Life in Public Relations (PR) is a constant battlefield. As goes technology and society, so goes PR, and keeping up in the ever changing landscape can be tricky. Looking forward to the trends that will continue and emerge in the coming year can help build a successful PR strategy.
Gamification has been a big word everywhere, from PR to social media to technology. It seems that every venue and industry is turning to gamification to grab user attention and increase their audience. In the coming year, gamification will be more important than ever. Whether it’s simple contests, giveaways that encourage users to spread the company message on different social media platforms or in-depth gaming experiences that spread a message, learning the ins and outs of gamification will become essential to gaining and keeping audience attention.
Visual Social Media
Just as businesses begin to get a grasp on social media, the playing field again changes. The emergence of Pinterest and Instagram in social media has marketers and PR specialists reeling. While visual media has always been a powerhouse, converting users utilizing graphics and photographs is an added challenge. The increase in visual media on social media sites has been a long time coming with second screen technology becoming more prevalent. Integration of visual media via social media and infographics will become a primary way to provide quality information that attracts the attention of users and is friendly for both computer and mobile users.
Social, Local, Mobile (SoLoMo) movement will continue to gain speed in the coming year. More people than ever rely on their smart phones for local information. Integrating users love of mobile technology and interest in sharing local experiences with their social network, SoLoMo is a powerful tool in PR. Search engines are beginning to cater to mobile users who are accessing the Internet for local information, and smart PR professionals will leverage this knowledge to increase search ranking based on location.
Customized Content Marketing
The wake of Google’s expansion of Panda and Penguin and the launch of Hummingbird will require PR specialists to rely on quality content to gain page views and increase their audience. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and vague, unnecessary articles. Those in the field who wish to thrive will have to become content specialists, dedicated to high quality writing with succinct, powerful information. Content marketing will become more important than ever with budgets expanding and specialized services required.
The giant blow ups associated with McDonald’s #McDStories and banking giant JPMorgan #AskJPM mean PR specialists will need to be more careful than ever when launching social media campaigns. Understanding the audience and framing social media campaigns carefully will be the cornerstone of engaging users on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Proper audience research will keep PR specialists on the pulse of audience concerns and complaints and can help keep businesses out of the headlines for social media meltdowns, but it also requires understanding and selecting the right person for maintenance of social media accounts. Engaging with your audience in a constructive and structured way will prevent embarrassments in the coming year.
2014 will be a year of evolving and changing job responsibilities for those in PR. The integration of content marketing into normal PR duties and emerging information on search engine updates will require constant attention. Staying up to date on trends and forecasts will ensure that business PR teams stay ahead of the curve when it comes to development and implementation of new initiatives.