As 2018 comes to a close, we reflect on a year that was filled with social and political action such as the #MeToo movement, disrupted by social media algorithm changes and SEO updates, and welcomed the rise of innovations like Blockchain. It’s impossible to know what changes we’ll see in 2019, but with our fingers on the pulse in the ever-changing industry of public relations, here are our predictions for the year ahead.
Rise of Nano influencers. We all remember the sudden surge of influencer campaigns, where brands and companies were spending thousands, even millions, of dollars on influencers with massive followings. What we often witnessed was the higher the following, the lower the engagement. More frequently than not, these big shot influencers were simply posting a photo, collecting a check and moving on. In 2019, there will be shift towards credible influencers with 3,000-20,000 followers (depending on the industry) in order to improve engagement rates.
Consumers will seek authenticity. Customer loyalty is not only based on the value of the product or service, but also the brand’s relatability and reputation. Giving back to communities, organizations, and charities will continue to strengthen customer loyalty. For PR professionals, these shifts towards community and relatability are key opportunities for maximizing publicity.
Greater shifts towards diversity and inclusion within business making decisions. In 2019, we’ll see progressive shifts in businesses emphasizing the importance of gender equality and diversity in the workplace. For PR professionals representing global brands, this means shifting tactics to portray this all-encompassing message of inclusion.
Smarter collaboration between marketing and PR strategies. Effective PR messaging will become more than just promoting brand awareness and sentiment, it will also act as a means of content marketing and SEO. Creating SEO-driven content not only increases brand awareness but also improves search ranking and web traffic.
Higher demand for personal PR, rather than company PR. There will be greater emphasis on promoting the people behind businesses and brands as experts in their field. There will be a rise in thought leadership pieces, how-to posts and advice articles. These people PR centric pieces often include a website link, social media handles, and a blurb that all help promote their businesses SEO.
2018 was a year filled with constant changes for individuals, companies and even countries. With 2019 nearly underway, it is important for PR professionals to remain nimble, embrace obstacles and shift approaches to grow and benefit from the changes to come.