[ Editor’s Note: To prepare for 2016, we asked Ronn Torossian to reflect on predictions he made in his “10 Things PR Professionals Should Know in 2015” (http://bit.ly/1YkDyyK). Ronn’s 2016 Top 10 list will appear in our December 16 edition. ]
1. Mobile Optimization: Clients used mobile interface more than ever in 2015. Early in the year, Google Think found 46% of people use a search engine to begin mobile research. In response to this shift to mobile, Google changed its search algorithm to favor Web pages that are mobile-friendly.
2. SEO: As a consequence of Google’s new search algorithm, updated April 21, many SEO marketers lamented what was euphemistically called Mobilegeddon. PR pros unprepared for a more mobile-centric digital market entered a collective frenzy to adapt before they lost their customer base.
3. Advertising Copywriting: In 2014 it seemed obvious that while copywriters tell a story with compelling content, PR pros need to use impeccable skills to drive online advertising and keep tech-savvy audiences engaged more than ever. This continues to be extremely important, especially in the aftermath of Mobilegeddon—the update to Google’s algorithm favoring sites that display well on mobile.
4. Social Content Creation: Social is stronger than ever. Looking to 2015, we noted that an overabundance of digital marketing leads to a surplus of useless content, incapable of generating desired business results. Who should provide guidance? The answer is analytics. Organizations with the most data to analyze will have results that can speak to a broader, more general audience.
5. Analytics: We wrote that 2015 would see data analysis surge. Indeed, the market now lacks forgiveness for those who can’t extrapolate insightful techniques from gathering and analyzing data. PR pros still can avoid managing analytics themselves. Although PR pros should manage analytics themselves, getting someone else to do so is a possibility. It’s insufficient, but it’s better than a total lack of analysis, which is a death wish.
6. Speed to Information: We anticipated that being up-to-date would be critical for 2015. Indeed, if a businessperson is behind on current events or market trends, the glass ceiling of profit will forever descend. The more completely and often a PR professional syncs with the news, the more unique and seemingly uncanny his insights will be. Clients come to see a business that keeps this in mind as something like an oracle, a more reliable news source than the news itself. This is perfect for becoming the secret weapon clients rely on.
7. Programming: A PR pro should never take the appearance of the web for granted. To view digital content as one entity, spanning from hardware to programming to HTML to copywriting and advertising, all united—it’s a beautiful thing.
8. Virtual Teams: While it’s premature to declare the office obsolete, no serious PR pro can afford to ignore the advantages of organizing production of good web content and products via clouds. It’s practically free office space, and as long as each team member has appropriate tools, a virtual department is as effective as a physical one.
9. Video Editing Production: We wrote ahead of 2015, “A PR professional will be expected to create, edit and distribute unique content including video and photos.” Indeed we see PR becoming ever more resourceful and innovative with video creation, editing, distribution and photography. This is because the best aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, to integrate work into each disparate discipline. Owing to this, the essentials of quality video production have entered public knowledge. Examples: videos are best shorter since twice as many people watch a 1-minute video than one of two minutes; perspective is out, shallow fields are in; HDSLRs (similar to 35mm film) cameras are perfect for isolating a subject from competing background noise; slow-motion videos give the feeling of visual poetry.
10. Blogger Outreach: This has become a fundamental. A collective of independent bloggers with ample followers can act as a virtual PR back-up team and demonstrate a message’s authenticity.
This article originally appeared in the November 23, 2015 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.