Public Relations has been evolving from traditional techniques for many years. The change of pace is in high gear thanks to the impact digital technology has on consumers and our society. With this said, earned, paid and owned media are even harder to distinguish these days. The accessibility and consumption of information will only continue to grow at a rapid pace as PR agencies and professionals tap into key trends to elevate stories and programs.
As such, at The Fearey Group we have identified the top six trends we’re seeing that are being used to enhance PR efforts.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and PR are Now Forever Intertwined
The role of PR has always been to generate influential mentions and maintain a positive image around a company, client and brand. PR professionals must know how to create quality, shareable content and how to utilize SEO to ensure that the content is being found. At our firm we’re using search tools in real time to identify pitch angles and story topics that we can shape for our clients in all three media. It might be used in an op-ed or in a pitch to a reporter. This helps us and the media gain traction on their story topics. We also are seeking back-links when it comes to PR. Yes, the message is still critical but we are as eager to place a message as we are a back-link to our client’s website.
- Embracing Influencers as Contributors
Influencer relations in PR is a rapidly increasing trend. People trust recommendations from individuals, even people they don’t know personally, over traditional advertisements from companies. Influencers are the people we look to for advice and recommendations on what to buy. We want to share in the experience and see someone test out a product before we indulge for ourselves. This means that an influencers’ genuine testimonial and consumer feedback is vital to collect and invest in when developing a communications strategy. The question is, how can you identify credible influencers from just average ones, or an influencer who may have purchased their following? This challenge has been easier to define as more companies are using their brand equity to trade experiences and products for influence. Gaining a handle on the influencer world is top of mind for all in PR.
- Using Personal Brands to Build a Thought Leadership Platform
Defining your personal brand is an essential and an integral part of business. Brand leaders are establishing valuable, intriguing and offering intelligent thoughts in their fields. Executive thought leadership in a communications strategy can help discover gaps in brand awareness and determine what people want to know about your business.Executive thought leaders can develop a unique relationship with their audience with exclusive content that is educational and offers valuable insight for people who want to learn more. Some easy ways to do this includes: publishing your articles directly on your social media (LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter), utilizing the blog features on your website, developing an e-newsletter for returning subscribers and creating intriguing videos to keep people coming back for more. The key component in thought leadership is YOUR THOUGHTS; discovering and finding that unique angle no one is talking about and owning it. It will be sure to earn the attention and trust of your audience. Do it now. Do it often. Build your audience. Grow your following. Turn around and look back in a year and you’ll see the traction you’ve gained as a thought leader.
- Contributor Content as a Guest Blogger
PR will always be about amplifying content and maintaining relationships with the media. Sending out traditional news releases isn’t enough. If you have valuable content, becoming a contributor can be a unique way to secure coverage. Contributing on blogs is just as good as a placement in traditional media forms. Become a guest blogger for top tier blogs, publications, and more—and do this whether you are paid or not. Creating content for media is more ideal for some companies because the tone of voice will be purely on the client. Offering to submit bylines and articles to publications or simply creating interesting, valuable content that fits for readers is a tactic that publishers appreciate because it eliminates their time to write and create content for publications. By being a contributor for publications, a client gets the opportunity to develop their voice as thought leaders in their industry.
- Non-Traditional Content Amplification
There is an opportunity to combine the content people are interested in with all three types of media to ensure a thorough campaign, and to reach the largest amount of your target audience. Promoted posts on social media and Google Adwords are paid promotions that are tactful and encouraged in PR. It is not paid advertising; it is an organic way to reach more people. Do it – spend little, but still invest. Additionally, tapping the right influencers in the industry is an equally effective way to create credibility around your thoughts and content.
- Leverage Live Video to Tell Stories
On average, a person watches 32 videos per month (sometimes per day). Visual storytelling, whether it be a video, images, infographics, slide shows, etc., is great for PR campaigns because the content is more digestible for visitors. With the growth of digital technology, consumers are bombarded with content, so tapping into live videos and live streaming is unique for consumers and audiences. There is an opportunity to create raw, unedited footage that helps build trust and offers consumers a unique and exclusive view of the company. In utilizing this trend, PR professionals are keeping their client’s audience engaged and intrigued.
Even though a quarter of the year is underway, there is still plenty of time to implement these key trends in 2017. Let us know what PR trends you agree or disagree with and comment below!