Three Content Trends That Impact Public Relations

Content is still king, and as most PR professionals are aware, the kingdom is only growing. Brands are building newsrooms, journalists are moving to the dark side, and it seems like there’s a new social platform born every week or so. So, it’s particularly important for PR and content pros to stay on top of trends and tools. Here are three.

Mo’ Mobile. “Mobile-geddon” is here! Google’s much-hyped algorithm change arrives April 21, and it has already set off a scramble to optimize. The change will downgrade sites that are not mobile-friendly while rewarding those ready for the mobile revolution. Google promises that the change will have “a significant impact” on search results. The good news is there are plenty of tools to determine if your content sites pass muster, including Google’s own mobile-friendly test.
The change is not a surprise, since 60 percent of content is now accessed on a mobile device, and that percentage will only grow.

Social streaming finally takes off. I know what you’re thinking; live streaming has been around for years, so why the fuss? After Meerkat took over this year’s South By Southwest conference, there’s fresh buzz around it and competitors, including Twitter’s own Periscope,, and others. The reasons for the resurgence boil down to a few factors: the soaring mobile device usage that seems to drive just about everything; the social platform integration the new streaming apps offer; and the emergence of several competitors in a “one-up” struggle that’s good for business.
For PR pros, live streaming is worth checking out if you actually have something to say. It can be used to support news announcements and company events; new product demos; executive interviews; or maybe even a reaction to a big announcement or a real-time marketing stunt during a live event. Social streaming can also be useful to offer fans or customers a first peek at something new or special, like Starbucks’ “tour” of its coffee roasting facility, or retailer Everlane’s cool new office.

Audio is hot. Yes, it’s one more trend that’s part of the broader mobile explosion, and it might be the most intriguing for content and PR professionals.  Podcasts – and their step-cousin, the audiobook – have been around for a while, but with the blockbuster success of “Serial” and the popularity of business-focused audio content like “Working” and (my favorite), “Startup” — the podcast is definitely having a moment.

If you’re not up for creating your own, look no further than Slate’s Panoply, a full-service podcast network for media brands, authors, personalities, and “premier organizations” (I think that means brands.) What stands out here is the sky-high audience engagement that a truly great podcast can deliver, and the potential for brand integration that works within the content itself or even enhances it. (We still fondly refer to our email services provider as “MailKimp.“)

Okay, so the above trends are really about a single trend, which is mobile adoption. But hang onto your smartphone, there’s surely more to come.

Why PR Should Pay Attention To Video Sharing

Many prognosticators in the marketing and PR worlds have declared 2015 to be the “year of the video” — super short video, to be precise — when it comes to content. The designation has been a long time coming: as early as 2013, observers were noting a critical mass of “bite size video” and mobile sharing apps had reached the market and were poised to dominate social media.

Assuming complete domination in 2015, there are several reasons why companies and brands ought to consider video sharing in their PR and marketing campaigns. Here is our take on just a few.

It’s popular. By all accounts, video sharing is growing. Some estimates say video accounts for 66 percent of all Internet traffic today and will grow to nearly 80 percent by 2018. New video sharing platforms are constantly entering the market, investors are backing them, and existing social media networks (including Facebook and Twitter) have developed or are developing their own internal video-sharing mechanisms, making it easier to view within their systems. With so many eyes and ears looking at and sharing video, companies and brands simply can’t ignore it as a marketing and communications tool.

It’s easy. Creating video content was once the purview of specialists with fancy (read: expensive) equipment. Today anyone with a smartphone, which is just about everyone, can take high-quality video. And while it’s true that professional video remains in the realm of the professionals, mobile phones have gotten faster, more powerful, and larger in screen size, making them better suited to both view and create high quality video. Mobile networks are faster, too, better able to handle high-quality streaming, and are often more affordable. In 2015, embracing video content is more of a mind shift than a technical one.

It’s a buzzworthy category. New players in the video sharing world have a rockstar profile. Take Meerkat, the video sharing mobile app that gained 300K followers, including a few celebrities, within its first several weeks of existence. The cleverly branded app was all the rage at this month’s SXSW gathering, and is the media darling of the moment, used by tech publishers like Mashable and personalities like Jimmy Fallon. It’s not just PR, either: the fledgling app recently raised $12 million in Series B funding, and is now valued at $40 million.

It’s a smart PR and marketing move to take a little bit of effort to connect your company or brand to a trendy movement that only seems to pick up steam.

For helpful tips on how to create buzzworthy brand videos, download our free tipsheet, “7 Traits of PR-Worthy Brand Videos”

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