The Youth and Young Adult (YAYA) market is putting relationships first. With brands, friends and peers, YAYA consumers crave connection both offline and online. It is important for advertising and PR agencies to keep in mind that traditional public relations and advertising communication efforts are not enough. According to Forbes, only 1 percent of millennials surveyed said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more. It is vital that companies create a sense of community, presenting themselves in an authentic way among their target consumers in order to gain their trust.

So, how exactly can you appeal to us? Here are some public relations trends that will help you stand out.

Traditional is not so Trendy

Technology has changed the PR game and as a result, traditional tactics don’t cut it with today’s consumers. Long gone are the days of when the good old press release was dominant. Branded content focused on digital channels has taken over. Rather than pushing out information with a traditional press release, digital platforms can deliver the brand’s message to a more tailored target audience. According to Ragan’s PR Daily, “Brands often turn away from traditional PR tools in favor of building brand channels that let them narrate stories adjusted to the customer’s needs and purposes. Brand journalism is content written in journalistic style, brand stories engagingly told.” According to Forbes, some other trends to keep in mind are to, “Take advantage of social media, develop relationships with industry leaders and influencers, and incorporate quality visuals in your messages to get the attention of journalists and outlets that can help you spread your message.”

One aspect of PR that will always remain important is building a solid relationship with journalists. The difference is that relationship now happens on social media or through IM. If you can get to know journalists face-to-face – maybe in a traditional setting like a conference or event – you can continue to build that relationship virtually. Journalists can post on Twitter that they are looking for a source on a given story and you can step up and provide that, making your organization look smart and responsive in the process. Now more than ever with the ability to find information at their fingertips, journalists have little time to read press releases and they don’t need you to find a story. By building a mutual relationship with a few journalists, they will become your go-to contact and in turn they will rely on you as a key resource for information about their stories.

Be Where They Are

YAYA consumers are in constant communication with one another and enjoy sharing as they share their experiences through social media. According to Social Media Week, half of millennials aged 18-24 years feel that brands say something about who they are, their values and where they fit in. It’s important for brands to meet YAYA consumers where they are and connect with them through social media. By offering video ads, sponsored geofilters and geolenses, Snapchat is changing how the YAYA market communicates their everyday experiences to their peers. This constant gratification translated to relationships with brands, as YAYA consumers prefer brands that communicate with them. According to PR Daily, Snapchat offers video ads, sponsored geo filters and sponsored geolenses as opportunities to engage with the core audience of 18- to 24-year-olds. Snapchat tactics allows and allowing brands’ advertising to become integrated into the daily lives of YAYA consumers.

Play Games with Them

BuzzFeed (yes, the instigator of those crazy quizzes that tell you what ‘90s TV character you are based on your zodiac sign) is leading the way in connecting with the YAYA market. According to Business Insider, “A big part of BuzzFeed’s business model revolves around using Facebook and other social media advertising to drive readers toward branded, “native” content.” YAYA consumers start their day by looking to these outlets in fact, as 50% percent of 18- to 24-year-olds go on Facebook when they wake up and immediately turn to Facebook. ( In order to connect with this demographic, public relations efforts must engage them in a way that allows these YAYA consumers to grasp a sense of a brand’s personality and sense of humor without sounding too promotional.

If you keep these three key values in mind, the YAYA market will be receptive of your public relations efforts and become eager to allow your brand into their lives.

Written by: Miranda Lee, Marta Witko and Julia Brun