Hannah – PR Executive

It has to be said, 2019 was a bit of a mixed bag for PR. We saw lots of great campaigns from brands focused on making a change regarding issues like climate change and mental health, but there were also some low points that had an impact on the industry, too. (ahem, fake news).

There’s a lot of change happening, and we can never truly predict what’s around the corner. That being said, I’m here to share my predictions for what’s in store for PR in 2020 (and beyond). You may even find out how I’m planning to make the most of it for our clients.

A change in influencer direction

In contrast to popular opinion, I believe influencers will continue to thrive – though, perhaps in a slightly different direction.

Rather than choosing which influencers to work with based purely on likes and follower numbers, 2020 will see brands opt to work with influencers that best suit their brand’s values and purpose, with stats taking a back seat when it comes to measuring success.

No longer will we see stars being paid five figures to post a photo pretending to sip diet tea, with a script as a caption – a la Scott Disick. Instead, brands will go for an influencer that truly matches their values, with a genuine interest in their products. It’s quite refreshing! What’s the point in working with someone who generates a mountain of likes if those likes aren’t from your target audience?

The recent change to Instagram – which has seen like counts removed from our feeds, definitely supports this theory.

PR will overthrow fake news

In 2019, fake news took over our newsfeeds, with so many false stories in circulation that readers became unsure what was true…  FactcheckUK anyone? This wasn’t particularly helped by PR agencies like these adding fuel to the fire…

As Stephen Waddington, MD at digital marketing agency Metia, says –

“Fake news has become a catch-all term to describe everything from bullshit to blatant manipulation. Legitimate news sources vie for attention in algorithm-driven news feeds along with disinformation and propaganda – it’s a race to the bottom and regulation is urgently required.”

Because of this, a key job for PR teams in the new decade will be to overthrow fake news and regain the trust of readers. But how do they do that? What a brilliant segue to my next point!

Quality over quantity

The world of journalism is changing, which of course means the same for public relations. Publications are folding left, right, and centre, and when they’re not ceasing to exist, they’re merging news hubs so their journalists are writing for multiple magazines and papers.

This means that a quick press release on a subject loosely related to a journo’s interests just won’t cut it anymore. 2020 will see journalists focus on quality rather than quantity, along with a resurrection of slow journalism – which takes time and thought to put together, and focuses on real issues in society.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that high quality means that you need a big budget – Thames Water’s genius fatberg campaign used zero initial budget!

Campaigns that make a difference

With the topic of climate change featuring in the headlines daily, brands will begin (or prioritise) focusing on their environmental credentials, opting to go with campaigns that highlight what they’re doing to positively impact the planet.

This is great news for PR! I don’t know about you, but I love working on something that I can see making a real impact, both for my clients and for the rest of the population, too.

Press releases will get the chop

A press release is a PR’s bread and butter. For years, a clear-cut release has been the way to announce brand news, events, and other relevant information that clients would like publicised. And some journalists still prefer this.

However, it can be easy to forget about other methods of communication. So, 2020 is the time to get even more creative in the public relations world! Make multimedia content on a regular basis to produce something that is eye-catching and stands out from the crowd – portraying the same information, just in a different way.

This is a great excuse to get the team together and work with each department to create agency-wide campaigns. Why not get digital and creative team members involved and produce something you’re all proud of?