Planning for 2019: What PR pros should anticipate in the coming year

The waning months of 2018 are not a winding down but a signal to recalibrate as the calendar page turns. Here’s guidance from industry voices about preparing for new opportunities.

2019 PR planning

As we enter the last couple of months of 2018, we’re focused on business development and budget planning with current clients.

The final quarter is also an ideal time to examine where our clients should focus and the trends that could become go-to tactics in 2019.

With that in mind, PR experts offer their advice:

Start with a plan.

You can hit the new year running if you plan now. You might even unearth opportunities, such as a new trade show or nascent possibilities in the digital landscape.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal of Falcon Valley Group recommends: “Check all current plans, and update for 2019, including your strategic communications plan, crisis communications plan and anything else relevant. Also, update editorial calendars for 2019.”

Terri Thornton of Thornton Communications advises, “Make a list of competitions your clients could apply for with dates for when they open, entry requirements and when they close.”

Be prepared.

Depending on their sector, some clients might balk at creating a crisis plan. It’s the one plan you hope you never have to execute, but it’s crucial to have it ready, especially in this era of news breaking every second, when the wrong move on social media could have a dire impact. The ability to tell your brand’s story first and well is essential.

“Every company is a digital company in some way and must be prepared to communicate about data breaches and theft, ransomware and other ways private information becomes public,” says Diane K. Rose of DKR Communications. “That goes for securing our own clients’ data, as well.”

Make friends with Siri and Alexa.

We’re using our cell phones to talk again—not by calling people but with voice search. A report from, provided by Falkenthal, predicts that by 2020 about half of all online searches will be done via voice.

How will this affect client content strategy, events, customer service, SEO and more?

Ebony Grimsley-Vaz of Above Promotions breaks it down: “PR pros must become knowledgeable in how their clients can use AI for online chat and when their clients should not use it. We’ll be relied upon to help guide the flow of the text being used and when the chatbots should pass the conversation over to human employees.”

Re-examine the state of the industry.

We can expect the continued blurring of public relations and marketing roles, as each works to tell the story of the clients and brands they serve. What’s the best course to navigate this evolving landscape?

Sacha Cohen advises it’ll be key to “know the ins and outs of social media and influencer engagement and how to include that in a more traditional PR mix.”

Lourdes Diaz says, “Another thing to keep in mind is how the marketing industry is changing. Some of the big holding companies are experiencing turmoil; brands are cutting down the number of agencies or bringing work in-house. How does that affect consultancies or solo practitioners?”

Grimsley-Vaz observes: “I also think pros must begin to incorporate agile practices in working with large companies. It is almost expected these days.”

These changes could lead to more opportunities for our solo practices, based on our ability to pivot and provide value.

What will you have your eye on in 2019?  Please offer your thoughts in the comments section.

Michelle Kane is president of Voice Matters. A version of this post first appeared on the Solo PR Pro blog.

Topics: PR


One Response to “Planning for 2019: What PR pros should anticipate in the coming year”

    Gayle Falkenthal says:

    I’m convinced many of us will be unprepared for the massive shift to voice search. It’s coming along quickly and we must help our clients take advantage of its benefits. Daily Headlines

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