Zilker Media’s 2023 Predictions for Personal Branding

At Zilker Media, we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing in PR and digital marketing. That’s why we’ve put together a list of trends that we predict will be the biggest in 2023.

Whether they’re already happening or just starting to take shape, this list is sure to help guide your decision-making as we move into the new year and beyond.

Rusty Shelton, Chairman
Leaders are operating in an increasingly skeptical world, a new reality backed up by a 2022 Gallup study that shows trust in institutions & businesses is at an all-time low. But while your audience may no longer trust your company, they are willing to trust YOU, if you are visible to them in an authentic, mission-driven way. Unfortunately, most leaders are still in a mindset that servant leadership happens only behind the scenes but that has shifted post-COVID. In today’s environment, the best way for leaders to serve their team, clients and partners is to do so at scale by being visible. Our encouragement is to understand that thought leadership today is no longer a marketing tactic or exercise in ego, instead, when done correctly, it is best and highest use for leaders that want to make an impact at scale.

Paige Velasquez Budde, CEO and Partner
In today’s environment, owning data is power. Consumer data is becoming less accessible (rightfully so) to hyper-target consumers through third-party applications. The days of brands being able to connect with consumers and generate targeted revenue solely on Facebook or Google advertising are gone. Research also shows consumers are becoming more protective of their data – a trend we have seen increase throughout the pandemic. It is more important now than ever for brands to evaluate the right data acquisition strategy that leads with personalized value for their audience. If you are currently dedicating resources to social media strategy, public relations, events or advertising, I encourage you to take a step back and review your big-picture strategy. Do you have a call-to-action to siphon off exposure from these third-party platforms and direct them to assets you completely own (your website, podcast, email list, blog)? And once you get your audience to your owned assets, like your website, is there a way for you to extend your interaction with them?

At the end of the day, brands that focus on building data they own and utilize that data to lead with value will be able to win in 2023 and beyond with their marketing strategy. I encourage leaders to think differently about their approach to acquiring consumer data and to turn away from depending solely on third-party platforms. Those that continue on this path will exhaust their resources quickly and be left behind in the changing landscape.

Shelby Janner, Chief Publicity Officer
Unfortunately, we will continue to see local media outlets shrink in 2023 and beyond, with the most noticeable example being Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper chain. They laid off 200 employees in December and 400 in the summer, leaving many positions unfilled. This means that there are less people to cover the same amount of news, making it very, very difficult for PR pros trying to pitch a story, no matter how timely or important it may be. Many of our clients love getting covered in their local markets, but the hard truth is that as newsrooms continue to shrink, local news coverage just won’t be attainable.

Melanie Cloth, Creative Lead
The rise of humanized branding. More than ever, consumers want to interact with people. In 2023, brands will need to shift to ensure they aren’t coming across as faceless entities. Whether it’s including elements like handwriting, crafting personable copy or leading with a spokesperson, their products and services should feel genuine and authentic. This feels like a fitting move for us here – where people are at the center of everything we do.

Haley Snider, Brand Strategist
Often when looking at social media marketing, most individuals see it as a B2C tool. While social platforms are indeed an opportunity to connect with the consumer market, we are seeing B2B brands building strong communities on social networks such as LinkedIn. These days, sales meetings, conferences, and business decisions happen online. By sharing industry-specific insights and focusing on an authentic relationship-building strategy, B2B brands can connect with key business decision-makers and bring in lucrative contracts.

Hootsuite recently shared a study that found by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions will occur on digital channels and 80% of LinkedIn members will drive key business decisions. If you are a B2B brand looking to get ahead of your industry competitors and build a deeper lead pipeline, 2023 is the year to focus on digital marketing.

Katherine Bingham, Publicist
There will be a shift in the way we measure PR campaigns. Superficial numbers like an outlet’s circulation, for example, can only tell you so much about the value of that particular media hit. A site may garner millions of page views per month, but there’s no guarantee you’re reaching the right folks. Especially in today’s economy, it’s important to think critically about the media your target audience is actually reading, watching and listening to. Spoiler alert: it’s not always the one with the fancy logo. In 2023, I see PR pros lasering in on the “why” behind each piece of outreach, focusing more on the bottom line rather than chasing after vanity metrics.

Haley Edwards, Junior Graphic Designer
With social media algorithms favoring video, we will continue to see a departure from static graphics. This shift is providing an interesting opportunity for designers keeping up with these trends to begin experimenting with animated logos, social posts, and website elements. At Zilker Media, we have seen animated graphics greatly out-performing static ones, and we believe video content will continue to dominate into 2023.

Kate Grace Kotara, Business Development Representative
I would predict that Twitter will become a subscription-based service with a monthly fee for users. We will see a decline in Twitter users as a result of this price change. Businesses and individuals will start shopping around for other marketing platforms to use instead of Twitter. The decline of Twitter users will lead to the emergence of a new, similar platform that will replace Twitter in popularity.

Nichole Williamson, Chief Brand Officer
LinkedIn will continue to rise as the top social media platform for thought leadership. We will see an increase in LinkedIn newsletters to drive high-level expertise and be the dominant top-performing content in addition to video content. Organic content will still remain the top feature of LinkedIn as well but we will see a shift to an increase in ad spend with higher producing results for businesses and organizations.

Hannah Arceri, Publicist
Micromedia will become the new coveted media landscape for bolstering thought leadership in 2023. Podcasting, trade publications, and blogs are examples of micromedia. This type of media has the ability to form genuine relationship-building by developing a community of loyal audiences. Niched media can grow strategic networking relationships and later open the doors for lead generation to grow sales and attract talent. This kind of niched media building also emphasizes authenticity for your thought leadership, which in turn creates trust and offers tremendous value for your audiences. Executing micromedia in your 2023 PR/Marketing strategy must come from a mindset of having something to teach rather than sell. Be sure to visit PGI to learn more about how you can get ahead of the curve!

Macey Pieterse, Brand Specialist
In 2022, the majority of high-performing content has been video, and we see no signs of that changing anytime soon. It has and will continue to rule the algorithm on platforms like Instagram. As a marketer, it’s exciting to see video take the lead because it is an engaging medium that allows us to tell stories in a quick, compelling way, creating less effort for the viewer and more value in the content. However, consistency is key to success with video. The more video content that you post, the more video content the platforms will show your audience. So if you want to get your original content in front of people, you have to be making videos. Everything from your interview series, podcast recordings and short insights should be video recorded.

Morgan Alexander, Director of Partnerships
As the population’s trust in companies and larger entities continues to decline, companies will truly begin to lean into positioning themselves as personable and approachable with their founder or executive at the forefront of their brand.

Christina Pennell, Publicist
Over the past year, we’ve seen podcasts rule the earned media scene. However, there is one major misconception about the podcast industry that is being debunked; you can do it yourself! DIY PR will continue to be a tool for people to do their own publicity, especially when it comes to pitching yourself to micromedia. Acting as your own publicist is highly attainable, especially with access to the same tools as the pros. Zilker Media offers its own PR pro tool, Podcast Guest Insider, that provides entrepreneurs and business leaders with connections to the hosts of hundreds of specifically curated podcasts.

Ashlyn White, Brand Specialist
In 2023, social platforms will favor two-way engagements as algorithms are increasingly favoring organic, natural engagement. At Zilker Media, we suggest “React” (like, celebrate, care, love, sad) or comment back to all relevant comments on your LinkedIn profile.

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