PR and Marketing Predictions for 2020

December 19, 2019

It’s well known that the media landscape has been shrinking for years. According to the latest figures, it appears that the decline is picking up momentum.

Pew Research reported a 25 percent drop in newsroom employment from 2008 to 2018. Earlier this year, Onclusive released a study based on analysis of more than 2 billion pieces of editorial content between 2018 and 2018, which revealed that the percentage of authors contributing to mass media is down 11 percent. The study also claimed the landscape is becoming more fragmented across topics, tiers and formats, and contributions to blogs, trade publications and other non-mass audience outlets increased by 26 percent.

These numbers may not be surprising, but they serve as an important reminder for marketing and PR professionals. The ways we engage with the media, the journalists we develop relationships with, the focus of our messaging, the strategy behind our content and our overall communications goals are all deeply impacted by the changes in the media landscape. In this field, we must stay nimble and be prepared to pivot in the face of new trends.

In that spirit, our team has compiled the following predictions for trends that will shape PR and communications in the coming year.

“Communications teams have come a long way in their ability to surface and leverage data that demonstrates the value of media relations, content marketing, social media and influencer outreach. Still, even as tools and methodologies to measure the return of PR become more widely adopted and sophisticated, I think general awareness, positioning and brand building—the intangible benefits of PR—will continue to be a primary driver behind why companies invest in PR.” – Karli Barokas, CEO

“Brands are going to need to rethink how they approach influencer marketing in the coming year. With Instagram testing its removal of likes from public view, brands are going to have far less visibility into the actual reach, popularity and public perception of influencers. Much like in the traditional media relations arena, influencer marketing is going to become more about relationships and storytelling (and less about numbers) than it has been to date.” – Cara DiFabio, Account Executive and Stella Heekin, Assistant Account Executive

“In the face of new and emerging freelancer laws in CA, NY and other states, which are anticipated as stepping stones toward similar federal legislation, we’ll see a shift in the dynamics of gig workers. One possible outcome of this will be an increase in freelance journalists, writers and designers that are forced to take to permanent, in-house content or marketing roles. Companies looking to hire writers, editors and artists may find a broader pool of talent from which they can recruit. At the same time, these candidates will be looking for jobs that offer a similar level of flexibility that they have come to expect as independent contractors. Employers should be prepared to offer flex and remote work opportunities to be competitive and attractive to the best talent available.” – Ashley Allman, Director of Content

“The 2020 election will take the lion’s share of available space in general news coverage and likely permeate throughout the media landscape. Reporters that may not have traditionally focused on breaking news or political reporting will be roped in to support what will certainly be the nosiest election year we’ve ever seen. This means brands will face more competition for coverage, and many will likely try to jump on the election bandwagon—in genuine and some not-so-genuine ways.” – Sarah Nickell, Vice President

“PR will increasingly become a critical driver in helping brands foster and maintain transparency. Consumer trust is a sensitive issue today, and companies need to be prepared to work with PR experts to ensure they are seen as authentic and trustworthy.” – Johanna Erickson, President

“We’re seeing more and more clients—and businesses in general—place a greater emphasis on valuing their employees and treating them as brand ambassadors. Some of this shift has been driven by a competitive job market, as well as new expectations from the emerging workforce. This year, internal communications will get more love and attention, with the goal of establishing a consistent message among employees. Employees will be recognized as important brand builders that have the power to influence customers via social media and word of mouth.” – Karli Barokas, CEO

What trends are on your radar for the coming year? Let us know in the comments!

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