5 PR Trends That Matter In 2019

The new year is already in high gear, and you’ve likely been bombarded with reflections and predictions for what’s to come. Here, we distill it all down and share our thoughts on what’s most important for brands to consider and capitalize on in 2019.

Earned media is back.

Here’s the thing—earned never really went away. But it was relegated to the backseat as digital marketing’s star began to rise. Today, we recognize that earned and digital can work hand-in-hand, connecting the dots between broad-based awareness and specific actions taken on a brand site or social channels, at retail or an online marketplace.
What’s most important is serving the big idea—one that’s coverable and conversation-worthy and can play out any number of ways. And there’s more good news: after years of consolidation by media companies, many news organizations are experiencing audience growth. That’s true for longtime players like The New York Times and NPR, and fast-growing newcomers like Quartz, The Verge and Cheddar.

The long and short of the content opportunity.

With the mobile internet emerging as the leading trusted source of media for many, and time spent online rising to 23 hours/week and more in some cases, it’s no small challenge to keep up with consumers’ appetite for new content. Creating more (and better) short-form content is key to capturing attention and maintaining interest.
But long-form content can also help brands stand out with the right audiences who are willing to invest more time. Podcast listenership has increased steadily year over year, reaching a new high in 2018 with almost half of the U.S. population (44%) having listened to a podcast, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital. Podcasts provide a viable platform for brands as part of an ongoing thought leadership strategy.

All hail the nanoinfluencer.

A recent study projects influencer marketing will be a whopping $10 billion market by 2020. But brands shouldn’t focus exclusively on top-tier influencers commanding thousands of dollars for a single post. We’ve seen the positive impacts strategic engagements with micro-influencers can have for a brand. Now, the nanoinfluencer has emerged. Don’t let their follower count (which can be as few as 1,000) fool you. Those followers heed their advice and can add up for niche marketers and mass-market brands, too, when enough are engaged.

More, clearer measurement.

With new, more precise communications strategies and platforms, PR is effectively pushing down the funnel, from building awareness to driving engagements and actions. With that, we’ll see brands and agencies (360PR+ included) evolving beyond top-of-the-funnel measures like impressions, to KPIs that help us understand the true business impact of our work. Share of earned media, click-through rates and conversions are at the top of the list.

From thought leadership to purpose.

As we think back on the most effective thought leadership campaigns of the past year, they all originated from a sense of purpose. Consumers support brands that take a stand on the issues they care about and, increasingly, that determines which products and services they will – or won’t – purchase.
As companies seek to capitalize on the white space storytelling opportunities that will elevate their brands and executives as thought leaders, to connect more deeply with audiences, they should prioritize those opportunities that map best to the organization’s purpose.