The past few years have been challenging for PR professionals. First came the pandemic, later followed by an excruciatingly bad year for crypto and the stock market. All these factors have influenced how tech companies will handle public relations in 2023.
PR “as usual” will move away from the norms we’ve grown used to, especially when it comes to utilizing Twitter for communicating with media. There will be a need for PR pros to change how they cultivate relationships with journalists and how they reach out to reporters. Here are the ways PR needs to change in 2023.
Become less reliant on Twitter
One of the biggest changes coming in 2023 is that Twitter will likely play less of a role for PR pros. The Elon Musk-owned Twitter is a far different platform than it was at the beginning of 2022. If he remains in control, the changes he’s enacted will greatly affect how companies use Twitter as part of a PR strategy, how journalists use it as part of their research and reporting processes (if they continue to use it at all), and how both will use it (or not) to maintain relationships.
Moving forward, I expect Twitter will play less of a role in how journalists get quotes for their articles. While Donald Trump was president, reporters became accustomed to watching his tweets if they wanted the latest details on what he was doing or even about new executive orders. Using Twitter for research has also become the norm for many tech articles, in which one often sees statements like “the company announced via Twitter.” Many of 2022’s biggest stories — such as the Luna crash and the FTX/Alameda debacle — directly quoted tweets as sources of information.
Since Musk took over Twitter, journalists have had their accounts deactivated without advance notice. This has led some to reevaluate their relationship with the platform, so 2023 will likely involve significant changes in the way PR people communicate and nurture relationships with reporters. Only time will tell whether Twitter will make it or whether Mastodon or some other platform wins the game.
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Follow email newsletters by journalists
During the pandemic, quite a few strong journos left prestigious publications and forged their own paths. Platforms such as Substack, Lede and TinyLetter have helped journalists cultivate personal followings on specialized topics. One notable example is Casey Newton, who left his position as senior editor at The Verge in 2020 to found his own tech newsletter, Platformer, on Substack. PR teams should have these journalists on their radar in 2023 as key outlets to pitch for coverage.
This trend toward independent journalism emphasizes the importance of having strong relationships with the journalists themselves instead of only with the publications. Because these publishing platforms enable reporters to earn income through subscriber fees, this is a trend I don’t expect to go away anytime soon.
Add podcasts to your PR strategy
Ever since the pandemic, podcasts have become a hugely powerful tool for reaching audiences, so PR teams need to make sure pitching podcasts is part of their strategy for 2023. With 130.5 million people in the U.S. listening to podcasts each month, according to an eMarketer forecast, PR pros cannot afford to ignore this vertical.
With people listening in as they commute to work, go for a run on the treadmill or hop on a bicycle ride through town, podcast guests are reaching dedicated and captivated audiences. There’s pretty much a podcast for any interest group, so no matter what industry a company is in, there will likely be a broad selection of podcasts dedicated to it.
Prepare for a return to in-person events
During the pandemic, events became remote, enabling people to attend or speak at conferences without having to travel halfway around the world — or even across town. We’re now seeing a desire, at least among the tech crowd, to return to face-to-face networking. Most events are back to in-person now, and these real-world speaking opportunities are key.
Tech companies that reduced or even eliminated travel budgets for marketing will need to rethink those cuts for 2023. This also means PR teams will need to once again focus on pre-conference communications with journalists to line up onsite interviews for founders and execs attending those events.
Focus on highly targeted exclusives
There’s a lot of noise in the tech industry — especially in the crypto scene. Reporters can receive hundreds of pitches each day. The “spray and pray” approach to announcing company news isn’t working anymore — if it ever did. That’s why in 2023, PR pros will focus on quality over quantity, which means more targeted exclusives and fewer wide outreaches and embargoes. Founders will need to adjust their expectations as PR teams focus on very defined audiences instead of pumping out press releases to myriad tech publications that may not be relevant to their clients’ target audiences.
Reaching out to carefully selected reporters with exclusive pitches that are right for them will require heavy customization. PR teams will need to work closely with marketing and product teams to create personalized graphics and experiences for individual reporters to catch their attention. This will entail doing more research to create a unique experience for each reporter.
Change with the times
Heading into 2023, it’s clear the PR industry must adapt to the changing landscape. This means diversifying the platforms used to connect with reporters — including following the best new journalist newsletters — as well as making sure podcasts are included in PR strategies.
With the return to in-person events, founders should be prepared to meet and greet journalists at industry gatherings. Finally, previous broad outreach methods have lost their effectiveness. The industry needs to focus on sending highly customized exclusive pitches to reporters.
Change is the only constant thing in life. The past three years have been wildly unpredictable, each in its own way, and the PR industry needs to remain agile to withstand any bumps or curves along the road ahead.
Founder & CEO of award-winning global PR agency SlicedBrand, Ayelet successfully led PR for thousands of tech/crypto companies for 20 years.
This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.
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