8 trends PR pros should look for in 2016

Get on board (or ahead of the competition) with these up-and-coming strategies, tools and truths that will affect communications.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Spin Sucks gave to you:

Eight PR trends, seven PR blogs, six must-watch PR webinars, five PR books, four PR podcasts, three productivity tools, two Spin-Sucks crazy secrets, and the one PR tool you need for 2016.

If I could sing, I would make a video of this song. Alas; you’ll have to sing it in your heads.

Let’s talk about PR trends. Here are eight you should look for in 2016:

1. Better content marketing. Everyone is inundated with content and exhausted with the options, and most of them are not good.

In 2016, the cream rises to the top and the weak will disappear. There will be more creative campaigns, and brand managers will get smarter about creation. There will be a more integrated approach with influential social media users. It will get better.

Download the free white paper, “How to be a brand journalist,” to learn how to tell your organization’s compelling stories.

2. Content as product. We’ve seen this PR trend really develop this year with The Modern Blogging Masterclass. People are much more willing to pay for content than they were even a year ago. They’re doing a lot of professional development and learning online.

Create content you can sell. People want it (if it abides by No. 1).

3. Livestreaming. Both Corina Manea and Lubna Sadik predicted livestreaming as a PR trend to watch for next year. With Facebook opening livestreaming to all users, and the advent of tools such as Blab and Periscope, we’ll see more of this, particularly for brands.

4. Private communities. Arik Hanson recently wrote a blog post called, “Should you remove the comments from your corporate blog?” In it, he showed the decline of the comments on Spin Sucks because we have such a vibrant community.

He’s right. We’ve seen a huge decline in comments, but we’ve seen a huge increase in our private Facebook group. That place is mass chaos. It’s insanity, and it’s lots of fun.

I predict that this will continue to grow in 2016. People don’t want their bosses, competitors or peers seeing what they’re posting online, so they’re going more private.

5. Paid amplification. A really good friend of mine thinks amplification of media relations is one of the major PR trends of the next few years.

When you spend time amplifying a story for a journalist, what kinds of results do you see from them? Do you have a stronger relationship? I’m willing to bet that you do. To get the kind of audiences you need—and break through the gross amount of bad content—we’ll have to throw some money against amplification, just like we do sponsored content.

6. Virtual reality. Shel Israel has been talking about virtual reality all year, and it’s time PR pros pay attention. I don’t think it’s one of the PR trends that will hit mass consumption in 2016, but I do think it’s something that more savvy communicators will begin to explore in their PR programs.

7. Semantic search. Semantic search is awesome. It helps you improve your content and media relations efforts because it’s much more accurate. It helps you understand searcher intent and the context under what they’re searching so you can deliver better results.

This means you’ll go deeper than the questions customers ask to create your content. You’ll start to understand the psychology behind why they ask, and then you can deliver a customized experience.

8. Measurement. Measurement has to be one of the PR trends of 2016. It’s time to stop saying that you hate math; don’t use that as an excuse to shy away from data and metrics.

There is a gigantic opportunity in front of the entire industry to measure our efforts and finally prove we are an investment, not an expense. Take advantage of it.

What PR trends do you see coming (or growing) in 2016?

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich. A version of this story originally appeared on Spin Sucks.

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Topics: PR

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