Public relations is one of the most malleable and agile industries out there—and as a result, methods that worked just a few short years ago might not serve you well in the coming year. Since 2019 is just weeks away, it’s a good time to examine some of the major trends that PR pros should be monitoring, and how they can maximize their efforts.
But let’s take a look at a handful of pre-2019 suggestions before moving on to a few interesting predictions.
Preparation and anticipation—covering your bases
In a nutshell, you need to be prepared for whatever 2019 might have in store—and be ready to make a quick adjustment if necessary. Economic uncertainties, fickle consumer confidence and changing demographics are a handful of examples of things that could change, and then change again without warning.
Analyze all of your current plans and determine how effective they were in 2018
Did they result in a greater level of publicity and increased sales? Or did they fall upon deaf ears? If you are able to interpret these and other results, it is much easier to enact any changes before the 2019 fiscal year becomes a reality. Some suggestions to keep in mind include:
- Making a list of your top competitors and their associated 2018 PR campaigns.
- The ROI (if public) associated with these efforts.
- Determining whether your in-house software applications helped or hindered your public relations strategies.
Other areas which should be addressed include internal communication concerns, contingencies in the event of unexpected financial circumstances and how you plan to expand into additional areas of the digital marketplace (such as adding a new social media page or a standalone blog).
Above all, have a PR-friendly plan in place ahead of time
This will likely represent nothing more than a rough outline as opposed to a fleshed-out strategic pathway. However, solid foundations now will prove to be very useful during the coming year. These are some of the most effective techniques in regards to B2C operations and they should never be taken lightly.
Make friends with the latest technological innovations
We are all aware of digital technology’s growing role in public relations. This is even more relevant when discussing portable devices including smartphones, tablets and even smart watches. However, it is crucial to appreciate the role of organic user-based queries, and successful PR campaigns will need to take this concept into account.
A recent study found that voice-operated searches are predicted to represent more than 50 percent of all online queries by the year 2020. So it will be important for PR pros to become familiar with industry-dominating platforms such as Siri and Alexa. Although these systems have experienced their fair share of problems in the past, they are now advanced to the point that artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay.
How might this transition impact your current public relations content marketing strategy?
Most experts believe that it is important to understand how clients are using these voice tools to access products and services as opposed to merely scratching the surface through big data analyses alone. It should also be mentioned that the use of AI chat is not currently compatible with many online platforms—similar to the scenario that we witnessed a few years ago in relation to mobile-responsive websites. PR specialists will once again need to adapt their existing approaches so that they will be able to effectively accommodate the voice-related demographic.
There is no doubt that such a challenge may be difficult to implement—especially if public relations professionals need to remain committed to traditional concepts such as product marketing, client engagement and online branding. This is why it may be prudent to delegate such a responsibility to a technical expert who is already aware of how voice searches will impact the ROI of the organization in question.
We have seen digital marketing and PR communities evolve at a frenetic pace throughout 2018, and this trend certainly shows no signs of slowing down. This is why it pays to remain prepared well in advance. The suggestions mentioned above should be employed in synergy if you hope to experience the most quantifiable results. Of course, additional surprises will likely emerge during the coming months—so adaptability is the true key to success.