Now that January is upon us, it is an ideal time to reflect back on the past year and look to 2017.
The public relations industry saw its importance elevated in 2016 due to a number of high-profile corporate missteps. Coupled with a highly contentious presidential election, the American people were bombarded with messaging through a variety of communications channels this past year—almost to the point of exhaustion.
There are a variety of lessons 2016 taught us but one thing is inarguable: The PR industry is primed for significant growth. Here are five PR trends that will help shape our work as PR pros in 2017:
Journalists Will Be More Diligent Than Ever
If there is one lesson we should all take away from this past year, it's that journalists will be more diligent when it comes to the facts—now more than ever. Some of the biggest news outlets in the United States were caught completely off guard in 2016 by major corporate and political surprises. There is no one answer as to why this happened. Part of it was hyped-up figures disguised as facts. Another cause was the enormous propagation of fake news.
There is no better example than the downfall of Theranos, the Palo Alto-based blood-testing company. The Wall Street Journal’s investigative piece on the company, published at the end of 2015, pulled back the curtain on what many in the business, health, and technology trades thought was going to be a jewel of Silicon Valley.
In reality, the emperor had no clothes all along. The Journal’s article triggered a domino effect of follow-up articles, lawsuits and devaluations. Many reporters have publicly admitted since the downfall that their coverage of Theranos should have asked deeper questions about the company’s technologies. Given how stories like these dominated the media landscape this year, editors are already instructing their reporters to look more closely at the facts and what public relations professionals send.
Third-Party Research Will Be Critical to Credentialing Pitches
Many in our industry understand that third-party research or studies from a university, think-tank or non-profit entity can boost the chances a pitch will be successful. In the same vein as the previous trend, media outlets are much warier of information they receive now—especially if it is from a practitioner, company or organization with which they are not familiar. That is why boosting pitches with third-party information from recognizable sources will play an increasingly critical role in 2017. Furthermore, contacting third-party sources who might be willing to participate in the story will be even more beneficial.
Reputation Management Matters More
As the extent of PR responsibilities expands further, reputation management will take its place firmly on that list. From media coverage to social media to online reviews, businesses, organizations and individuals will rely on communicators to protect and enhance their reputation. In light of the recent study by Dr. Jonathan Albright of Elon University, there is significant concern about the destruction of reputations through fake news sources. Add in the recent explosion of online rating websites and the need for public relations professionals to actively work to protect brands is even more apparent. There is little doubt this phenomenon will continue to be a growing challenge. It cannot be solved with one-click algorithms from “IT firms” who send out generic responses to complaints. Rather, this new reality requires thoughtful consideration from communications professionals.
Live Video Continues to Grow
As our society becomes more and more visual, video has been a top trend for a few years. It’s no surprise given live video’s success, especially on social media. A recent report from Cisco predicted that 75% of the world’s mobile traffic will be video by 2020. Even if this estimate is overly ambitious, live video is racking up billions of views on Facebook, Periscope and other platforms. Instagram recently announced it’s adding live video too. Live video exploded in 2016 and will continue to dominate conversations next year.
Influencers Become Contributors
Similar to live video, this trend is one that has gained momentum in 2016. The conversation about influencer marketing will evolve in 2017 as more organizations and PR agencies leverage influencers as ongoing contributors. Finding authentic advocates who actually connect with their followers and your target audience is the new guide. Celebrities and influencers just looking for a check won’t be a priority for most companies. The much-reported backlash against influencer marketing is more about its evolution and why in 2017, authentic voices will take the spotlight and deliver results for brands.
These trends will have a significant impact on PR pros throughout 2017. Are there other factors in play as well? Of course, but there’s simply not space to list them all. For example, social media is still a juggernaut of a communications channel. Identifying the best platform for you or your clients is critical. Measurement also remains a challenge and will be a priority for both agencies and in-house PR departments.
Now that 2017 has arrived, consider the lessons of this past year. Communications professionals across the world saw many unexpected turns and twists, which have resulted in new challenges, but new opportunities as well.
Mike C. Gray, APR is a partner and co-founder of Commonwealth Partnerships, a PR and communications firm that specializes in the real estate, A/E/C, and senior living sectors. With over 10 years of experience in strategic communications, Mike has worked with a variety of developers, home builders, engineers, senior living providers and others on public relations, content marketing, social media, reputation management and video campaigns. Mike can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org reaction meme thinking riddles thinking really hard thinking reeds thinking rationally meaning thinking synonym thinking statue thinking skills thinking strategies thinking styles thinking stock photo thinking strategically thinking storm thinking traps thinking tree thinking tree spirits thinking too much thinking thesaurus thinking thoughts and feeling feelings thinking traps worksheet thinking thursday thinking up thinking upstream thinking under the influence thinking up synonym thinking upstream nursing thinking u can live without me lyrics thinking up a master plan thinking up a song about coraline thinking vs feeling thinking vs feeling mbti thinking vs feeling personality thinking verb synonym thinking verbs thinking vs feeling examples thinking vs feeling test thinking voice thinking with type thinking with mathematical models answers thinking with portals thinking with type pdf thinking with your eyes thinking with mathematical models thinking woman thinking words thinking you could live without me lyrics thinking you are better than others thinking you have a disease thinking you're smarter than you are thinking you're better than others thinking you could live thinking you know everything thinking you are smarter than you are thinking zing thinking zebras meaning thinking zone thinking zoozoo thinking zone czesne thinking zico thinking zone school thinking zubi lyrics thinking about you dustin lynch thinking after a stroke thinking after reading thinking after concussion thinking after wine thinking after meditation thinking after headache thinking after failure thinking of the afterlife thinking against the grain thinking against oneself thinking against the current thinking against the current lyrics thinking against humanity thinking against the grain meaning thinking against thinking against the box thinking among among thinking skills analysis means critical thinking among students critical thinking among teachers and students critical thinking among students pdf thinking noodles among us critical thinking among college and graduate students creative thinking among students thinking around corners thinking around meaning thinking around corners podcast thinking around the box thinking around corners meaning thinking around the same lines thinking around definition thinking around the topic means thinking as a hobby thinking as a designer is all about thinking as a hobby summary thinking as a hobby pdf thinking as a science thinking as computation thinking as an adjective thinking as a designer is all about quizlet thinking at the top of my head thinking off the top of my head why do i think so much in my head what part of your brain is at the top of your head on top your head thinking at the margin example thinking at the margins means deciding about thinking at the margin economics examples thinking at the margin meaning thinking at the margin involves thinking at the margin principle thinking before you speak thinking before you act thinking before acting thinking before you act is called thinking before reacting thinking before acting word thinking before you speak word thinking before you speak quotes thinking behind constitutional convention thinking behind synonym thinking behind an action thinking behind the doing thinking behind it thinking behind transformational leadership thinking behind physics thinking behind architecture thinking others are beneath you thinking between the lines thinking between the lines meaning thinking between the posts thinking between deleuze and merleau-ponty thinking between between thinking and feeling absurd thinking between art and design thinking difference between man and woman thinking beyond borders thinking beyond the text thinking beyond the text questions thinking beyond action thinking beyond yourself thinking beyond the box thinking beyond the text activities thinking beyond synonym thinking but not doing thinking but not acting thinking but you thinking but it but i'm not thinking but thinking makes it so but thinking makes it so meaning but thinking makes it so who said thinking by walter d wintle thinking by nf thinking by analogy thinking by design thinking by first principles thinking by danusha lameris thinking by tim brown thinking by walter d wintle explanation contra thinking