It’s that time of year again – time to look back at the year that was and plan ahead for the future. If you want to be fully prepared for the new year, you’ll need to keep up with the latest trends.

Let’s see what 2019 has in store:

1. PR will align with content marketing 

The most important change to happen in the PR industry was the mental shift away from promoting your brand at your audience’s expense. While your job is still to promote your brand, it’s also about breaking down the barrier between you and your audience to foster trust.

To reach your audience, you have to do more than shout the loudest, you have to actually deliver value too!

That is what’s driving the increased alignment between PR and content marketing. Content marketing has always been about using content to engage, educate and deliver value to your audience. And as that becomes a greater priority for PR, the two will need to work more closely together.

Remember that PR should be used to positively position your brand in the eyes of your audience – and content marketing is what turns that reputation into revenue. The two of them need to be on the same page to achieve the most, and having a modern PR plan is crucial to success in 2019.

2. Trust in media remains at an all-time low 

Thanks to fake news, fake followers and clickbait content, trust is at an all-time low. Trust is getting harder and harder to earn, and it’s never been easier to lose.

This lack of trust makes a job in PR even harder. However, according to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, there is one area where there was a rise in trust: experts.

"Trust is getting harder and harder to earn, and it’s never been easier to lose."

The fact that trust in experts is on the rise highlights the value of sharing your knowledge and insights with your audience. At a time when trust is at its most fragile, PR specialists need to listen to what audiences want and understand what they are looking for in the voices they trust.

As with everything, PR is always evolving – and the ways that you reach, engage and build trust with your audiences need to evolve, too.

3. Demands for accountability will increase 

Budgets are getting increasingly tighter and that means ROI is a requirement for almost every expenditure – and PR is no exception.

While constant – and consistent – pitching is part of the PR process, brands are looking for more than that. Brands want conversions. At the end of the day, if all you have to show for your efforts are pitch emails to your media contacts, you’ll have a hard time proving your value to your clients.

Brands are more interested in knowing how many published press releases they were mentioned in than hearing that you pitched to 100 clients with no response.

In 2019, PR pros need to keep in mind that brands are looking for more accountability. As a result, PR firms need to develop solid procedures that can deliver the results that clients are actually after.

Media monitoring and brand tracking companies, like Newsclip, can offer measurable results for PR firms – plus they’ll do all the work for you. Consider investing in a media monitoring service to be able to prove your ROI to brands – and stay accountable!

4. PR will play a role in content performance, not just publication 

It’s not only the publication of press releases that PR firms need to be accountable for – they also need to be accountable for the performance of it.

With more media going online, writers and editors of online publications are becoming more concerned with the performance of content. Using analytics on social platforms and programs such as Google Analytics, online publications know what content performs best on their site. And if PR firms send them content they don’t think will do well, they won’t publish it.

In order to turn a published mention of your client into a real win for everyone, start finding ways to help your clients’ content match up with your media contacts’ needs. The best way to do that is by asking your media contacts what kind of content they want – and then building that kind of content that incorporates your client’s brand.

5. Technology will improve PR relationships and efficiency 

While the thought of using artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning might scare you, consider this: Just as the right CRM software can make a sales team more effective, the right PR tools can make your job easier.

When used correctly, AI technology can make your relationships even stronger. For example, AI tools can compile media contact lists and, in some cases, even analyse trends to predict a PR crisis before it’s too late. PR teams need to get comfortable with the idea of integrating tools and technology into the mix if they want to stay competitive in 2019.

Are there any other trends in PR that you think will make their debut in 2019? Let us know in the comments section below.

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