It’s a brand New Year and after a few weeks off celebrating the silly season, we’ve now settled back into the office and have been discussing the future of PR in 2011. It is a rapidly changing industry that we work in – only a few years ago Facebook and twitter did not exist and the idea that entire strategies can now be drawn up around these social media tools would have bamboozled most marketing executives After a quick office brainstorm here are some of our thoughts about PR in 2011
- 1. Social media, social media, social media…we’ve heard it time and again but in 2011, more than all previous years; we predict that social media will be at the forefront
- 2. Social media will become as important as traditional media.
- 3. Print journalism is dying – in the future it will still hold some importance, but online news will probably be the first port of call for consumers.
- 4. Broadcast news (i.e. TV and radio) will spark searches for online news – in this regard, broadcast media will still play an important role as a mass media outlet.
- 5. Mobile phone technology will continue to develop and consumers will increasingly use their phones to access the news and communicate with their peers via social media.
- 6. Mobile phone apps will become a key marketing / PR tool – especially for location based businesses such as venues or restaurants.
- 7. People will get news from their peers via social media (e.g. status updates on Facebook / twitter) – even though the source may be a traditional media outlet.
- 8. Consumers will seek out the news / information they want – they don’t want to be told what to read. And they will also find the news on platforms that are easily accessible for them – for example they may go to the Facebook page of the Daily Telegraph rather than going to the actual Daily Telegraph homepage to keep updated about a particular story.
- 9. “Checking in” will become very popular – i.e. where people identify their location through social media channels such as Facebook. Marketers and PR professionals will be able to locate their target audiences and communicate with them accordingly. Thus location-based strategies will evolve in 2011.
- 10. Peer reviews. We want to know what others think – when we’re going to a restaurant or staying in a new hotel we’d rather hear about what the average Joe has to say as opposed to an expert media commentator. Reviews on websites such as TrueLocal (www.truelocal.com.au), Eatability (www.eatability.com.au) and Trip Advisor (www.tripadvisor.com.au), for example, may be more important to individual businesses than a full page article in a metro newspaper.
- 11. Social media will (hopefully) fall into the hands of PR – while social media may be managed by marketing or advertising teams, we feel that it shares many similarities with the PR field (i.e. it is about communication) and would best be managed by PR professionals.
- 12. We won’t be able to measure our results in terms of “Equivalent Advertising Value”. It is an ongoing battle in the PR world – should we or shouldn’t we measure our success by the advertising (dollar) value of the articles we secure in the media? Perhaps in 2011 this will peter out even further as most online exposure in blogs will have no advertising value. Therefore the New Year hails the motto – quality over quantity. No longer will we be looking at the monetary value of our results, rather the messaging (is it a positive blog?) will become the most important factor.
- 13. PR and marketing will become more targeted towards the individual. Forget mass media – PR will increasingly become focused on the individual. We are already seeing this with dedicated twitter accounts to respond to consumer requests, but this will also extend to news delivery and marketing campaigns.
Based on these general points, we predict that the challenge for PR professionals in 2011 will be balance. We often have clients asking us about having it all – they want a media relations campaign, an event and a social media strategy – and they want it all now, and for the same cost. Rather than simply delving into a social media campaign however, as with all PR and marketing campaigns, it is important to conduct research first. Once we are able to identify what we are communicating and to whom the rest should fall into place. Importantly, we all agreed in our office that not every business will be entirely appropriate for social media and so a mix of traditional PR strategies will continue to be the base of most PR campaigns. With such rapid changes in the media sector, PR professionals will need to be more flexible, responsive and creative about the approach to their campaigns in order to stay ahead of the competition! What do you think about our predictions? What do you think about the future of PR in 2011?