The beginning of each year offers an opportunity to reflect on the current trends shaping each industry, inviting plenty of speculation about the forces that will influence our work in the coming year. The field of public relations is no exception. As 2013 begins, consider the following predictions on what factors will shape our work as PR professionals.
Get Serious About Social Media
2012 saw a surge in the amount of “hard news” being spread via social media platforms. From political discussions regarding the U.S. election to updates on the combative Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Twitter emerged as a powerful tool in breaking news quicker than traditional outlets.
As more and more people rely on social media for fast reporting however, it’s likely that more consumers of media will demand a higher level of accuracy. While the quick, sound-bite style is useful for spreading messages quickly, 2013 may be the year that social media truly becomes serious. Look for the return of the media professional, and perhaps even a slower rate of information distribution. The market will always value speed, but information saturated media consumers will likely begin demanding fewer news items of greater import in 2013.
As social media flourishes, consumer attention span becomes more and more attuned to quick, 140 character bites of information. What does this mean for PR professionals? It’s time to hone our skills of brevity and revisit the value of the snappy lead. Emails that get straight to the point, content-rich headlines, and press releases formatted for easy delivery to handheld devices will be vital to the savvy PR expert. The mobile market is here to stay, and unless information is tailored to take advantage of the unique, intimate interface of the mobile phone, customers will click away from your message, no matter how well-crafted.
As the growth of Instagram makes clear, consumers are attracted to visual storytelling and bold images. PR professionals would do well to capitalize on this preference for photo sharing by using images to tell their story. Think beyond photographs to include infographics, original artwork, and clever logos. In 2013, the medium will literally be the message; don’t let yours get lost in a shoddy design or text-heavy content.
Even the most conservative brick-and-mortar companies are starting to realize the impact of social media and new technologies on their customer base, and they’ll be turning to PR professionals more than ever to help them make sense of this new, content-rich, socially charged marketplace. A good PR team will listen to and understand the narrative the company is trying to communicate, and adapt to the increasing number of tools at their disposal to send a clear, strong message into the world.