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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April 16, 2013

Peak Ranked as Largest Locally-owned PR Firm in B.C. in 2013


Today Business in Vancouver (BIV) released its annual list of the “Biggest public relations firms in B.C.,” ranking Peak as the largest locally-owned PR firm in the province and the overall fifth biggest PR firm in B.C. this year.

The 2013 BIV list marks Peak’s third year ranked as B.C.’s largest locally-owned firm since its founding in 2003.

“2013 has been a significant year for Peak so far with our 10 year anniversary, new international clients, expansion of our service offerings and a number of new team members,” says Managing Partner Ross Sullivan. 

The “Biggest public relations firms in B.C.” list ranks firms based on the number of B.C. public relations staff in a given year. In 2013, international/national firms Edelman, NATIONAL Public Relations, Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Fleishman-Hillard were named the four biggest PR firms in B.C. with teams ranging from 18-49 members in size.

The full 2013 BIV PR list is here.

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January 11, 2013

Making Life Easier On Our Journalist Friends

Journalists are busy people. They have hundreds of pitches flying at them from PRs daily and often have little support or resources. As a result, media pitches have to be authentic, newsworthy and to the point to get noticed. To help them further, it can be beneficial to package pitches up that offer various experts who are able to give different perspectives on the topic in question. This can save a reporter valuable time having to source a third party opinion themselves. Offering to draft an initial article can also go a long way with time-strapped media.

This is what we did to secure a recent hit in the Financial Post. Peak strategically selected several senior client spokespeople and asked them to share the best advice they’d ever received. To make the piece timely, we pitched it in late December so that it could be published in early January to kick off national mentoring month.

Here’s the end result.




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October 24, 2011

PR Boost for Alberta

The changing face of Alberta’s political landscape may turn out to be the best image makeover and public relations campaign the province never thought of.

Many Canadians have viewed Alberta as red-necked and staunchly conservative and Albertans as gun-toting, beef eating, greenhouse gas producing cowboys. The media, and in particular the national media have worked to perpetuate this stereotype with stories focused on Alberta’s rebel and go-it-alone mentality.

Albertans themselves have by and large cared little about this caricature, safe in the knowing that it is generally not true. In fact Albertans often go out of their way to keep the Wild West image alive. World pictures from July of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge decked out in jeans and cowboy hats and watching wirery cowboys ride bulls, broncs and chuck wagons do little to dispel perceptions.

But the election of Nahid Nenshi, a Muslim, as Calgary’s mayor in 2010 and the recent victory by Allison Redford, a woman, to become Alberta premier are changing the way Canadians view the Wild Rose province. Recent articles in the Globe and Mail and National Post and stories on CBC, CTV and Global portray Alberta as coming out of the dark ages and getting in step with the rest of Canada.

It’s a PR campaign worth millions. After all, why would Alberta have a woman premier and its largest city a Muslim mayor if it wasn’t coming of age? Through these reports, Canadians see Alberta in a new light and these media “discoveries” of the true Alberta have been a boon to the province’s reputation as progressive and inclusive. The national media is deciding that Alberta has shed the chains of intolerance and it is becoming a great place to live.

Never mind that more than a decade ago, Calgary was the first major city in Canada to have a woman police chief and that minorities hold down some of the top jobs in the province, Alberta is finally in step with everyone else. The truth is people are finally finding out that Alberta is and always has been pretty much like the rest of the country. It’s a PR makeover that Albertans most willingly accept.

In the coming months, Albertans will face a provincial election where they will be asked to choose between the premier, who is now referred to by many as Red Redder Redford, or the right of centre Wild Rose party lead by Danielle Smith. While this image to Canadians may be progressive; two women fighting it out to lead the province, Albertans see it as a choice between two platforms regardless of whether it’s a woman or a man at the helm.

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