As hockey great, Wayne Gretsky would say, “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” Similarly, it is important to keep on top of trends and the latest tools in one’s industry to provide the most value to clients. At NRPR Group, we are always on the lookout for new tools to garner coverage for our client or simply to help them feel more comfortable with their investment in public relations. In 2020, public relations firm strategies will be impacted by many events that are happening in the world and based on trends in technology. Here are some thoughts on the largest trends that will influence marketing and PR activities in the coming year.

Journalists are being pulled in multiple directions

According to the Pew Research Center, there has been a 25 percent drop in newsroom employment from 2008 to 2018. The largest loss has been in the number of newspaper newsroom employees, which dropped by 47 percent during the time period. USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and other publications each announced layoffs in 2019. Those journalists who remain are resource constrained, inundated by pitches, and according to Cision’s 2019 State of the Media Survey, 20 percent of publications face staffing issues. In 2020, journalists will need to focus on the Presidential elections and the summer Olympics. Reporters who may not usually focus on sports or political reporting will be pulled in to report on these big stories and this will impact their available time and attention for other projects.

Social Media Impacts What is News and How PR Works

Social media has impacted how news is reported and how marketers and PR professionals interact with editors and customers. Social media has expanded the reach of news yet shortened the life cycle of said news. Social media has also added to the state of the “global village” in that a seemingly unknown publication or influencer can post something that can go viral. There are many downsides to social media such as the ability to post without thinking. Moreover, in 2020, Instagram will test removing the ability to hide “likes” from public view, which will reduce the visibility brands have regarding the actual reach, popularity and public perception of influencers. With everyone having the ability to post and blog, there can be an increase in misinformation and negative impacts on the reputation of a company.  Consumers can take to social media to express complaints about products and services. It therefore behooves PR folks to monitor coverage and posts and be ready to react to libelous and “fake” news. Social media also makes it easier for PR professionals to interact and build relationships with an editor. By following journalists on Twitter and other platforms, the PR person can learn more about the editor’s professional and personal interests, which may help to know which news items will resonate with the journalist.

Video Content is King

The expression “a picture paints a thousand words” is not a new one and video posts grab attention more quickly and result in great engagement than text alone.   Videos help to raise a brand above the myriad posts and emails competing for consumer, influencers and journalists’ attention. Short videos of under two minutes can grab attention and keep the viewer’s interest while longer videos may be abandoned midway. 

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). Brightcove’s 2018 Video Marketing Survey found that 53 percent of consumers report that they have engaged with a brand after viewing one of its videos on social media. Moreover, millennials and younger adults prefer to watch a video than read an article, which will propel new organizations to supply more video-based coverage. Video content can come from slicing and dicing written content such as whitepapers, case studies and newsletters and creating short-length videos. As mentioned above, constrained editors appreciate ready-made video content that can accompany or stand alone as a piece of coverage.

There are many arrows in the PR professional’s quiver. The key is matching the information clients want to convey with the interests and needs of journalists and audiences. Throughout 2020. NRPR Group will continue to share tips and tricks for succeeding in the sea of competing news stories and pitches while leveraging a variety of tools.