As we near the end of 2023, businesses are starting to look ahead at the predicted public relations trends for 2024. Digital PR has overtaken traditional PR as businesses seek to reach their target audience, drive web traffic and focus on search engine optimization.
In 2024, the key digital PR examples and trends we’ll see focus on how digital PR enables brands to connect with customers like never before.
What to expect in PR in 2024
The shift away from online events
As wariness around COVID starts to disappear, audiences are keen to get out and about to in-person events.
The past few years have taught us many of the benefits of a digital PR campaign vs traditional PR campaigns, and you can capitalise on these learnings.
For example, even at in-person events, we’ll see PR professionals using digital tools to create a more interactive experience.
Whether that’s encouraging audience participation via tools like Slido, creating content on demand or live streaming between one in-person event and another, digital options are vital to helping manage events, measure results, create brand awareness and keep audiences with an ever-shorter attention span engaged.
The importance of measuring your digital PR strategy results
Measuring PR impact is no longer a case of recording how many press releases you’ve sent out or how much coverage a PR agency has gained for a client.
Digital public relations allows more sophisticated measurement through Google analytics, monitoring of referral traffic and organic search traffic or analysing social media mentions.
If you’re working with an agency, check that it’s invested in tools that allow it to monitor and measure far more tangible data, such as online brand sentiment, which is a more valuable measurement than column inches.
The change in use of X (Twitter) for digital PR strategies
Twitter, as it was, used to be a great place to connect with journalists and submit pitches for relevant content.
Since its change to X, many media figures have defected to LinkedIn and savvy digital PR agency professionals are following them there.
Without the limitation of a Tweet, it’s a better place for businesses and PR agencies to build an online identity and raise brand awareness.
Online press releases give journalists swift access to the information they need – more important than ever with a 24/7 news cycle – and link building can drive more website traffic.
If your digital marketing strategy includes social media marketing and influencer marketing, Instagram and TikTok will also be better than X/Twitter for finding credible partners to work with on digital PR campaigns.
Using AI as an enabler
As the initial fear of AI dies down, it’s time to be more strategic about how it’s used. Common digital PR strategies include using AI to generate quality content such as blogs and social media posts.
Uses also include personalised responses to segmented audiences and automation of posting and monitoring media coverage.
While a strong digital PR campaign in 2024 will certainly include the use of AI, it’s vital to supplement AI content with human writing.
Most AI is still at the stage where it reads like AI – it’s difficult to pinpoint what’s off, but you can tell it wasn’t written by a real person.
To position your brand as a credible source and build customer trust, digital PR helps but can’t replace a traditional approach.
Oven-ready digital PR campaign
Newsrooms have been decimated over recent years. Many print publications are moving towards a digital-only future, hastened by the slump in advertising revenue during COVID.
This presents an opportunity to get mentioned online when media outlets use your press release or ready-to-run-with content.
One journalist is now covering the work of several and if you can deliver a release that’s written with their target audience in mind, in the house style of their online publications, it’s more likely they’ll copy and paste it straight onto their website.
Not only does this increase brand awareness and provide high-quality backlinks in search engines for you, it gives the journalist a reason to remember your businesses next time they’re writing about your industry.
Brand-focused and data-driven storytelling
If one of your digital PR aims is to come across as authentic and resonate with your target audience, you need to connect with the customer where they are.
This is often online rather than in print media; with content that’s created to be read on a phone rather than a computer; and in short, snappy soundbites instead of long-form copy.
Your brand’s in-person presence means very little if it doesn’t match your brand image online.
Utilising digital platforms such as social media and your website to tell the story of your brand will prove vital as audiences care more about how companies engage on an ethical and moral level. Using data to back this up is key.
Getting better at data-driven storytelling – presenting facts and figures in a compelling, memorable way – is a vital part of a digital PR strategy and works particularly well where you’re competing against endless other content, such as on social media platforms.
Digital PR campaigns revised for 2024
In 2024, digital PR focuses on many new or continuing trends that will see us move firmly out of the COVID PR landscape.
The marketing possibilities for combining an increased awareness of online marketing methods gained during lockdowns, with the greater connection gained from face-to-face press days, conferences and events, are exciting.
There’s no turning back from online PR and the importance of the digital space for increasing brand awareness.
While we’ll see more of this in 2024, we’ll also see a resurgence of traditional marketing techniques for direct sales and lead generation, which will seem novel after being underused during the COVID years.
If you want to skyrocket your digital PR strategy in 2024, get in touch with our team of experts to see how an agency can help.