PR and Communications as a business has greatly evolved in the last two decades. From the time when only an exclusive and select few companies and sectors took to PR and adopted sleek PR strategies, a whole new spectrum of industries and sectors are opting for it today. Whether corporate biggies or fledgling startups, more and more companies and professionals are fervently seeking the services of communication specialists and PR pundits with a view to create positive and powerful ripples around their businesses. As we enter the digital age, it has in many ways redrawn the PR landscape spurring an entirely new array of needs and requisites.
With PR becoming a more prized service with a constant spurt in demand, the need to create picture-perfect, high quality ‘with a bang’ stories in no time has only grown stronger. Just like other sectors and professions, PR fraternity too needs to recast itself in light of these shifting dynamics. As traditional media pivots to Digital PR, it is imperative that you pay greater heed to this switchover and B2B marketing can take you to the top of the charts.
Some upcoming and new trends in PR:
The yearning for fresh innovative content
The audience today is more discerning and has developed a more refined taste for content. They are constantly on the lookout for content which is enlightening as well as stimulating. The media too is scouring for new stories and perspectives suitable for its needs and tastes. This growing demand for innovative content is now forcing PR organisations to add greater value to their creative writing teams. Increasingly, PR firms are also seeking specialist writers to address their multifarious content requirements – from health writing to lifestyle writing to serious political writing. Although there is a lot of content floating around, a bulk of it finds itself in the waste bins of editors flowing from their failure to communicate the newspoint efficiently. Well-researched content which is tailored to audience’s taste and that is open in nature is a cherished commodity today.
Thought leadership trickles down the hierarchy
In the past, fashioning thought leadership had been the preserve of the top echelons of a company. The same few names were floated around whenever you referred to the organisation. However, as organisations changed in many ways democratising themselves with dissolved hierarchies and de-centralised leaderships, the scene has changed. Not only the founder or CEOs air their views in public on behalf of the industry today, but a whole army of other management leaders. That a finance head is articulating his position on government’s latest corporate tax policy or the business development head is holding forth on the latest challenges confronting his sector should not surprise you anymore. This multi-level thought leadership engagement has several advantages. One: it helps project your brand to a much broader and eclectic audience. And two: if a thought leader executive decides to quit your company, he is not walking away with all the thought leadership force and substance available in your organisation.
Artificial Intelligence holds promise
Even though AI is still an emerging phenomenon in the field of PR, it holds a lot of potential in terms of automating regular prosaic tasks while allowing enough time for PR people to give attention to the creative pursuits. Preparing media lists, organising meetings and the regular follow up emails will likely be taken over by machines in a more efficient manner. Nonetheless, what is called ‘people skills’ or soft skills such as client relationship, evolving innovative strategies, trust development and weaving of compelling tales, will remain in the hands of PR personnel. Surely, AI is an interesting development looming on the PR and marketing horizons.
Exigencies need more agility
If you run a company, you are bound to face some crisis some day. As the pace of communication has grown multi-fold in this age of social media and instant communication, the chances of mistakes, omissions and slip-ups have only gone up. As opposed to what used to happen two decades ago, all newspapers and TV channels are running things 24/7 on their digital platforms today. Likewise, the negative fallout of a slip-up lasts longer and across a larger audience thanks to social media.
Therefore it is time that PR firms impart upgraded training and skills to their staff for the latter to suitably respond fast and firmly while dealing with information flow in any exigency. At the same time, they should have well-structured social and digital communication response strategies in place.
SEO gaining traction
In an age when consumers are googling even on the schools they should send their kids to, or the latest mobile phone they should purchase, SEO is a vastly-critical but an often overlooked part of PR. Deploying SEO to list and prepare appropriate keywords and embedding them into your content would raise the possibilities of being discovered on the top page via Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Those days of planning and preparing marketing and PR programmes well in advance and releasing them as scheduled in your comfort zone are long gone. Realtime Marketing/reporting is the ‘in thing’ in PR today. Going by the term itself, it implies harnessing the full value of live/ongoing events through social media tools such as live videos and tweets. Keeping this in mind, PR professionals have to be thoroughly armed and ready to respond to any given situation/event that may be unfolding.
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