A Guest Post by Emma Ingram, Student, American University
The year 2017 has been quite a year for the PR industry. Not only did we witness numerous crises and campaigns, but also several new trends emerged. Some of the biggest ones included the continued popularity of live-stream video as well as the use of influencers. With this year almost over, it’s time to make some predications for what 2018 will look like for the PR industry. Below I’ve pointed out the top four predictions that I believe we will most likely see going forward.
Closer link between PR and Marketing
Everyone knows that PR and Marketing have always been considered cousins of one another. While marketing is the force that drives someone to buy or engage in a product or service, PR is the force that gets the message across in an informative yet persuasive manner. Over the years we have seen the two forces become more interconnected. However, next year they will get even closer to each other. In fact a 2017 USC Annenberg Global Communications study showed that 60% of marketing executives believe PR and marketing will become dramatically more aligned in the near future. In addition, 87% of PR executives believe the term “public relations” will no longer describe what they do within the next five years. Clearly, the two worlds of PR and marketing are becoming more interconnected everyday.
Growth of Digital Content
It’s not uncommon to hear that the traditional press release is dead. However, when you think about it, it’s not that the press release is dead, but rather it has been reinvented to reflect the shift towards digital PR. Today’s generation of PR professionals are more visual, they prefer graphics and images to help understand a message. Next year we will continue to see the growth of digital content in order for companies to project their messages and ideas to key audiences. PR professionals will need to include new digital strategies into their work in order to bring an added awareness and value to the brands they serve. Digital PR will help us achieve our client goals in new and more effective ways.
Storytelling will become more creative
Today there are a plethora of niche outlets that strive to receive business and consumer attention. This growing source of information makes it hard for certain companies to get their stories noticed. In 2018, we will see the rise of more storytelling. More specifically, companies will need to craft more creative stories in order for them to get any attention at all. The key to doing so will be found in conducting extensive research that looks at both quantitative and qualitative data. Companies will need to dive into their imagination even further and truly question the traditional way of telling a story in order to stay relevant in the coming years.
Online Reputation Management
In today’s world, the decision to speak up on controversial issues can either make or break a brand. However, in 2018, I believe we will see more companies taking this leap of faith. While yes, making a statement on an issue such as climate change or health care can be risky, if one does it right, the brand will be rewarded in many ways. In addition, as PR professionals, we are trained to craft unique and decisive messages that help clarify our opinion on issues. So as long as we put a decent amount of thought and research into what we say before we say it, our reputation will continue to grow in more positive ways than negative ones.
The four trends I discussed above are only a few of the many things that may emerge in this industry within the next twelve months. It will be interesting to see how companies continue to evolve and grow, whether it’s through creative storytelling or managing their reputation. I personally am looking forward to witnessing how the industry changes as I prepare to launch my own career in public relations. The constant shift of this industry forces me as a student to continue keeping up with these changes so that I can be one step ahead of the game when I enter the real world.
Emma Ingram is a junior studying public relations and strategic communication at American University in Washington, D.C. This year she is serving as the President of her school’s PRSSA Chapter. She also serves on the 2017–2018 Industry News and Current Events Subcommittee for PRSSA National. Follow her on Twitter @emmaaingramm or connect with her on Linkedin.