This year was a transformative year for the public relations industry. With the rise of user generated content due to downsized staff in newsrooms and an increased focus on social media, PR professionals are expanding their scope of work beyond just traditional media relations to be successful.
As planning for 2019 is underway and the industry continues to evolve, Affect’s executive team compiled their predictions for the PR and marketing industry trends.
The Decline of User-Generated Content, Journalism Makes a Comeback!
As editorial teams shrink, earned media is becoming more difficult to secure, so PR professionals have become creative with thought leadership content (e.g. bylines and op-eds) to drive coverage. An unfortunate side effect of this tactic is that editors have become inundated with unvetted, unchallenged and self-serving contributed content that has turned many publications into full advertisements for products and services. Readers have become much more cynical of contributed content and are turning back to journalists, revered editors and trusted sources for news, recommendations and general insight.
The Rise of Micro-influencers
Today, social influencers have the same – or more – clout as traditional media in increasing awareness, driving sales and altering perception. Tapping into their audiences can be pricey, especially for those with more than 100,000 followers, but with social channels becoming an increasingly important way to reach the right audience, marketers are turning to them for campaign support. Many of these ‘Insta-lebrities’ just aren’t delivering tangible ROI for campaigns in the way they did in the past and companies don’t want to pay exorbitant prices without clear ROI. We are seeing brands look to micro-influencers, authentic people with niche, hyper-targeted audiences (and lower fees), to positively sway impact on purchasing decisions.
Owned Channels Support Earned Media Strategy
For ‘challenger’ brands – the earned media landscape is increasingly difficult to navigate. Reporters are working on tighter deadlines in a 24/7, always-on news cycle and are overwhelmed with sources. Smart brands are taking matters into their own hands and using journalism in the form of innovative owned channels and corporate newsrooms – with some launching their own publications and newsletters for customers and prospects. Brands with bigger budgets are even hiring journalists to produce this content for their corporate blog. Earned media will always have a critical place in PR programs, but high-impact, brand-owned channels can support traditional efforts and drive real ROI.
Live Video Increases in Importance
Reports have shown that video accounts for 69% of all consumer web traffic. Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube are all effective platforms for video marketing, particularly for the healthcare industry due to their built-in audiences and searchability. Additionally, Instagram has quickly become successful with video formats including ‘Live’ and ‘Story’ functions. Brands that are not creating video content in 2019 are missing an opportunity to engage with their audience. If you’re new to creating video, remember to be authentic, always develop for mobile, keep the pace quick and the messages short, and grab your audience’s attention in the first five seconds.
Non-traditional Media Outlets Gain Traction
There’s a reason why media outlets like theSkimm and The Hustle have become insanely popular. Not only do they break down the news of the day in easy-to-understand terms, but the content delivery couldn’t be simpler: short, scrollable stories and a no-nonsense tone, mirroring what readers are used to seeing on social platforms. In 2019, we’ll see alternative media outlets like these continue to gain traction and prominence as top news sources. These will serve as a stark contrast to mainstream media publications that are challenged to find unbiased sources to add details and context to breaking news.
To learn how Affect can support your PR and marketing efforts in 2019, please contact us: https://www.affect.com/contact/.