PR and Communications Trends to Watch in 2021

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we have no idea what’s in store for the new year, but here goes!

Brevity Rewarded
Audiences will demand even shorter and faster content in 2021. So I’ll make this brief and practical.

Expanded Talent Pool
Covid taught us we can do remote work. Next up: smart hiring managers will take advantage of the expertise available and tap into a much larger talent pool.

Social Platforms to Watch
TikTok will continue to be recognized as mainstream and Clubhouse will get a lot of buzz when it comes out of private beta in 2021. Use the new year to understand Twitch as it has big promise, but will take time for advertisers to catch up with the content creators. Brands will continue to play around with LinkedIn stories and Twitter Fleets and decide it’s not worth it.

Smaller Getting Better
As mainstream media opportunities shrink, PR pros will find greater value in micro-influencers who can reach highly targeted groups. Bonus tip: check out SparkToro to find what they read.

On-Demand Workforce
Another result of Covid: more reliance on those remote-working, independent consultants who offer nimble, on/off availability. These indies will find each other and create micro-consultancies based on their expertise, not where they live.

Shift to Video and Spoken Word Continues
TikTok, Snapchat, Clubhouse and the launch of Fleets and stories all show the shift from written social content to voice. The same goes for podcasting as it is now considered mainstream and will continue its slow and steady growth in 2021.

Authenticity Source
More brands will discover employee-generated content as a way to deliver authenticity in 2021. Smart companies will know how to find this content on platforms such as TikTok and what to do with it.

You’ve Mastered the Mute Button, So What’s Next?
Dialing into Zoom will remain commonplace in 2021, so assessing your background, lighting and audio quality to match your professional image will be watched and critiqued more closely.

I Get This One Right Every Year
A company will make a dumb move (or be accused of one), then “hunker down” thinking it will blow over, and contact the PR crisis team after much of the damage occurs. Watch for the first example to come in January.

— By Jeffrey A. Davis, APR

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