Report: The future of PR is content

A Google Trends study conducted by BuzzStream and Fractl showed interest in traditional public relations strategies is declining, but content marketing campaigns are on the rise.

An effective campaign outreach process begins with understanding which techniques are working and which are falling out of favor. What’s in and what’s out in communications campaigns this year?

BuzzStream and Fractl pulled 20 keywords related to PR and marketing and analyzed their popularity over a seven-year period—from January 2008 to November 2014—through Google Trends. The resulting visuals reveal the evolution of the industry as well as predictions for the future on a global scale.

The fall of traditional PR and the rise of content marketing

When the study began in January 2008, searches for “press release” and “public relations” were nearly 40 times greater than those for “content marketing” and “inbound marketing.”

However, both terms have seen a recent decline on a global scale, with popularity of the terms falling in North America, Oceania, Africa and Europe (except for two European countries—Germany and France—where “press release” has seen an increase).

In contrast, “content marketing” and “inbound marketing” have continued to rise. Searches for “content marketing” almost doubled between January and December 2012, with the U.S., Canada and Europe driving the most traffic.

“Inbound marketing” has been steadily increasing an average of 24 percent every six months, with the most traffic in North America, Europe and India

Overall, searches for “public relations” decreased 57 percent and “press release” fell 44 percent within the seven-year period, while “content marketing” searches increased 700 percent and interest in “inbound marketing” grew a whopping 9,100 percent.

These results indicate that content and inbound marketing are rapidly becoming the preferred strategies.

Preferred content type and the case for infographics

With interest in traditional PR strategies declining, which new content types are popular? Our study revealed flip books and infographics have shown heavy growth in recent years, with searches for “flip books” up more than 100 percent since 2008.

Other content types haven’t fared as well. Interest in “motion graphics” changed the least, varying less than 11 percent each month (with the largest decline in Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania).

Although popularity in “parallax” has more than doubled since 2008, results may be inflated due to non-industry related searches. For example, searches peaked in four major European markets in September 2013, coinciding with a parallax update for iOS 7.

The rise in “infographics” interest is the most important trend to watch. Searches have increased steadily, rising 661 percent since January 2011 and peaking in November 2014. This data suggests infographics will continue to hold the most interest for publishers in the coming year.

PR and marketing professionals should keep these trends in mind and develop both content and inbound marketing strategies emphasizing visual data and infographics, as they will continue to be sought after through 2015 and beyond.

Andrea Lehr is a promotions supervisor at Fractl. The full marketing trend report can be downloaded on Fractl’s website.

Topics: PR

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