What are the PR trends every brand should know? Well, it starts with understanding the ever-changing media landscape. Every few weeks, we hear about a publication folding completely—see last week’s The Counter—or exclusively moving to a digital presence, like last week’s Martha Stewart Living announcement. Media outlets have been declining for years, triggered by a loss in readership and ad revenue. As such, PR trends and strategies have drastically changed: Companies are leveraging social media influencers more than ever, honing in on affiliate partnerships and relying on new hyperlocal outlets to help tell brand stories.
As we all must adjust to the new PR normal, here are some developments and trends that natural and organic brands need to be paying attention to.
PR trend No. 1: The growing influence of influencers
More people are looking to influencers who are trusted by their audiences to help them make buying decisions. According to eMarketer/Insider Intelligence, influencer marketing on social networks in the U.S., including Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, will surpass $4 billion this year, up 34% from last year. When doing due diligence to see which influencers might be a good fit for you, keep in mind that bigger is not always better. An influencer with a hyper-focused, dedicated following that mirrors your target audience is likely a better fit than one with millions of followers.
PR trend No. 2: Hyper-local media outlets
Over the past few years, we’ve seen hyperlocal online publications rise in popularity, such as Axios, now in 14 cities, and City Cast, now in six cities. These publications are locally operated with often deep-pocketed investors who want to invest in their cities’ local journalism. Research if your city is home to these types of outlets that could be a good fit for your stories.
PR trend No. 3: The rise of paywall memberships
Some writers are turning to subscription-based income streams like Patreon and Substack to both diversify their income and tell stories with complete creative liberty. Patreon helps creators and artists earn a monthly income by providing rewards and perks to their subscribers. Substack provides publishing, payment, analytics and design infrastructure to support subscription newsletters. As with influencers, research which content creators work in your industry and how you could provide value to their paid subscribers.
PR trends No. 4: Affiliate marketing
This year, $8 billion of products are expected to be sold via affiliate marketing. This can be done through social media influencers’ posts or online articles, like this New York Times article on best gifts. Traditional news outlets, such as The New York Times, are turning toward affiliate marketing to diversify their revenue stream, while influencers are looking to monetize their clout. When you see that little disclaimer at the top of articles that’s similar to “When you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission,” that’s a sure-fire way to recognize publications that use affiliate marketing. For influencers, a standard agreement is that their followers will receive a percentage discount (e.g. 20% off) and that influencer receives a kickback percentage of sales. To get started on an affiliate partnership platform and/or learn what it might look like for your business, check out ShareASale or Refersion.
Whether you’re a new natural products company on the scene or a longtime veteran, it’s important to think beyond the usual news release to traditional media to get in front of your target customers.
Kuvy Ax, owner of ROOT Marketing & PR, and Nancy Trent, founder and CEO of Trent and Company, will present "Scrappy PR Strategies from the Pros," at 2:40-3 p.m. ET Wednesday, April 27, during Natural Products Business School. In addition, Ax is offering free, 30-minute consultations on telling your story.
Natural Products Business School supports emerging brands in finding the resources and information needed to fuel growth and scale impact. To participate in our April 27 programming and access On Demand content, become an All-Access Member of Natural Products Expo Virtual Community, which grants you access to premium content, industry benefits, buyer meetings and more throughout 2022.