Say you need surgery. Would you go to a doctor who hasn’t updated his techniques for the last 10 or 15 years? Of course not! New and better techniques have since come out and you want someone familiar with those. The same is true with your PR strategy. You want to be sure that you’re using the latest techniques and trends.
We are face to face with an exciting time in PR — with new developments constantly on the horizon. But all of us need to adapt in order to take full advantage of all the latest PR trends 2020 has to offer.
PR Trends 2020 and Beyond
Public relations serves your brand in a number of ways. Among other things, PR helps to…
- Increase brand awareness.
- Improve brand reputation
- Widen your audience.
- Increase investment opportunities.
PR is far from static — rather it is an exciting and dynamic strategy. It adapts and evolves as new technologies and tactics emerge. As you’ll see in this post, such developments as artificial intelligence and influencer marketing have been widely adopted by PR pros, with stellar results.
As we head into 2020 and beyond, it is imperative that we adopt the latest PR trends — in essence, upgrading our strategies to compete for the best results.
With that in mind, let’s look at the top ways in which you can upgrade or elevate your strategy for the coming year.
How to Elevate Your PR Strategy in the Coming Year
1. Tell a Story
Storytelling does more than simply relay your message. One study found that 92% of consumers preferred ads that were in the form of stories — and this extends to PR as well. Storytelling forms a connection with your audience on an emotional level — after all, who of us doesn’t get wrapped into a good story?
When looking at your strategy and crafting a campaign, always look for the human element. There are a number of ways to do this. For example, consider sharing a customer’s experience in your campaign or showcasing the backstory of your brand’s founder. Something like this helps people to feel a personal connection with your brand that drives engagement and ultimately moves purchase decisions forward.
2. Work with Influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing strategies in recent years – and this trends shows no sign of slowing down. Influencers help you to reach your audience and expose more people to your brand in a way that traditional advertising just can’t do.
Consider a couple of statistics that show just how influencers can impact your campaign. First of all, 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations. On average, influencer campaigns earn $6.50 for every $1 spent, creating an impressive return on investment.
But there are a few things you should think about for this coming year. Instead of working with influencers for a short, one-and-done campaign, focus on creating a long-term partnership with a few key influencers in your industry. Do your research to find the right influencers for your brand — ones whom your audience follows and who regularly engage with their audience.
3. Deploy an Email Strategy
Some brands are quick to dismiss the power of email in favor of social media or chatbots. But email is an incredible tool for your public relations strategy. Consider a few of these statistics to prove my point:
- It is estimated that for every $1 spent on email strategy, there is an ROI of $38.
- 80% of professionals believe that email has driven their customer acquisition and retention.
- 72% of consumers prefer email to other means of business communication.
Even with the increase in social networks and other technologies, there is no doubt that email remains a powerful strategy.
How can you use email to improve your public relations strategy? Whether you’re sending pitch emails or setting up drip campaigns, there are a few tactics that can help. First, use personalization elements to make a connection with your audience. Then, include a clear call to action to move your audience to take an action. And finally, use your email subject line to catch the eye of your audience and get more opens.
4. Create Content
Content marketing has become a key part of PR strategies. And as we move forward, we see just how connected these two strategies are.
The priority of public relations is to positively affect a brand’s reputation. And content helps to do that in a number of important ways. For example, if you want your audience to view you as an expert in your industry, you will want to create content that showcases that expertise, comments on the latest trends and gives your audience key insights. As your audience sees your expertise in action, your brand’s reputation will grow.
And as we’ve seen many times over, when people find content that they like and that is useful, they’ll share it. This also helps to spread the word about your brand organically and bolsters your strategy.
5. Craft a Personal Brand
Gone are the days of CEOs and founders hiding behind the name of their business. Nowadays, people want to know the people behind the brand. This includes CEOs, founders, and even high-profile employees. In order to make the most of this, it’s important to cultivate a personal brand.
Start with social media. Make sure that your entire profile, from picture to background information, represents the person you are personally and professionally. Engage with your audience, posting and commenting regularly. Create and share content that showcases your expertise and insights. You might even think about guest posting on other sites to expand your personal brand.
6. Learn About AI
Artificial intelligence is growing by leaps and bounds. Many of the AI technologies that we once viewed with skepticism have become commonplace — and new forms of AI are frequently popping onto the PR and marketing scene. AI is not going anywhere — and the more we learn about and accept it, the better our PR strategies will be.
How can you adapt your strategy for artificial intelligence? Take email automation as an example. Next time you set up a PR campaign, automated emails can help you so that you never miss a potential lead. It eliminates human error and automatically sends follow-up emails.
Chatbots are another AI technology that is proving its value. Many brands are using it to engage website visitors or people who ask questions on social media. It is often quicker than its human counterparts and mimics human speech and behavior realistically.
What other AI technologies are on the horizon and could impact your strategy? It’s impossible to say with certainty — which is why you need to keep an eye on such technologies and to learn more about them.
7. Build Trust
This year, as in recent years, there is an ongoing battle for trust among brands. Audiences are skeptical of brands — and this has damaged many businesses’ bottom line. One report even estimated that brands lose around $2.5 trillion per year because of lack of trust from audiences.
Clearly, trust needs to be a priority for PR strategies in 2020. One of the biggest ways to win trust is through your expertise. When you position yourself as a recognized expert, you’re no longer the no-name professional pushing a brand. You become the voice of authority — someone to whom people want to listen.
Another layer of this trust comes from being helpful. We’ve already talked about the importance of content creation — it’s important that you make that content pertinent and helpful to your audience.
8. Use Analytics
What would you say is the most valuable part of your public relations strategy? While some may point to a shiny PR campaign tool, we would argue that data and analytics should be on the top of your list. For many, it’s an afterthought. But data and analytics help you make important decisions and guide your strategy toward success.
Analytics technology has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years and lets you see everything you need about your audience. This goes beyond simply how many people are visiting your website or who is clicking on a campaign. Analytics technology now has the ability to tell you when a site visitor is ready to become a lead or when someone is ready to make a purchase decision — and send the information on to your sales team.
Aside from the sophisticated technology that is available for analytics, just consider the mountains of data that you collect every day through even the simplest analytics program. With this information you can see what campaigns are working well and who makes up your core audience. Now is the time to take full advantage of this information.
9. Target Niche Media
Traditionally, brands have pushed for top-tier media placement — where the The New York Times and like publications are the best choice. But this trend has shifted decidedly in recent years, with niche publications proving their worth for brands.
The rise of online blogs, influencers, and self-publishing platforms have given top-tier publications a run for their money.
This is an exciting development for public relations — putting successful media placements in reach of smaller brands who struggle to compete for attention.
The takeaway for your strategy? When choosing to which media outlets you want to pitch, don’t focus on who has the biggest audience or the best name recognition. Instead, focus on the outlets that your audience uses or that are popular within your industry.
10. Leverage Live Streaming
Live streaming has been around for a few years now — and shows no sign of losing momentum. Even compared to traditional video, live streaming video takes center stage. In one study, 79% said that live video facilitated a more authentic interaction with their audience than other formats. In addition, live video was shown to receive 10X more comments on Facebook than regular video.
How can you use live video in your public relations strategy? For starters, use it to amplify your earned media. You can do this by streaming live interviews, discussions, panels, and live events associated with your strategy. You could also use live streaming to make an announcement or feature a product launch.
Once you start with live streaming, you’ll find limitless ways to use this tool in your PR.
3 Noteworthy PR Strategy Examples
1. Google Adwords — Storytelling
Google is a household name used by millions of people — and Google Adwords is used by thousands of businesses to advertise their brands online. Google is a great example of a company’s using storytelling to reach and engage with its audience. Google created a series of videos known as Adwords Stories, which tell the tales of real-life small businesses and what Adwords has done for them. The following example is a touching story of a family-owned carpentry business named Treehouse Brothers.
2. Moz — Content Marketing
Moz, a business specializing in SEO and marketing, has been a leader in content creation for the past few years. Search for anything about SEO and you’re sure to see Moz pop up in the search results. And they’ve never been one to stand still — always using new content formats and looking for new ways to engage its audience. One example of this is its Whiteboard Fridays, where Moz shares educational whiteboard videos, featuring energetic and engaging experts explaining all kinds of SEO concepts on, you guessed it, a whiteboard. Check out this one on link building.
3. Ann Handley — Personal Branding
Ann Handley is well known as the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs — but you’ll never find her hiding behind that title. Through her inimitable content, social media presence and status as a renowned speaker and author, she has created a strong and well-honed personal brand. Her personal brand not only gives her a solid footing in the marketing world, but also bolsters the MarketingProfs brand. Check out her LinkedIn profile to sample her personal brand.
With all of these tactics and the very evolution of PR strategy, the coming year is bound to be an exciting one.
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