Jan 14, 2016

2016 Public Relations Trends: Are You Ready for What #PRisNow? [SlideShare]


Change is inevitable. For the sake of progress, change is absolutely essential.

If you’ve worked in PR longer than a couple of years you’ve likely thought about how different your job was two years ago, let alone five or ten years ago. So much has changed about how we do our job and what is expected from us, and it continues to change.

A few months ago PR Newswire asked PR professionals what they thought PR is now, which was a follow up to a similar question we posed in 2012. As in 2012, we were inundated with great responses from the public relations community.

After unveiling the new infographic, we continued to consider your responses. Some of them made immediate sense and were not unexpected, but others – like the response “PR is Relationships” — begged for further reflection.


Although relationships with the media have always been an important part of public relations, PR now has a much stronger position in building relationships with the public and consumers.

Channels such as Twitter, Facebook and company blogs offer brands the opportunity to directly realize and foster these relationships. They also open up new venues for maintaining relationships with the media.

Of course, the key to good relationships hasn’t changed. It’s about respect, and that means understanding the needs of your audiences before pushing things at them.

PRO TIP: Thoroughly research the personas that make up the audiences you create content for and media you pitch. Tools might include Google analytics, search engines, social search, and a quality media database with up-to-date profiles for journalists and bloggers. Take a look at our guide Gain Targeted Audience Attention with PR Newswire for questions you need to ask to better understand your audience.


In 1982, the Public Relations Society of America defined public relations as a function that helps an organization connect with its community. Although the definition was updated in 2012, marketing was still barely mentioned.

However, as many of your responses to #PRisNow showed, today’s public relations professionals are playing a direct role in driving leads into the marketing funnel through thought-leadership content.

PRO TIP: Measure audience behavior and follow your leads through the buyer’s journey for a clear understanding of what your audience seeks. There’s no room for guessing.  As we explore in How to A/B Test Your Press Release Strategy, analytics are invaluable when planning content.


To be part of the marketing machine that connects clearly to revenue, your practice of public relations must be driven by data and demonstrate bottom-line impact.

It’s not enough to measure impressions, you have to be able to track leads coming through your calls to action and follow them through the buyer’s journey.

PRO TIP: Clear, accurate and actionable data will make or break you. Familiarize yourself with your organization’s marketing automation software and learn how to create trackable links for the calls to action in your press releases, social media, and other strategic channels. Download Balancing Content & Big Data to Power PR Results for more tips on metrics PR should be reporting.


Another frequently cited response to #PRisNow had to do with multichannel. As a matter of fact, when we promoted PR is Now campaign we used a multichannel approach that combined owned, earned, and paid media, as well as word-of-mouth marketing.

We sent out a press release (of course), wrote about it on our blog Beyond PR, posted it to our social media accounts, emailed clients and asked our sales and editorial teams to ask customers what they thought PR is now. We treat all promotions and campaigns in this manner.

PRO TIP: We’ve found that a staggered approach to multichannel promotion will yield best results. Experiment with your channels’ sequence and timing to find out what works best for your content. Click here to learn how to maximize your message’s potential with a multichannel plan.


Digital media means the world now functions in — and expects your organization to function in — real-time.

This can be a very positive thing when it comes to engaging with influencers and customers and adjusting tactics as needed during a campaign. However, it also has a negative side.

Situations don’t wait to escalate during normal business hours and they don’t have designated channels. It could be a question on Twitter in the middle of the night, a troll commenting on your Facebook page during the weekend, a phone call that is answered by the new-hire, or perhaps a very upset customer who emails your general information inbox with an urgent issue during a holiday.

Doing business today demands that someone is always available to deal with things that have the potential to escalate and become problematic. A crisis can crop up quickly and spiral out of control even quicker via real-time channels like Twitter.

PRO TIP: Establish multiple plans of action ahead of time so that employees who manage social channels, monitor group inboxes, or are critical points of contact know how to immediately identify, seek advice and handle issues when they arise.

Of course these are only a few of the trends noted in your response to our #PRisNow campaign. Check out the rest of them and learn more about preparing for PR’s future with our companion SlideShare deck PR Trends for 2016.

Author Victoria Harres is vice president, strategic communications and content at PR Newswire. She was the original twitterer on @PRNewswire and continues as part of that team. If she’s not at her desk, you’ll find her in the garden.

2 Comments on Blog Post Title

­ Sierra 20:35 EST on Jan 18, 2016

As a college freshman considering to major in Public Relations, I found your article to be very informative. With the generation that we now live in, change is all around us. Its apparent in the way we speak to one another, our attire, our work ethic, etc. After reading, it’s clear that no matter how much our world changes, relationships are the key to success in the Public Relations field. It will helpful to refer back to this posting again in a couple of years, to again see how PR has evolved.

Victoria Harres 10:33 EST on Jan 19, 2016

Thanks for reading Sierra! No matter how fast technology changes things, in the end the key to success is still good relationships. Good luck with your studies! — Vicky

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