Communication has evolved and the needs and preferences of our audience has shifted from time to time and so should our practice of public relations. Publications and media outlets are navigating changing revenue models, new communication channels are opening, and more business leaders are establishing their voices in the industry. PR is hence an effective tool in building a credible image for a brand. Businesses are aware that PR cannot be replaced, but they also know that social media is here to stay.
Old-fashioned PR is dead. Discover how to communicate with purpose and passion today.
The traditional media press release is dead – but finding new life in different forms
The traditional press release was once the best way to get news out fast. But in the recent times it has been particularly been ineffective in generating quality earned media for quite some time. Rather than trying to gain media coverage through ineffective press releases of a time gone by, it’s critical for PR professionals and marketers to embrace new and different ways of getting news covered. The press release is being redefined for today’s digital generation. They’re more of embedding images, info graphics and quality visuals with crafted key messages to get the attention of journalists and media outlets that can help you spread your message. Don’t give up on press releases; reinvent them.
Thought leadership will become a growing PR budget priority
Thought leadership is a newer marketing trend where business leaders and companies position themselves as leaders in their spaces, and it serves as a great framework for related PR tactics and campaigns. The reason for this is that you can earn the attention and trust of your audience by showing that you’re an authority on a particular subject. You can do this by publishing articles, blog posts, email newsletters and videos that educate your readers.
This is one of the most effective tools in establishing the credentials of a company. Building effective thought leadership will also help give credence to the overall image of the company. This can be achieved by weaving in right kind of messaging and content — content that’s informative, educational, and engaging. Such articles can be featured in a variety of media these days both online and offline.
Content strategy and amplification will become (even more) critical
It is important for PR professionals to create effective content that engages with the audience and at the same time meets the brand’s goals by crafting relevant messages that resonate in real time and produce ROI. Content plays the most important role in buyer’s journey, it has to be well researched and written well in detailed manner. This helps in selling it to media outlets and getting it published. When you start with good content, amplifying it to your targeted audience becomes much easier.
They will be demand for creating high volume of fresh content and more time is spent on content creation. It will also mean that SEO-based evaluation metrics may become more applicable to PR outputs.
The number of brands that consider a content strategy effective in raising revenue increased from 74% in 2016 to 83% in 2017. (CMI.) However, only 31% have a documented strategy. It should come as no surprise then that the ability to craft a content strategy is the number one skill CMOs are looking for in 2018.
Print will still be critical
India continues to be one of the few growth markets for print media. In 2018, though Print media is likely to continue to grow, it will be at a slow pace as compared to other media platforms like TV, Radio, Digital, etc. Print will continue to remain the most credible source of information, despite the fact that most people now, consume news from social media. While all communication mandate will have ‘Digital’ at the core of the brand communication strategy the challenge for the PR firm will remain getting coverage in print.
Data Driven PR
Most of the stories today which appear in the media are well researched and has detail analysis of the data for a given article. Hence, PR pitch should include data-driven with detail analysis, insights, survey and conclusion. This will drive your PR strategy and actions. It will make an editor to look into your mail and will have higher chances of getting the story covered.
The audience will be more Mobile
In 2017, Indians internet users spent about 34% of their time on social messaging. The average Indian spends 7 times more time on their mobile phone than on watching TV and 14 times more than on reading print material. In 2018 media consumption habits will change further with TV news viewing decreasing further — more people will consume news / views online – ‘on-the-go’ on their mobile device.
Today media is very picky about what they publish. While news websites do have a voracious appetite for content, they are also data driven with current and trending stories with sensationalistic headlines, or elevated news. It’s all about the traffic and the clicks. Just sending a blast of press releases indiscriminately doesn’t get the coverage. PR professional have to strategies and understand how the news media thinks and provide content/ stories which will help in coverage.
The value of earned media will grow in 2018. A recent study showed that B2B companies are interested in allocating more of their marketing budgets to earned media. And as the media landscape keeps shifting, even experienced PR pros are discovering that earned media is not what it used to be. Media relations pros will have to be more creative in 2018 to get their brand stories told.
PR industry is going to play a pivotal role in communication in the years ahead. With changing landscape of journalism and new benchmarks being set among businesses, PR is only going to be more sought after to establish a brands credentials credibly and effectively. Despite the onslaught of digital media and new age media formats, messaging is still going to be the core for successful implementation.
(The author is founder, Focus PR)