How to Evolve with the 2016 PR Trends
[By Alex Hoag]
As technology continues to demand change for all industries, it’s important to start your year off by planning the ways it could impact your day-to-day PR activities. Just in the past month many predictions have been made about 2016 PR trends, and a lot of them have overlapping themes. Let’s take a look at some, combined with a few of my own observations.
Content Strategy is Vital
We all know the importance of curating organic content for your online audience, but new levels of pressure to do so have made this truly vital for 2016. For example, in 2011 Google created Panda, its content algorithm. Now (as of 2016) Panda is integrated into Hummingbird, Google’s core algorithm. And so is Penguin, Google’s back-link algorithm (combined in 2012). Since SEO as we used to know it no longer exists, it’s all the more important to have a content strategy in place along with a team to execute it.
As evidence of the increasing importance of content marketing, according to the CMO Council, 90% of consumers find custom content useful, while 78% believe organizations providing content are interested in building good relationships with them.
The technology that’s built into today’s tools makes it easier than ever to capitalize on content-marketing opportunities. You can tap into trending topics to determine the best times to share content. You can also join conversations or gain access to the top industry articles that provide ideas for future content and SEO link-back opportunities.
Greater market insight opens up new opportunities, so it’s important that your strategy be agile. Know your focus and target audiences, but allow for the flexibility to engage when your audience is excited and motivated, and be sure to infuse your personality into your outreach.
Influencers, Influencers, Influencers
A natural evolution of social media, blogging, and the opportunities the internet has created, is that a new network of influencers now shape the way people think about your business. A 2015 study by eMarketer found that 84% of marketing communications professionals were planning to launch at least one influencer marketing campaign within the next 12 months, and 81% who had previously conducted influencer marketing agreed it was effective.
Those are some promising stats, and it’s all about building relationships formed around trust with your business’ influencers so, in turn, your consumers trust their recommendations. Diminishing are the days where a journalist will respond solely to an email blast and publish a company’s news release relevant to his or her audience.
It’s about relationships, just like it’s about quality content. With the plethora of content out there, it’s important to have yours shared by the right people who shape buying decisions. According to TrackMaven,“78 % of brands increased their content output in the last two years but average content engagement decreased by 60 percent. Basically, content marketing really needs influencer marketing to succeed.”
There are a variety of ways to engage and work with influencers in order to shift your brand’s visibility, so be sure to think about the purpose of involving an influencer in each campaign, the results you’re looking for, and the channels you should be using to get them involved.
Timing and Types of Content
The effort that goes into the curating content for your audiences actually has a science behind it. If your audience doesn’t see your video because it was shared at the wrong time or not on the proper video channels with the proper audience primed for the content, then a lot of resources are wasted.
When developing your content strategy and building relationships with influencers, as mentioned above, it’s critical you have a method around releasing content. It takes a variety of efforts large and small to grow your online audience. Here are a few suggestions:
- Look into sequential storytelling through podcasts or a webinar series
- Simply comment about current events and share trending articles
- Join live industry tweet ups or host one with influencers your company works with
- Seek out user-generated content to help promote your message with your target audiences
Providing a variety of content options offers companies and brands the ability to engage with their target audiences on their favorite channels. It’s about being involved in the conversations that are driving buying decisions in real time.
“Additionally, people want insight on that news they just consumed, which is why podcasting is so popular. If your client hasn’t jumped on the real-time and visual marketing bandwagon, they could get run over by the competition,” according to AdWeek.
One thing is certain: the demand for companies’ engagement with their industries and consumers continues to be high, and the importance of having a strategy that embraces a multitude of PR approaches is important for a healthy business. So, when adapting to your 2016 plans, think about the variety of consumable ways you can expose your audiences to your content.