The world of public relations is shifting. Old methods don’t produce the results they once did, and new trends are succeeding in shaping brands’ reputations like never before. PR pros will either roll with the punches or get knocked out.
Whether you work with an agency or oversee an in-house team, you know the value that public relations delivers for your bottom line. With new trends taking over and more on the horizon, you’ve got to stay plugged in to stay on top. Here’s our rundown of the hottest trends in PR to keep on your radar.
1. Paid-Earned-Owned – You Need All Three
It’s true we’ve been talking about the multiple forms of media for a few years now, each one turning into a buzzword of sorts. They each have their purpose:
- Paid is your traditional advertising, great for reaching the masses
- Earned refers to credible, third-party publicity, and
- Owned is anything from a blog to a webinar to a white paper, so long as it creates value.
Today, it’s imperative that your PR strategy focus on all three media types. The days of relying solely on journalists to share your message are gone. By targeting a national audience through paid advertisements, influencing readers through bylined articles, and educating visitors with your own site content, you’ll drive SEO and capture more views, clicks, and shares.
2. Blogger Outreach Makes the Leap from Informal to Structured Relationships
Ten years ago, bloggers weren’t taken too seriously. Just a group of techie know-it-alls with an Internet connection and a lot to say. But today, some blogs have a bigger following than your brand, and their words hold meaning for thousands of readers. We’ve known this for some time, and blogger outreach is now woven into your typical PR campaign. This year, however, will see a spike in building ongoing blogger-brand relationships, where finding the right blog(s) is critical. We’re no longer chasing one-off campaign plugs, but rather a site for building general awareness among readers. More than ever, audience is key. The successful outcome produces ongoing or frequent mentions of your brand via an authentic channel, and, hopefully, increased conversions.
3. Good Content Is King, for Good Reason
Scrap the press release. Have you seen the out-of-this-world innovation you’re up against when vying for media attention? If you want your content to reach farther than the PRWeb news page, or be retweeted by someone other than @BusinessWire, then you’ve got to up the ante and deliver GOOD content. Try a fresh approach to the old press release by announcing your campaign via a succinct (and shareable) video. Or maybe you want to roll out an integrated media pitch, featuring stunning visuals, an infographic, and high-quality editorial. Pro tip: Direct all campaigns back to an impactful landing page on your site.
4. ROI Measurement Becomes More Granular
It’s been a longtime struggle among PR agencies and professionals to measure PR’s return on investment (ROI), but today’s technologies and tools actually do allow you to draw a line from your media coverage directly to engagement, leads and sales. More granular measurement is going to become the standard expectation of companies, given that most departments are working on leaner budgets and eager to pin point revenue-generating activities. Your PR campaign may be externally-focused, but it can still drive large volumes of traffic to your site, where you can track the visits and implement retargeting strategies to ultimately close the deal.
5. Radical Transparency
This trend is a huge win for customers everywhere. With the popularity of social media, it’s now impossible for companies to hide bad news, and in fact attempting to do so would be a grave misstep. We are entering an age where transparency rules, and where it behooves any company to come clean with its audience immediately when something significant occurs or there’s a need to scream “mea culpa” for any reason.
(Source: 2013 KLCM study)
6. The Mashup of PR and Social Media
Do you think of yourself as a “PR Rockstar”? Well, moving forward you better be a “Social Media Rockstar,” as well. While these two areas have traditionally maintained separate goals – PR for promotion, Social Media for engagement – the communications landscape has changed and social must now be a part of everything you do. Your PR benefits by the effective use of social media, and your social media benefits by the effective use of PR. It’s kind of insane to contemplate a PR campaign today that doesn’t have a social media plan built in from the start.
7. The Focus on Superfans
Think of Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift. Both mega-superstars excel at connecting with their audiences. They treat their superfans like royalty, inviting them backstage for private time with the stars, with free food and informal photo sessions, for example. Lady Gaga even set up a private social network called Little Monsters just for her superfans, and she continually rewards their loyalty with exclusive content, messages and opportunities. More and more brands are going to start being more and more like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. After all, there’s no more powerful PR team than rabid fans who are absolutely gaga about your brand.