7 PR Trends for 2016

Public relations, marketing and communication are all evolving so rapidly that PR professionals have to be on top of their game to keep up with all the practices that are shaping the industry.

“The public relations industry has seen dramatic evolution over the years (especially in the last few),” writes John Hall in his article “7 PR Trends You Need To Know In 2016” in Forbes.com. “It’s an exciting time to be a communications professional, and if we want to continue evolving with our field, we have to pay attention to upcoming trends and changes in our practices.”

Hall is the CEO of Influence & Co., a company that specializes in expertise extraction and knowledge management that is used to fuel marketing efforts.

The seven PR trends Hall identifies includes the decline of the traditional press release; “thought leadership” becoming a growing PR budget priority; content amplification will become (even more) critical; negative brand advocates will be prevented through content; online reputation management will be necessary; true influence will win over number of followers; and use of paid promotion and social ads will continue to rise.

Here are the highlights:

  1. The traditional press release is no more.

“The age of the standard press release is no more. Unless you’re Apple — or you have some truly groundbreaking product — you’re wasting your resources if you’re continuing to write and distribute traditional press releases to journalists and outlets to get them to cover your news. Take advantage of social media, develop relationships with industry leaders and influencers, and incorporate quality visuals in your messages to get the attention of journalists and outlets that can help you spread your message.”

  1. Thought leadership will become a growing PR budget priority.

“Thought leadership is a newer marketing trend where business leaders and companies position themselves as leaders in their spaces, and it serves as a great framework for related PR tactics and campaigns. By focusing on thought leadership, you can surround yourself and your audience with the right kind of content — content that’s valuable, educational, and engaging.”

  1. Content amplification will become (even more) critical.

“There are plenty of channels to promote your messaging, but you have to know how to leverage and amplify your content to get more eyes on it. And it all starts with the quality of the content you’re trying to get in front of your audience. When you start with good content, amplifying it to your targeted audience becomes much easier, and you’ll find even more avenues for you and your team to distribute it.”

  1. Negative brand advocates will be prevented through content.

“Sometimes, people can be unreasonable and a little impulsive, and with such easy access to social media, every person has the ability to share bad experiences with his or her network. To prevent this in PR, establish processes to avoid negative experiences in the first place. That starts with training your team to handle situations and experiences effectively — before they turn into PR nightmares. When your team is educated and engaged, they can help facilitate better experiences with your clients, and those experiences reduce your chances of falling victim to the social ranting and negative brand advocacy of a disgruntled customer.”

  1. Online reputation management will be necessary.

“When someone searches you and finds solid content around your brand, your expertise, and your company, you essentially pass his or her test. Thus, your chance of acceptance to his or her publication increases. But if there isn’t much content (or if the content you do have is negative), a relationship with you isn’t worth the risk. To better manage your online reputation and get your message to the right audiences, it’s important to consistently create and publish quality content.”

  1. True influence will win over number of followers.

“Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that brands and company executives are spending a significant amount of money to gain the attention of leading industry influencers with hundreds of thousands of social media followers to gain access to their networks, increase their own following, and promote their messages. But it’s ultimately better to have a slightly smaller, higher-quality network that loves your brand and content than it is to have a larger one with no engagement. Focus on developing a network and building influence among a targeted, valuable audience and social following to stay ahead in 2016.”

  1. Use of paid promotion and social ads will continue to rise.

“With thought leadership strategies serving as such a great base for public relations efforts, we’re seeing more and more leaders produce and distribute content around their brands and expertise to fuel those PR efforts. But there is another method of distribution is on the rise. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 content benchmark report, more than 50 percent of B2B marketing professionals use social ads and promoted posts to distribute content, and the effectiveness ratings for each of these methods have increased since last year. This means more marketers and communications professionals are turning to paid social efforts, and those efforts are seeing higher and higher returns.”

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