PR is the discipline that aims to communicate your messages to your different audiences and stakeholders.
If before public relations was limited to media relations, event marketing and internal and corporate communication, it has now taken a completely new dimension in the digital era. There are many new players and even if it can be difficult to keep up, there are many more opportunities to get your brand out there. These new players could help you relay your messages.
So what is trendy and still growing in 2017?
Content marketing and storytelling
We hear all too often that content marketing is dead. It is true that in the past few years businesses have tried very hard to produce qualified content for SEO and as part of their inbound marketing strategy and that now there is an enormous amount of content online. At first glance therefore, it looks pretty hard for a small business to make a difference.
Nevertheless, content marketing is still very important, it just needs to be thought of differently. What kind of content do you want to produce and what channels are you going to use to distribute it?
Of course, traditional social media and corporate blogs are still fundamental channels to use, but there are now many new websites in the media landscape that can support content and communities. Websites like Medium for example are interesting for businesses to upload their content onto as you can grow a community on it and start a conversation. That’s what PR is about.
There are also forums like Reddit, Quora and many others that are good platforms to explore for your digital PR.
Whichever platform you opt for, storytelling is crucial to get attention. If you can tell stories with a personal angle or with an engaging and compelling tone, you’ll increase your chance to develop relationships and grow a community. It’s now a very important component of a successful content marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing is currently a highly used buzz word. Many digital agencies have already widened their services, offering to connect their clients to the main online influencers. As people trust advertising less and less, influencer marketing sounds like a great alternative. What if you could find someone with a faithful audience to endorse your brand?
It has worked really well for years in the fashion, beauty or even travel industries, with instagrammers and bloggers being used regularly to promote brands. However, it’s important to note that it’s not reserved to these industry sectors. The large variety of influencers online or on social media allows any type of company to create a strategy adapted to their profile.
Some businesses will have to be more creative though. Think about the media landscape and where your niche market is talked about and by whom. It could be on Instagram, on Twitter, on LinkedIn or even on Snapchat for example. You just need to find the right people to approach.
There are more and more podcasters as well, covering many different topics. As most of them have a very attentive audience, getting them to include your business could boost your brand awareness sharply and it is sometimes more adapted for B to B businesses
Many bloggers can also be considered as influencers. By sending a release explaining what you’re doing and asking if anyone is interested in what you have to say about a business-related matter, you could get their attention.
If video marketing can sound a little bit ‘2016’, it remains a really good way to communicate in 2017 and probably even in 2018 for the simple reason that consumers now expect to see a video when they visit a website. They switch so fast from one thing to another that businesses that don’t invest in video are at risk of being left behind.
The same can be said on social media. There is so much content out there that people are more likely to stop scrolling because of an auto-played video as opposed to other content.
Think about your competitors. Did they invest in video marketing? Some probably did, but some others not yet, so there is still time to differentiate yourself from them. Video marketing should be part of your user experience strategy.
However, choosing the type of video you want to make, its format and length is very important. The quality is obviously important but to a lesser extent. Self-produced videos are getting quite popular for example. Once again, it’s all about storytelling. By creating a personal video you are more engaging and close to people, meaning that you start developing relationships with your audience.
You can also think about ‘live’ videos. Social platforms like Facebook or Twitter enable you to do that and it can be very interesting to drive engagement and increase awareness.
Chatbot & messenger
In 2017, we’ve all witnessed the arrival of chatbots and messenger systems in the digital world. And it’s not without warrant.
Chatbots allow businesses to engage with prospects at an early stage, to answer their questions and to build a relationship. Even if most of these chatbots are based on artificial intelligence, programmed to answer questions without human intervention, they still provide the foundations of your relationship with your customer. The time when we had to handle endless calls and unanswered emails is over. Consequently, chatbots are not about to go out of fashion. They are, in fact,quite the opposite - they are the future.
Facebook Messenger also introduced its bots last year, enabling businesses to build their own chatbot on the app directly with the same abilities. It answers questions on your behalf. According to experts, the number of people using Facebook Messenger everyday is now close to one billion, so it’s pretty easy to see how it could be of interest for a business.
Chatbots offer great opportunities to interact with your prospects, customers and stakeholders and this is what PR is about. You should definitely think about it for your digital PR strategy.
Traditional PR is still relevant
In the flow of new technologies and new social platforms coming out every month, businesses tend to forget that traditional PR is still relevant and actually very important.
Sending press releases or pitch emails to journalists or bloggers whose job it is to write about businesses and ideas like yours is one of the easiest ways to increase your brand awareness, profile and even your search engine ranking. It’s also one of the cheapest if you decide to manage your PR in-house. Read our comparison between PR agencies and DIY PR if you are struggling to take a decision.
Reacting to the news and responding to media requests are ways to get exposure as well, without blowing your budget. And it can take just 5 minutes.
The digital world is constantly moving forward and new technologies are created everyday, so creativity and adaptability are now more important for your digital PR plan than ever. Keeping yourself updated on the latest trends and planning ahead are two good ways to keep up with these fast changes and to stimulate your creativity.
Written by: Julie Cocquerelle, Marketing Executive
Julie has a degree in Marketing and PR, and has worked in marketing for a number of startup businesses, both in France and the UK. She now runs JournoLink’s marketing efforts, and works closely with our partners. When not in the office Julie enjoys travelling and soaking up European culture.