Happy New Year! Now that we’ve had time to clear our inboxes and the holidays are a distant memory (bring on the Public Holidays and long weekends), the BPR team has been thinking about what 2019 might have in store for the wonderful world of public relations.
1. Fake news no more
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 2018 was the first year the media was the least trusted institution globally. With clickbait headlines and fake news flooding our Facebook timelines, it’s no surprise.
The demand for accurate media reporting will grow in 2019. We are increasingly turning to websites like Newsroom, which broke several major stories last year and who prioritise thorough and accurate reporting over being the first to get a headline out.
2. The media release isn’t dead, long live the media release
Despite suggestions to the contrary, the media release isn’t dead – just yet.
But it sure as hell needs reviving because for the media release to fill, what is still a very important place in the PR world, it needs to tell a decent story.
Having a great story to tell is essential in the ever-changing media landscape, which is not only getting smaller but increasingly more discerning.
The media release also needs to be supported by relevant and insightful content – from great video and imagery through to interviews with interesting and knowledgeable spokespeople who make the story even better.
3. PR is an art and a science
PR professionals will need to become part data scientist, part psychologist in 2019.
Analytics will continue to play a huge role in PR going forward, but to really get into the hearts, minds and habits of consumers, and give them the experiences they want, we’ll need to understand the psychology behind the way they think.
Marrying the core skills of PR with psychological insight and data-driven strategies will greatly impact the effectiveness of PR campaigns in 2019.
4. Audio is the new digital
There’s been a lot of hype around how voice technology will impact public relations and New Zealand is no exception.
Amazon’s Alexa only entered our market last year, but comScore estimates that by 2020 half of all searching will be done by voice.
While we might typically associate voice search with activities like playing music, people are using smart speakers for searching online and even checking the news more and more.
This means PR professionals now have to think about not just creating content that works for digital and social media, but also making sure it can be easily found by voice search.
5. Influencers: quality over quantity
Love it or hate it, there’s no doubt that social media has dramatically changed the PR landscape – and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Last year saw clients look past influencers’ follower counts and prioritise things like engagement and authenticity instead, and this trend will grow even more in 2019.
People are starting to demand transparency from the people they follow, which could mean that micro-influencers (those with smaller audiences and more niche content) who were previously overlooked will finally get their time to shine.
Although they have smaller followings, these kinds of influencers generally have much higher levels of engagement and are seen as more relatable and trustworthy than influencers with larger followings.
6. PR with a purpose
2019 will be the year of corporate social responsibility.
People, especially the younger demographic, are being more selective about only supporting brands that align with their values and morals.
Last year Countdown achieved great success in New Zealand by phasing out single-use plastic bags in its supermarkets. Overseas, Netflix let go of its Communications Executive for using racist language.
The latter’s action demonstrated the company’s dedication to making it a safe space to work and made it clear that it doesn’t tolerate racism.