PR in 2020 and beyond

Two decades ago, you’d find me starting every day by printing hundreds of media coverage pages for global beverage company Diageo, running a fresh clippings book around the C-Suite from floor to floor so the directors could all eyeball the latest coverage for its suite of brands.

Needless to say, it was a manual, tedious and time-consuming task, and I’m very thankful that technology has made our lives easier! But with changing technology, comes changing processes, systems and metrics, and keeping up with the Jones’ (or the millennials!) has never been more critical for businesses that seek to serve their clients in the most efficient, productive and results-driven environment.

Why PR in 2020

It’s commonly recognised that PR started around the beginning of the 20th Century, some 100 years ago, and while the technology and platforms have changed in how we communicate, I believe the core of Public Relations still stands. PR is still about reaching an organisation’s publics via the channels in which they engage, with key messages to encourage a desired response.

Decades ago, this might have been communicated through public events, radio, newspapers and television alone, but these days, PRs spend their days disseminating communication through traditional media, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, EDMs, Blogs, Websites, Podcasts, and many more channels.

In a world where communication is instant and the everyday person can be their own content publisher and upload videos, images and text to a social media platform in seconds, I believe there’s never been a greater need for companies to consider PR a top priority in their business. It only takes one customer incident caught on camera, one scathing review with evidence of wrong-doings or one leaked operational flaw to turn an internal incident into a mass media crisis if left unmanaged or poorly managed.

PR trends for 2020 and beyond

It feels like this gets regurgitated every year but with the digital space moving as fast as it is, there’s always movement here and something to look out for. So, my first trend prediction is the growth of digital communication, and I guess, how PRs fit into this realm. It used to be that PR, creative agencies, digital marketers and media buyers all had separate functions within a business, but the lines have been blurring over the past three or four years. In 2020, I have no doubt we’ll be responsible for scripting more email nurturing sequences, chat messages, podcast scripts and any other digital written copy that was once perhaps managed by the marketing department.

Further to this as second trend, I think PR will continue to develop its media partnerships in ways that extend beyond the traditional earned media space. Clients want to control the message and media rely on a paid model, so it’s a natural fit that advertorials will continue to thrive in this domain. This concept of owned content will also permeate through corporate, not for profit and government organisations in a bid to control the message, track the data and build direct relationships with stakeholders.

Finally, I think we’ll see a return to focused corporate social responsibility. As a society, the sentiment is pretty average when it comes to government contribution toward issues such as climate change or aged care for example, and more and more organisations are seeing the opportunity to create change through groundswell fundraising and charitable deeds.

Whatever 2020 brings the PR industry, it’s important to remember that it’s our clients that drive the agenda. Their concerns are our concerns. Their goals are our goals. At Elevate, we will continue to listen and respond with the most appropriate strategy, whether that be traditional media relations or crisis management, or cutting-edge automation and digital communication.

For a confidential audit of your current communications activity, get in touch with the Elevate team or myself directly on 0418 814 782.

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