6 PR Trends
for 2019

to Align Your
Marketing Strategy with

Everybody says traditional public relations wane, but what it entails exactly? What does modern PR mean?

Zmest is a startup-centered PR and marketing agency providing services perfectly molded for the requirements of young businesses. We know pretty well that getting PR today starts with understanding the way PR has changed. In order you could keep the finger on pulse of PR industry we have drawn a list of the trends shaping the sector in 2019.

Today, more than ever before, it has become clear that public relations are a broader concept than media relations, i.e. working with journalists to tell a story. To keep up with the market demands, today's PR professional has to be a "universal soldier" – communications pro, brand journalist, video and infographics creator, social media expert, content marketer, event and email marketer, all rolled in one. That is why many PR firms reposition themselves as integrated or communication development agencies.

The said universality is of crucial importance when it comes about PR agencies for startups, whose specifities require extremely tailored approach, elaboration of a unique PR/marketing strategy combined of suitable tactics.

1. Lines between PR, Marketing and Advertising Get Fuzzy

Influencer marketing is a well-tried channel to distribute information relevant for various communities. As this domain of marketing grows more mature, nimble PRs are hunting for influencers capable of making the greatest impact and competitive ROI.

This year and on these seem to be not celebrities whose commitment to a brand lacks authenticity, but micro and even nano-influencers providing a quality driven focus to PR game. For one, PR agencies and brands invest heavily in promotional posts on Instagram from influencers with just several thousands of trusted followers. One more reason for startuppers to think about the opportunities social media may provide.

    2. Influencer marketing gains momentum

    Conducting PR campaign through the prism of storytelling is still a reliable way of providing tangible deliverables. Neatly collected and represented data will support your story, but only individual will make it compelling and authentic. After all, irrespective of industry there are always businesses similar to yours that make products similar to yours. In order for you to stand out from the crowd, your story must be memorable, i.e. personal. To personalize the content, you must pick up the "hero" (or "heroes") of the narrative, whether it be business founder, key employees, people you are helping or the business itself. For instance, relating the start-up's trials, tribulations and eureka moments greatly helps achieving media coverage.

    3. Human Dimension in Storytelling is of Continuing Importance

    Over the past few years, big data has become one of the most substantial technological trends. Though many industries have led the way in big data, the PR sector is left somewhat behind. Recently, far-sighted PR pros began to pay more and more attention to data analytics and incorporate BD into their PR strategies. Some PR insiders even go so far as to hold that comms professionals really need to become data scientists in order to be competitive. Luckily, it sounds worse than it actually is as there are lots of handy tools to help with data analytics. To mention but one, Google Trends allows pros follow the most commonly used search terms in real time.

    4. Data Analytics is
    Next Big Deal in PR

    The ways PR agencies and their clients can benefit from using BD run the gamut from new ways of crafting storytelling to inventing smarter performance metrics. BD analytics makes it easier to identify the people you want to reach, whether it be bloggers, influencers or prospective customers, it helps personalize your PR campaign by detecting moods and sentiments of different groups within the target audience etc.

    PR will always be an area where creativity reigns; nevertheless data-backed insights may serve as a solid basis for creative thinking.
    Nowadays only the laziest seem not to have written about AI when speaking about current state and future of public relations. The interest to the topic seems to be inspired not so much by potential benefits AI may provide for PR sector, but rather by the fear that smart algorithms would replace comms specialists with all their skills and career achievements. The good news is that people still matter. According to a research carried out in the University of Oxford, PR professionals have an 18% chance of being pushed out of the job market by computers in the next two decades. Indeed, no one expects a machine to possess social skills, creativity and curiosity, to mention just general abilities. At the same time, many of brain-dead tasks can be delegated to smart software. For example, media list compiling, sending out press releases, checking if journalists got the release and if the release had been published etc. can be at least partly automated. Tools like Prowly, Mediatoolkit or Databox and many others can help PR people focus on more engaging tasks.

    5. Challenge of Artificial Intelligence

    Traditionally brands were strongly discouraged by communication pros from picking sides as to controversial issues fearing possible alienation of some parts of audience. Today, consumers favor businesses demonstrating shared values. As a result, in 2019, we are witnessing a growing number of brands stop being neutral. Social responsibility and conscientious behavior become all the more important for many businesses, so that savvy PR/marketing pros are aimed to show their clients stance on issues of social or ecological kind. Both industry giants and startups gain from linking their product – in a persuasive way! – with the ideas like people connection, healthy lifestyle, social wellbeing or environmental sustainability.

    6. Brand Purpose and Shared Values Matter More than Ever

    Bottom Line
    In a sense PR remains the same, it is still about trust and reputation, what has transformed are tactics and circumstances. We live in an overtly clamorous world, but to shout the loudest does not mean to be heard. The trends we picked up are not the only worth mentioning, nevertheless those seem to be the most important for grasping what modern PR is about – a kind of PR capable of giving a startup a recognizable voice.

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