There is nothing permanent but change ~ Heraclitus, philosopher
Pointing out that the media landscape has changed throughout recent years is like saying the sky is blue or that water is wet. With a continually shifting and increasingly fragmented media ecosystem, PR is changing too, whether it wants to or not. Influencers today are more diverse than ever before. From traditional media, to bloggers, to the rise of micro-influencers, opportunities for sharing messages now span a dizzying array of channels. Today’s environment means moving beyond issuing press releases and instead building relationships with reporters. It also means leveraging innovative tools and techniques to reach, connect with, and influence audiences and industry alike. Want to know what’s in store for 2019? Here are five trends shaping PR in 2019.
Brand Authenticity Takes Over – In this era of “fake news” and privacy debacles, the need for authenticity is critical. Audiences don’t want to be marketed to; they want to connect with brands on a personal level and trust what’s being offered. Smart organizations will be genuine, honest, and transparent in their communications, enabling them to capitalize on opportunities to forge bonds and instill loyalty. In the end, greater authenticity will deliver the deep-seated connections customers crave, allowing brands to rise above the noise with messages that resonate.
Say Hello to “Brand Journalism” – The rapid-fire news cycle, combined with pressures to keep the content pipeline full has created a news vacuum…and an opportunity for organizations to step in to fill the gaps. One trend – a practice known as “brand journalism” – opens the door for companies to becoming their own storytellers. Brand journalism marries traditional journalism, marketing and public relations. It leverages digital publishing and social media to weave engaging stories that inform and educate rather than drive action, while highlighting brand value from a fresh point of view. Organizations can tell a good story in journalistic fashion via a company blog, Instagram account, or YouTube channel. Starting small and building up as stories gain traction is an effective means of putting brand journalism to work. The key is to focus on the issues and trends that matter to customers and prospects, wrapped up in a compelling story.
Press Releases are Evolving – As previously mentioned, the traditional media landscape is transforming into something new. In today’s 24×7 world, the news cycle is fast-paced, and attention spans are shorter. Therefore, the way we communicate must also be transformed. Information is being consumed in different ways, and how reporters find stories is changing. With digital and social media, reporters no longer have time to wade through a lengthy press release to get to the meat of a story. The bottom line? Press releases must evolve to become a valuable content source for media.
Meaningful Measurement – In volatile economic times, the value of PR is vitally important. But, how do you demonstrate that worth? Developing the right metrics to show ROI is essential. Identifying business outcomes that matter most and mapping them to PR strategies is the first and most crucial step to effective measurement. Clearly defining and sharing metrics ensures everyone is on the same page. Without a clear understanding of how tactics are tied to metrics, proving PR’s value is challenging at best. Tracking both short- and long-term results is fundamental – showing sustained growth over time illustrates the muscle of the overall PR strategy, while understanding the impact of a specific campaign enables real-time course corrections.
Embrace the Right Data – The key to using data to its best advantage is to first understand your goals. The number of collectable data points roughly equals the number of grains of sand on the beach. Without clear comprehension of the goals you’re tracking against, it quickly becomes data for data’s sake. Once you’ve identified metrics based on business outcomes, you can rapidly hone in on just the data that’s meaningful for your business. There are also a myriad of tools available that enable you to act decisively on key data points while remaining focused on your big-picture goals. Use them so you’re working smarter, not harder.
As strategies and tactics continue to evolve, being mindful of these key trends will help companies influence audiences and enhance their brand through more effective PR.
PS: “AI” is on the tip of everyone’s tongues these days. What does it mean for PR? Does it have a role to play or is it just the flavor of the month? Stay tuned, because we’ll share what we’ve learned in an upcoming post.