With 2023 right around the corner, we asked our team to share what PR and marketing trends they anticipate for next year. Here are our nine takeaways for companies and brands to consider.

Influencer strategies get prioritized in the marketing mix. Collaborating with influencers helps to grow brand awareness, reach new – and niche – audiences, establish credibility for products and services, and drive sales. As competition for dwindling earned media space increases and consumers look more to influencers to make purchase decisions, a thoughtful influencer engagement strategy is a must for 2023 marketing and communications plans. The key is carefully vetting and selecting partners that connect with your target and then showing a willingness to form a relationship that benefits both parties. Work with your creator partners to launch engaging content that meets your brand goals, but also give them the freedom – guided by a carefully crafted brand brief – to suggest and develop authentic content they know their audiences will respond to. This combination will deliver maximum ROI and content everyone is proud of. -Kelly Janhunen

Earned media may not be enough to achieve brand or reputation goals. While C-suite leaders still appreciate (and sometimes insist on!) earned media coverage, it’s time for businesses, brands and their marketing advisors to think more broadly. Newspaper readership and TV news viewership are down, the media business model is under threat and Americans trust newspapers, TV and radio less than ever. Alternatives for strategic PR plans include influencer marketing, events and experiential activations, social and owned channels and – when media presence is a must – sponsored content to control the message. Brands also should consider opinion research with their target audiences to understand what sources of information are used and trusted most. -Paul Raab

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts need to be genuine and measurable. The public and stakeholders are quick to call out companies that aren’t truly committed to creating inclusive workplaces and no brand wants to be labeled as disingenuous. Before companies publicly tout their DEI efforts, executives and communications professionals should ensure those efforts can be backed up with real results — which starts by setting measurable goals. Once set, the goals – including why they were established and the impact they stand to make on the business or brand and the audiences and communities it serves – and the plan for achieving them, should be communicated to employees first, then to relevant external stakeholders, like investors, clients and customers. Next, adopt a regular cadence of providing updates, progress and achievements. If a goal hasn’t been met, share why and the plan for moving forward. That’s the key to building trust and credibility. -Shannon Hughes

More opportunities to take advantage of contributed content. Newsrooms continue to shrink, which means reporters are stretched thin – covering more topics with less time and resources. This presents more opportunities to partner with news outlets on a contributed article – a piece written by an outside author. Articles need to be non-promotional and unbiased but allow the author to provide insight or perspective on a topic or trend, establishing them as thought leaders in their industry. The key to success? Do your research upfront so you understand the type of content the target outlet is interested in, write the piece so it’s relevant to their audience, and know how the outlet prefers to be contacted.  -Kelly Brown

With media outreach, do the heavy lifting and offer value in the first email. As Kelly Brown alluded to, it’s not easy being a reporter these days. Deadlines and resources are tight, which means PR pros need to practice empathy and put themselves into the shoes of their reporter counterparts to get results. What does this look like when pitching? Offer value and do the heavy lifting. Whether you're sending a recipe for consideration or offering up an executive interview, assemble all the elements needed for the story into a single, organized email package. Include a link to a drobox folder with visual assets, quotes, ingredients and instructions, biography information, spokesperson credentials, a press release with full details, links to research and studies, and more. Not only does this streamline the process for the reporter by cutting down on back and forth, it allows you more space to make a better case for why the reporter should cover your story now.  -Libby Pinkerton

Affiliate marketing becomes even more relevant. It’s rare today to see a product roundup that doesn’t involve editors or news outlets receiving a commission through the products they feature. This happens through affiliate links that allow for the collection of a percentage of product sales, and many inbound media requests from HARO and Qwoted require them to even consider a product for a story. If you work in the CPG industry, now is the time to start a conversation about how you can leverage affiliate marketing for products through Amazon Affiliates, Skimlinks or ShareASale to continue garnering national news coverage in 2023. Bonus fact—once an outlet has covered your product using an affiliate link, it is very likely they will reuse the link in new coverage down the road. -Marina Salais-Robbins

Invest in your relationship with reporters. In today’s media landscape, you must invest in the relationship with the reporter you’re pitching. With reporters receiving hundreds of pitches per day, a strong relationship can help you get coverage. Here’s how: First, spend time reading and commenting on their articles and engaging with them on social media, even connecting on LinkedIn, when appropriate. Next, foster the relationship by treating media the way you’d treat a friend or colleague. When it makes sense, ask about their families, interests and hobbies. If you can align your brand or pitch offer to those things, even better! -Sari Winston

Research is an important step when pitching media. The news media circuit moves fast, so as we consider our storytelling approach in 2023, dedicating more time to research before pitching could yield the best results. Here are four ideas for how to do this. 1) Examine current trends in your company or brand’s industry, so you can offer something relevant and interesting or unusual. 2) When possible, include hard-hitting, current data in your pitch – this roots it in facts, draws the reporter's attention and adds credibility. 3) When pitching local media, uncover topics of interest and importance for that community and use them in your outreach. 4) Consider the type of subject matter experts the reporter typically works with to confirm your spokesperson offer is a good fit. A mass pitching approach won’t be successful, so be thoughtful in who you reach out to, what you’re offering and how you follow up. -Haley Henning

Newsjacking never goes out of style. With so much content saturating the news cycle from human interest stories to new studies and data to celebrities and social media trends, there are unlimited opportunities to insert yourself into the conversation. Understand how your company or brand can add value, then make sure your expertise aligns with the topic, so you can credibly participate in the conversation. For example, our team often uses new third-party data in media pitches, and we recently had success getting a safety products client featured in Healthline with this approach. Finding creative ways to leverage the existing news cycle can be effective in earning news coverage, which is why newsjacking should be part of your newsmaking strategy in 2023. -Mallory West