If you’re a public relations practitioner, then you’re familiar with annual predictions. As the New Year approaches, we ask our clients to compile their thoughts on what trends and changes they expect to see in each of their respective industries during the next 12 months. Why? While some may consider it an old approach, there’s a good reason for it. If you take a minute to scan the media – including Mashable, TheStreet, Wall Street Journal and InformationWeek to name a few – you’ll see predictions are a hot topic. Sure, there are some things we’ll never see coming. For instance, in December 2009 we couldn’t have imagined the magnitude of success iPads, Android Phones or even The Jersey Shore would achieve. Either way, it’s still interesting to hear the experts’ thoughts about what they foresee.
Since we pride ourselves here at PAN Communications on being experts in our field, we decided to join the conversation and chime in with some PR predictions for 2011. Here are the trends we expect to see next year. What do you think? Are we forgetting something crucial or right on target? Feel free to join in the conversation and share your thoughts with us!
1. The Demand for Contributed Content Grows Exponentially
With editorial departments dwindling, contributed articles will continue to be huge. Decreased staff means fewer writers. We’ve personally experienced this at PAN. After letting us know that we have a great story for their publication, several of our media contacts have been asking if we can provide a bylined article on the topic from our client instead.
2) Online and Social Media Measurement Methods Emerge
Let’s face it – the measurement tools for social media that exist today are not where they need to be. With the proliferation and importance of social media, PR needs additional validation that its methods are working. We predict that technology providers will begin to sharpen the measurement conundrum that currently exists, and in turn the value of online and social media will become clearer to organizations.
3. Doing it Big – As Budgets Increase, so do PR Opportunities
The industry was pretty dicey for a couple of years, but with bigger budgets come bigger opportunities. We’ve had several clients say that “next year we want to do something big.” Well… let’s do it. Events, promotions, campaigns – all designed to make a bigger splash. This provides PR with an opportunity to be the creativity and execution behind next year’s dynamic and exciting campaigns.
4. The Video-Style News Release Will Take Off
As the media landscape continues to evolve, we expect not only video news releases to increase in popularity, but they will begin replacing traditional written news.
5. A New Standard for Corporate Blogs
Since thought leadership, content creation and social media are all essential components to having a voice in the media, we expect that having a corporate blog will become as much a standard as having a company website.
The PR industry will continue to see convergence across all media platforms, especially broadcast and print. As newspaper circulation dwindles, there will be a major push toward the multi-media/online platform. We’ll continue to see newspapers converge with local broadcast centers, creating a news-plex environment.
7. Citizen Journalism
The PR industry will most likely see a lot of journalists wearing many hats. While reporters have focused on one specific role or beat for a publication, they’ll likely have to multitask more than ever. This might include producing video content for the site, creating podcasts, posting engaging pictures with their stories, etc. Another part of this is the increase in contributing writers – not true freelancers, as these columnists post consistent articles, but are not full-time or salaried. As a result, PR professionals will be doing some additional leg work to provide these new and multi-tasked journalists with content that is tailored specifically to their needs.
8. Real-Time Response to the Media
With the speed that news outlets and blogs are moving at today, PR agencies will not only become more skilled at monitoring online discussions, but will also have an immediate action plan. To help separate organizations from their competition in 2011, PR agencies will respond to news almost in real-time by coming back with an immediate argument, comment or blog post.
9. Expansion of PR’s Role in the Marketing Function
PR agencies will be more integral in the growth of brands, organizations and executives than ever before. With the continued development of new community/social-focused sites, the resources found within an agency will be another key component to all PR and marketing plans in 2011.
10. Continued Growth and Dominance of Facebook
Facebook had a big year in 2010, setting the stage for an even bigger 2011. Because of Facebook’s popularity, organizations can no longer ignore the social media site, despite several valiant attempts. It’s here to stay and is now competing with Foursquare and Gmail with its “places” and “messaging” features. Through Facebook, companies will become more transparent and find more creative ways to engage with their customers.