some predicted future trends? Let’s dive in.
When communicating to your audience, let them in on the real you. As an author, you are communicating to potential readers on a human-to-human level. Don’t put on a show, trying to come across as perfect. These people want to know the real you; what you, as an individual, care about; and what inspired your journey as an author. Being in the publishing industry, you are already in the business of storytelling, so tell your story.
- Trend #1: Many professionals are taking to spaces like social media to publicly convey their values and principles in order to craft this authentic and transparent story. How can you take advantage of this? Don’t be afraid to show the real you to your audience. Try incorporating some more personal posts or anecdotes in with your other more promotional content. Not everything you do has to be about selling and it is always better to speak from the heart. Your audience will respect that and trust you more for it. At the end of the day, trust is the most important ingredient to any relationship.
This has proven to be true for many PR by the Book clients, specifically on social media. When analyzing the top posts from the past month for one of our fiction authors, the top performing posts were those where he was giving the audience an inside look into who he is when he isn’t writing, as well as posts when he asked something of the audience, thus bringing them into the conversation and making it more personal.
Be mindful of who you are pitching. One of the biggest pet peeves of media outlets is being mispitched because the person pitching them didn’t do their homework. Almost every media outlet has individuals that are assigned to specializations, making it very important to know that you are knocking on the right doors from the start.
- Trend #2: The Media Landscape Has Changed. The pandemic forced a lot of companies to downsize, thus causing a lot of staffing changes at many of the places you may have already established contacts with. According to the New York Times, “roughly 37,000 workers at news companies in the U.S. have been laid off, been furloughed, or had their pay reduced.” This is an important trend to be aware of because it may mean you have to devote more time than you did before to identifying the correct contacts at media outlets, since the ones you are used to may no longer work there. Also, be sure to then update your PR/media lists for future use.
2020 marked the transition towards Zoom and other virtual meeting platforms changing the way authors approach publicity and book tours. Many now use Virtual Book Tours featuring online reviews, bloggers, and podcasters as a way to continue this tradition but adapt it to the times.
- Trend #3: Virtual is the New Reality: Virtual events and meetings are the new normal, so rethink how you incorporate PR events and appearances into your strategy. Virtual events can be very different than in-person events because you have to work harder to establish connections and be much more engaging in order to keep the audience’s attention. One positive that comes with this trend is the increase in television interview opportunities. As a company, PR by the Book has doubled the amount of TV interviews from last year to this year since our authors can do these via Zoom from anywhere.
Content Creators are taking over the digital media space, creating a shift from traditional media to more creative ways to get readers’ attention.
- Trend #4 The Rise of Influencers: Influencers are a great thing to take advantage of. Why? Because these individuals have already built a large, loyal, trusted following on their platforms. Some influencer relationships are built on a monetary exchange of value; however, not all of them are. If you are able to tap into a niche literary blogger, bookstagram, or book-toker influencer, you can often negotiate a relationship built on another type of value. Some of these other valuable opportunities include exposing them to a new audience, positioning them as a VIP within your following, or as an expert when you introduce them to your audience.
The PR industry will only continue to change. However, change can be one of the most exciting things for self-published authors or publishing professionals because it means that there are new opportunities to expand your strategy and showcase your creativity in the PR space. You can also utilize different tools such as Influencers or Virtual Book Tours creating variety in your approach. Change will also keep your audience engaged as new things always get people excited to follow along.