Trends in PR - Canadian PR Pros give their views on the most important PR Trends
We asked Canada’s PR
thought leaders to discuss
emerging trends in public
relations and marketing.
Their how-to tips for the future?
. . . AND SO MUCH MORE!
The PR industry is constantly evolving and blurring the lines between
communication disciplines to create more immersive brand experiences.
We are seeing a more inclusive strategic approach across earned, owned
and paid media. On the production side, the ability to efficiently produce
video content will be key to engaging audiences.
Co-Founder, North Strategic
Building Relationships Online
I hope PR people can start embracing inbound PR rather than the outbound
pitch-driven model we've been practicing for such a long time. Rather than
blasting releases out and praying something will stick, we should adopt a
digital first mindset and focus on three things: people, stories and relationships.
We should figure out who we want to reach — whether it's media, bloggers,
customers or other influencers. Then the fun part begins, creating amazing
stories in words and visuals that people want to share and also sharing our
customers' stories. And it's important to take time early on to build relationships
based on trust and reciprocity and not simply a request.
Senior Counselor, Thornley Fallis
Principal, Martin Waxman Communications
A key theme for PR practitioners is content strategy. We spent the last few years
figuring out we can distribute quality, relevant content from more channels than
ever before, including owned (your company website and social networking
channels), earned (traditional media, analysts and bloggers) and paid media
(advertising). However, producing this type of content can be expensive
and time-consuming so without the right strategy, it just doesn't have the
effectiveness and ROI we need to demonstrate.
Senior Account Executive, Banfield-Seguin
President, IABC Ottawa
Creating Integrated Strategies
With social media, marketers have more (and cheaper) access to their communities and customers than ever, but it’s hard to keep up with the demand for quality
content. That’s why PR, marketing, communications and customer service have
to work together to achieve their goals through a new story-marketing cycle that
involves content curation, creation, optimization and amplification. This isn’t an
easy process, and the best way for a brand to achieve success is for the profes
sionals that manage paid, earned, owned and social media communications to
work together to develop an integrated — and effective — content strategy.
Senior Vice President, Digital Content, Cision
Earned Media Drives Sales
Trends come and go. The current trend seems to be to
generate as much chatter as possible for brands. But
what’s important is that the chatter translates into business
for the client. The art of communication and dialogue has
been reduced to e-mails, 140 characters or less, quick and
snappy posts, short-captioned photos or six-second videos.
On top of that, there are countless glamorous events that
can showcase brands in beautiful ways. But at the end of
the day, if the client doesn’t see their business flourish,
then what was the point? Volume doesn’t necessarily mean
you’re engaging the right demographic for the client. Our
focus is delivering communications efforts that provide real
engagement with our clients’ stakeholders, bringing in
partners whose specialties add dimension to these
programs, and above all, delivering strategies that are
fluid and adjustable so we can tweak as we go along to
find what is right for the client and what is making their
business sing. We’re not operating at a purely tactical level.
A key mandate for PR professionals will be to better
demonstrate the 'PROI' of our work. We have benefitted as
an industry from heightened interest in public relations over
the last few years, likely due to the uptake of social media
as well as an unstable economy that has forced global
brands to scrutinize their marketing spend and choose
PR more than ever because of the belief that it is more
efficient. Great PR agencies will focus on proving that their
earned efforts have an impact on driving consideration and
purchase intent. This includes leveraging the best
measurement tools and technologies available and focusing
not just on the content strategy, but on ensuring the right
influencers are being engaged to drive participation. A PR
agency that can move from simply measuring earned media
to measuring converging media, including owned and paid,
is measuring the full picture of a campaign and will be able
to demonstrate the best results.
President, Wolff Public Relations
President, Veritas Communications
From E-mail to Social Media
We are going to change how we e-mail. Social platforms like
Twitter have made short, concise messages the preferred
method of communication, and that will influence how we
write e-mails. We are also going to see greater integration of
social media and e-mail pitching, as real-time monitoring for
opportunities will result in a response to journalists first on
the social platform, then in a structured e-mail.
The most notable trend we are recognizing is the integration
of disciplines. Historically, public relations has played more
of a supportive role in the amplification of digital and
promotional activations, but clients are increasingly
recognizing the leadership role that communications
and public relations should be playing in the development
and execution of local, national and global initiatives. This
is an opportunity for PR professionals to further strategize
beyond the realm of traditional media. How do we provide
our clients with the big ideas that can drive programs
long-term and across all disciplines? In addition to asking
will media cover this, we'll ask: How will this drive consumer
engagement online and offline? What is the user experience?
What technology will we need? Most important, we’ll want
to know which of our client's digital, media and advertising
agencies do we need to work with to make this happen.
Now more than ever, clients are appreciating the value of
public relations in successfully achieving business results,
which makes it a very exciting time to work in the industry.
Group Account Manager, energi PR
Earned Media on Social Platforms
The convergence of earned, owned and paid content and
media is driving significant change in how PR and marketing
professionals must operationalize and engage. Content
creation and community management can be paired with
real-time analytics and paid social media capabilities in
order to achieve earned media at scale on platforms like
Facebook and Twitter.
National Practice Leader, Edelman Digital
Trends & Delivering ROI
I think experiential marketing and social media are more and more about
authenticity. User-generated content is very important and is continuing to grow,
but it’s about finding ways that feel organic to get the public to engage. Social
media is very important, and will continue to grow, but it’s becoming very
cluttered. The challenge is finding ways to stand out from the pack and to not
seem overly corporate. Creating great and unusual events makes it easy for
people to want to share a brand’s story. The public and media are very savvy
and become more so each day. The challenge is staying authentic, relevant
and loyal to your audience.
President, Publicity and Promotions, rock-it-promotions
To date mobile has significantly changed the public relations industry in two key
ways: the way in which people consume content, and the media through which
they do it. Content is now accessible on the go, which makes reputation
management in the online space even more critical. An individual may be walking
by a particular restaurant or about to buy a particular product and they will pull
out their smartphone in order to ensure they are making a wise transaction.
Platforms like Yelp have taken some of the power of influence out of the hands
of the media and placed it back in the hands of everyday consumers. Thus, PR
practitioners can no longer look strictly to media as their audience to reach
consumers. We will see public relations professionals continue to expand their
base of communications targets beyond media or bloggers. They will begin to
focus more on direct-to-consumer communications strategies on a mass
scale thought previously reachable only through advertising. Mobile's gift of
accessible content is the primary driver of this trend.
Senior Account Executive & Community Manager, Praxis PR
Content & Convergence
The PR industry is going to start moving away from characterizing itself with
terms such as traditional or social media. It will move towards an integrated
model, recognizing that people are consuming information through a variety of
platforms. PR professionals will need to create smart communication strategies
enabling their clients to connect with their audiences in meaningful and
effecttive ways. In order to ensure they are able to properly serve their clients,
PR agencies will start to hire talent with non-traditional PR backgrounds, such as
graphic design, video and web development, research and digital marketing.
Content creation, storytelling and personalized pitching will continue to be a big
trend. Traditional news releases will be augmented with social and dynamic
content and with infographics that will be re-purposed on various social
platforms, including websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Account Director, Narrative PR
Newsletters & E-mail
I see a shift away from plain text to more visual e-mail
and newsletter tools. Low-cost services, such as MailChimp,
will be used to enhance design and client communication.
Truly progressive PR agencies now integrate digital and
design services to create elevated communications with
all external audiences, including the rise of infographics
as communication tools. Mobile will be increasingly
considered in all e-mail communications to ensure
that content is seamless across multiple platforms,
with an emphasis on tablets and smartphones.
Account Manager, Citizen Optimum
Shaping Mobile Strategies
The power of mobile growth isn’t just transforming how people
access information, it also means our attention spans are
increasingly fractured. PR professionals will need to approach
mobile as an opportunity to develop online content that is
social, in addition to informational. The expanded capabilities of
smartphones and other devices means that we need to integrate
mobile into our existing strategies — press materials, B2B/B2C
campaigns, crisis planning — and also take advantage of the
innovation that mobile offers, from better video content and
augmented reality to more sophisticated location-based services.
Senior Consultant, Media Profile
Rapport With Journalists
As traditional media outlets increasingly rely on freelancers and online
media continue to be inundated with stories, PR practitioners need to
sharpen their e-mail etiquette to build rapport with journalists. Approach
e-mail as you would use the telephone. If you wouldn't call a newsroom
without knowing the name of the journalist, don't send an e-mail without
addressing it appropriately.
Senior Account Executive, Citizen Optimum