With the New Year now in full swing, we asked a handful of experts to share their PR predictions for 2018. Common themes that emerged included automation, artificial intelligence and the lethal combination of art and science.
Here's what Ali Maynard, Stephen Waddington, Jonathan Bean and Laura Richards had to say:
"Podcasts Will Be HUGE"
-Ali Maynard, Business Director at Manifest London
"My trend prediction for 2018 in PR is the podcast takeover. Whilst not specifically new as a format, they are a fairly untapped resource within the communications industry and this is all about to change.
Podcasts are gathering enviable audience figures across a myriad of genres. This flexible form of broadcasting means listeners can digest thought provoking content from their favourite authors, whenever they choose to.
A benefit of podcasts is the relatively low cost to produce them, making them accessible for anyone, no matter the size of the budget. Brands and leaders who manage to use them to create authentic discussions next year, will gain an engaged audience in return."
"Artificial intelligence will be normalised"
-Stephen Waddington, Chief Engagement Officer at Ketchum
"Artificial intelligence was the shiny new thing in public relations in 2017. But we’re starting to feel the impact of machines in at least three areas: content production, content distribution and publication, and workflow.
In public relations, algorithms are commonplace for searching and organising how information is displayed.
We increasingly use tools to make sense of conversations and content shared in networks. Algorithms crunch through huge amounts of data to identify influencers, networks and trending topics.
Public relations like other professions is sleep walking into the issue of artificial intelligence. No one has properly characterised its potential impact on our business. This needs to change."
"Art & Science Will Need To Combine"
-Jonathan Bean, Chief Marketing Officer at Mynewsdesk
"A deadly combination of art and science will be the successful recipe for communicators in 2018 and beyond.
The PR industry's dirty little secret is that much of its historic business model has not been based on amazing creative concepts but instead on charging for menial tasks like writing press releases and media relations. With automation systems seeping into almost every industry, the PR and communications industry will need to find and leverage the opportunities here.
The winners in 2018 and beyond will be those who deliver first class creative work and separate themselves, or their clients, from the competition. And they'll need to use communication as a competitive advantage. At the same time, they will need to identify the menial tasks that can be automated and take advantage of the opportunities that technology provides."
"Automation will really take hold"
-Laura Richards, Head of Communications at Sunderland Software City
"I predict that 2018 will be the year that we see automation really take hold in the PR industry. From understanding our communities to reporting to clients, there are a growing number of ‘smart’ tools that practitioners can use and I expect these to become common place over the next year.
We already have tools that digitally collate press coverage, monitor social media and speed up content creation – these make the ‘admin’ side of PR so much easier to manage, freeing up time (and headspace!) for practitioners to focus on creative and strategy.
I also predict that more forward-thinking PR companies will start to seriously explore emerging technologies – AI for customer service and content creation, AR for educational materials, Immersive for campaigns, etc. As an industry we are perfectly placed to bring the much-needed humanity to emerging technologies!"
If you have a prediction you'd like to add then please do let us know. Otherwise, we wish you a very happy and PRosperous new year!