Trends shaping the PR scene in 2019

The month of January is rather unfairly associated with a lot of doom and gloom. The post-Christmas guilts. Giving up nice stuff. Cold, dark mornings. Back to work. Payday somewhere off in the distance.

Don’t fall for it! This is actually the best time of the year. January represents newness, optimism, inexorable progress – there’s nowhere to look but forward. Isn’t that the best possible state of mind?

Here at Cullen Communications, we’re looking forward to an exceptionally busy year. You’ll be able to read about our work in progress as the months unfold; in the meantime, we thought we’d share our predictions on how the PR scene will evolve and adapt in 2019.

We will all dive deeper into digital

The digital world is slowly taking over life and business. Whatever your thoughts on that, all PR practitioners must be ready and willing to dive in with their clients.

Digital strategy used to be a bolt-on to the other, more ‘tangible’ stuff (media relations, events etc). Now, digital is page 1 of every client proposal and that is not going to change – not ever. PR agencies must be able to walk the walk – or their clients will walk.

Increasingly, ‘digital’ is not just about planning and execution – it’s also about analytics. Clients are no longer willing to throw money down the digital chute unless they know exactly what is working, what isn’t, and why. Agencies are going to have to invest more in top-notch digital analysis and measurement.

‘Influence’ is here to stay

Nope, it hasn’t gone away. It may be slightly nebulous and somewhat hard to define, but ‘influence’ is here to stay.

We’ve blogged before about how the rules of influencer marketing are changing and tightening, and how that can only be a good thing for our industry. For those immersed in the PR scene, stricter regulation means more certainty, clarity and transparency for all concerned – good.

As the reach and value of social media continue to rocket, high-quality influence is worth its weight in gold. Are your clients on board?

Be on standby for social storms

The unstoppable rise of social media has a dark side and it’s this: if you, or one of your clients, put a foot wrong, you better be ready for trouble.

We’ve seen it time and time – brands (including celebrities) post or react on social media; don’t think it through; get swamped with outrage; are forced to backtrack (or worse, attempt to explain and justify); lose massive brand value.

If you are in the business of social media management, in 2019 you must watch your step like never before. A social media crisis toolkit is also essential.

Content will remain the bedrock of our industry

What do all of the above have in common? The thread running through our industry today is fresh, original, imaginative content – same as it ever was.

Good content creators are still at a premium in PR, simply because creating content that people want to consume is hard. Good writing is still the bedrock of our industry. Whether it’s for video, verbal or text-based format; social or ‘traditional’ media; whatever the sector, whatever the audience, good communications starts on a blank piece of paper.

So for PR professionals, whether or not you have the words ‘copy’ or ‘content’ in your job title, make 2019 the year you choose your words carefully.

PR will be in demand like never before

A final thought on the soaring popularity of Public Relations. More people than ever before are joining the PR scene – either from college or from another walk of life. Equally, more brands are alert to the possibilities and potential of a well-crafted PR strategy. Opportunity abounds like never before!

On the flip side, for agency owners 2019 will bring an even stronger emphasis on talent acquisition – and retention. Our advice is, start with the latter and the former will take care of itself.

Happy new year from all at Cullen Communications.