PR Trends to Jump On in 2018

What’s new in the world of PR? Get to know the PR trends that will dominate 2018 and get to the top by tweaking your PR strategy this year!

The average PR budget is about 10% of a company’s annual gross income. That means for $100 million-dollar companies, $10 million is allocated for just for PR strategy and implementation. If you’re a David wrestling with the Goliaths of your industry, following the latest PR trends is a must.

Getting on top of 2018’s PR trends will help you to be where your customers are, before your competitors get there. Early adopters of technology and resources tend to be the most committed and will give you the highest return on your PR investment. The cost of investment will be low, but the returns will be high.

If you suspect your team might be a little behind what’s happening in your industry, be sure you’re ahead of the curve.

PR Trends to Jump On in 2018Existential Tech Crisis

Following the 2016 election, foreign investment, tech companies are now in the sights of government regulators. Where once you could post just about anything and have the benefits of free advertising, that free ride might be about to end.

Publishers, readers, and PR specialists will have to keep their eye on the ways that Facebook and Google change their algorithms. The latest PR trends are up to the arbiters of media. Until the problems of “fake news” and the crisis between news and infotainment are addressed, PR will be flapping in the wind.

The backlash to writers and publishers has created an existential crisis for companies that create copy and use blogs to promote their products. Digital advertising will continue to change, so watch for the ways that firms respond.

Own Your Own Channel

Whether in response to the aforementioned backlash or to streamline their PR machines, more brands are creating their own digital channels. If you’ve got the budget and the talent on site to produce your own content, you could save big and have a lot of control over your output.

Integrating your communications with the rest of your operation allows you to quickly produce promotional materials and stay ahead of PR trends. It also allows you to quickly respond to PR conflicts. There’s a lot of flexibility and responsiveness to unlock by controlling the channel.

You might be able to even separate your PR operations and end up working for competitors or complementary brands. Bring a few good PR professionals onto your media team and you could see your company both setting trends and taking over the landscape in a big way.

Think Differently

While traditional companies get their direction from CEOs and CMOs, one of the biggest PR trends of this era is to broaden thought leadership. If you’re hiring the most talented people for every position, surely their talents are broader than just the work they do.

Talented people have great ideas. Even if they don’t have the leadership skills you need in the department they’re based in, they probably have perspectives you could be using.

Be sure you’re hiring diversely when it comes to talent, education, race, class, and gender. Open yourself up to new ideas and you’ll see your own company in new ways that could lead you to PR trends you could have overlooked for years.

Authentic Influencers

The algorithms for influencers is old news for PR professionals and search engines alike. The old influencer market is crashing. PR trends no longer support a bunch of 20-somethings who do nothing but pose on the beach with products or tweet to a half a million bot accounts.

Authenticity and transparency are key for influencers. The most effective influencers will have an authentic and organic following. If someone has 10,000 followers who read every article and download every podcast, they’re more valuable than 10 million followers who don’t engage.

Some are calling this move a trend toward “micro-influencers”. Call it what you will but the focus needs to be local and impactful.

This is one of the latest PR trends that is welcome to companies. For years, they’ve wondered if they’ve been wasting hundreds of thousands paying people for badly written posts and vapid photos. The answer is a resounding yes.

Using Surveys and Data

Surveys aren’t one of the hot new PR trends to look at, but an old trick that still yields some positive results. However, people aren’t always sincere when filling out surveys.

People completing your survey will hide implicit biases, embarrassing interests, or incriminating habits. Even though they’re often nothing to be ashamed of, people are conditioned to hide the things connected to their intimate or private lives.

Make your customers feel like their opinions are valued, that their answers are anonymous and that they will be rewarded for completing this survey.

The place for trends in this picture is in the use of big data. Data collection services can provide you with information about those things that consumers might be more apt to hide or lie about. You can get to know your customers’ buying habits with detailed insights that can help you implement your new PR push.

If your company specializes in the medical, intimacy, or wellness industries, you might need to find a way to get data that users don’t want to share. Data collection is the answer.

Paying, Earning, Owning

The lines between these three PR perspectives have blurred in recent years. Because of the integrated communications funnel, the blurriness of social media, and the multivalent sales channel, PR has multiple functions.

One of the biggest PR trends spreads its function between disciplines. PR strategies now tell stories and lay out narratives that bridge the gap between stakeholders and consumers.

Augmented Reality

As Pokemon Go reached half a billion downloads with such ease, companies started drooling over the potentials of augmented reality. As social media offers a more integrated experience, advertisers and PR firms began to realize the application of targeted marketing.

As users engage with augmented reality apps, they can unlock hidden promotions and deals that target them exactly where they are. This can create an immersive space for the latest PR trends to take flight. Intelligently deployed marketing strategies can save millions spent on trying to find the audience for your products.

Virtual reality is still in the same place as it was about 20 years ago, but it’s finally cheap enough for commercial usage. As the virtual reality space is explored, we’ll be able to see advertisers and PR firms take advantage of the space in an organic way.

As PR trends reach into the virtual space, consumers will be able to learn about products in a relevant way integrated into their experience.

AI and Machine Learning

With the proliferation of the IoT, companies and products can cater to the needs of users and introduce them to new products in an organic way. Rather than having to buy widely deployed advertising campaigns that can bring spurious results, AI learns about consumers.

They can take a small and specific data set and figure out how consumers can be catered to in a precise way. Data will become more specific and open PR up to questions that were never possible before.

Voice search using Alexa, Google Home, and competing products has become wildly popular. These products learn about consumers, can assist in daily tasks, and make suggestions. One of the latest in trends in PR is to take advantage of this technology for advertising.

Strong SEO strategies can aid PR efforts in connecting users with products and services.

Healthcare Tech

Mobile devices are at the heart of most of the latest PR trends. Using apps and location services, patients can receive personalized local care that already knows what they need.

With so many people using wearable fitness trackers, we’ve seen some of the dangers of so much data. These fitness trackers, when integrated with mobile apps can just as easily create positive useful data.

If your company works in the healthcare industry or with related tech, these technologies need to be watched for the latest trends in PR. Connecting remotely with medical care providers allows for an intermediary space for advertising and marketing.

If you can be one of the companies that helps to connect people to healthcare, you will win powerful trust and loyalty from consumers.

New Ways to Pay

Apple Pay is trying to find new ways to integrate shopping with mobile technology. Credit cards are beginning to be integrated into the IoT along with other forms of digital payment.

PR trends that take advantage of this technology will allow your company to be at the cutting edge of payment innovations.

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency have found their way into water cooler conversations around the world. More people have a basic understanding of how cryptocurrencies work than imagined a few years ago.

Finding your place in the world of blockchain integration could place your company at the bleeding edge of technology. As the number of high-profile data breaches reaches a fever pitch, security needs to be a top priority for your company. Consumer faith is at an all-time low. If you can change their minds, you can win over converts in a major way.

Hang on to Your Reputation

With the aforementioned data breaches, one of the hottest PR trends could be to stay out of the news cycle. Protect your customers from harm, respect them at every turn, and above all, show that you’re listening.

If your company hits the newsroom, it shouldn’t be because someone was harmed by your products. It should be because your products helped people or averted a crisis.

Whistleblowing, data breaches, and injury are probably the three worst reasons to hear your brand named in the news. If safety is ever an issue with your products, be sure that you’re writing blog posts instructing people how to stay safe using your products.

If you have your own media channel, be sure to build that up so that if a crisis hits, you can distribute information quickly and efficiently.

Be Good, Do Good

While brands are using cheap and sometimes terrible tactics for marketing, as in last year’s Pepsi/Kendall Jenner fiasco, you can do better. Think about issues that need to be fixed in your community. Use PR trends to do good for the world.

Public education needs help in just about every municipality in America. Gun violence is a hot-button issue that’s gaining some serious traction. Global warming continues, despite 99% of scientists agreeing it should be our #1 concern.

Think about the ways your company can address bullying, poverty, or inequality. If your product has a direct connection to making the world a better place, you should be able to easily make this one of your priorities in your PR strategy.

One of the most important things to remember is to be authentic. Consumers can smell a fake a mile away. Be honest and sincere and consumers will stay loyal and feel good using your products.

Writers Take A New Focus

As full-time journalists are losing their positions left and right, one of the hottest PR trends is to hire them to write copy and help strategize. You might have trouble getting covered in trade media with people who aren’t published writers. Hire some people who know how to write, and your press releases will suddenly have muscle they never had before.

Branded and sponsored content that’s integrated into a native advertising campaign can provide much-needed content for magazines struggling to stay afloat.

PR Trends Change by the Week

The most important PR trends are based on what your company is already doing to stay relevant in the world. Integrate any new trends into your current strategy so that you can stay relevant without undermining the system your team has already built.

The basic elements of PR still require you to be present, responsive, and honest.

If you’re ready to pivot your company toward a new marketing strategy, contact us for a review on how to make the biggest impact.

Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry. With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

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About the author...

Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL, founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization / and PR campaigns, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.

With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

Jason Hall

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