Apologies to George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward for refuting lyrics to “Summertime,” the show tune from Broadway’s “Porgy and Bess.”
The livin’ may be easy for some when the third business quarter kicks in–it’s summer after all–but for public relations professionals, there’s no let-up from July to September. In terms of Public Relations trends, the first two 2015 quarters have likely already proven to be a rocket ride and if you read our first quarter recap (see below!) hunches, you already know what worked and what didn’t (thus far) as the third quarter starts in the PR industry.
Add these PR trending topics to your arsenal, to make your third quarter the most meaningful one yet, for you and your clients!
Make friends with the evolved press release…
Are you still churning out releases that would have made Edward Bernays proud in a contemporary media environment that’s spinning at warp speed? It’s time to stop. Nobody wants to read. Reporters and producers look more favorably upon short pitches, intriguing story lines and e-mails that promise reading them will reap rewards. Think bare bones, make every word intriguing and your third quarter results will reflect your efforts.
Seize the power of visuals…
In May 2015, Microsoft revealed this startling statistic: the human attention span is less than that of a goldfish. As members of the PR industry, we’re partially to blame for this and the reason is centered around digital devices—our conduits for spreading the word about our firms’ or clients’ products, services and news. Ask yourself this question next time you want to broadcast something immediate: Will a photo do? Is there any way I can substitute a logo, video, infographic–or images I just took of my cat—for verbiage with an enticing call to action? Make the third quarter your time to experiment with substitution.
Become the czar of real-time PR…
How fast can you apply your client’s or company’s current news to breaking events that grab headlines? Over the summer of 2015, find fascinating ways to create daily opportunities for promoting just about everything but skis and parkas—and if you’re clever, you’ll figure out ways to promote winter gear, too. Grab news by the throat, personalize it to your brand(s) and flood social media with messages woven of imaginative associations, traffic-stopping images and titillating turns of phrase and you’ll be right on trend if you tap the creative side of your brain. Master the art of newsjacking in PR can be an extremely valuable marketing tool for your brand,
Increase your spend on video…
Dramatic increases in educational and informational video content are expected to explode over the summer when used in conjunction with projected yearly revenues. According to PR Newswire, 51-percent of all communicators sampled say they’re getting a video budget increase by the end of 2015. Make a case for being one of them.
Curate Social Media Campaigns with the right kind of tweets…
What’s the wrong kind of Tweet? DiGiorno Pizza’s gone viral claim that abused women stay with their abusers if the guys order pizza. Can we make this up? Of course not. And it’s a tribute to the power of Twitter than this invaluable tool has wound up in the hands of nimrods. Twitter’s no lame tool and as summer speeds up, you’ve got more riding on your tweets than Kim Kardashian has riding on her latest pregnancy.
Use Content and Influencer Marketing to Grow Brand Loyalists….
Can you afford to continue on as the “be all and known all” of public relations just because you’ve got that communications degree? Not if you want your clients or firm to thrive and particularly if personnel budget cuts are a fact of life. Launch a summer initiative that turns every staffer into a quasi-PR person. By summer’s end—or perhaps by the end of the fourth quarter—you can influence corporate cultures and make folks in lower-level jobs feel important as well. For example, receptionists already disseminate information, so why not pass along tweeting responsibility so you can attend to more pressing matters?
Become a safety resource…
Collection and distribution through digital challenges is expected to remain a serious, prominent topic among clients or company hierarchy. If you can prove that you’re a knowledgeable resource on the topic of cyber safety within your indutry, your value as a professional and a company increases. Spend the third quarter sharing valuable tips on protecting everything from computers to networks from assaults and do what you’ve been taught to do in terms of emergency preparedness: It’s as important to weigh in on cyber crime as it is to write policy capable of short-circuiting a budding corporate PR disaster, so make this a summer priority.
Call in the cavalry…
Press kits have disappeared. Press releases are almost unrecognizable. But promotions that go viral because they intrigue, capture the imagination and whip up the enthusiasm of target audiences will never stop trending! Just about every PR pro and professor on the planet uses the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as the go-to case study for how to whip up a philanthropic frenzy simply by making a promotional idea compelling enough to gain traction. Prioritize this during the third quarter and you’ll already have a head start on the first quarter of 2016.
Thank your math teacher…
As the third quarter comes and goes, you’ll want to think fondly of your math teacher if she exposed you to metrics of any sort because that’s the ultimate name of the game. Integrate non-stop social media across the board so it’s central to your marketing equation and then analyze, analyze, analyze. Learn to recognize when to abandon ship if the numbers aren’t right. Blurred lines best describes today’s communications efforts. The more you view the critical balance between people skills and technology as a single effort, not two separate ones, the more successful your efforts will be.
…and to take a look back at the top Trends in PR for Quarter 1.
Quarter 1 Trends for the Public Relations Industry in 2015
It seems as though we just flipped the calendar to begin 2015, yet we are already kicking off the 2nd quarter of the year. Already, in just three short months, best practices to maximize the effectiveness of your public relations efforts have been identified via the first quarter Trend Reports.
The first three months of this calendar year have reinforced three significant trends in PR for 2015:
Mobile. Mobile. Mobile. – According to comScore, 184 million Americans own smartphones today. An estimated two billion people worldwide will have smartphones by the end of next year. Do you still need to be convinced that it is critical for you to prioritize mobile?
Mobile technologies and mobile integration through social media provide powerful communication channels, connecting you with your audience anywhere and at any time. As more and more companies embrace mobile marketing, you too will need to maximize your mobile strategy to stand out.
PR Trends show that consumers are digesting information on the go more often than ever before and, for the first time, more often on their mobile device than on their personal computers. Readers check messages on their smartphone or tablet as soon as they wake up, throughout the day, and before they close their eyes to sleep. This need for immediate access is a tremendous benefit to marketers, allowing our message to be at the fingertips of our target audience at all times. Take the time to make sure that when they’re ready, your message is optimized for viewing on that mobile device.
Life Happens in Real Time. PR Does Too. – Today’s world of public relations is a continuous, non-stop cycle of real-time news and events. Events happening on the other side of the globe are reported at lightning speed from bystanders and onlookers as they occur.
Professionals reporting public relations news must balance the need to verify data and sources, yet utilize tools to do so quickly and efficiently. These tools allow for almost simultaneous creation and delivery of the news that matters to your target audience.
In addition to pushing out news, today’s PR professionals must also be aware of what is being said about their company, their products, and their brands. Social monitoring allows you to listen virtually to what is being said as it happens. Those companies who are successfully addressing any customer service issues in real time are reaping the rewards with positive feedback.
Keep it Short and Make it Visual. – Now more than ever, a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a million words. Your audience wants to “see” what is happening, whether through video, photographs or the very well-crafted written word.
In a 2014 Email Statistics Report, Dr. Sara Radicati reported that there were 108.7 billion marketing emails sent and received by businesses each day. Combine social media messages, billboards, radio ads, and multiple other marketing channels, and it is easy to see how consumers are overwhelmed by the onslaught of messages that are directed their way each and every day.
Keeping your written message short and succinct is important to keep the brief attention span of readers. Reinforcing your written message with visuals such as infographics helps you convey a great deal of additional information without increasing the number of needed words.
As we continue through 2015 and into the years ahead, these PR Trends will continue to be important as new trends also evolve. Keeping up with this valuable information will help you create best practices for success for your marketing and public relations campaigns.