In #PR This is all You Need to Know in 2016

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The following article originally appeared on the AirPR blog

Ahhh, the new year. A time for resolutions, preparations, and perhaps my favorite: bright-eyed predictions.

Our propensity to look toward the future through lens of the past is as necessary to the human experience as breathing.

Not wanting to be left out (FOMO alert. BTW that word is so last year. What you really need to know is the correct usage of “On Fleek.” Thank you Meredith Fineman for keeping me relevant), I have pulled together everything a PR person may have done in 2015 that they don’t need to do anymore, while giving y’all some guidance for 2016.

Here’s whatchya don’t need to do anymore…aka not On Fleek:

1. Call journalists you don’t know out of the blue thinking they will call you back or be happy that you called. They won’t.

2. Report “headline impressions” or “AVEs” as key metrics. This is a spank-worthy practice. Very bad.

3. Be afraid that what you offer as a professional isn’t as important as other aspects of the marketing function (did someone say advertising, digital, social?). It is so so so important. I promise.

4. Write masturbatory press releases for the express purpose of making some key executive happy because (s)he likes the sound of her own voice or likes to see his name in quotes. Blech. Stop it, puuhlease.

5. Believe that you are supposed to like analytics and numbers, when in fact, you probably never will. That’s ok. But it’s an important part of the PR function so figure out a hack for it. Hire someone. Find someone to partner with who likes this aspect of it. Then soar to the moon with data in hand.

Now for the goods.

Here are a handful of trends to be aware of in the coming year. I cannot take credit for coming up with these. I simply stole narrowed down themes based on this Hotwire Communications Trend Report.

Here’s what is On Fleek for 2016:

1. For B2B, LinkedIn Pulse and Medium are a boon for marketing and PR and will continue to gain traction as leading publishing platforms.

2. To compete against all the noise, go for depth and targeted campaign content. What? I know, being deep rules. Being superficial doesn’t.

3. Brands are shifting focus to “Association” rather than “Advertising”. The argument here: LIFE by association.

4. Influencer endorsements will become even more important. If you can’t get them organically, brands will have to pay for them. TIP: Check out our friends at Thuzio or any of the incredible PRTech companies playing in this space.

5. Culture is shifting to “Ephemeral Content” and not needing to keep a lasting record of everything. THANK GOD.

6. Hyperlocal content and hyperlocal reporting will gain even more traction as this type of content tends to attract specific (subset) audiences. EXAMPLE: BuzzFeed’s model of 22 things you’ll only know if you’re from X.

7. Data first: PR pros need to include data in the content planning phase then track all the way through outcomes. Execs are demanding this.

8. Virtual Reality heats up and meets the desire for data as well as brand experiences. Survios is sooo on this. #ShamelessBigSisPlug.

9. Corporate Social Responsibility and brand activism continue to lead company messaging: “Values don’t (or shouldn’t change) and have a tremendous effect on the growth of a company.” Just ask Qualcomm Wireless Reach.

10. Transmedia branding: The reinvention of PR through creating unified and coordinated experiences (CAVEAT: the ability to engage audiences and negotiate relationships is still a central skill).

11. Mobile, Wireless, and Cordless take all, as the future is about streaming (rise of Netflix, Spotify, etc.), and consumers want to be free to move from place to place over space and time. Trippy.

Let’s see if I got it right. We’ll circle back in 12 months.

Any other emerging trends you’re keeping an eye on in 2016? Please do share in the comments below.
Rebekah Iliff headshot HIGH RESRebekah is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. Previously, she was the CEO of talkTECH Communications, one of the fastest growing, launch-only PR firms in the US. Additionally, she is a columnist for Inc., and Forbes, and a contributing writer for Mashable, Entrepreneur, and The Huffington Post.

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