Two-way communication between organizations and their constituencies is the definition of today’s Public Relations. Today, PR requires listening to constituencies, analyzing, and interpreting their views and behaviors. That said, powerful trends have sparked changes in PR and communications, disrupting lives, media, and business in a few years.
PR and Communication Trends to Watch
So what are the three powerful trends that you should keep an eye out on as a PR and Communication professional in 2020?
Traditionally, companies pushed for media placement on top-tier media – the likes of Huffington Post, The New York Times and similar publications. Decidedly, this trend has shifted as of late, and niche publications are now popular among brands.
Notably, the rise of self-publishing platforms, informative blogs, and influencers has reshaped the landscape. They’ve established a close-knit audience based on interests and industry. At the same time, local news publications have become decentralized, coming to meet the need for depth and comprehensiveness of the audience’s interests.
This exciting development in the public relations and communication space has put successful media placements within the reach of smaller brands – brands that previously struggled for such attention. As a result, this has transformed the determinant of success, in PR and communications, from financial resources to niche targeting.
As a takeaway strategy, PR and communication professionals should pitch media outlets that target a specific audience or industry’s needs.
Live to stream, alternatively referred to as live video, has taken over the social media space. PR and communication professionals cannot afford to be left behind on this trend.
Put into perspective: Go-Globe points out that 80 percent of a brand’s audience prefers live video over blog content, and 82 percent prefers live video over a brand’s social posts.
That said, incorporating live video will work in favor of B2B and B2C brands, non-profit organizations, and the public service. Its ease-of-use allows anyone from managers of local non-profit organizations to CEOs of fortune 500 companies to showcase their brand.
Moreover, today’s consumer values realness, authenticity, and transparency more than they did before. The strong suit of using live streaming platforms is that it allows brands to pull the curtains and show the faces and/or processes behind brands. That promotes realness, authenticity, and transparency.
Since live video channels offer communication professionals an effective and cost-friendly outlet to share product launches, press conferences, and behind-the-scene discoveries, PR professionals should further their prowess in live streaming apps. Not only will they become experts in their industry, but they’ll also build an audience and credibility.
Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
Today, widespread investment in big data and Artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the establishment of effective public relations campaigns. To boot, AI, machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) technologies are more commonplace. This requires communication pros to adopt new methods and exploit benefits that abound.
Some areas where PR pros can benefit from AI and big data include: monitoring social media channels, developing targeted stories, making content recommendations, email scheduling, search engine optimization, and predicting consumer needs.
More Upcoming PR Trends
In a constantly evolving marketing landscape it is difficult to look into the future and figure out what the world will look like in the coming years. However, the need to communicate, advise, promote, and protect plans, messages, ideas and connections continues. Maintaining PR efforts at a high level requires paying close attention to the latest trends. PR professionals have to be prepared for certain trends, such as those enumerated below.
Strong Reputation Management Strategies
PR aims to improve the public image of a person or organization. It is based on a thorough analysis of the client’s relationship with the public and is both proactive and reactive. It is also built on rapid responses to unplanned crises.In the current digital climate, reputation management has become an even greater concern. Things like fake news and an increase in product recalls have made it crucial for companies to earn and keep consumer trust.
Some reputation management areas to focus on would be online trolls and influencer marketing. Professionals need to be able to discern legitimate negative reviews from trolling. There can be quite a few ways to improve the reputation of an organization. New marketing campaigns can be launched, for instance. Search engine optimization strategies can also be used so that people can see positive press when they google a brand.
The Popularity of TikTok
A lot of companies are utilizing TikTok as a marketing resource. With the rise of social media, this platform is becoming increasingly popular. Companies are working with TikTok influencers to produce authentic content to help promote their products and services. TikTok also helps them to reach out to a completely new demographic of consumers. Brands take quite a few PR approaches on TikTok, like using branded hashtags, video ads, and formats such as brand takeover.
Health and Safety
With the slew of unprecedented events that the pandemic has brought on, the health and safety of employees and customers should be a priority for every company. Pessimistic messaging in such an environment undermines engagement efforts. Portraying the message that health and safety is a top priority is not only important for generic safety, as on a marketing level customers are much more likely to engage with a brand they perceive to be safe. To retain customers, and acquire new ones, companies need to stand firm in their messaging and prove they are taking it seriously.
Social Awareness in Spending
With countless issues of different types going on around the world, mental health, political polarization and others and one instance being the Black Lives Matter movement, people have become more introspective when deciding how and where to spend their money. Consumers not only want to shop locally but also want to buy from brands whose messaging aligns with their values. Communicating this message of social awareness to customers will be necessary to generate loyal customers.
Customers are online now more than ever. There is a rise in e-commerce and virtual events so that brands can continue to engage with their customers. With customers craving human connection, it would be wise to make digital events more personalized through authentic content. Businesses should think carefully about the benefits of attending an event from the attendee perspective.