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Digital PR trends for 2022

In the wonderful world of digi PR, links in stories are our bread and butter. Here we look at the current media trends, and how we think these will continue in the ‘new normal’.

Fame making in a post pandemic world

As we’re moving to a post-Covid time, some trends in the online news media landscape are still set to continue. It is the ‘big issue’ news stories that dominate the digital column inches.

And those news column inches are actually reducing. The overall number of pieces published in those titles has decreased by 20% - down from nearly 2.5 million articles in 2015, to below 2 million in 2020/2021. It’s not all doom and gloom though, journos are still picking up our stories, (and we know why)…

Consumers' news-diets are flexitarian - a mix of wholesome stories and some tastier snacks and delights. Purpose-led brands can authentically lead in the big-issues space, and there’s still plenty of appetite for splashes of joy and entertainment.

Online channel boundaries are increasingly blurred - influencer campaigns straddle socials and earned media, and social-first activations can jump into earned media (ahem, nice one - Weetabix and Heinz Baked Beans). More clients will want their brand stories planned across paid-social and PR channels.

Still, one outcome of the tightening of the more traditional earned media real-estate is that PR opportunities are fewer - and the number of brand-fame-making, proactive and prominent articles in online leading media outlets has measurably decreased.

Despite this shrinkage, in 2021 the majority of our clients’ coverage was in high domain authority (DA) sites, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of it in publications with a DA over 40.

We know we’ve got to continually widen our media lists, to keep finding opportunities outside the ‘traditional’ news titles. Journalists are still chomping at the bit to bring original newsworthy stories to a readership that’s increasingly online and being served with stories from a greater diversity of titles.

Being findable

So, we’ve spoken about hitting those big figures with DAs, and we’ve spoken about PR campaigns backed with £££’s, but are we slightly neglecting the mid-range DA titles?

Everyone wants to be the best, but we believe you don’t have the always be the best of the best in a flash in the pan moment kinda way.

Good work and consistency can outshine this. With that in mind, 2022 is looking like the year of creating more “findability stories”, more frequently in mid-range DA sites.

These can be highly relevant - and more productive as a source of follow links than traditional titles. Direct-to-consumer brands, placing a high-value on search-visibility, want backlinked coverage in a wide variety of referring domains. For us, clients like Gousto have an audience that browse through Daily Mail articles, scroll through online lifestyle blogs looking for the latest home cooked recipes, and listen to Katherine Ryan’s latest podcast.

With audience targeting in mind, how can we take these stories further?

Making “findability stories” adaptable, with different headlines that will appeal to different media verticals, you’re tailoring to fit the brief in a much snugger way. This should land more coverage, with more links, as well as broadening audience appeal for brands outside their usual box.

Article written by Colin Cather, creative director at agency Bottle PR

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