Digital PR trends to watch out for in 2019

Posted on 13/12/2018 by Team Hallam

In the last two years, PR has shifted hugely to digital. Traditional still has its place in PR, but visibility on the world wide web is crucial, not optional, to success.

Digital PR has changed the landscape of public relations and isn’t done yet. A link to your site from a publication with a high domain ranking can send your own domain authority sky high. The higher your domain, the better your search ranking strength, leading to a gold tick of authority from Google. Regular health checks on your strategy in any profession is crucial, but is just as important in Digital PR. We work across so many different sectors and industries, and in the era of fake news and influencer controversies, how do you stay on top of the market and know the best tactics to take?

Alexa, play “Rise of voice content”

We’re no longer limited to getting our online content through a screen. With more than 6.6 million people in the UK  alone having a smart speaker such as the Amazon Alexa or Google Home, voice search technology is taking over. While a lot of the advertising shows its ability to play your favourite song or control your TV, getting the latest news and information from your smart device is also a popular function.

As a result, companies like Procter and Gamble are now trialing tests on how consumer behaviour can differ depending on voice, online or in-person communications. Do people search differently when speaking as opposed to typing? Guesting on podcasts has already proven a popular PR tactic, so the usage of voice has already been demonstrated as successful. Smart speakers could be a new way in for PR pros, with Alexa’s daily flash briefing one opportunity, among others.

The influencer power shift

Changing the face of PR and marketing forever, influencers have completely transformed the game with user-generated content. In fact, influencers who are your “average Joe’s” are more likely to turn an audience into a customer as opposed to a celebrity, according to research by Variety.

But there will be less of a focus on timeline content, with story features taking over. The Battenhall Instagram Brands 100 researched some of the biggest brands on the social network, and found that stories have overtaken the main feed, with more of us opting to “tap” as opposed to “scroll.” Brands need to think about how their content can be adjusted to beyond the news feed.

influencer marketing

But let’s not forget the elephant in the room: buying followers. What used to be an industry where you could buy a couple of fake thousand followers and start selling for brands has been widely exposed with the launch of solutions like the Social Chain Groups’ Like-Wise, a tool that can determine if and how much of influencer engagement is fake. Brands are going to crack down in 2019, and, as some influencers become as famous as celebrities, the spotlight will shine on them. Brands will be going through follower counts with a fine-tooth comb, looking for shady influencers to prevent fraud.

Artificial intelligence vs the “human factor”

AI is dominating the news. Some are wary that it will take over our jobs, others excited at the opportunities it will create. In PR, we can work with AI to get the best of both worlds, freeing up our time by completing admin tasks for us. AI tools can scour the net for us, highlighting the top positive and negative sentiments, talking points, circulation and overall reactions. By doing the research and admin for us, we can spend more time building the important relationships, crafting tailored content and outreaching, spending longer on our “human factor.”

SimilarWeb screenshot

Storytelling will overwrite the press release machine

With more and more journalists requesting payment for publishing branded press releases, PR will become more of a tailored content partner for the media. We will help them to identify editorial opportunities and join the conversation with shareable ideas. Content is being reshaped, with not just blog and editorial, but visuals, infographics, white papers and even e-books conveying messages. Journalists, just like digital PR pros, want to publish content that achieves clicks. If we can help them out with content that they can automatically publish, which will be engaging and have actions for the reader, instead of being overly branded, we are onto a winner.

Find success in fake news

Some see it as the biggest threat to the PR agency, I see it as our time to shine. We’ve all seen the headlines that say that the people’s trust in media is at an all-time low, and social media can cause problems because it’s so fast-paced. While it’s important to use for content, people can very easily spread fake news. However, a recent Quartz survey of global executives found that 84% said that they would be most likely to share long-form articles, which require a lot of research and opinion – the type of articles that PR pros provide! We should be seeking opportunities to showcase our research and brand awareness, to deliver journalists thoroughly researched, shareable content.

Nobody can predict exactly what will happen to the media world in the next 12 months, but PR agencies must adapt to change and not operate in the past, or they risk falling behind.

Contact us today to take your PR strategy to new heights in 2019.

If you need help with your digital PR. don't hesitate to contact us.

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Digital PR trends to watch out for in 2019

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