2019 PR Trends to Watch

Stella Heekin / January 2, 2019

New Year, New Trends 

As we say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019, it’s the perfect time to look ahead and see what trends might be worth looking out for in the New Year. Content will continue to be top of mind, but so will adapting to technologies and aligning PR goals with company leadership.

We asked some local PR pros their thoughts on what will be big in 2019 for our industry, and how communicators should prepare for the changes sure to come.

2019 PR Trends to Watch

Scott Battishill from Curator PR:

“Our focus in 2019 will be on finding hyper-individualized ways to deliver our client’s content to their consumers. Traditional and social media will continue to be important, but they both present drawbacks that limit their effectiveness. We’re excited about the technologies and platforms that allow for a consumer to opt-in to a real interaction that goes beyond a like, share, or comment. Easier said than done.

But if we really want to create fans rather than consumers, we must deliver content in a way that is hyper-personalized. Perhaps that comes in the form of a podcast, or a Facebook or Instagram Live interaction. The technology isn’t the trend. But agencies and brands that can truly create the compelling content that optimizes platforms for hyper-individualized interactions will win.”

Jay Weisberger from DPR Construction:

“I think we’re going to see more close alignment between PR and company leadership, built around business goals (both financially and culturally). It’s going to lead to more creative storytelling and will start to pivot much more toward the strategic than the tactical. The onus on in-house practitioners will be on making sure they find the right alignment with management and the right measures of program success (and those will vary greatly… could be very different campaign to campaign). For agencies, the challenge will be finding how to align with client strategic business goals while efficiently using retainer funds. Firms will need to zero in on roles and what services they’re offering client by client and the value certain traditional tactics bring. Basically, I think across the profession, there won’t be space for cookie cutter approaches in 2019.”

Jacque Coe, APR and PRSA Puget Sound President:

“As a PRSA leader, I’m working with others to watch trends affecting the profession and provide professional development (PD) to PR colleagues to support their career and their ability to serve their clients. Pace, change and technology continue to drive client–and colleague—needs. Attention spans are decreasing, mobile use is increasing and the need to update skills as technology and tools upgrade is constant.  It’s not that colleagues don’t want to spend the time; they don’t have the time to spend. PD will be fast, dynamic and delivered remotely with the latest tools of the trade. Trends such as micro-learning (PD delivered in short burst of five- or ten-minute increments on mobile devices) allow professionals to grab, learn and go. Adaptive learning which allows for on-demand learning at the colleagues’ own pace and in their own space, virtual reality for an immersive experience, or simply at-a-glance visuals to embed concepts colleagues can use all help the PR professional remain nimble, responsive to client needs and keep pace with their profession.”

Aaron Blank, CEO and President of The Fearey Group:

“In this data-driven era of communications where public relations and digital marketing intersect, it’s important to understand how analytics will influence our storytelling and impact capabilities from a PR perspective.

Data will remain untethered unless it is rooted in telling your story. Establishing your goals, setting up a baseline and then consistently measuring KPIs will help paint a bigger picture for you and your firm’s efforts, not to mention for your client. We use tools such as Google Analytics and SEMRush to better understand where our content lands for optimizing engagement online and then using those insights to inform us on future content we should be focusing on.

Understanding what kind of content is gaining the most engagement and why will be imperative for PR pros to grasp come 2019 as competition will continue to be tough. It will require us to adapt to change, listen adeptly to what our audiences want and come up with creative ways to stand out from the crowd.”

2019 is sure to be an exciting year and as always, the best PR pros are the ones who can anticipate trends and act on them. We at The Fearey Group can’t wait for what’s to come within our own company, but for the whole industry. One thing is for certain though, it will be as important as ever to Be Fearless!

Bring on 2019.