Public Relation Trends in 2020: What is HOT and What is NOT

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Digital Public Relation Trends in 2020: What is HOT and What is NOT


First let’s answer the following question: What is a trend? A trend is the general direction in which something is changing and developing. There are makeup trends, public relation trends, fashion trends and everything in between.

What worked last time will not necessarily work this year. Like everything else PR trends are also constantly changing and to stay ahead of all the changes you should read all the time and most importantly try out of the box strategies by yourself.

And it may sound funny but PR also needs PR.

When one searches to find the best definition of PR they might fail to understand which one is the best. It’s not clear to a lot of people—even those in PR—what we do!

The “What People Think I Do” meme for PR could go something like this:


If I had to define it, I’d start with some of my favorite definitions:


“Public relations is communicating your organization’s messages at the right time and in the right place to the right audience. With the proliferation of tools and technologies, we can measure the value of those efforts and how they align with a business’ overall mission.”

Marla Aaron — MRM Worldwide


“PR is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

PRSA (Public Relations Society of America)


“PR is in the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution.”



“Public relations is the creation, distribution and dissemination of messaging and communications for the purpose of promoting and fostering positive awareness, associations, imagery, perception of a person, place or thing among a particular target audience to effect a desired behavior.”

Dan Geten

To me, PR means Perfect Relations.

PR is all about communication and having a good relationship with journalists is crucial. PR pros spread awareness to promote products and ideas that support their position to try to convince an audience from all over the world to buy. To promote product stories and bring awareness, PR pros should stay abreast of the latest PR trends, and have a network of journalists whom they can pitch their PR storytelling to.

More and more businesses are realizing the importance of digital PR everyday.

They are using PR to spread awareness of their products, ideas and through PR they are building trust, are generating engagement, and are forming relationships with their prospects who will then become lifelong customers and their biggest brand ambassadors.

To make the most of your outreach, take a look at the latest trends in PR.


What Is A HOT Public Relation Trend?

Public relation trends are changing all the time. To stay ahead of your competitors you should read up on PR trends all the time and to avoid making mistakes it’s better to learn from other’s mistakes and fuck ups.



PR Storytelling remains the hottest thing in PR trends.

Creative storytelling is not new. Creative storytelling in the case of product promotions means creating a story that depicts how miserable life would be without your product or service. Every minute some new product is created and not every product can attract the attention of journalists.

To attract journalists one should have a well-constructed story as this is what interests journalists. PR storytelling is important as it explains to the customer the background of the product, why they need it, and how it adds to their own life.

Telling someone they need a certain coffee versus telling them about where it grew, how their ancestors brewed the same leaf once, and how they can become a part of this cycle of nature and enjoyment, has a noticeably different impact.

Storytelling in a PR pitch, therefore, is the fastest way of achieving results that elevate brand exposure while supporting the marketing and sales objectives.


To get started with PR storytelling you can ask yourself a couple questions:

  • What is the background story behind this information?
  • What’s the bigger context?
  • How is this process going to benefit the reader or listener?
  • What is the journey it’s going to help them on?
  • How will it help their life?

Basically, you’re making the reader answer this question in their minds:

“Why on earth should I read this and why on earth do I need to get this product for myself?’’

According to this hot public relation trend, you need to create a journey through the information. Then take them on a journey where A happens, which leads to B, and then eventually leads to C. What journalists want for their readers is quality content and once you share that with them, you can expect much higher results!


Voice Content & Podcasts

Voice content/podcasts are getting more popular day by day, and as such, the idea of a PR podcast was born. This year it was announced that over 100 million Alexa devices have been sold. Voice search is officially here!

These virtual home assistants are no longer only being used for playing music or turning on other electronic devices. There is an increasing number of people using them to listen to news and other information. A PR podcast is rapidly becoming an ideal tool for lifelong readers and this is something that PR pros should consider in 2020.



A Short Pitch

A short pitch to the right journalist is always hot.

Doing your research and finding the best journalists that are interested in the niche that you are presenting is very important.

Never pitch a culture journalist about your next new tech product. You’re wasting not only your time but also his/her time. Just imagine how irritating it would be if you were a journalist that has all their interests listed in social media—most of them do—and you receive a barrage of pitches every day that have nothing to do with you!

So, do your research!

Don’t send long pitches that make them yawn. Send a short pitch and personalize it, and include all the additional information in the press release. So once they read the pitch, they will quickly understand whether it’s their beat or not, and can make the choice whether they want to continue investigating the topic.



Earned & Owned Media

In 2020, the mixture of earned and owned media is as hot as ever.

Owned media is all about your own channels, such as those on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or it can be the website that you have.

Earned media is when the press and public shares your content and speak about your brand. That’s why this process is called earned—your product, your efforts or something else you’ve done has earned you space on their pages, potentially voluntarily and completely free!

This is going to be huge in 2020, and one thing that matters to earned media is very much connected to the previous point—to get earned media interested, relevant research is the key. Sending the right PR pitch about the right product to the right journalists can bring you media mentions which can give more credibility to your product/service and bring awareness.

What is a NOT HOT Trend in PR?

Equally important to understanding the public relation trends, is considering what is not hot in Digital PR in 2020.

Avoiding these things will let you skirt the media faux-pas that could diminish your otherwise good chances of getting featured, and in the worst cases actually get you negative PR!



It doesn’t matter if it’s 2020, 2019, 1995 or 2195—Spam is something that is NOT. Every. Single. Time.

No one likes being spammed, particularly journalists whose inboxes are full 24/7.

If you want to attract the attention of a journalist, follow ups are a great tool. But be careful, spamming them all the time with emails is not something that they will like. After sending your PR pitch, your follow ups are important tools to share new info about the product you want them to cover. It can include updates regarding product features that have changed or something that’s new.

Spamming them every day and expecting them to reply is not something that will happen.

In PR it’s important to have patience, as journalists are really busy. Imagine yourself in their place. Your calendar is already full, you have new assignments from your editor and someone keeps popping up in your inbox promoting their product/service (more about promotional content later on).

Some interesting statistics about follow ups:

Survey results show that most (73%) of journalists are quite OK with receiving a follow up to a PR pitch they didn’t respond to. Only 12% would prefer to not receive any type of follow up.


Pitching Irrelevant Stories

While PR storytelling is important, pitching irrelevant stories is the next thing that you should NOT do. Here, once again, we touch upon the importance of research.

Before sending a short pitch about your product, you should explore and find out whether your pitch is relevant to that journalist or not. Do NOT read an article that a journalist wrote in 2010 and decide that he/she will be interested in covering your product because back then he had written something similar.

Journalists have a tendency to change their topics from time to time and a simple Google search will help you understand the current topics a journalist covers.

The #prfail hashtag is very popular on Twitter, and one example is Caitlin Kelly’s (New York Times) about irrelevant stories:



Impersonal Bulk Outreach

Unpersonalized and bulk outreach is among the big NOT to dos.

Don’t send pitches that are not personalized. Take time to understand what’s in a journalist’s beat and investigate what his/her audience is interested in. When you know all this you can proudly send your pitch and wait for them to respond.

Making evident that you know their areas of coverage and moreover, showing in the pitch that you’re well aware of what will interest their audience can totally change the game. And this is something that people really remember.

Even if they reject the offer of covering your product, next time you pitch them they’ll remember you and open your email more willingly. Examples to take a look at from #prfails regarding this point are the following:




Me Content

Content that is too promotional is the next no-no.

It’s very important to realize what the job of journalists is. Journalists are not sitting there waiting for your next product promotion. They are not there waiting to increase the sales of your product.

Journalists seek stories and quality/trustworthy content for their readers.

We are pitching journalists as we want to provide value to their audiences and maybe help them fill in their editorial calendar. And it’s not always about us.

Of course, you want to bring awareness to your next project but if you are mentioning your brand all the time and sound overly salesy it’s not going to work. First, you should tell them what are the highlights of your product and how their audience is going to benefit.

Giving them valuable and quality content is what matters. Talk not only about your brand but also how it’s relevant to them and why they should cover it.



With these public relation trends, traditional PR is out the door!

More and more businesses are understanding the benefits of the latest trends in PR and they are employing it to spread awareness about their businesses and leave their footprint in this very big and competitive market.

As Mathilde Mignon (a PR Specialist) says, “The secret to our job is to never become discouraged and always approach our relationship with the media and our clients with as much enthusiasm as we did on the first day!”

Never give up, read about and follow the latest trends in PR, implement and most importantly think out of the box!

OR… think like there is no box 😉


Serine Melikyan

Serine Melikyan

PR & Media Expert with demonstrated expertise in Strategic Communications. Collaborated with top media outlets to promote the boldest of innovations at the intersection of tech, sports, and lifestyle. Reach me at [email protected]


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