Break Out the Crystal Ball: 10 PR Trends to Watch Out for in 2014

**It’s the PR’s remit to keep on top of general trends, as well as noting shifts affecting all mediums from print to broadcast, not forgetting all things social media of course which are an increasingly important part of the PR mix.**

So how do we achieve this? As well as reading numerous articles, joining press forums, trawling blogs and analysing trend forecasts, the most forward-thinking PRs also conduct their own trend surveys or experiment with new media platforms. After all, you can’t just take other people’s word for it that Vine is the new big thing or that you need to increase your client’s Twitter presence, without road testing it yourself.

A key part of trend spotting is to speak to key influencers such as the media on a regular basis, track social media (yes, that’s why we’re always checking Facebook on our phones or fiddling with our LinkedIn accounts!), and really listen to our clients ’opinions and their customers viewpoints whenever we can.

As a PR professional, it’s important to always look ahead to key trends and not wait to follow the crowd. Here are the top ten PR trend predictions for being successful in 2014.


1. **Toe-dipping.** None of us have a crystal ball.  If you are unsure whether a specific form of media or marketing is the right target for your audience it’s always wise to run a ‘road-test’ via a low-key form of activity that will allow your client to ‘dip their toe’ into a new media activity or platform without huge impact on budget. The upshot could be a new way to engage with your target audience. Or, it may just prove your suspicions that your client isn’t ready to engage with Twitter, but at least you will have the data to prove it.
2. **Maximise your content**. Create a rolling content calendar – this will ensure you maximise your content – try and ensure any content that you write is used on at least three or four different platforms or channels.
3. **Data-Analysis.** Many trend monitoring reports such as WebDam (the Digital Asset Management experts), are encouraging us to get data-savvy.  It’s been an up-and-coming trend for a while amongst PRs to embrace analytics and statistics – to do this you may have to invest in the appropriate tools or get training to ensure you are up to the job of being able to analyse data from the many reports and surveys now available online. These can enable you to get the edge over your competitors who are sitting around waiting for others to put the data in a more accessible form.
4. **Find new ways to be useful to your target audience**. Whether its keeping them up to date with targeted bullets of  information on Twitter or sending email round-ups of existing online content that are tailored specifically for them. As their link with a particular product or service you can earn their gratitude and trust through improved communication and connections.
5. **Boost your creativity**. Creativity is one trend that will never date when it comes to PR – it’s the reason you went into PR in the first place right?  Don’t be afraid to find your own brand niche, invent your own blog style, quirky pitch technique or try out innovative event marketing tools. And if your creativity needs a boost then get out there and get out of your comfort zone! Juggle your schedule, mix up your social crowd, try a new skill and you may find your creativity bounces back.
6. **Working collaboratively. **Think of yourself as being part of a hive and work with other marketing and advertising executives on a more regular, integrated basis. As areas of the marketing mix overlap you may find it necessary to regularly check in with your colleagues in the marketing department or liaise with the in-house team.
7. **Be more (link: text: mobile-friendly)**. Your stories are ever-more likely to be read via a phone.  Images need to be bigger and bolder to ensure that they are suitable for mobile and your copy needs to grab attention at the first line – or else the reader will jump to the next Facebook story or news-link generated on their newsfeed.
8. **A rise in user-generated content**. Smartphones make it easier than ever to set up an online gallery, take a video or write a blog on the move (and then share…). It’s up to PRs to be able to locate these fantastic examples of free content which are the up to date versions of the traditional ‘case study’ and use them in an immediate and relevant way.
9. **Trust-building.** PRs need to be able to educate their clients to be more versatile and fluid. The race to post the first blog, be the first to stream live video from events or be the first to comment on a celebrity announcement, means that if clients want the maximum coverage they have to be prepared to hand over more control to their PR and media professionals – so we have to pave the way and encourage them to do this through controlled trust building activities.
10. **Become a Google-phile if you aren’t one already!** Get up to speed with all things Google from Google Plus to Google authorship. You could obtain some great opportunities for your clients, promote your business and be primed for the next big Google thing.


*An expert PR service is now available at Superdream, following our hiring of PR and Communications specialist (link: text: Francesca Evans). Contact Superdream (link: text: here) or pop in and join us for a chat to find out what we could do for your business.*