2020 vision—6 PR trends and predictions for the new year

by | Dec 16, 2019 | Analysis, Public Relations

As we reflect back on the last 20 years, we’ve seen the role of the PR person become a more critical function within a company than ever before. 2020 marks a new decade for PR pros, with digital, video and content at the heart of what’s in store.

The mainstream use of technology has essentially catapulted the profession into the limelight with the world watching in every sense—and responding. How? Social media is the obvious platform, as it brings about conversations both personal and professional and makes everyone’s opinion matter.

In turn, there is a need for the PR professional to step in and divide the viewpoints of the company vs. the individual. Thanks to what the mobile device has brought to the table, that’s becoming a 24/7 requisite.

Moving forward, our profession is definitely evolving, with these trends likely to define a new era:

Less reliance on the middleman

With predictions from ComScore that 50 percent of Google searches will move to voice search by 2020, understanding how this will integrate with pitching and headlines will be central to the performance of digital PR in driving new traffic to clients’ products, services, websites and social media platforms. Enabling clients to communicate directly with their intended audience means PR firms must be able to connect A to Z with a direct, straight line while also strengthening media relations.

More entertainment to animate news

Digital video and podcasts will continue to soar and compete with—but in some cases, complement—traditional news programs. That’s why it’s important for PR firms to focus on these avenues to keep their clients in the spotlight. Make no mistake. The concept of true news will enable traditional news to make a comeback.

Success measured in Key Performance Indicators

More clients will demand measurable, tangible proof that their dollars are converting to their desired goals. That will require building a strong online presence to improve SEO and generate referral traffic inclusive of establishing brand authority, trust and, more important, a PR strategy with clearly defined goals, objectives and KPIs.

Content as the new king

As brands beef up their budgets and personalization strategies in their battle for consumer attention, quality and creativity in content will be more important than ever, regardless of industry. Smart, high-impact content will replace “storytelling,” as executives seek new opportunities to become subject matter experts and thought leaders. For consumers, however—and with all that content floating in the ether—nothing will change the fact that people still want and crave a good old-fashioned story—one that entertains, informs or inspires them to do something.

Attention earned trumps ads

We will see more and more demands for earned media, but at the same time, we will experience a decrease in earned media opportunities as outlets are forced to make up for the loss of ad dollars via paid placements.

Awareness creates demand for good corporate citizenship

As companies looks for ways to balance shareholder value with consumer demands and corporate social responsibility, partnering or supporting charitable causes will be more prevalent. Adults and young children alike are hyper-exposed to critical issues facing our planet and the communities where we live, and they are demanding change from both government and business that cannot be ignored. Public relations campaigns designed to solve society’s most pressing issues will be essential, and PR firms will be the drivers directing these initiatives for their clients.

Although times are shifting, and PR will continue to transform in ways that can be both intimidating and hopeful, those willing to embrace and adapt to the new multi-media landscape will enjoy the benefits of being awake to fresh new opportunities and consistent growth.

Valerie Christopherson
Valerie Christopherson is founder and CEO of Global Results Communications, an award-winning public relations firm trusted by both entrepreneurs on the cusp of new discoveries and multi-billion-dollar enterprises breaking new ground.


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