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PR TRENDS FOR 2019..?

It would not be January without a wave of predictions from PR and digital agencies about what’s in store for marketeers in 2019.  So, we’ve asked around the office for our own insights and thoughts and compiled what we believe will be some of the PR and digital trends for the year ahead…

It’s all about influence

Influencer marketing will continue to be a key platform for PRs to extend the reach and position of client brands.  However, if the economy declines post Brexit we may see a consolidation of budgets and a check in the increasingly disproportionate costs charged by some influencers.  Savvy PRs will spot the up and coming influencers and ensure a brand is well positioned and appropriately exposed to generate the best ROI.

Continued pressures on traditional media. 

Traditional media reach is likely to continue to decline, but value remains through targeted exposure, brand leadership as well as links to a client’s website.  Clients will need to be comfortable with using sponsored content as part of their mix as 75% of communications professionals are already using it in their strategies to support the publishers hungry for new forms of revenue.

Strategic partners

As traditional media declines, PR agencies will increasingly be used as a strategic communications partner to clients, whether media relations, content creation or social media management.  Let’s also not forget the ability to identify opportunities for news stories and provide first-class content journalists can use.

Good PR professionals will help clients develop on-going relationships with a broad range of audiences across a range of interest segments. As a result, clients will expand and deepen their reach by securing a share of audience attention through consistent content distributed across multiple channels.

Message development

PR agencies should tailor their messages to include more visual, video and voice content depending on which device is used.  This is best achieved by creating bespoke content across multiple channels to expand and deepen a client’s reach.

Great content needs to tell a story, not just for the media but all audiences.  Also, expand the audiences you work with to include a broader set of partners: websites, content syndicators, trade associations and others who can help bring your story to a wider audience.

Positive year

PR agencies are the marketing sector’s best content creators and storytellers, and have the unique opportunity to support clients across the communications spectrum whether the space is paid for, earned, shared or owned by clients. To have a successful 2019, PR agencies needs to be confident with numbers, data, software and proving their ROI in the increasingly digital world.

IT’S MORE THAN JUST THE MESSAGE

Anyone who’s been involved in media training or been interviewed on TV or radio has probably been advised to focus on three or four key messages to ensure that they get their point across.

Fair enough, and there’s no denying that is some pretty sound advice, particularly if there is the potential for the interview to become complex or to be pulled in different directions.

There is however one problem, and that problem has been beautifully highlighted by someone who should quite frankly know better.  Our esteemed PM.

She could be accused of running perhaps the worst political campaign this century when she squandered a 20 point lead in the polls, to nearly lose the General Election to an opposition that many had predicted would be wiped off the political landscape.

What went wrong?

So, what went so wrong? In my view it was the over use of the ‘Strong and stable leadership’ message.  People started counting the absurd number of repetitions and it was not long before the memes started and social media undermined the message – along with the robot like delivery.  I believe Ikea even used it in their advertising along with a picture of the PM seated at a desk with the caption “strong and stable” shelving.

Theresa May, and many of her ministers, forgot one of the most important elements of an interview and that’s to add some personality and dynamism if you’re looking to attract support and get people to back your cause.

This is not meant to be a party political broadcast for any party or policy, but I fear that she’s falling into the same trap when looking to secure the votes needed to deliver on her Brexit proposals.

Let’s keep an ear out for how many times she says; “It’s a good deal for our country that takes back control of our borders, laws and money…”.  We have less than a fortnight before the ‘meaningful vote’ so no doubt plenty of time to be driven mad by the repetition.

If she wants the message to cut through she will need to not just repeat it like a small child on a drum kit, but instead install confidence and support through her body language, confidence in her convictions and even tone of voice.

If not, she’ll run the risk of only ever beings seen as ‘May-bot’ who is good at reciting messages but misses the bigger picture.

Looking to develop your communications strategy or develop messages? Get in touch and let us help you through the process.

BLOGGERS: A BRAND’S BEST FRIEND?

Despite their increasing presence in the modern media landscape, the subject of working with bloggers will still make many business executives cringe. To several, the “blogosphere” remains a rather nebulous and untrustworthy concept which can be a little hard to grasp.

However, what initially began in 1999 as a fairly insignificant space for individuals to document their online diary has radically transformed into a bona fide digital platform and essential PR tool. The influencer landscape has a crucial impact on today’s consumers and can carry a lot of weight in terms of managing a brand’s reputation online.

Here’s why…

Blogging is everywhere

With two in every three people now reading blogs on a weekly basis, blogging has transformed from a hobby into a legitimate career choice. Studies have revealed that 23% of current total Internet usage time is devoted to social networks or blogs. With consumers spending so much time in this sphere, brands are well advised to have a presence.

Blogging affects SEO

Even if you’re only well-versed with the very basics of search engine optimisation, you’ll be aware that generating links back to your website can be enormously beneficial in terms of boosting Google rankings. Once a relevant blogger has written about your brand or services and included a link directly to your website, not only will Google recognise it as a sign of page authority but visitors to that particular blog will also be presented with a direct call to action to visit your website.

Bloggers have an influence

As bloggers give such an honest insight into their daily lives, their readers relate to what they write on a much more personal level and are therefore more likely to mimic their behaviour. In an increasingly technological world, people are turning to the internet for ‘word of mouth’ opinions as opposed to their friends and family, and that is precisely the role the blogosphere is currently playing.

As an agency, we always err on the side of caution when it comes to blogger partnerships, as there are many things which need careful consideration. Firstly, choosing a blogger that closely matches your brand ethos is essential as you’ll want to ensure the message is reaching the right audience. Secondly, ensure that you’ve done a thorough background check on your blogger’s stats. Simple sites like Coveragebot will enable you to check their domain authority and will also give you an indication of their monthly online readership. Lastly, check their social channels to ensure that their engagement rate is consistently high, not just for high following figures.

Ultimately the message is clear: if you proceed with careful consideration and choose your partnership wisely, a blog partnership can be enormously beneficial to the awareness and reputation of a brand.