Peak Communicators
January 9, 2017

4 Unavoidable PR Trends for 2017

As we usher in 2017, the impact of digital and social media is only going to continue to grow. As digital news is more instant, searchable and accessible, more and more people are gravitating to the online world and using social channels to find content specific to their interests. Newsrooms also shrank in 2016, allowing for less specialized journalists and the rise of influencers. So what do we foresee coming ahead for 2017? Below is a list of what to look for and how to prepare for it.

Influencers continue to be King

Since more people are choosing to read online news that is filtered to meet their interests, influencers have become instrumental to brand marketing and PR efforts. A Nielsen survey found in 2013 that 92 percent of people trust recommendations from family and friends. While this may not seem surprising, Twitter revealed, in a similar study in 2016, that their users trust online influencers nearly as much as their friends and family.

Finding authentic advocates who already connect with your followers, and who are within your brand’s target audience, will increasingly become the best option for earned media. How do we prepare for this? Start doing some research into which influencers reach your target audience, and reach out to them. Figure out what they like and what they post, and tailor pitches to meet their needs.

Contributor marketing and thought leadership will grow

As audiences trust influencers more and more, it will be integral to build thought leadership for your brand, positioning yourself as an influencer in your field. If the audience feels that your brand/spokesperson is a subject matter expert in the product/service you are offering, you will remain top of mind.

Further, as newsrooms continue to shrink, a trend we have seen for the past few years, more content will be created by contributors who are thought leaders in their field. With less staff to conduct research and dedicate time to individual stories, many news teams are also looking for expert advice in their pieces. Positioning yourself as a thought leader will not only allow for earned media coverage and brand recognition, it will allow you to influence how the story is told.

Visuals will become a necessity

Over the past year we saw a rise not only in social media, but in live video. Snapchat (or Snap Inc. as it’s now referred to) became a force to be reckoned with and Facebook Live and Instagram Stories were born. As live video exploded in 2016, we can only see it continuing to dominate conversations this year as more news moves to the Internet. In an era of information overload, brands will have to provide content that is simple to grasp, personable and compelling enough to capture the short attention span of the audience today. That can be done most efficiently through strong visuals and live video. Videos and visuals are also easily shared through social media, allowing for a wider reach.

Facts and case studies are a must

If there was one lesson learned in 2016, it was that fake news will not be tolerated. With the many fake news scandals this past year, news outlets are going to be much more diligent about the information they put out. News stories are going to now be backed up by industry specialists, and articles are going to be written by contributors with knowledge in the specific area. Additionally, pitch notes are going to have to be supported by solid facts, and new products accompanied by user reviews and well researched case studies.

In 2017, news and online content will only become further curated for individual audiences. As a result, influencers will be the gatekeepers for brands, and content must be engaging and factual. Our advice? Brush up those social profiles, build strong relationships with influencers, establish a thought leadership program and create engaging, thoughtful and compelling content.

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December 19, 2013

Capitalizing on the Festive Season from a PR Perspective

large & free champagneChristmas is a wonderful time of year. The wine flows, mince pies are in abundance and parties become the norm during the working week.

Yet for those PRs willing to work hard throughout silly season, there are rewards – and not just from Santa – for their efforts.

So how do you capitalize on Christmas from a publicity perspective? Here are some suggestions:

Christmas gift guides: Do you have a client looking to reach consumers with a cool new product? If so, then now is the best time of year for product PR withoutnecessarily having to pay for advertising. Naturally the competition for placement in these gift guides is fierce with many other retailers looking to capitalize on the same opportunity. However if your product is interesting and relevant and you have imagery to showcase its beautiful design, then go for it. Be warned: you’ll want to start your pitching early as some gift guides decide on content in summer.

large and free tree

Freebies: Who doesn’t like free things, especially in December, the season of giving? Certainly no one in my address book. Consider sending ‘stocking fillers’ or other gifts and gadgets from clients as a way of getting media attention. Always provide journalists with a story along with the gift to give them a reason to write about the treat you’ve provided.

News hijacking: Christmas becomes a major focus for many Canadians during December, and that means journalists turn their attention to this topic as well. Capitalize on this interest by pitching story angles relevant to the season. Put forward a quirky angle or offer a perspective that’s unique to your client to heighten your chances of media interest. Trends in particular can generate headlines.

Timing: I’ve noticed a ‘black hole’ appears in the PR scene between Christmas and New Year. Most PRs are on holiday so the number of stories being sent to media is minimal. This is a great opportunity if you’re willing to work. Issuing a news story – so long as it’s relevant and timely – between Christmas and New Year can go further than it typically would. If you decide to telephone pitch you may find you leave a lot of voicemails. However those journalists in the office are almost guaranteed to be having a slow news day and will therefore be more receptive to suggestions than normal.

We all know that December is for planning as well as partying, and work time is spent focusing on 2014 plans for clients. However taking time out for media relations can lead to a spike in coverage, which is always a fantastic way to finish a campaign.

And if all else fails, the New Year is just around the corner, providing a great opportunity to pitch trends and predictions, which works for almost any client from any industry.

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