The last decade saw an influx in the use of social media and the proliferation of digital monitoring and analytical tools in the public relations field to accelerate the work of practitioners.
In 2020, the PR industry will embrace newer technologies and innovations which will be incorporated into key decision-making processes for organisations. This article shares five emerging trends which are likely to dominate the PR industry this year.
- Agency Specialization
Businesses are beginning to recognize the importance of engaging professional agencies to support their communication objectives now more than ever. Most businesses are also recognizing the value that is added when an agency is specialized in serving the needs of a particular industry.
By demonstrating a deep understanding of a client’s business, agencies can secure seats at major tables and can weigh in on strategic decision making to influence the communication practices of an entire industry. For this reason, we expect highly specialized smaller agencies to be on the rise in 2020. Increased demand for specialization will drive great value for brands.
- Data-Informed Campaigns
Data will continue to play a large role in guiding PR campaigns and measuring their impact, but we anticipate an even more important role in determining the value of PR in 2020. As we gain more access to accurate and immediate data, it will influence the way we use it in crafting and executing our campaigns and evaluating the results.
The industry will use data to build more focused, targeted campaigns to reach a more specific audience. Every agency offers something different, but it’s nearly impossible for one agency to be the best at everything.
- Agency Partnerships
In 2020, we’re expecting to see more strategic partnerships between agencies when working on large-scale campaigns. By partnering together, PR agencies can take on more challenging projects that highlight their strengths while also ensuring the client’s needs are met. For such large and multi-faceted campaigns also, agencies will be able to meet the majority of a client’s needs and reduce the burden on the in-house PR department.
- More Affordable Technology
Agencies are looking for new tools and technology to make media monitoring, task managing, and data collection easy and efficient. In 2020, we’re expecting to see the introduction of new technologies but also more affordable tools for small and medium-sized agencies.
Today, the biggest barrier to agencies using these technologies is the high costs associated with them. We expect to see some of these tools and platforms adapt to the budgets of the industry, allowing more agencies to access them. More affordable technology will allow agencies to establish a better return on investment for clients.
In recent years, many social influencers have been earning a lot of money from branded and sponsored content, but the big question has been whether they’re worth the investment. In 2020, the game will change for those who have bought “likes” and falsified engagement, because they just aren’t showing brands a valid, measurable return. Brand managers are getting smart about verifying influencers and ensuring that their interests align with the brand’s products. Expect to see more micro-influencers with authentic and organic followers being favoured over macro-influencers.
In conclusion, PR professionals will have to work with their clients to ensure the information they put out is not only honest but also accurately represents who they are and how they operate to successfully build trust with the public in 2020. There will be an increased demand for quality stories and content which is relevant to the intended audience.
Although we won’t be replacing PRs with pitch writing artificial intelligence any time soon, the rise of data will profoundly influence the way we work. It will enrich the information we use internally, in formulating and carrying out campaigns and in evaluating results. This effect will also take place in wider society, affecting how our audiences interact with media and shaping new interests, conversations and trends. The industry will use data to build more focused, niche, and creative campaigns to a more specific target audience.
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