In the first of a two part series, Jack Granard looks back at the digital media predictions of 2017 that you should have followed.
A year can seem like a long time in the media business these days.
Just last week, Facebook announced changes to its algorithm that effectively turns the industry on its head, with many publishers and comms agencies forced to reverse well-worn practices to ensure they don’t get slapped by the updates.
But as the common saying goes, those who do not learn from their history are doomed to repeat it, and with that in mind, we take a look back at the PR trends that caught our eye in 2017.
1) The Fake News Blues: The Focus on Personal and More Reliable Content
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will be aware of how often the term “fake news” has been used this year. In fact, so worn has the phrase become that it was officially crowned the ‘Word of the Year’ by Collins Dictionary. Even Theresa May weighed in, announcing a whole unit to combat the rise and spread of the media’s phony phenomenon.
In 2017 we saw PR take on the role of becoming a more reliable source for media outlets. Rising scepticism amongst consumers and greater diligence required from journalists as a consequence of “fake news” acted as a catalyst for a renewed focus on reputation management from content production to the individuals involved in its creation.
Ultimately, this gave rise to third-party research being essential to the success of pitches. At 72Point we utilise the partnership with our market research arm at OnePoll and with our brands’ own studies when compiling stories to ensure they meet exceptionally high standards.
2) Social media domination: Video and Live In the Moment Content
A common theme of my commute to work involves reading up on the news or if I am in need of a laugh, watching the latest viral video on my phone. Whether you agree with it being a good thing or not, you can’t disagree that society has become addicted to their mobile phones. Furthermore, at a breakneck pace we have become more interested in visual and video content as a subsequent result of our social media use. As early as 2013, it was found that the average person watches 32 videos per month, and interestingly, there’s a 74 percent increase in understanding when someone watches a video. Subsequently, our 2017 objective was to increase our video content production and utilise our talented design team to create more infographics and animations for customers. The importance of having an early lead on this is strengthened by the 2017 report from Cisco which predicted that 75% of the world’s mobile traffic will be video by 2020.
Now, with Facebook live, Periscope, Youtube Live, Instagram and Twitch exploding in interest, 2017 highlighted the applicability of creating content that could gain immediate responses.
3) The Traditional Media Press Release Is Dead
The old method of writing press releases for the media has been overtaken by posting on a website in conjunction with emails and Tweets to customers and journalists. This more direct focus has streamlined the process and has created a faster turn-around. Significantly, 2017 marked for most firms the reduced significance of press releases with media channels concentrating on becoming more visual and creative. A good example of this is Manchester United’s recent announcement of new signing Alexis Sanchez which was utilised by a cinematic Twitter video.
4) Evolution of the PR role
The PR individual of past would struggle to adapt to today’s requirements. Previous demands focused on being capable or understanding the processes of writing content, event planning and maintaining relationships.
However, success is now dependant on having these things on top of a broader skill set applicable to a digital focus whilst utilising social media, content marketing and content strategy. The rapid shift in PR becoming more data driven in every process has resulted in greater pressure to respond to real time events by reacting with the correct responses to PR trends from days to now minutes. Data collation and the utilisation of the correct software to gain results has long been implemented by 72Point to highlight the success of a campaign and where improvements can be made for the future.
5) The rise of the influencer
Long gone are the traditional use of media relations, 2017 marked the year of the social media influencer. This is supported as a recent survey highlighted that youngsters would rather aspire to be social media superstars than musicians or actors.
Subsequently, media relations have advanced from merely pitching media to actively working with these individuals who are more accessible and willing to work in all forms of social media. It has directly linked PR to marketing and has influenced the methods of earning media to just paying for it.
Whether you had kept abreast of these new developments in 2017 or not it would hold you in good stead to follow these principles for the future. PR has dramatically changed in the past year and is constantly evolving to new pressures and technologies. At 72 Point we constantly monitor these developments and attempt to adapt to stay on course as a market leader.
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