How 3 mega-trends are affecting PR in 2017

Following up on predictions, the author looks at the barrage of content, dark social channels and ‘owning the audience.’

Midyear offers a chance to take stock.

We previously predicted three PR mega-trends would shape PR and marketing in 2017. Here’s an update:

Content shockwave

According to Google News, 72 million news stories were published in 2016—more than 200,000 stories a day. We predicted the abundance of content would only increase in 2017, largely because of the proliferation of artificial learning intelligence.

The first three months of 2017 saw about 18.4 million articles published to U.S. news outlets, a bump from 18 million in Q1 2016.

The trend line in the figure below suggests no abatement anytime soon.

The oversaturation of content changes media relations strategies. In the past, quality of coverage has been considered the most important metric—a hit on or The Huffington Post was deemed more valuable than any niche or trade publication hit.

These days, however, it’s the frequency and quantity of hits that will matter more. It’s better to have 100 hits in a trade publication, or .05 percent of the day’s news, then one hit in the business press, about .000005 percent of the day’s news.

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Owning audiences

People have limited time to digest the news each day. Many websites add estimated reading times to their feeds—a tactic for increasingly the probability someone will click on the piece.

It’s no longer feasible to reach everyone through media relations. This is where the owned audience, our second mega-trend, comes into play. Quality matters more than quantity—especially as content publishing frequency increases year over year.

Dark social communication

Influencer marketing drives many PR and marketing efforts. According to a Linqia survey, most companies spent from $25,000 to $50,000 per influencer marketing program in 2016, and respondents expect that budget will double in 2017. It has been difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the results.

Dark social communication refers to content shared peer to peer through channels other than social media—over emails, chat services and messaging platforms including text messaging.

Last year, RadiumOne released a white paper that found dark social channels account for 84 percent of all social media shares. That percentage is probably increasing in 2017 as more and more messaging apps and services emerge.

A version of this post first appeared on the Shift Communications blog.

Topics: PR

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