Whether you handle your public relations activities in-house or contract out to an external PR firm, keeping up with the latest trends in PR is a must. The nature of public relations in the 21st century – particularly in the context of a rapidly changing technology landscape – means that if you fail to keep up with (or ahead of) the crowd, you can lose your competitive advantage in the blink of an eye. We’ve picked out three key PR trends we think you should watch out for in the coming months.
- Video – especially live video – will continue to grow. The use of video in branding and public relations is nothing new, and the past few years have seen more and more businesses catch on to the value that video can deliver in PR work. But it’s the more recent emergence of live video streaming platforms – such as Facebook Live – that are driving engagement; according to Facebook, viewers of live videos comment 10 times more than on prerecorded videos. In the coming months, we expect to see more and more companies – of all sizes – incorporating live video into their public relations strategies.
- Reputation management will be key to business success. The past few months have seen some fairly epic PR fails by big companies that really should know better. In April, United Airlines violently removed a paying customer from a flight, and the incident was filmed and widely shared on both social and mainstream media. A leaked, victim-blaming internal email from United’s CEO only compounded the widespread criticism the company received. Social media can spread and amplify damaging incidents far beyond their original scope, and it is becoming more important for businesses to react quickly and appropriately when facing potential reputational damage.
- Social media will continue to grow. So many companies – big and small – already use social media that it’s easy to forget that many companies still don’t. Some simply don’t know where to start, while others may have made halfhearted attempts to set up a Facebook or Twitter profile, then given up, as they didn’t know how to attract followers or drive engagement on an ongoing basis. But social media is now near ubiquitous – Facebook alone is on track to have 2 billion active users this year – and those businesses that are still reluctant to tap its PR potential are in serious danger of being left behind.