2020: 11 PR and Media Predictions

Predictions at Bospar

Unanswered pitches, disappearing editorial calendars and 590 million LinkedIn users—oh, my! 2019 was an interesting year for PR professionals, journalists and marketers. But the million- dollar question is: where are we headed next? And how can we best prepare? In this blog post, we Bospartans look ahead to 2020.

Media

The media landscape was a bit rocky in 2019. Relationships between journalists and PR professionals continued to shift, and 95% of Americans felt troubled by the current state of the media. What’s coming down the media pike in 2020?

1. “Election news will dominate editorial in 2020. The brands which can successfully leverage interest in the election will exponentially increase the coverage they receive.” — Tricia Heinrich, Bospar chief content officer.

2. “The press—and Americans in general—will begin paying more attention to internet regulations. We’ll also be more tuned in to what big tech CEOs are saying and commenting on. They’ll be held more accountable.” — Dennise-Marie Leon Ordaz, Bospar account associate.

3. “As revenue streams continue to evolve, expect more media outlets to embrace limited ‘freeviews’ and subscription paywalls in 2020. This will change the impact of earned media for many companies and will require creativity in their marketing programs and budgets to accommodate the shift.” — Samir Sampat, Bospar senior account associate.

4. “PR campaigns will need to be increasingly multi-layered and tie into other consumer experiences with digital marketing, social engagements and physical events.” — Brent Shelton, Bospar senior account associate.

5. “As video communications continue to become viable interview opportunities, media tours will be harder to pitch. Successful media tours will need to be centered around major company news in order to be worthwhile.” — Joe Cassados, Bospar account associate.

6. “Exclusives are going to increasingly become a tactic to evaluate with clients. PR pros will be recommending them for initiatives like customer stories and funding rounds.” — Laura Ruark, Bospar account director.

Social media

Over the course of a decade, social media platforms have taken both personal and professional lives by storm, completely wreaking havoc on how we communicate. As communicators, we must evolve in conjunction with social media if we want to keep our clients in the spotlight and our programs competitive.

1. “Brands in the B2B space will continue to become more savvy about multimedia content and will create more content that’s engaging and specifically tailored to their audience’s social media channels.” — Ruben Ramirez, Bospar vice president of social media.

2. “Running paid social media campaigns will become more competitive and more expensive as more companies educate themselves on social media best practices and businesses try to break through all of the digital noise.” — Carly Sullivan, Bospar social media associate.

3. “Publicists will increasingly pitch journalists via social media tools like Twitter and LinkedIn, as opposed to traditional public relations pitching methods like emails and phone calls.” — Melanie Daifotis, Bospar account associate.

Workplace

Studies prove that 84% of Americans feel that working from home is preferable to any other work arrangement. And, as technology advances, more companies will likely allow—or even encourage—their employees to work from home and enjoy a better work-life balance. Another significant workplace trend is corporate focus on increasing diversity.

1. Bospar predicts that:“Virtual offices will continue to become more prevalent in PR as firms realize that they have greater access to top talent when they recruit from anywhere, not just major cities.” — Hannah Ruark, Bospar account supervisor.

2. “Businesses will begin to develop articulated business cases for diversity and inclusion in 2020, and we’ll see more focus from organizations on diverse employee and client populations.” — Kourtney Evans, Bospar senior account associate.

And while the future is never certain, one thing we can confidently predict is that predictions will continue to be an editorial favorite! Tune in next year, as we predict 2021.

What’s in store for 2019?

We may have the answers.

2019 at Bospar

This is the time of the year that all PR professionals anticipate. No, not the holidays. It’s new year predictions season. Just about every publication and site publishes predictions, and we’ve been writing and pitching predictions for most of our clients. So, we decided that we should use our crystal ball to predict major shifts in our own industry. Here are just a few PR trends that we predict for the new year.

My personal prediction is that the role of the traditional PR agency will continue to evolve and expand in 2019. Once tasked largely with media relations and getting coverage, today’s PR agency is also involved with messaging and positioning; social media content and management; content creation and management; and influencer relations – identifying influential voices within an industry or community and cultivating, ideally, collaborative relationships with them. The good news for PR professionals is that this diversification signifies a shift to higher-level activities that have a direct and measurable effect on the achievement of client marketing and corporate goals.

And here are the predictions of a few of my Bospar colleagues:

Curtis Sparrer, Bospar Principal

2019 will be the time to take sides. President Trump’s domination of the news agenda will explode exponentially as Democrats take power in the House and the Mueller investigation reaches its conclusion.  Brands wanting to insert themselves into the headlines will have to take a stand on the President’s growing scandals in order to cut through the news of the day. The potential for a market correction will have a serious impact on larger PR agencies which depend on blue-chip clients for revenue. Agencies will continue to build their content departments to meet the demand for social and paid opportunities. Agencies will also continue increasing their investment in artificial intelligence to automate rote processes and analytics.

Ruben Ramirez, Bospar Director

On the social media front, LinkedIn will cement its place as the go-to social destination for business. 2018 can best be described as the year that people’s trust in social media networks went out the window. Facebook’s woes put a spotlight on what should and shouldn’t be trusted online. As Facebook continued to see its user growth numbers stall, one network seemed to fill people’s time online: LinkedIn. This year, the social networking platform for professionals surpassed 500M users. It has quickly become a publishing powerhouse, with more than 100,000 articles a week published. All that content means it’s a great place for professionals to share their expertise and also learn from others. 2019 will see more companies put more emphasis on LinkedIn; it has quickly become everything a professional craves useful news, industry connections, and groups of people interested in the same things.

Rachel Thomas, Bospar Senior Content Associate

Contributed content, including executive bylines and thought leadership pieces, will become increasingly difficult to place as cash-strapped publications continue to expand paid and sponsored content programs like the Forbes Technology Council and the recently launched Ad Age Collective. Executives – and the writers helping them develop bylines – are going to have to bring more to the table than the “lessons learned” and industry predictions that currently saturate the internet. For example, suggests tech media consultant Sam Whitmore, “Publications are looking to grow their own audiences by choosing contributors who already have strong followings on Twitter and LinkedIn. The acronym BYOA comes to mind – bring your own audience.” He also cited advice from WSJ editor Rich Bellis that your client should be able to bring more insight to a topic than a staff reporter. Bottom line: the bar is much higher for placing contributed content – and it’s only getting higher.

Samir Sampat, Bospar Senior Account Associate

Pitching and securing stories may become more competitive in 2019 as newsrooms continue to downsize and consolidate workforces. Limited bandwidth will require journalists to become more critical and selective in the stories they choose to cover. This will also require companies to reevaluate what is truly newsworthy and how to position their story. Marketing buzzwords will only go so far in the new media landscape of 2019.

So, what’s in store in 2019 for PR professionals and agencies?  It will be a year of accelerated change, with adoption of new technologies and new tactics as we deal with a business environment that is characterized by uncertainty. Happy New Year!

So, what’s in store in 2019 for PR professionals and agencies?  It will be a year of accelerated change, with adoption of new technologies and new tactics as we deal with a business environment that is characterized by uncertainty. Happy New Year!

How to Maximize Use of Year-End Predictions

Predictions

As we wrap up 2016, one the most popular PR and marketing initiatives is the development of industry predictions. Most PR professionals work with their clients to identify end-of-the-year wrap-up stories and predictions for the coming year. Similarly, marketers are often interested in leveraging predictions for content marketing, thought leadership, branding and demand generation.

Here’s a list of ways marketers and PR pros can get the most bang for their predictions buck.

Get Your Predictions in Order

Have an intake session with your clients and talk through the most important conversation topics and emerging trends within their industry.

The best predictions take a big-picture view and shouldn’t be limited to the company’s products and markets. Think macro trends, both in a given industry and in the business world overall. Editors want predictions that are interesting, headline-worthy, unique and somewhat surprising. So, take a risk! Don’t be afraid to suggest that your clients be bold and provocative.

And, keep in mind that one of the hardest feats will be differentiating your clients’ predictions from everyone else’s, so be sure to send off your pitches with a catchy email subject line.

Package Them Up

Package up your predictions for a thought leadership piece for a key industry trade publication; insightful predictions position both the company and its senior executives as visionaries and thought leaders. Bonus: many industry trades are hungry for unique content from C-level executives.

Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose

Suggest that the marketing team repurpose predictions-focused content for a company blog post providing a preview of key developments expected in the new year.

In addition, include predictions in company email marketing campaigns and newsletters – there’s nothing better than repurposing content to maximize content ROI.

Timing Is Everything

With Thanksgiving and Christmas taking up media mindshare in November and December, timing is key. Pitch reporters right after Thanksgiving and before Christmas to cut through the holiday noise.

Further Maximize on Social Media

Of course, don’t forget to share all forms of content on your company’s social channels to maximize reach and engagement.

Be sure to keep these tips top of mind when providing counsel to your clients over the next few weeks, and good luck!