The one issue plaguing most public relations and communication departments following the company’s annual financial budget announcement is the downsizing or cost cutting for PR strategies to pave way for other, highly crucial sectors, namely commercial efforts. Sure, money begets money but let’s not forget that an outstanding brand position in top tier media titles begets brand recognition and trust for investors to put their money in a company.
Coming from a PR and content background my entire life, these financial budget announcements used to frustrate and irk me. There was constant disdain for the company’s PR needs paired with individuals who would try and get a discount out of every single PR strategy we planned for. Gentlemen, press events aren’t charity events and even charity events require you to pay a minimal rental fee for the space used. Also do bear in mind with the ever changing media landscape, media coverage isn’t free labour anymore with more publishing houses earning their source of income from advertorials and paid partnerships.
That being said, as most communication strategists out there will feel the equivalent pain of having an extensively minimized PR budget, let’s have a look at how we can take full advantage of 2018’s PR trends with minimal spending.
Exploring Thought Leadership in PR Strategies
These days with the emergence of e-commerce companies like iPrice and Global Savings Group in Southeast Asia, you can see a trend of unconventional PR masked behind the concept of content marketing or pitching thought leadership content pieces and studies. Both companies share infographics and studies related to the e-commerce industry such as consumer related studies and buying trends however this concept can be be replicated and adapted for other industries.
Maximize your PR material strategy beyond brand news announcements which can be advertorial in nature to include studies and findings which are exclusive to your corporation. Not only does this help increase media coverage in different platforms, but it also brands the company as a thought leader in your respective field.
Using AI in PR – Never too late to learn
The public relations industry has embraced a more digital concept as we can see moving into 2018. More technology concepts and artificial intelligence tools are emerging to help communication strategists and public relations practitioners achieve the perfect synergy in tackling day to day tasks. In fact, upon comparison with the latest addition to media monitoring and research assistance tools such as Meltwater – our old school Isentia falters in comparison. Of course each and every media tool has its’ pros and cons, however as PR coverage and awareness extends beyond media titles to include social media, one requires assistance from an AI with equally extensive coverage.
Let’s look beyond media monitoring tools as there are also multiple tools available to help with project management such as Asana or even media outreach such as Buzzstream.
Sure learning how to use AI and different tools can be a challenge for the first month for us traditional PR practitioners compared to our millennial juniors however do consider the fact that these tools are honestly the best investment for any communications strategist. Understand for a fact that learning how to use these technologies are actually helping you keep up with a fast paced industry. When you have AIs to help with the research and media monitoring, you and your team can focus more on the strategizing and relationship building aspect of the job. Well, if there was a tool where AIs can take journalists and editors out for business lunches and coffee breaks, trust me my friend, both you and I would be out of jobs by now.
Content is still King – But Make It Visual
Visual content still reigns supreme with millennials which comprise of our main target market these days. After having been said over and over, the main source of news for millennials and a large chunk of society these days is definitely our ready made social media platforms. Hence if you want to get news out instantly without losing millennials’ interest, don’t neglect social media stories (Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and the likes – I’m not surprised if Linkedin starts a story button soon).
Companies such as AirAsia and the very MVPs of storytelling Leo Burnett have seen immense success with their visual storytelling efforts via Instastory – cementing one as the go to platform for travel inspiration and travel bookings and the other as the coolest place to work.
Storytelling and content delivery for PR has made a swift change and 2018 is the year to expect a rapid, outrageous out of the box concept. Sharing a 500 word release through emails has become passe especially if it’s not a heavily corporate related piece. Today’s content has to be appealing and personally engaging which is why if social media isn’t one of your biggest strengths, it’s a good time to start a crash course with the interns.