PR in 2024: 4 predictions for the transformative year ahead

by | Dec 20, 2023 | Public Relations

The world of PR is changing faster than ChatGPT can plan your next vacation—and 2024 is poised to be one of the most transformative years yet. Of course, AI is top of mind throughout the industry and beyond; new ethical and measurement considerations will emerge in its wake. Mix in the rising popularity of independent journalism and multimedia, and it’s clear that we’re due for some major innovation in the new year. 

As always, it’s impossible to predict all the new developments that will emerge in even a year’s time. That said, we’re already seeing some major shifts this year, with ripple effects sure to carry over into next. Here are my thoughts on four key PR trends we’ll see in 2024. 

1. Greater transparency and authenticity

AI use in the workforce is escalating, and fake news and online misinformation are surging. All of it underscores the need for heightened scrutiny and verification of information sources. This evolving landscape places a premium on ethical practices, prompting PR professionals to critically assess the origin, providers, and ethical alignment of the data and news they engage with. 

AI was designed to enhance human capabilities, not replace them. This makes it a highly valuable business asset; McKinsey predicts that it will create up to $2.6 trillion in business value in sales and marketing alone. Still, AI tech has a profound ability to mimic human communication, which demands vigilance. This technology is powerful, and there needs to be an appropriate sense of responsibility as we explore its potential. 

In a broader sense, the industry is gearing up for a proactive movement towards greater authenticity, transparency, and responsible communication practices. These values have always been important for maintaining public trust, but they’ll become increasingly more so as AI tech continues to advance in ways we can’t even foresee yet. 

2. Substack will lead to the birth of new trade publications

The rise of Substack, with journalists leaving traditional media roles to establish their own newsletters, is reshaping the media landscape. This trend is bound to continue in 2024, giving birth to a new era of independent journalism. I admire and respect the entrepreneurial spirit of journalists venturing into the world of Substack and platforms like it. I see it as a sign of passion, drive, and exceptional thought leadership in the industry. 

Going forward, these Substack newsletters will likely serve as a stepping stone for the creation of entire new media publications. For the PR industry, the emergence of diverse media outlets will translate to more opportunities for engagement. These publications will allow PR professionals to tap into a dynamic and robust media landscape, carving out new avenues for strategic communication and brand promotion. 

3. AI will speed up and automate measurement

AI has the potential to influence PR in many profound ways, but reporting and measurement is one area where I feel the technology will especially move the needle. My commitment to discovering a superior PR measurement system remains unwavering, and 2024 promises major strides in this direction. I anticipate the introduction of new service offerings in the PR industry, which will enhance the efficiency of reporting processes and allow for quicker, automated systems. 

AI’s integration into measurement processes addresses existing shortcomings in reporting platforms, offering more comprehensive and reliable results. The shift is not just about embracing technology for its own sake, but about empowering the PR industry to provide valuable insights and tangible results to both internal and external clients. The prospect of a more efficient measurement system is a welcome development, streamlining PR processes and enhancing the overall effectiveness of communication strategies. 

4. More multimedia in PR

In 2024, we’ll see a surge in the use of multimedia content in public relations, transforming the way brands communicate with their audiences. Last year, I predicted that we’d see more pitches to podcasters and YouTubers, which has definitely come to fruition. Audio and video demand is high: podcast listenership remains incredibly popular, and Hubspot found that 54 percent of consumers wanted to see more video content from a business or brand they support. Beyond traditional text-based messaging, PR professionals will increasingly incorporate audio and video formats to enhance customer experiences and establish stronger connections with target audiences. 

This multimedia trend extends beyond traditional platforms, requiring PR professionals to adapt to emerging channels. Collaborations with podcast hosts, YouTube vloggers, and other media outlets will become the new norm, surpassing traditional platforms. Staying informed about these emerging opportunities is crucial for PR professionals looking to navigate this dynamic landscape successfully. 

John McCartney
John McCartney, APR, is a Principal at Jmac PR, a boutique Strategic PR and Marketing Communications agency based in Los Angeles. He is a PRSA-LA board member (Treasurer) and serves on the DEI and Sponsorship committees. You can connect with John on Linkedin, follow him on Twitter at @johnny_mac, or learn more at  www.jmacpr.com.


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