What does 2020 hold for the PR Industry?

Combating Fake News, putting the audience first, the growing influence of AI and the growth of Digital PR.

Public Relations will continue to play a central role in the effective delivery of external communications for organisations and professional individuals.

Digital opportunities continue to grow at a rapid pace, providing numerous excellent opportunities for publishing and sharing quality owned content. The flipside of this is the growing trend of Fake News’, which is a growing issue for PR practitioners. Disinformation can also be published and shared via social media.

Regulation required to combat Fake News

Fake News has become the common term for anything from lies to deception. Bona fide news outlets now tussle for attention alongside propaganda and disinformation. Ultimately regulation will need to be introduced to address this growing issue.

Last year Damian Collins MP, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said: In this time of fake news and propaganda the question of ethical communication has never been more important. The spread of disinformation may require a collective response from social media platforms, tech companies, government and the media. But we are professional communicators – and the organisations and brands we act for – are well placed to influence within our own spheres as well as to contribute to the debate.”

A robust communications strategy will cover how to respond should your organisation be subjected to misinformation in owned media or on social media. 

Real-time alerts can help inform you when your organisation, product, services and the like are mentioned online. This enables PR practitioners to act swiftly to address the problem and protect your reputation. 

For companies that suffer Fake News on a regular basis its appointed PR team will undoubtedly focus on devising a strategy to focus on issuing more quality output to combat miscommunication, alongside increasing reactive tactics to address issues swiftly. Honesty and authenticity should be at the heart of a brand’s messaging.

Putting the Audience at the heart of quality Content

A key challenge for PR practitioners in 2020 will be cutting through the noise’ to reach target audiences with the right messages that will make a difference for client’s businesses.

To be effective and deliver PR with impact Fortitude believes putting the Public’ back in Public Relations’ is key. There is so much opportunity to do so via owned and earned media. The key to the successful delivery of content that your audience engages with is producing quality content that puts the end reader, listener or viewer at the heart of the communication. 

Deliver relevant, interesting content of value and it will be valued; both by your audience and by Google. The opportunities available for PR practitioners in 2020 have never been greater. However, to be successful requires a strategy, experience, contacts, and a stringent focus on quality over quantity. Developing a brand and reputation takes time and successful organisations understand consistent strategic steps build credibility.

Connecting with your audience and developing relationships and loyalty should be central to your PR strategy in 2020. Last year Instagram announced it was removing public facing like counts on photographs. Perhaps this will herald a shift in how communications are measured and a deeper look at relationship and audience measurement.

AI to play an increasing role in PR

One interesting area for PR in 2020 and way beyond is how technology will support the profession. AI and data analysis will play an increasingly valuable role for PR practitioners, currently this predominantly features in measurement and monitoring. 

But this is likely to develop into supporting how to respond to crises and risk management. If used effectively AI could for example advise us on the most effective response to a crisis or identify risk before it has become a crisis.

As ever 2020 is set to be an interesting year for the PR profession and the people it serves. At Fortitude we will continue to keep abreast of industry trends and best practice to deliver PR with impact for our clients.

Growth of Digital PR

Digital PR has become a key area of growth and this will continue unabated in 2020. Creating engaging and interactive content will continue to shift how PR and Marketing practitioners reach and connect with target audiences. 

Tactics will include an increase in augmented / virtual reality, video, polls and gamified quizzes. Aligned to this is the increased value placed on Digital PR to significantly support campaigns to improve company’s Google Ranking. 

This is placing a greater emphasis on the value of PR results. Essentially producing Digital PR results does not represent a significant change for PR practitioners in terms of how we operate. PR is PR after all. We now simply have more opportunity.

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