As 2019 draws to a close, it’s a time to reflect on the year that has been and to look forward to a new, better year (where we’ll all have 20-20 vision).

According to a blog post by Newsclip, 2019 was expected to see PR go ‘back to basics’, a greater reliance on niche firms as well as a need for new measurement metrics.
Throughout the year, we definitely did see these trends coming through; particularly in media update’s stories regarding the death of AVE and the boutique PR agency who said goodbye to influencers and ‘hello’ to traditional PR.

So where does that leave PR professionals in 2020? Undoubtedly, the trends of 2019 will further develop, demanding PR professionals who are leaner, meaner and even more digital-savvy.

Let’s take a look at five of the PR trends that will be making waves in 2020:

1. Data is going to become your new best friend

Since digital has become an integral part of everyday life, interpreting data has become a vital skill for every PR professional. In 2020, data will play a bigger role than ever before. It will be required for guiding PR efforts, measuring their impact and determining the overall value of PR.

In 2020, you can expect consumers to be more discerning of any kind of advertising, so PR efforts need to be smarter and even more engaging than before. PR in 2020 will be profoundly influenced by in-depth and precise data, changing the way that campaigns are crafted, executed and evaluated.

What does the future hold for PR? Hyper-focussed campaigns that are designed to reach specifically targeted audiences.

2. More focus on niche, specialised PR

As consumers have become more critical of marketing, PR professionals have had more pressure put on them. And if you’re looking for the best quality PR service, choosing a PR pro that is a specialist in your field is the way to go!

As PR is put under more pressure to assist marketing efforts, expect to see more niche PR firms offering specialised services. In 2020, there will be even more PR firms hyper-focussed on a single industry. Why, you ask?

When a PR firm can demonstrate a deep understanding of their clients’ businesses, they can weigh in on the strategic decision making. PR plays an integral role in business, and including PR pros in the decision-making process can ensure that businesses are making the best moves.

In 2020, PR will no longer be on the backfoot — it will finally be given a well-deserved seat at the table.

3. PR becomes part of strategic marketing campaigns

As more PR firms become specialised, more and more PR will be integrated into the marketing function. While many businesses have often kept marketing and PR very separate, 2020 will see PR play a bigger role in businesses’ marketing strategies.

In the past, marketing teams have conceptualised campaigns and handed them to PR pros to punt. Now, however, expect to see an increased number of marketing professionals including their PR counterparts in the strategic process, and letting them become part of the campaign — right from its inception.

PR and marketing pros working together and sharing their knowledge will be the 2020 trend. Due to the increased wariness of consumers, brands’ content should be authentic and transparent. Since earned media is only as good as the campaign itself — or the story it tells —  PR and marketing professionals need to collaborate to see success.

4. Emotion becomes the focus

The world is increasingly ruled by algorithms and electronic devices, which means PR needs to have a human element to remain relevant. PR pros need to be specialists in creating meaningful engagements — with content, events and other forms of communication — because nothing is more meaningful than something people can relate to.

In 2020, PR pros will be fighting it out against masses on content online, and consumers are moving towards digital detoxing and decluttering. In order to be ‘future-proof’, PR will need to present consumers with content that is relevant and cuts to the chase. 

PR agencies should hire PR pros in writing-based roles, such as content strategists or digital marketing strategists, who can focus on creating content that really engages the audience. 

More so than ever before, in 2020, PR agencies will need to demonstrate a deep understanding of their clients’ business and utilise their creativity for maximum effect.

PR pros need to be specialists in creating meaningful engagements — with content, events and other forms of communication — because nothing is more meaningful than something people can relate to.

5. Say hello to the new PR pitch

It’s no longer enough to simply send an email to the media in order to secure media coverage. In 2020, PR professionals need to consider all aspects of their clients’ social and digital footprint. PR pros now need to create original content — like a short video for social media — or organise spokespeople and influencers to do an Instagram takeover.

In order to make the most of earned media, PR pros need to offer more than just the ‘traditional press pitch’. Think short-format videos, immersive experiences and high-quality imagery. A well-written press release is great — but a quality picture (or video) is worth a thousand words.

PR professionals in 2020 will need to guide their clients with regards to the kind of content that they need to create in order to reach audiences across a variety of platforms. While the brand’s message may be pitched to the media in a story or video format, it also needs to be shared on the right social channels for a broader reach (backed by all the right metrics, of course).

What other trends do you think we’ll see in the PR industry in the new year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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Measurement and proving effectiveness is an important part of a job in PR. Find out which metrics you should be looking at in our article, Measuring earned media; Four metrics to focus on.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy