10 PR trends to look out for in 2019

30 Nov 2018

Industry Insights
The world is ever-changing, which means that professionals in the public relations industry always need to be up to date with the latest trends. On top of that, they need to understand how to react to the trends to get the most out of their PR efforts.

Let’s see what 2019 has in store for the PR industry:

1. A rise in PR spend

Great news for anyone who works in PR – looks like people are finally starting to realise how valuable it is.

Going forward, businesses should start putting aside a little more for PR in their yearly budget.

Why is this? Well, the PR industry has greatly evolved over the past decade – and so has its importance for business.

Many aspects of modern PR align with aspects of business growth. For example, digital communications has never been more important for businesses than it is now, and lo and behold – PR is at its centre.

Social media is yet another important aspect of business growth, and you cannot be in business today without some kind of social identity. So how does PR fit into this? It offers the strategy and content to amplify your business’s social media presence.

2. A growing reliance on niche firms

More and more niche industries are choosing to work with specialised PR firms. Why, you ask? Every industry has its own specialist terminology, practises and norms. And when your PR has in-depth knowledge of your industry, it makes all your PR efforts more valuable.

Many PR firms specialise in specific aspects of public relations – for example, launches or crisis management. If you have an issue in a specific area, you’ll want to make sure there is a skilled authority calling the shots.

Don’t be afraid to call in extra help on occasion. Using experienced professionals at key moments can save you from a PR disaster.

3. Back to basics

While many people are working on how to include all kinds of new technology in their PR campaigns, we’re seeing a trend towards PR professionals going back to basics.

Often, PR strategies are initially tested in front of many audiences on various platforms, but this can be extremely costly and time-consuming.

To ensure there is a return on investment, media and marketing channels will have to be carefully analysed by PR professionals. Once the most effective channels are found, they will have to be focused on to ensure that profitability is maximised.

4. Less is more

Simplicity and convenience are coming to the forefront of PR. As the world becomes busier and everyone is more rushed, people (and especially those working in PR) will find new ways to simplify their lives more than ever before.

Less will become way more.

This is also important with regards to viewers’ attention spans. People are busy, so you have to get your message across – and quick! Expect to see more short videos as PRs 'show' instead of 'tell' for maximum impact. But remember, quality always beats quantity.

5. A move towards digital

As with nearly every aspect of the world, PR is going (even more) digital. You can expect that big data, social media monitoring and digital storytelling will be continue to grow in importance.

In order to keep your PR and marketing efforts aligned in this ever-changing world, you can use digital storytelling to engage your audience. Working on a social media strategy can help you find out exactly how to engage your audience.

Once you know what content your audience wants, you can help them understand the company culture and what the brand is all about. Share both passions and struggles to endear your brand to potential customers – and to keep them engaged.

As for the social media monitoring, find yourself a good tracking company and reap the rewards of having all your social information and insights laid out for you.

Social media monitoring services can help you be the first to see conversations about your brand, and be ready to address queries – or problems – before they get out of hand.

6. A new kind of measurement

While people often find comfort in seeing a certain number of ‘likes’, page views and AVE, how exactly do you gauge growth in brand trust or awareness? This is where PR professionals have to draw the line between quantitative and qualitative measurement.

While ‘vanity metrics’ might be easier to track – and make you feel good about your progress – they might not exactly give you an accurate representation of the ROI of your PR efforts.

More and more, PR professionals are starting to look for alternatives to AVE, and many brand tracking companies, such as Newsclip, are using their own metrics to rate ROI.

7. PR and marketing working together

Although it might not exactly be classified as innovative or trending per se, the line between PR and marketing is becoming a blur.

Consumers don’t see lines, they just see the work. They don’t distinguish between PR, above-the-line, below-the-line, digital or events. Either the consumer finds their experience with the brand compelling or they don’t.

This means that PR and marketing need to work together and focus on brand building. And a strong brand starts with a strong team; your product developers, marketing, sales and PR teams should align their goals and efforts.

8. Social media tracking is vital

Social media will continue to play a pivotal role in PR, and any savvy PR pro should use a good social media tracking service to keep an eye on social platforms.

Luckily, with the help of a social media tracking service, it’s pretty simple to keep track of social metrics. Well, certainly easier than monitoring text, email and chat applications!

9. Content is king

As in marketing, content is king in PR too. And even more so in the years to come.

Consumers are demanding good content that they want to engage with, meaning that a PR professional needs to be able to craft well thought-out and desirable content.

The way content is being used in PR now goes beyond mere content marketing to rank in search engines. Instead, content is increasingly being used to tell a brand’s story and to immerse the audience.

Content marketing is becoming the entire story of a brand, for both B2B and B2C industries.

Going forward, it is vital to create original content specifically for social platforms, and build up a library of valuable, unique content. This library is what will increase your audience’s engagement – and keep them coming back for more!

10. The fake news fight continues

Fake news has made consumers more suspicious of everything they read, and the sources they get it from. As journalists work to win the trust of their audience, PR professionals need to work even harder to ensure that they work with the right kind of media.

As PR folks prepare campaigns, content, and even press releases, they must be alert to any potential threats to their brand's reputation. Brand tracking will become a critical part of any good PR strategy as it will allow you to easily identify where your clients have been mentioned.
Keeping an eye on what is said about your clients’ brands in the media can help you stay a step ahead of the rest. Find out the Three reasons why media monitoring is critical in PR.