2020 predictions for the PR industry

I know, I know – we’re already a month into 2020 and I’m only just putting my predictions out there! Seeing as January has about 385602873 days, I thought I’d have time but, it turns out, January is also an insanely busy time for Carnsight Communications and so, this article has had to take a back seat.

But, in principle, it’s been great to keep my thoughts in the back of mind and see if any of them were put in practice in the industry in the first month of the year or not. 

Anyway, Happy New Year! I hope, wherever you are and whatever you do, it’s a good one. Here’s what I think the PR industry has got in store for us as we start a new decade…

1. Flexible working

Not necessarily a brand new topic but definitely something we’re going to continue to see popping up all around us. We’ve got a quote in the office: “It’s PR, not ER” and this reminds us that no matter what happens, work is work and life is life, the two work together but one should never overrule the other. 

We worked hard in 2019 to ensure that our 4-day working week policy was well embedded in Carnsight Communications’ ethos and we will continue to do so throughout 2020. 

I find it hard to believe that others in the industry won’t start to follow suit; if not necessarily 4-day weeks other types of flexible working. One of our clients champions the 9-day working fortnight, for example. Not only will it add variety to many offices but it will help with issues such as burnout and stress-related illness.

2. Influencers and PRs

2019 threw some weird curveballs our way in terms of influencers and influencer marketing. The one that springs to my head almost immediately is Moon Rock-gate; a number of influencers received a package, advertised as Moon Rock from a YouTuber, asking them to promote this fantastically, magical item. Unbeknown to them, the product they were so graciously selling was gravel. 

Now, whilst a big old blunder and not a good look for the influencer marketing community, it made a lot of us laugh more than anything else. As anything, we all learn from mistakes (our own and others’), therefore, in 2020, the PR industry will more than likely become a lot savvier to influencers and the use of influencer marketing. 

Relevant influencers with an organic following and a real belief in what they promote will be on the top of PR’s list this year – especially in the face of Instagram likes potentially disappearing – instead of those who have paid-for, un-engaged followers and will flog anything; genuine is the buzzword of 2020. 

“Genuine is the buzzword of 2020”

3. AI and PR won’t mix as much as we thought

AI is huge; it’s everywhere and it’s on everyone’s minds. I saw so many articles last year discussing how PR and AI can, and will one day, work in tandem perfectly – one which I thoroughly enjoyed was from Meltwater; the piece highlighted how niche sectors of PR could benefit from AI such as crisis comms and media coverage. Whilst the quantitive side of PR will more than likely one day be taken over by such technology, the beauty of PR is it’s qualitative side. 

The people in PR are what make PR, no matter how intelligent the robot or how fast-paced the technology, nothing will ever replace those human connections between agency and client; the joy of sitting down and brainstorming how to fulfil a brief or working together on a double-page spread article. And person to person relationships between PR and journalist are paramount. When that changes, we can no longer call PR, PR. 

4. Broadcast media will surge in all its forms 

We’re in a digital age, whilst I think a lot of people still appreciate the wonders of print media (including us – just have a look at our bulging magazine rack), online media is at the top of many clients’ lists. However, what we may see a lot more of in 2020 is a growing desire from clients to work with new medias including video, radio and podcasts. 

Video is the ever-growing medium which is seeing incredible engagement rates. A one or two minute video can generate 100s of likes within minutes, it’s an accessible form of content for all: in 2019, 68.3% of the population engaged with digital video content and this figure is only going to go up. 

Similarly with podcasts and radio, whilst seemingly a more traditional medium,  the numbers of listeners has risen dramatically (doubled!) in the past five years. In 2019 1 in 8 people tuned in to the waves, imagine the outreach you could have to potential clients with those sort of numbers in your favour! We’ve enjoyed placing clients as podcast guests this year and the traction has been incredible.

 

“On average, regular podcast users listen to around seven podcasts each week”– Ofcom.org.uk

Whatever happens this year, one thing is for certain – PR will continue to evolve and adapt to the needs of its workers and its audience. To all of us in the industry, have a fantastic year and please keep us up to date over here at Carnsight Communications about what trends you see emerging during 2020.