Five Trends for PR Pros to Watch in 2020 & Why They Matter

We’re in the midst of full-blown, end-of-year craziness here at Caster with CES on the horizon, ISE not far behind it, and of course, managing year-end closeout and preparing and setting goals for 2020. As we wind down 2019 and look ahead to the coming decade, I wanted to reflect on trends that we’ve seen proliferate in the last decade and what changes may be coming for 2020 and beyond for PR pros – and how we can all make changes to be as successful as possible. The last decade has seen PR, media, social, digital, and all of the many elements we touch shift and change, and, along with it, our roles have evolved and continue to be redefined.

1. Social platforms shifting in importance and reach

Social media and its role in our culture have shifted immensely since the beginning of the decade – what used to be a place where people shared quick updates with people in their immediate circles has become a global community, where brands and people live alongside one another in a continuous cycle of communication. It’s often hard to discern where advertising, marketing, branding, and PR efforts start and stop on social nowadays.

Social media is noisy and over-saturated, and the platforms that a company or brand uses should be selected based on their goals. For example, a B2B medical technology company probably won’t need a Facebook or Instagram page – their audience simply doesn’t use these platforms to get information from them. And where B2C brands often thought that they needed an extremely active Facebook page, Facebook algorithm changes and user scrutiny in the last few years have impacted the platform’s ability to offer targeted advertising and organic impressions and growth. Many B2C brands have shifted budgets to focus more on Instagram or YouTube efforts instead. Keeping abreast of these social shifts and changes will be critical to ensure that your social efforts are impactful.

2. Content, content, and more content

As communications pros, content development is core to the work we do, and this will continue to be critical for effective PR strategy in 2020 and beyond – from blogs, to case studies, to newsletters, and whitepapers – content supports marketing and sales SEO efforts, extends brand reach, and also opens new opportunities for press.

It’s critical that we shift our perspective on the mileage we can get out of content – for example, splitting a whitepaper into a few pieces to develop different root content for pitching new angles and contributed articles, or pitching a case study to the media instead of it just living on a company website. Finding ways to breathe new life into content helps generate more media opportunities and extends brand reach.

3. Media will continue to shift and change at a rapid pace

The way that people get news and learn about the world has changed dramatically in the last decade, and that will likely continue to change. The emergence of media groups with goals to reinvigorate news and perspectives for millennials and Gen Z (into industries like technology) continue to proliferate. The media in which we access news and information have also shifted, like a growing reliance on video platforms like YouTube for breaking news, shows on streaming services like Netflix instead of cable, or podcasts instead of the radio. It’s important for PR and comms pros to closely track these cultural shifts and use them to re-think the way we reach out to and build relationships with the media.

4. The growth influencer culture

As alluded to in trend #1, the way that brands communicate their value, products, and messages has shifted greatly, as people have a growing distrust in traditional advertising and marketing mediums.

This is where influencer marketing steps in. Influencers speak to people in a friendly, approachable way – vloggers and social media influencers can speak to their communities, which are often highly-targeted, qualified, and trusting, in ways that brands often cannot. And the results have proven this: A study from, for example, found that “49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, with 40% purchasing something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.”

It’s important for comms pros to think about influencer strategy and utilize either contract or in-house resources to make room for this important growing segment of media.

5. Data-driven results will be expected

As most PR pros know, it is often hard to quantify the work that we do – there is so much work behind the scenes, constant shifting of strategy and conversations happening that all contribute to a company or brand’s success. But with data becoming a growing commodity, companies will continue to expect to see data-driven results and analysis as a way to show ROI from PR, marketing, and communications efforts. Using tools that measure a publication’s or author’s reach via the publication they write for, social sharing that stems from an article, or even ad sentiment value all offer ways to quantify the value that we already know PR lends.

Learn more about data and digitization shifts in PR in this Caster blog from Caster SVP, Alex Crabb.

What other PR, marketing and social trends are you tracking for 2020 and beyond? Let me know on Twitter – @alexgil_13.

Alexandra Gil

Director, Account Services

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