5 powerful trends in PR
Embrace them now
Over the last years a lot of professions have changed almost unrecognizably. Look at marketing for example: we have gone from mass direct mails to personalized social media messages. The number of tools marketing professionals have at their disposal has increased tremendously. Although PR people are able to use a lot of these tools as well, this business has not changed with the same pace marketing has.
In the coming years, however, PR is expected to take big steps in its growth as well. The Global Communications Report, a worldwide survey of more than 1000 senior PR executives worldwide, reveals that the worldwide PR industry is predicted to grow from its current estimated size of 14 billion dollars to 19.3 billion dollars over the next five years.
The following five trends will accelerate the change in practice of public relations:
#1: Influencers are becoming increasingly more important
A term that has been buzzing around this year, is influencer marketing. Where it differentiates from standard marketing and PR efforts is that it focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to a larger market. They will do the work for you if you inspire, hire, or pay them. These influencers can be anyone: a celebrity, someone who likes to run a podcast in their spare time, or even young bloggers or vloggers. The biggest difficulty with this trend is engaging and interacting with influencers from a business point of view. It requires a specific approach since they are usually not experienced public figures with agents or established systems for brand partnerships. So start finding your authentic advocates who actually connect with their followers and your target audience, to see what you both can do for each other.
#2: Online Reputation Management is a must-have
Whether it’s in real life or on Twitter or other social media, PR’s main goal is still getting people to talk about you. When you send a story to a journalist, you can assume they’ll look up who you are and what your company does. Based on the outcome of that search, the journalist will decide whether to follow up on your story or not. If they find good, solid content from your brand/organization, which shows off your expertise, it will have a positive result. On the other hand, if there is not much content available or the content you do have is negative, there is a chance the journalist won’t pick up the news.
You must focus on managing your online reputation and getting your message to the right audience by consistently creating and publishing quality content. This does not just mean covering up negative news, but it is also about putting yourself in a position to avoid negative attention and about proactively generating positive stories and press.
#3: Thought leadership will be one of the priorities for the PR budget
A newer marketing trend is thought leadership, in which business leaders and companies position themselves as leaders in their spaces. This trend serves as a good framework for related PR tactics and campaigns. Brands need to be seen as leaders, so it is not only about offering great products and services, but they must also offer ideas and inspiration. Focusing on thought leadership helps to surround the company with the right content, which is valuable, educational, and engaging.
From a PR perspective you can see that communication is more focused on executive visibility and leadership. Reputation management is also part of all these programs, further supporting the notion that it is a must-have.
#4: All PR efforts are measurable and are being measured
More and more fields of the business are becoming data driven, a trend which is a difficult one for the PR branch. Being data driven is not a standard competency people in PR should have, and next to that, there is no industry standard for the evaluation of PR results. Luckily there are steps being made in this regard: a coalition of professional groups has created guidelines for benchmarking and measuring PR programs.
Though there is no one-size-fits-all formula, there are lots of ways to measure your PR efforts. By looking at the both the quantitative and qualitative metrics, you can define the success. The rise of all online (marketing) tools has made it even easier to get an idea of how you are performing. Gaining insights into basic KPI’s such as brand awareness and favorability, social engagement and traffic quality can help to improve your strategy over time.
#5: Contributors are becoming more important
Although some industries are still using the traditional press release, it is a lot less popular than it used to be. The shape in which the news is being brought to audiences has changed, but we are also seeing that companies and journalists are not the only ones who bring the news anymore. Contributor marketers are gaining popularity and they are frequently invited to share insights on industry topics. Especially for B2C companies, contributors are playing an important role, since they are authentic and their main priority is not being a journalist. Most consumers therefore enjoy hearing what these contributors have to say about a topic.
Media companies are also focusing more on (paid and unpaid) contributors, assuming they have something interesting, new, valuable and/or controversial to say. If the contributor has an engaged social network and they can prove they are influential in their own right, the media companies will continue to want to work with them.
Embrace the latest trends
Of course these are not the only trends that will play an important role in PR, we see that these trends are the starting point for a change in the PR industry. Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence are influencing all sorts of industries and we expect that the PR industry can also use it to benefit from it. Are you eager to implement a hot new trend in PR? Check out our new eBook on video!
PressPage provides a SaaS PR platform with additional services for creation of advanced social newsrooms, virtual press centers and online media hubs. It enables brands to publish and distribute rich content, and provides direct insights into the results. PressPage empowers PR professionals by adding efficiency and effectiveness to their daily work routine.