Charlie Sheen: what lines has he not crossed? Drugs, sex, and legal woes. Yet, the world loves him. Other celebrities (or any of the rest of us) make one unacceptable choice and it takes years to recover, if at all. What is the difference between Charlie and everyone else? PR. Public relations professionals are like that friend who helped you campaign for student government president in high school. One who excels at their job and knows how to make, build, and nurture the relationship between the client and the client’s supporters.

Those who work in PR bring awareness to a brand—be it an individual or a company—through free avenues like social media, speaking opportunities, or news stories. Their goal is to bring positive publicity to their clients by painting the best possible picture of them through any circumstance. In 2018 we have seen many trends in the field that are changing the game and upping the expectations for PR experts.

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The blurred lines between PR and marketing

The terms “PR” and “marketing” are often used interchangeably despite the fact that they are two different jobs with different purposes. While PR focuses on positive publicity through unpaid or social sources, marketing concentrates on paid favourable publicity. It is obvious why the masses are confused and it does not seem the latest trend will help clear things up. According to Media Bullseye, social media has had a significant impact on the blurred lines between PR and marketing. Social media outlets such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter provide a platform for individuals and companies to build relationships with their followers while promoting what they are selling. Eyeing these posts, however, it is usually unclear if the purpose of a product or service being endorsed is to build awareness and trust with the public or to strictly promote what the client is selling. Be prepared for a closer connection between the two parties as time moves forward.

The definition of a publication will become redundant

It was not long ago that the media consisted solely of the newspaper, radio, and television. There was a waiting period to find out the latest news; reporters and newscasters were the ones we looked to for all things current. Fast forward to 2018, and social media, blogs, and podcasts (just to name a few) have taken over the media industry. This transformation is decreasing the influence of news professionals and putting the power into the hands of the people. Public relations professionals must create a purposeful relationship strategy that is focused on consistent and genuine connections between the client and their devotees. At the end of the day, the general public has the final say in whether a brand thrives or dies.

The changing landscape of paid media

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Paid media was once a marketing strategy used solely to drive revenue through advertisements such as display ads, sponsored ads, and PPC (pay-per-click). Businesses would pay for this media coverage with a mission to boost their public visibility and sales. Times are changing and paid media has found its way into the realm of public relations. The current climate of the news media has declined due to the increase in other forms of media. According to marketing and PR expert, Christopher S. Penn, we can expect to pay for pretty much everything we read on the internet in the future. From a PR perspective, this means you must have a clear understanding of your audience and a determination to upgrade your advertising skills.

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Quality over quantity

As the public is gaining more influence on business and individual branding, we are seeing a tipping point take place in content quality. An overwhelming amount of information floods the web and readers are changing their habits to ease the stress of knowledge overload. People are narrowing down their sources of content and seeking out higher quality. Say goodbye to the days of a subpar approach and inconsistent presence. Customers are looking for specific and practical knowledge they can actually use. More importantly, they are seeking brands that are trustworthy. People want loyalty and expertise in both content and character.  

The PR industry is moving full speed ahead and waiting for no one. In order to dominate the world of PR, you must be committed to staying on top of ever-changing trends and adapting as necessary. As you study these four trends, re-evaluate your current approach and alter it with the future in mind.

This article was contributed by Terng Shing Chen, CEO of SYNC PR.

About the author

Terng Shing - Profile photo smallTerng Shing is the Founder and CEO of SYNC PR, a PR and content marketing startup that uses technology to reduce time wasting and administrative tasks in delivering results. Based in Singapore, Terng Shing has been focused on helping startups and SMEs build their brand story through media and content.

His experience includes a decade of work in PR and communications agencies, managing top-tier fortune 500 companies to the leading startups in Southeast Asia. Terng Shing has a passion for innovative communications and is convinced that PR is the next great industry to see positive disruption.

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