By: Angela Raleigh, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

With only days left in 2011 it’s that time of year when the PR pros are looking ahead to the opportunities and challenge that 2012 will bring. Here are five trends to keep in mind.

1. Relationships remain critical. PR has always been about creating and enhancing relationships and connections with others. But in the social media world, this also couldn’t be more true. Look for new people and organizations to connect with, but don’t forget to say connected with the people who you already have relationships established with.

2. Crises will continue. Whether a crisis hits the news media or social media channels, crises will continue to occur in 2012. Some will flare up quick and die out just as fast, while others might lag around. In either case, knowing how to handle the situation properly will help mitigate the crisis.

3. Social media integration. With social media platforms continuing to expand and develop, concentrate your efforts on the channels that offer your organization the greatest ROI and compliment current PR strategies. It might be Google+ Business page for one organization and a Facebook Fan page for another. Remember to not get overwhelmed. Pick your channels, keep it simple, listen to what others in your industry are saying and engage in the conversation.

4. Traditional media is not dead. Traditional PR tactics will be enhanced with new and innovative ways for engaging audiences through social media. For instance, you may choose to pitch a reporter via Twitter instead of email. The brief nature of social media makes it the perfect place for reporters to get information quickly.

5. Continued Improvement. The one thing constant in PR is change. As PR professionals we must embrace change because it is a part of our daily working environment. One of the most important aspects of effectively implementing change is ensuring that everyone involved clearly understand the reasons for the change, the likely impacts, as well as the methods used to create the change and the expected benefits.

What’s on your PR radar for the New Year? Will any of the above be a factor in your PR success in 2012? I’d welcome hearing your predictions.