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  • Tag Archive: PR predictions

    1. Were our 2016 PR predictions spot on?

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      Oh, the last few weeks in December — that special time of year when industry prediction posts become as ubiquitous as ugly holiday sweaters and peppermint-flavored everything.

      While I’m certain there will be plenty of articles about what’s next for the world of PR and communications (like this one from the incomparable Gini Dietrich) I’m going to take a different approach.

      Last year, my colleague Rebekah published a swell overview of everything a PR pro might need to know at the onset of 2016. Rather than gaze into the distance, let’s shine a spotlight on past predictions to see which were on the money, didn’t take root, or are starting to blossom but haven’t quite come to fruition.

      Here are a few PR behaviors Rebekah flagged as “ready to be retired” in 2016:

      Rebekah said… “Stop calling journalists you don’t know out of the blue thinking they will call you back or be happy you called.”

      My take: PREACH! These days, pitching is all about personalization, and personalization can only occur when PR pros do their homework. The good news? This is a lesson many PR peeps took to heart in 2016. The bad news? There are still plenty of spammers out there. Let’s keep making headway on this in 2017, shall we?

      Rebekah said… “Stop reporting headline impressions and AVEs as key metrics.”

      My take: Impressions are merely the number of opportunities to be seen, not what was actually seen. Impressions, however, do have their place if, and only if, you’re employing a funnel approach to PR measurement.

      Sadly, PR is having a hard time letting go of these metrics as the gold standard, so let’s hope there’s more of a move to embrace a spectrum of metrics instead of continued rigid adherence to impressions and AVEs in 2017.

      Rebekah said… “Stop writing press releases for the express purpose of making an executive happy.”

      My take: Our customer data shows that the ROI of press releases is consistently underwhelming considering the amount of money and resources they require. That’s not to say that the press release is dead; its function merely needs to be reimagined. There is a time for the press release, but it’s probably not as often as you think.

      Rebekah said… Stop believing that you are supposed to like analytics and numbers, when in fact, you probably never will. That’s okay. But it’s an important part of the PR function, so figure out a hack for it.

      My take: The most innovative PR teams are doing one thing differently than the rest: they have identified someone to own measurement and data analysis. And that person is empowered to call out the good, the bad, and the ugly, so their team can integrate learnings into future PR campaigns. Data is useful, but only if insights from data are put into action.

      Now that we’ve covered PR behaviors to drop once and for all, let’s analyze the accuracy of Rebekah’s PR predictions for 2016.

      PR Predictions

      Rebekah predicted… “For B2B businesses, LinkedIn Pulse and Medium are a boon for marketing and PR and will continue to gain traction as leading publishing platforms.”

      I say: +1 to LinkedIn being a leading publishing platform in 2016! Our customer data consistently shows LinkedIn to be a primary driver of both brand awareness and traffic back to site.

      We haven’t seen quite the same return from Medium, but we are noticing that traditional media outlets are providing exciting opportunities to brands via the self-publishing platform.

      Rebekah predicted… “Data first: PR pros need to include data in the content planning phase, then track all the way through outcomes.”

      I say: -1 for the fact that data still must fight for its place in PR. The objectivity and accountability data provides cannot be overlooked, so let’s all check our data bias and embrace the fact that data is here to stay.

      Rebekah predicted… “Influencer endorsements will become even more important. If you can’t get them organically, brands will have to pay for them.”

      I say: Spot on, Rebekah! Influencer relationships are the new black. They are becoming as important as relationships with journalists, so knowing how to establish and deepen these connections is paramount. This trend isn’t going anywhere so bone up and get ‘er done!

      Rebekah predicted… “Virtual reality will heat up and meet the desire for data as well as brand experiences.”

      I say: Another notch in the PR prediction win column! It’s not just virtual reality (VR) that’s transforming brand experiences, it’s augmented reality (AR) too. (Think Pokémon Go.)

      These two technologies are poised to fundamentally reshape brand communications and introduce a whole new playing field when it comes to customer acquisition and retention.

      Looking back, I’d say Rebekah was pretty spot on with her 2016 predictions! But I have a feeling a lot of these nascent PR trends will evolve into stronger versions of themselves in the year ahead. What do you think we’ll see more of?

    2. In PR? This is all you need to know for 2016

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      Ahhh, the new year. A time for resolutions, preparations, and perhaps my favorite: bright-eyed predictions.

      Our propensity to look toward the future through lens of the past is as necessary to the human experience as breathing.

      Not wanting to be left out (FOMO alert. BTW that word is so last year. What you really need to know is the correct usage of “On Fleek.” Thank you Meredith Fineman for keeping me relevant), I have pulled together everything a PR person may have done in 2015 that they don’t need to do anymore, while giving y’all some guidance for 2016.

      Here’s whatchya don’t need to do anymore…aka not On Fleek:All PR needs to know for 2016

      1. Call journalists you don’t know out of the blue thinking they will call you back or be happy that you called. They won’t.

      2. Report “headline impressions” or “AVEs” as key metrics. This is a spank-worthy practice. Very bad.

      3. Be afraid that what you offer as a professional isn’t as important as other aspects of the marketing function (did someone say advertising, digital, social?). It is so so so important. I promise.

      4. Write masturbatory press releases for the express purpose of making some key executive happy because (s)he likes the sound of her own voice or likes to see his name in quotes. Blech. Stop it, puuhlease.

      5. Believe that you are supposed to like analytics and numbers, when in fact, you probably never will. That’s ok. But it’s an important part of the PR function so figure out a hack for it. Hire someone. Find someone to partner with who likes this aspect of it. Then soar to the moon with data in hand.

      Now for the goods.

      Here are a handful of trends to be aware of in the coming year. I cannot take credit for coming up with these. I simply stole narrowed down themes based on this Hotwire Communications Trend Report.

      Here’s what is On Fleek for 2016:

      1. For B2B, LinkedIn Pulse and Medium are a boon for marketing and PR and will continue to gain traction as leading publishing platforms.

      2. To compete against all the noise, go for depth and targeted campaign content. What? I know, being deep rules. Being superficial doesn’t.

      3. Brands are shifting focus to “Association” rather than “Advertising”. The argument here: LIFE by association.

      4. Influencer endorsements will become even more important. If you can’t get them organically, brands will have to pay for them. TIP: Check out our friends at Thuzio or any of the incredible PRTech companies playing in this space.

      5. Culture is shifting to “Ephemeral Content” and not needing to keep a lasting record of everything. THANK GOD.

      6. Hyperlocal content and hyperlocal reporting will gain even more traction as this type of content tends to attract specific (subset) audiences. EXAMPLE: BuzzFeed’s model of 22 things you’ll only know if you’re from X.

      7. Data first: PR pros need to include data in the content planning phase then track all the way through outcomes. Execs are demanding this.

      8. Virtual Reality heats up and meets the desire for data as well as brand experiences. Survios is sooo on this. #ShamelessBigSisPlug.

      9. Corporate Social Responsibility and brand activism continue to lead company messaging: “Values don’t (or shouldn’t change) and have a tremendous effect on the growth of a company.” Just ask Qualcomm Wireless Reach.

      10. Transmedia branding: The reinvention of PR through creating unified and coordinated experiences (CAVEAT: the ability to engage audiences and negotiate relationships is still a central skill).

      11. Mobile, Wireless, and Cordless take all, as the future is about streaming (rise of Netflix, Spotify, etc.), and consumers want to be free to move from place to place over space and time. Trippy.

      Let’s see if I got it right. We’ll circle back in 12 months. 🙂

      Any other emerging trends you’re keeping an eye on in 2016? Please do share in the comments below.

    3. 5 PRedictions for 2015

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      With 2014 quickly rolling to a close, it’s about that time for everyone and their mother to bust out their crystal ball and make industry predictions for the coming year.

      Not one to buck the trend, we’re (#obviously) going to offer up our own take on what’s coming down the pipeline. However, much of the surmising we’re about to embark on stems from things we’ve been reading, content we’ve been writing, and conversations we’ve been having over the past 12 months.

      Many of these PRedictions have already begun to take root, which is great news for all of us. What jazzes us most is seeing these defining forces grow, blossom, and most importantly, spread so be sure to pass along the knowledge.

      Without further ado, we bring you our 5 PR prognostications for 2015:

      2015 PR predictions1. PESO model becomes the norm, not the exception

      Gone are the days when a hit in the newspaper was enough to satisfy clients and drive real business results. With more digital tools than ever at our fingertips, fully integrated programs are now going to be more than expected, they will be demanded.

      When PR gets stuck in “media relations only” mode, so many important opportunities get missed. When all the media forces combine —paid, earned, shared, and owned—what starts as one story can inevitably become a compelling campaign that reaches customers in a meaningful and targeted way.

      2. PRTech cements its status as the next frontier in digital marketing

      The PRTech ecosystem is just beginning to reveal itself, but there is no doubt that the individuals and company that make up this space are the one fueling the evolution of the PR industry.

      As PR makes a move to embrace a more programmatic, data-focused approach to optimization and outcomes, it has become imperative for professionals to understand the players in the space and the conversations taking place. PRTech will lead this charge and provide the industry with a much-needed roadmap to understanding all the changes taking place.

      3. Marketing and PR become BFFs

      How PR works in tandem with all other departments (marketing, advertising, etc.) will define success across the board moving forward. The lines are blurring between social, content, media buying, and analytics, so it is imperative that PR reach out to its business counterparts to align all efforts while streamlining work.

      PR will continue to push out stories and messaging that positions their companies in a positive light, but more than that, PR now has the opportunity to directly inform marketing and advertising in terms of what customers are saying, doing, and thinking about products, services, and beyond.

      4. Social business increases its emphasis on people and relationships

      The challenges and opportunities of social media’s evolution within organizations will continue to evolve, but in 2015 we will see brands value the cultivation of relationships over the perceived volume of their social “megaphone”.

      While creating a social strategy to align with business objectives is important, what’s more important is to remember that people are at the center of the data available on social. Though social business offers a vast array of tech to tap for customer insights and feedback, it’s still about relationships at the end of the day. And let’s face it; relationships are what PR does best.

      5. Value driven metrics take a firmer hold

      FINALLY the PR industry will let go of metrics that don’t measure up (i.e. AVEs) in lieu of concrete data that truly proves ROI. Analytics will be embraced as the missing link that provides insights into what’s working, how to test, and where to optimize in future campaigns and content.

      A widespread embrace of PR measurement will help show the entire business community PR is an investment, and not an expense. In other words: PR will shift from a cost center to a profit center.

      All in all, the future of PR has never looked brighter however it still of the utmost importance that we all continue to demand excellence while embracing these shifts. The heart of PR is people, so let’s make the coming year the most forward-thinking, data-driven, creative-minded year yet.

      Here’s to a PRosperous 2015!