As all communications professionals know, technology, consumer behavior and content consumption are constantly evolving.
This week, we reached out to eight friends of PR News to hear their thoughts on the future of these topics, and while they are not paid prognosticators, they had some pretty valuable insight to share.
From digital marketing to social engagement, here are their tips for communications success to keep in mind as the calendar turns to 2018:
Carmen Collins, Social Media Lead, Cisco’s Talent Brand
First, ask yourself who your audience is. Where do they live online? Go to them, don’t expect them to come to you.
Then, clearly state your goal using the sales funnel (Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Advocacy). What tactics will you use at each stage to show your business that your programs add value? Without clear goals, ROI is an elusive unicorn. With clear goals, you are the elusive unicorn.
Focus on clear goals that drive to business outcomes in social media. Stop saying ‘It’s hard to show ROI on social.’ Yes, it’s hard, but if it was easy, everyone would be social media professionals.
David Quiñones, Vice President of Editorial & Content, RockOrange
There's no magic bullet, because even if there were, there's no magic target. Beware of anyone trying to sell you magic bullets. With a fractured media landscape, communicators have to be ready to blanket the world with their message. Your targets and demographics and audience aren't really any of those things—they're people. Find them where they are. Don't expect them to come to you. They don't have to anymore.
Amisha Gandhi, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP
PR needs to become a more strategic partner to sales by impacting the buyer journey thorough influencer marketing. In 2018, I feel that shift will come from influencer marketing programs moving into more demand gen and co-creation of thought leadership content and less about the awareness activities achieved through social media/coverage only.
It’s really about asking how can you help create influential content of value to your customer and influence in an authentic way.
Carrie Strehlau, Senior Social Media Specialist, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
People want to connect with you—whether that’s with your organization’s identity or your personal brand. Be authentic to and with your audiences.
Kara Hendrick, Manager of Digital Marketing, Velcro Companies
My tip (or at least my own personal goal for 2018) is to really dive deep into social listening. So many brands and marketers are looking for user-generated content, consumer feedback, competitor intel or even new ideas for marketing campaigns and initiatives...but really there is no better place to start than listening to what customers (or prospects) are already saying. While there are amazing tools out there to help do this on a larger scale, you can also start by digging in manually if need be. You’d be surprised by the amount of insights already at your fingertips.
Shairy Gonzalez, Senior Manager of Social Media, United Way of Miami-Dade
Digital marketing is evolving at an accelerating rate. Organizations must be willing to learn and stay on top of trends, daily, if they plan on succeeding in 2018 and the future.
Change comes fast and furious. If you miss a beat, you may drop the ball. It takes far more effort to pick that ball back up than to get it right from the start.
Marco Gonzalez, Vice President, Public Relations & Corporate Affairs, LBI Media/Estrella TV
Never give up! Even when all odds are stacked against you, perseverance, like good, always triumphs. I recently went to New York City for desk-side visits and there was one particular media outlet that I needed to meet with. While I emailed, tweeted, used LinkedIn mail and even a personal mutual friend of the editor in chief to get him to respond, my efforts were, to a certain extent, futile. Nonetheless, I showed up at his office and dropped off my media pitch with a branded water bottle from my company… yes, the thirst is real! Moral of the story, never take "no" for an answer, your due diligence will pay off.
Erin Flior, Senior Director of Digital Communications, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
It always takes longer to write shorter, to drive impact, if you do it well.
Follow Emma: @emmaclairesilva