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How the metaverse will impact PR and communications

By Yana Udalova, founder, WBcommunications.ae

The metaverse aspires to become the new far-reaching communications platform of the future. For PR professionals, it will be more than just another channel because virtual reality can offer unique opportunities for interaction with the media and the brands’ audiences.

This article is an attempt to forecast how the metaverse will change public relations and explore advantages that the new virtual space holds. These forecasts are predicated on the hope that Mark Zuckerberg will be successful in his role as the chief ideologue and investor of the metaverse, creating both the necessary technologies and new user habits.

PR services will be in demand

The metaverse is an innovative platform for creation and consumption of content and the media industry will be among its trailblazing pioneers. Brands will want to establish their presence in the virtual space and the ranks will swell beyond NFT galleries, cryptocurrencies and online games to include FMCG brands, fashion players and even B2B companies –– and we are already seeing the first cases. In addition, the digital world will have its own communication that the companies will deem important to control. Therefore, the PR professionals will find their niche in the “new world” and there is a possibility that this profession will expand and diversify in the new context.

A new turn of media growth 

TV channels, magazines, websites and other media outlets will establish their presence in the metaverses and work on the new formats and modes of interaction with the audience. This involves both interactive news and VR content –– the media will once again fight for the users’ attention but this time, in the digital world, which has many more tools for it. The media are already embracing the new reality; this year, Vice has opened a metaverse office to concentrate on VR journalism. An interactive zine about fashion, business, art and technology MO Magazine also made its mark on the virtual world. For example, it offers its readers remuneration in the form of a ticket to a metaverse spaceship if they read all of its content. Two days after the virtual magazine was published, it already had more than 400,000 views. In the long run, all of the major media outlets and PR agencies will have their offices in the metaverse.

‘Printed’ media will be popular again

Since the metaverse is a digital counterpart of reality, the first stages of its growth will be characterised by the trend of making the process as close to real life as possible –– and this may lead to a new wave of ‘printed’ media. They will become popular in virtual reality because people will want to “hold” such magazines in their hands, just like they used to do. Moreover, the metaverse will be able to offer a totally new experience of interacting with the printed media, making it an even more attractive format.

All content will be personalised

The media content will become as personalised as possible and it will be created for diverse segments of the audience including very small groups. This will lead to personalisation of content on the basis of individual interests and actions taken by users in the metaverse. The PR professionals will be tasked with selective distribution of content.

The range of available PR tools will be expanded 

Public relations in the metaverse will be fully digital. For example, events for journalists will take place in virtual reality, providing a completely new experience of interacting with information and products. Journalists will have greater opportunities for working with speakers. VR meetings are already gaining momentum. For example, last year the former Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain Nick Clegg gave an interview to The Financial Times in the metaverse. That said, the metaverse will not become a complete replacement of the real world, instead significantly expanding the choice of channels and tools for PR professionals. New PR strategies will combine offline and online presence of the companies.

Creativity above all

In the age of the metaverse, PR services will be built exclusively around creative approaches and personalised solutions for each client. The creative space will be unlimited, enabling the creators to use all kinds of tools and formats.

The standard toolkit that usually includes press releases, articles, interviews and such will be augmented with new options. The technology will enable clients to get as close to the audience as possible and to see success rate and other results of communication in real time. Development of public relations in the metaverse will likely transform the offline PR as well because the mode of content delivery will be changed and there will be new trends, expectations, and opportunities.