One word speaking to us all in 2023: Resilience. While no one is certain what this year is going to bring and no one can truly predict how to navigate the next 12 months, one thing we can do is prepare our businesses and put our best efforts forward. “How can companies prepare themselves?” I’m glad you asked. Here are 5 things PR professionals should have on their radar in 2023.
1. Submit to awards. If you’ve got clients who are industry experts, one way to explicitly show this to the world is to nominate them for legitimate awards and other recognition in 2023. This is crucial. Maximize their exposure and position them as the best in class in their respective industry or field. It’s not uncommon for awards to be presented at a larger industry event. This allows your client to be in front of their peers and prospects at a key moment in time when many are gathered and hyper-focused on their industry. Award recognition gives companies a reason to promote themselves on LinkedIn or through a news release, which is always nice. Just make sure the award is a legitimate one, and not strictly a pay-to-play opportunity (there are some words out there which anyone can receive for the right price). If you’re unsure, seek the advice of a PR professional when discerning which awards are worth it and which deserve to be thrown in the trash.
2. Make friends with micro-influencers. Micro-influencers isn’t a scientific term but many in the industry use it. Essentially, they are people with social audiences under 100,000 who have an engaged, active following listening to what they have to say. Don’t be fooled by the name. These “micros” can be massively powerful voices for a brand who fits their niche. Whether it’s working with a manufacturing industry influencer to promote your solution on their LinkedIn page through an authentic post—i.e. The Manufacturing Millennial—of finding an up-and-coming Tiktoker with all the moves to market your consumer product, micro-influencers can pay dividends when companies carefully choose them and make them an integrated part of a broader PR strategy.
3. Be ready to help frame hiring freezes or layoffs. Let’s be frank: layoffs are depressing. The dreaded pink slip is never something an organization wants to promote, particularly when 10% to 15% of their workforce gets it (looking at you, Salesforce). But, business is business. With economic uncertainty in the air in 2023, businesses and their PR firms should have a plan in place for how they communicate layoffs both internally and externally. Do better than Better.com. In an era where mostly everything gets shared on social media, companies need to be particularly careful and empathic when making tough personnel decisions. First, it’s the right thing to do. And second, having a plan in place for how to communicate it effectively can mean the difference between “this sucks but we’ll get through it” to “we’re inundated with 1 out of 5 Glassdoor reviews and a litany of LinkedIn posts declaring our company has no soul.”
4. Dig deep into data and share it with the world. Surveys, reports, and data run modern businesses, but using and interpreting these for communication and marketing purposes is easier said than done. In an effort to stand out from companies—particularly from those shying away from spending on projects that may not seem to produce immediate ROI—consider how your clients can effectively use any aggregate data at their disposal to produce informative industry reports that showcase them as thought leaders in front of their key audience. A prime example: We’re working with one of our commercial real estate clients to develop a report on the top 20 “Third City Markets” in the U.S. based on an analysis of rental rates, vacancies, quality of life and other criteria. (Please don’t take our idea, the report isn’t out just yet!). This was a combination of data scraped through Census information, databases and other resources and fed into a formula the client created to rank these cities. It shows to the world this client is a thought leader in secondary and tertiary commercial real estate while providing valuable information and insights along the way.
I encourage you to take this information and do as I was told at Loyola University Chicago, “go forth and set  on fire”. That means being bold and unafraid to venture out into uncertainty. It means using your gifts, talents and resources for good. In a word, it means resilience. Let’s do this.