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Public Relations, as a discipline, has undergone many changes over the past several years. Traditional press releases and wire services have become less relevant as self-publishing and social distribution have emerged as more effective and less costly options for increasing awareness. Brand journalism, content marketing, and thought leadership blogging are all now critical pieces of any PR or marketing effort. Below are some emerging trends that we see companies employing to save money and more effectively target their audiences.

Brand Journalism
There is plenty of debate over the idea of creating a dedicated brand newsroom staffed with traditional and social journalists. Does it work? Can you build trust with readers when you are creating and publishing your own news? By now, many companies have effectively used brand journalism sites to help establish themselves. For example, Sprint has Good Works at http://goodworks.sprint.com/. The entire site is dedicated to how Sprint is “building better communities and helping the environment.” Other content includes information on education and financial aid. Does this have anything to do with a cellular phone? No, but it shows that Sprint is corporately responsible and cares about society. They are showing great examples of environmental stewardship and the value of their employees. Another example is Ideas Unpacked at http://www.ideasunpacked.com/ powered by TetraPak. This site shines with articles such as “How Parenthood affects Millennial Grocery Habits” and “The Latest Trends in 100% Juice”. The site is dedicated to informing the consumer on health trends, sustainability and education. Notice the headlines of the stories; most of which do not contain the TetraPak name. They are gaining the trust of potential and current customers by positioning themselves as the industry leader in sustainability practices without the use of traditional press releases and wire services.

Self-publishing and Blogging
Another trend listed in this recent article, https://www.bulldogreporter.com/tracking-public-relations-trends-pr-goes-certifiably-inbound/ discusses publishing your own stories via blogs. Self publishing content has never been as hot as it is right now. A great quote from the article says, “Because of these opportunities, we can deliver marketing messages and relationship-build directly with our ideal customers, clients, fans, and influencers, from website visitors and industry bloggers, to the Twitterati and LinkedIn Pulse columnists that many folks look to for social proof.” A great example of this tactic can be found on Lenovo’s newsroom blog at http://news.lenovo.com/blog/. They are consistently self publishing blog posts on all different topics with the ability to share each post via social sharing icons.

Social Distribution
Many companies have created specific news social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. Recent research on how people find news on social media clarifies the importance of posting stories, pictures, and brand videos on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. These social landing pages are dedicated to providing news from their corporate newsrooms and blogs. The automation from the newsroom to the various social channels, saves time and money. No longer do organizations have to rely on the costly newswires to get their message out. Utilizing social media channels is essential. Not only should you maintain accounts on all aspects of social media, you must update your content frequently and engage with your followers. Examples from Prudential at https://twitter.com/prudentialnews and Walgreens at https://twitter.com/walgreensnews show that they are able to reach a large audience directly with news releases and shared stories. These social news accounts are generally not the official Facebook and Twitter channels created for organizations. They are dedicated to providing news and media updates and can be automated to ensure instant publishing from any corporate news or blog feed.

There are many trends emerging within Public Relations and Marketing as social media gets more integrated into news distribution. While some will come and go, the idea of using your news content to help with brand awareness, driving site traffic, and even generating leads and sales is effective and cost efficient. By now, many companies have successfully implemented these strategies. You can too!