State of the PR Industry

State of the PR Industry

Authored by Shannon Berg, CEO and Founder

The President is set to deliver the annual State of the Union address. The time-honored tradition got me thinking about the State of the PR Industry. Where are we headed? Where can we lead not only in our industry but in business? Here are my picks for the big PR opportunities ripe for the picking:

1. Evolve your ESG storytelling. More than ever, stakeholders want companies to communicate their social and environmental impact. The good news for PR practitioners? These are the very best stories to tell. The ones that make a difference. That win over newsrooms and win the day for our clients. Here’s your chance to show ESG in action by amplifying the voices of the people who benefit. All while advancing sustainability, DE&I, and impact-focused philanthropy.

2. Support independent, local journalism. Community newspapers like the Medford Mail Tribune are shuttering their doors. Others are laying off editorial and reporting staff. PR pros rely on community-based journalism to help reach audiences with news that matters to them. Because when it comes to trusted news sources, local outlets are unmatched. This is the year to buy that monthly subscription. Reach out to the newsroom to build a relationship. Advocate for media partnerships with these publications. A small investment in community newspapers goes a long way, and they need your support more than ever.

3. Participate in the profession. After three years of virtual events and remote work, many PR pros feel disconnected from their industry peers. Make 2023 a year to reengage. PRSA Oregon is a treasure trove of leaders who mentor, volunteer and connect people with opportunities. Leaders like Dianne Danowski, Brian Terrett, Dave Thompson, Jenna Cooper Gross, and so many others. Crash your PRSA chapter’s CommCon this year. Check out the PRSA ICON or section conference. Consider APR accreditation. If you can sponsor an event or volunteer to serve in a leadership role, even better.

4. Support early career practitioners and practitioners of color. If you want to strengthen our industry, practice inclusive hiring and career development. Mentor. Create opportunities and invest in the careers of young people and people of color. The Detroit PR firm 98Forward sets the bar high by investing in diverse PR students. Its scholarship fund, the Berg Muirhead Scholarship for Student Advancement, backs PR students at my alma mater, Wayne State University. The public relations industry is stronger when it amplifies diverse voices and prioritizes representation.

5. Invest in education and continued skills development for your communicators. How people receive and share news has transformed in the last decade. How are you keeping pace? How are you learning to write for new channels? How are you adapting your evaluation methods to measure impact? Invest in skills development. Last year our team attended the PRSA Icon and a weeklong writing workshop, along with an unforgettable Lizzo concert (she’s a master communicator!). In February we’ll be in California for a storytelling workshop. Every month we order books from Powell’s to keep our creative minds activated. Keep investing in learning for yourself and your team.

6. Lead the way on creating healthy workplaces. It’s not uncommon to find PR ranked among the most stressful jobs in America in surveys. But it doesn’t have to be. PR Agency owners can be leaders in the movement toward healthier workplaces. At B&A we’ve adopted a generous time off policy. A wellness stipend. Company-funded wellness and professional development activities. Flexible scheduling. Employee-led company planning and a high-trust culture. This is the year to make strides in creating healthy workplaces.

7. Be who you are and do what you believe in. This is what stakeholders are asking for. Be clear and transparent about who you are and what you stand for. Find your why. Find your voice. And make it heard.

At the 2022 PRSA Icon, a presenter said, “PR isn’t waiting for a seat at the table. We set the table.” It’s true that we are pace-setters. Fortune tellers. We see the direction stakeholders’ expectations are headed. And we help our clients get there faster. In 2023, let’s put our good instincts and influence to work for the betterment of our workplaces and profession.