Public Relations is regarded as the cornerstone for individuals, companies and start-ups to establish their credibility in the market. It has become an integral part for every organisation to reach the target audience through various media platforms. PR works as the middleman through which people can get maximum media exposure. It has been stated by numerous experts that the foundation of modern public relations was established in the early 19th century. Previously, there were only few PR techniques such as press releases, interviews, press conferences and events to gaze traction but with the advent of the internet and digital revolution the business has seen tremendous growth over the period of time. Nowadays, PR is adapting new methods such as engaging videos, online content, bloggers outreach, influencers and many more such techniques to achieve maximum limelight.
The PR business has witnessed rapid growth over last few decades, new services such as digital and social media communications have contributed extensively to the growth of the industry. According to a report by the Public Relations Consultants Associations of India, the sector is expected to reach Rs. 2,100 Crore by 2020.
PR is not a formula-driven business, it is dynamic in nature and continuously evolving. The scope of PR is changing with each passing year, which requires firms to keep in mind the various trends impacting the profession. In 2017, the trends witnessed in the field of PR were the rise in the popularity of influencers, the use of live streaming video and the growth of reputation management to name a few. In the coming year PR will experience some major shifts. Here below are some of the upcoming PR trends to take note of in 2018.
- Capitalising the Digital Landscape
Audiences today are tech savvy they are highly dependent upon technology for their day-to-day activities. People get their latest news by looking at news apps, social media sites and simply searching their query on a search engine. There is a trend of media fragmentation as audiences have the option of a wide variety of platforms to get access to information. Consumers today gravitate for their daily dosage of news not only through traditional media platforms, but also on social and digital media as well. Digital and social media communications have opened up a new channel through which PR firms can reach a brand’s target audience. The business is headed into a new direction where devising and executing digital and social media campaigns are imperative to create brand awareness.
- Innovative Press Releases
Long gone are the days where the sole focus of PR firms is to issue a simple and standard format of press releases. For today’s digital dependent generation media releases are being redefined. PR firms are experimenting with the press release format; including visuals, videos, animation and graphics. Unique techniques such as use of visual appealing media releases and videos have become essential to stay prominent in the public eye.
- Developing New Skill Sets
The basic role of a public relations officer is to project a favourable image of the brand to the masses, through the most sought after media channels and increase brand visibility. However, PR professionals along with establishing effective media and community relations must focus on other abilities as well. PR professionals have to adapt to different situations and become a “jack of all trades”. They need to develop and focus their skills on content creation, corporate communication, crisis management and reputation management. Professionals are required to expand their horizons and keep up with the new trends.
- Focus on Influencer Outreach
In 2018, influencer outreach initiatives will reach new heights. In the past few years influencer outreach has garnered immense limelight in the field. Targeting relevant influencers is an important segment to reach a wider audience. PR firms are well aware of how important it is to collaborate with relevant influencers, due to how influential social media platforms have become. Teaming up with key influencers will help brands target a relevant niche audience for them. Also, through social media influencers, individuals become aware of brands and are persuaded to find out more information about them. In the upcoming year PR firms will work closely with influencers to develop genuine and long-standing relationships with brands.
- Importance of Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is used by professionals to project their clients as informed opinion leaders in their area of expertise. Previously, the role of imparting thought leadership content was confined only for the top level executives such as the CEO, COO, and CMO etc. Now, this trend will gradually shift to other leaders and consultants within the company will share note-worthy and interesting insights with the public. The emphasis of thought leadership stories will be a company – wide endeavour instead of focusing on few individuals at the top-level positions. This will help a brand target a wider, more diverse audience and share more content. Also, encouraging employees to take an active thought leadership role will aid companies to grow their own personal brand.