It’s no surprise that the field of public relations has changed through the years, and in recent years, it’s been warp speed changes. PR strategies are more social than ever before. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, just to name a few heavy hitters, are major networking tools and sources of news. In fact, it's not only a place to go to find the news but it's now making the news. For example, celebs' tweets are taken as comment, brands' use of twitter gets covered in the news and media outlets will often broadcast user tweets on the screen, etc.
PR is no longer all about the flashy designs, catchy headlines and cookie cutter approaches. Smart agencies (ahem…Gavin) are using new PR tactics to grow clients’ businesses, engage target audiences and better understand consumers to drive a brand’s innovation. With all this change, PR is now also all about the numbers.
Back in the day, clients were satisfied when they saw shiny new ads and clever taglines. While that creativity is still desired, clients now also want to see what their marketing dollars are getting them, and the successes of those metrics. It’s now essential for PR agencies to provide clients with an effective breakdown of how much they're spending and the return on investment (ROI). This shift requires agencies to take a look at what tactics are currently being used for their clients and whether or not those tactics are advancing the client toward or over the determined goal line.
PR Daily breaks it down in an infographic, which got us talking. So we decided to sit down as a team and discuss our experience within this fast-paced, evolving industry and share our ideas on where PR is headed next. Here’s what we thought:
Mandy: PR is constantly being redefined by the media and the networks that are emerging as mass leaders. I see the trends moving more and more toward integrating real-time strategies to garner bigger exposure. As a result of an effort that may feel like a rushed response to an opportunity, more organizations and brands are going to plan bigger picture with clearer goals and a comprehensive understanding of their brand's voice. Empowered with this information, when an immediate opportunity does in fact arise, brands can easily pinpoint the opportunity as offering true value to their brand. This will allow any team to jump into action based on a goal, rather than just jumping on the bandwagon.
Meg: I think crowd sourcing is a fresh trend in PR and is something I can see being a part of the way we work into the future. As marketers, we're always trying to tell our clients' stories, or their consumers', stories. Crowd-sourced content gives us not only the words we need, but also the imagery. Who knows an audience better than the audience themselves? One thing that remains the same is the public's desire for a good story. Whether the message is heartwarming or outrageous, having a good story makes a piece easier to pitch. I don't think that will ever change.
Lauren: The future of PR will no longer incorporate media relations in its traditional sense. While that will always be important, content creation for new and innovative campaigns is much more important now, and must be visible outside of the conventional morning news or local newspaper. I don't know anyone that isn't getting their news from smartphones to some degree.
Becky: I believe the future of PR will be more viral. In this digital world, news is happening at the blink of an eye and it will be more important than ever to stay in front of the news rather than having to catch up. With more and more people going online to get the latest news, becoming more viral makes the most sense.