Each December public relations agencies spend time crafting pitches and byline articles capturing clients’ takeaways for their particular industry.
It’s the season for recaps, forecasts, and lessons learned, so it makes sense for PR professionals, too, to look back and ruminate on the year that’s coming to an end and share a few observations from the year in PR.
Reputation management – more 24/7 than ever
Good news, bad news, fake news – it never stops. And PR teams have had to be more vigilant than ever to provide guidance that will keep a brand in good stead. This means creating and adhering to policies that dictate how employees use social media and particularly how they respond. The days are long gone when a social manager could let some time go by without addressing a negative tweet or post. Preparation is the byword here, PR teams need to look for potential risks and notify management so crises can be avoided instead of managed. Part of that work also includes having templates and statements crafted in advance that can be customized for the occasion. It’s also very important to tap and train media spokespeople at the beginning of an engagement. Finally, something we’ve observed is the value of responding to positive as well as negative comments. We know they are rare in comparison and that is what makes them so important to acknowledge.
Video is never, ever going away
The research continues to reinforce that video is king and smart marketers will continue to find innovative ways to incorporate it into their programming. We found more use of “explainers” and “behind the scenes” or “day in the life” videos particularly useful when introducing a new product or company. If you don’t believe that video is the predominant medium for communicating today – check out just these five stats:
And, just for fun, this interview with Dawn Ostroff, the president of Condé Nast Entertainment, offers cool insights as to how the formidable print company has morphed into a digital media company.
Data continues to drive coverage
Interesting statistic: According to a recent survey, over 80% of journalists said they are more likely to open an email that contains statistical information from a study as a subject line. Not that we needed any more evidence, but the hunger for hard data and statistics hasn’t waned. It remains key for companies seeking enhanced PR exposure to invest in studies, surveys and other evidence-based data as a fairly surefire way to interest journalists in a particular field. We have been consistently successful securing media coverage of compelling company-generated data such as a recent study by client Media Radar which tracked a drop in alt-right site Breitbart’s ad sales. As well, we conduct quarterly consumer surveys that look at everything from millennial housing fears to consumer shopping habits.
PR firms expand service offerings
There’s virtually no such thing as a traditional PR company anymore. Firms blur lines across advertising, marketing, social media, event planning, content creation and more. The key is in fostering smart, productive partnerships that allow for client companies to trust their PR firm to bring additional, results-producing ideas to the table. We are convinced that our clients value a firm with experts in multi-media content creation, brilliant social media strategists and who can knock a media event out of the park. The PR partner that demonstrates innovation, smart budget stewardship and consistent ROI can expand service offerings and provide so much more than media relations. The PR business has always been about relationships, and elevating a good client relationship to a great one can reap tremendous rewards for both parties.
Technology means continuous learning
The world of tech tools changes with lightning speed. And each new app, platform, or innovation can enhance what we do in PR. This year we were especially psyched to take advantage of free online courses that really upped our game. These include old standbys like Hubspot Academy, dedicated to helping PR pros make better use of content marketing, social media marketing and SEO. Then there’s Lynda.com from the creators of LinkedIn, an online library of video courses offering tutorials on everything from software development to Adobe Suite to mobile marketing. Another contender is Hootsuite Academy, which offers two online training courses, although users pay for certification. Then there’s our favorite, Google Analytics training, which if offered by a variety of providers and is always worth a refresher.