Public relations has been evolving significantly in the last decade as the growth of digital and the slowdown of traditional media has changed how brands benefit from PR. We look at PR trends that will shape 2019 and what we can see shaping the industry till 2020.
PR Trend 1: PR and content marketing are interconnected
PR and content marketing have had similar, but different roles within an organisation’s marketing plan. PR was always about brand or self-promotion, while content marketing was traditionally an educational tool used to engage and provide value.
However, as the industry continues to evolve, PR is no longer just a self-promotion tool, but a way for brands to educate and add value to the market. As priorities shift, public relations will need to be combined or work closely with content marketing.
While the roles remain the same – PR reaches your target audience and content marketing converts them into customers – marketers will need to adapt to the changing roles within companies.
PR Trend 2: The definition of success is changing
This has been a conversation topic in the industry for years, but over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a shift away from the traditional model of how many articles can you generate to aligning PR to business goals.
Tangible deliverables matter. While media coverage is great and looks really good on paper – what does that actually mean for the business. Are you generating new business, driving web traffic, helping them change the perception in the market or opening up new customer segments? Being able to create real tangible results that the client understands is becoming the norm for PR.
PR Trend 3: Technology is disrupting PR
I’ll admit, I am very bias here. However, PR people need to stop being so sceptical about using technology to automate their work and even make them better creative consultants.
At SYNC, we use automation technology to make our lives easier and work faster, while also reducing mistakes. This allows us to scale our business and remain cost-effective for startups and SMEs. However, we are not averse to expanding our technology stack to include machine learning for better content development, AI tools to help us develop better media lists and predict consumer trends for media or even integrate other aspects of the media scene into our work.
This is the direction that the industry is moving towards (very slowly) and we hope to be at the forefront of the change.
PR Trend 4: The loss of trust in the media
Trust is crucial for all businesses, but at the same time we’re in the age of ‘fake news’ – thanks Trump – and the shortest news cycle (immediate) in the history of media. Apparently, we don’t trust the media anymore and that is rather depressing.
This makes our job complicated, but not impossible. Brands have gotten better at using their own platforms to reach new customer audiences. Social media has become the largest platform to reach people – brands just have to get it right. At SYNC, we use a multitude of different strategies and tactics that help us get real results for brands.
PR is changing and while we look at the future, we need to be able to embrace these changes. Right now, the industry isn’t moving as quickly as others have and disruption is slow, but to stay ahead of the changing economy and client needs, we need to move forward as a whole.
About the author
Terng 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.