You’ll read a lot of trend-spotting for this year, as we do in the dawn of every new year.
Most experts foresee the big push of AI in the way PR is practice, the absolute firepower that content will play in the way agencies deliver results, and PR will be more data driven than ever before, thanks to the ability to churn out loads of client specific or media specific data.
This will all be there, and yes, they will shape the way the reputation business is done for a long time to come.
But, the most important trend will be this – Public relations aka earned media will gain more relevance and importance. While companies sink their hard earned revenues into the well of conventional media spend like advertising, the results from them will get smaller and smaller, thanks to the unprecedented clutter, and mad rush for the consumer mind-space.
And despite the best of spends and creative efforts, the measurable or tangible results from advertisements across all media vehicles, online and offline, will get to the point of being abysmally low.
This will mean that companies will turn to PR aka earned media, more than ever before. This will by far be the most definitive trend in 2018. While this be, PR professionals will also see that their space is becoming fiercely competitive, so much so, that the biggest trend – shift to earned media from paid media – is not felt.
This means that there will be a call for absolute innovation in the way businesses are pitched for, and in the way client reputation is sold to the media.
There will also be a manifold increase in the number of agencies, big and small, global and local. As in the recent few years, glocal agencies (local agencies with a global mindset, and delivery capabilities cutting across media geographies) will possess the cutting edge.
On the media front, the shake-up of the newsrooms will continue, and there’ll be even fewer reporters, editors and TV producers to pitch. Thanks to the demand for superior quality journalism from the news consumers, the media will get more and more choosy, about what they will publish.
There is no denying that there is a plethora of startup news entities, offline, and online. But even in their voracious appetite for content, they will not be able to compromise on quality. Remember that most such start-ups are with their content behind paywalls, and that means their business model ought to be data driven. It’s all about the traffic and the clicks.
Just sending a blast of press releases indiscriminately doesn’t get the coverage.
Public relations is the preferred destination for those who are looking to chose earned media. But, the need to stand out and succeed will be to show to our clients that we can deliver the goods in this competitive environment.