2018 PR Trends: Dominate Your Influencer Mark

Best Practices, PR

Rev your engines, PR pros, CEOs, industry influencers and the rest; let us sit and think about what the heck we’ve done all year to make brands look killer… and what’s next.

Earned media is getting trickier and social responsibility is stepping up its game. More #2018PRTrends here: Click To Tweet

PR is a fast-moving industry. I did a little round-up based on my experiences over the course of the year and research gathered by other PR influencers in the space. Grab a pen, sit down and listen up. Here’s what we assembled:

Social Responsibility & Political Involvement

The trend to be a socially responsible and politically involved brand is an incredibly fast-moving development. I’m surprised it has worked well for so many companies (for some… not so much). I remember just four years ago, PR professionals were preaching to not even let celebrities come close to brands.

Nowadays, brands are very openly allowing celebrities to endorse their brand, and the people love it! (but like I said… for some, not so much).

Anyone remember this?

Consumers and social users are looking for sides to pick, campaigns and causes to be a part of, which makes this an open opportunity for an incredibly successful branding opportunity. Sure, that sounds kind of manipulative, but from a branding perspective, it’s not.

66% of consumers are willing to spend more on products that come from sustainable brands and 81% of millennials actually expect their favorite companies to make public declarations to their corporate citizenship.

Brand building is famously lumped with storytelling. When building your brand, you’re already telling buyers and readers what you value, what you want to accomplish and how you’ll get there. You’re already saying, “I hear you, I’m with you.” Adding a political opinion or being a socially responsible company is only adding a more robust core to your brand identity.

The Black Media Hole Gets Lonelier

A lot of what PR professionals study is how we’re representing a brand, how we say it to the public, how we express it to strangers and how we pitch it to reporters. Essentially, it’s all talk, literally. Seems simple, right? Talking to people about things you should really know? Earned media has never been an easy gain. Unfortunately, it’s not getting any easier in 2018, especially with the changing landscape of newsrooms and journalism.

We’ve got more generalist reporters now in the business media. Tech reporters don’t cover tech products anymore. They’re covering politics and personalities. The Buzzfeed model of news reporting is gaining strength. Brands have to find new ways to support journalists.”

Katie Creaser, SVP at Affect, Inc.

This does not mean earned media is dead, no SIR! Earned media has always been a supplementary placement. Those glossy magazine features, the placed thought leader articles and exclusive interviews aren’t going away, but neighboring up with paid placements. Ad agencies are taking the reins invaluable site space, but they can’t have it all. “Fight for your piece of pie,” Creasers said. “Don’t let the ad agencies take it away from you.”

Are you ready for the #2018PRTrends? @NoelleBellLynne shares what you need to know before diving into your strategy: Click To Tweet

When Two Become One

PR has many faces and challenges: launch and event PR, crisis management, influencer support, media and analyst relations, etc. In our small (but mighty) agency, I struggled with wanting to do it all. I wanted to wear all the PR hats. We even got a little taken aback when one of our clients hired a second PR agency to work with us on their coverage. “How dare,” we said.

It wasn’t until I made some mistakes and let my guard down that I began to understand the true value in multi-level PR work.

“PR is an incredible tool for marketing, investor communications, recruiting, and various other areas of the company; however, PR tends to live in its own little silo. I compare it to investing in a new car and only using the trunk; there’s so much more value if you look at how all the parts fit together in the big picture.”

John Hall, Co-Founder & CEO at Influence & Co.

You can be your own version of superwoman and still accept help from other super-people. This is something I’m especially adopting into my own PR strategy in 2018. Just like they say it takes a village to raise a child, I say it takes a town to make some noise about a brand.

What do ya say, are we ready to make some differences this year? Grab your friends, make a poster and raise your voice. 2018 is coming and we’re not stopping!

What’s your 2018 PR strategy? Let’s taco ‘bout it on Twitter @NoelleaBellLynne or @RedBranch.

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