7 PR Trends to Watch Out for in 2015

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5W guest post

This is a guest post by Erika Kauffman, GM and EVP of New York’s 5WPR.

Staying on top of PR and marketing trends is a full-time job in itself. If you’re gearing up to give your campaign a boost this year, here are the top trends to keep an eye on. Planning now will mean you’re ahead of the game when these predictions make a big splash.

1. Mobile Marketing Will Continue to Expand

2014 may have seen some serious advances in mobile marketing, but that’s not going to slow down one bit in 2015. As the number of smartphone users continue to grow, so will the importance of mobile marketing. 58% of American adults owned a smartphone in 2014, according to Pew Research. That’s a steep increase from just 44% in 2011. It’s important to plan accordingly, since your audience will now have more access than ever to both you and your competitors while they’re on-the-go. From developing apps to making sure mobile customer service is available, don’t ignore this trend.

2. Quality Content Will Trump Quantity

Savvy brands already understand the importance of quality content. To make sure you’re heard and to bypass competitors, you’ll need to focus more on quality than quantity. One high-quality piece of content can be used over and over again to appeal to both current and potential customers. Content will also be needed to appeal to stakeholders. Audiences need to be entertained, inspired, educated, activated, and engaged. In-house editorial teams are necessary for creating content calendars, quality assurance tools, style guides, and, of course, the content itself.

3. Social Media Influence Will Become More Exclusive

Up until now, pretty much everyone online considers themselves an influencer. When everyone’s an expert, then nobody’s an expert. Just like crummy content used to flood the Internet before savvy brands saw the need for quality content, low-quality influencers will soon be shooed away by actual influencers. Reclaiming influence is going to be a huge PR trend in 2015. Niche events, exclusive offerings, VIP lists, and a general closing in of brands is on the horizon. This is ideal, because brands with true value will finally get noticed.

4. Standard Press Releases Will Change and Evolve

Most marketing methods of days past have been replaced by a more social, personal approach. Press releases are on the same path. Today, most journalists don’t have the time or interest to read a standard press release. Think about: when’s the last time you paid attention to one that wasn’t from your own company? To catch the attention of the media, customers, and investors, press releases are going to get a makeover, complete with attention-grabbing information and strong visuals. This is another area where compelling content is going to reign supreme.

5. Paid Advertising Will Be Even More Necessary

Most social media marketers know that the only way to have your content seen by important audiences is to pay for it. This doesn’t mean that the content doesn’t have to be great, just that in order to attract the right people, you need to invest a bit so your posts stand out. Facebook has been making it increasingly more difficult for a company to get noticed without advertising, and that trend is nowhere near over. The key is to focus on the right channels and create a well-planned campaign. Done correctly, you can get away with spending just a few dollars here and there.

6. Real-Time Marketing Will Be More Widespread

As more and more media outlets, brands, and individuals turn to social media for their information, real-time marketing is becoming a must-use strategy. Messaging based on current events is huge, even for brands that aren’t necessarily in the news niche. Commenting on current events and being available for real-time interactions with your audience is important. Whether it’s live-Tweeting a fashion show or commenting on a hot button topic, staying clued in to trends, news, and what your audience is talking about is necessary.

7. Visual Content Will Grow In Popularity

Visual content, especially videos, are already important when it comes to marketing, but in 2015, businesses will devote even more of their budget to developing this type of content. Advertising via videos won’t use blatant marketing messages, though. Instead, they’ll aim to educate the viewer, since industry studies have shown that customers want to learn something, not just be sold to. Educational video content, along with infographics, slideshows, and other types of DIY or educational content will be seen everywhere.

The key to adapting to an ever-changing PR landscape is to not completely scrap your original plans even as the industry changes. If your “old” ways are working, continue using them. Slowly add in new ideas and strategies, test them out, and figure out what’s working.

Erika Kauffman is the General Manager & Executive Vice President at 5WPR. With over a decade of experience in communications and management at 5W, Erika is an integral part of the firm’s leadership team and oversees a number of industry practices at the agency.