Welcome to 2015! Every year’s beginning is a time to refresh, recalculate and get ready for the days and months ahead. While some industries evolve at a moderate pace, the communications industry changes at lightning speed. So much happened in 2014 that caused us to shift directions and strategies.
1. Placement focus will shift to include more videos. Media outlets have been steadily incorporating videos and video interviews into their reporting over the years--and who can blame them? They’re short, informative and allow a journalist to show his or her personality on screen. From a PR perspective, I see a shift in strategy to setting up more video interviews rather than just organizing phone conversations and emails for a written or printed story. This also means more on-screen media training.
2. PR pros will use Twitter more effectively. I hope that 2015 will be the year where my fellow colleagues create a brand for themselves on Twitter and use it as a tool to inform their media relations activities. There’s a reason why a majority of journalists are on Twitter, and we need to fish where the fish are, with better rods and bait. (Editor's Note: Shameless plug from Muck Rack here...Muck Rack's free and pro options can help with this!)
3. Clients and companies will demand more sophisticated metrics for ROI. Any quality PR program worth executing is tied to a company’s business goals. With pressures to cut costs and raise profits, clients will expect a stronger impact by PR programs; they’ll want to see a better return on their investments. That means our efforts will be bolder, more effective and more measurable.
4. Media lists will get even shorter…Newsrooms have continued to shrink, with the (sad) news about the NY Times departures and buyouts as the latest evidence. Media lists will continue to shrink, and pitches will need to be even more tailored to grab the attention of overloaded journalists.
5. ...and include non-traditional outlets. Have you seen the content Buzzfeed has been putting out lately? The site has transformed itself from listicles and quizzes to include quality news reporting. Two years ago, I never would have thought that I would have a Buzzfeed reporter on my media list! But this year, media lists will include outlets not traditionally viewed as “media,” and that includes Buzzfeed and a host of other sites we now consider news sources.
6. Sponsored content will grow. As outlets continue to restrategize to increase sales and profits, sponsored content will become more popular. It will become more relevant and more useful to readers, and will temporarily give outlets a revenue stream. But that, I believe, will only be sustainable through 2015.
7. Smarter research will drive decision-making. With so much focus on Big Data and data-driven analytics in the past few years, 2015 will be the year where the communications industry will really embrace it and use it to conduct better research to make smarter decisions for itself and for companies and clients.
8. More brands will embrace an integrated communications program. Recently, I’ve seen a number of dormant companies and brands either advertise their products, or work to implement a PR program. This will be the year where we see even more brand differentiators that drive company value through PR, advertising, and marketing. It’s a very exciting time!
9. PR pros will work harder, but smarter. A robot would not succeed in the PR industry because almost everything we do is customized. We work hard. But this year, we will not only work harder because of the way the industry is evolving, but we will also work smarter...because the industry is demanding smarter work and even smarter people.
10. The industry’s reputation will improve, driven by the work of PR pros. Last year around this time, I wrote about the ways we could work to improve the reputation of the industry. In 2015, I believe that we will do it, driven by the great work that PR professionals are doing for their companies and clients.
1. Media relations will remain consistent. There will still be press releases, media alerts, pitches, and follow-ups.
2. ...and some emails will remain unanswered. Yes, some of them will remain unopened, unanswered or in the trash bin, even in 2015.
3. Crises will continue to challenge us, business leaders, and companies. Whether it’s transportation accidents, hackers, or unethical behavior, crises will continue to be a part of the work we do.
4. The industry will continue to grow. As the need for reputation management programs increases, the PR industry will continue to grow and expand its services and its reach.
5. We will continue to change and will need to adapt to stay relevant. As they say, change is the only constant, and it is certainly true for the our industry.
Julia Sahin works in Corporate Communications at one of the largest PR firms in New York and is a monthly contributor to Muck Rack. She is a recent graduate from the Master’s program in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at NYU and was the first to conduct and publish academic research on the reputational effects of regulation on big banks. She plans on doing big things. All opinions should be seen as her own and do not reflect her employer’s.
Photo: 2015 via Shutterstock