For much of the past decade, authors of articles such as this one predicted changes in how content would be created and disseminated given the continued emergence of social and other digital-media platforms. We’ve watched traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television decrease in importance thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and other social platforms.
In 2018, discussions about the future for PR and communications pros will likely include the topic of robots. Such conversations emphasize and express concern about A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), AR (Augmented Reality) and ephemeral content (e.g. the blink-and-you-miss-it nature of Snapchat). Tech companies have made huge financial bets on 2017 all of these innovations.
Sean Czarnecki of PRWeek wrote in October that most reactions to AI fall at the polar extremes of “a tesseract of manifold wonder, or a black box of dread.” Whether the effect is positive or negative, AI will likely impact PR and communications. Artificial intelligence also has the potential to revolutionize journalism.
The magic of AI and AR will spike interest in client requests. This may dovetail into creating memorable experiences especially in collaborative works with experiential agencies. PR has gone beyond writing press releases and managing journalist, it is now an avenue to create experiences for the target audience. It is on the backdrop of this that AI and AR will find a backbone to thrive.
The knowledge, skills and abilities of the brightest and best PR people will continue to evolve. Writing and presentation development will still be strongly emphasized, but successful PR practitioners of the future must also be adept at business, content creation, environmental scanning, managing people, ethics, purpose-driven corporate social responsibility, stakeholder engagement and interpreting data and analytics.
Social media will continue to create opportunities for dialogue between brands and consumers, making public relations much more valuable than when it was stuck with press agents and publicists in the dark ages of one-way communication. This digital dialogue will also give more PR and communications pros seats and influence at the decision-making table. Despite these new opportunities, however, only about half of chief communications officers will report directly to CEOs — a figure that unfortunately is not expected to change much in the immediate future.
Tools to measure and evaluate public relations might continue their march away from simplistic and output-based methods toward more valuable outcome-based measures. The most successful PR people will monitor communication results in real time and revise messages when necessary. Knowing how to work with big data will also become more important for PR pros. New ways to measure the combined impact of public relations and marketing will likely emerge. Look for more PR shops to say they’re “data driven.”
Additionally, anticipate dramatic increases in video content — and with it, much greater use of Snapchat and Instagram, complementing the current PR social media emphasis on Facebook and Twitter.
Diversity and inclusion will continue to be important in the PR profession, but the current emphasis on gender and race will slowly branch out to include sexuality, age, geography — and given the realities of the global economy, possibly even national origin and political thought.
The ability to speak into other languages in addition to English will continue to increase in value. Also expect a greater emphasis on influencers and micro-influencers in the effort to make messages appear more valid and authentic. Every indication suggests the PR and communications function will become more aligned with marketing, making it crucial that PR practitioners know as much about the science and art of communication as our marketing colleagues do about their field.
The 2018 PR field looks set and ready to go and to become part of the PR and communications process during 2018 and beyond, the pro must be prepared to adapt to these changes while keeping an eye for newer opportunities and ideas.
What other trends do you see taking shape in 2018?
CULLED FROM Publicrelationstoday.