As a communicator, you can have a powerful impact on just about every corner of your organization by using the platforms, relationships and knowledge that you and your PR team are uniquely positioned to leverage. It’s on you to get your head around these trends and make something of them.
Two influential communicators shared their hot list of trends during last week’s PR News Social Media Summit in Huntington Beach, CA. Compliments of Joss Hastings, vice president of franchise and retail communications at Disney Consumer Products and Adrianna Hosford, senior vice president at Ketchum, which of these trends are you going to make something of?:
1 – PESO: Paid/Earned/Shared/Owned: “As a communicator, you need to talk about PESO; we have the right to talk about shared and earned…and it should be part of your vernacular,” with the C-suite and others, said Hosford. Paid media – be it advertising, paid search or the like – “lights the match to get people sharing,” said Hastings.
2- Social Impact: If you want to engage with Millennials, in particular, understand your organization’s impact locally, nationally, globally. “It’s how [Millennials] choose the brands they buy and the companies they want to work for,” said Hastings, who used as an example the Disney partnership with the UN Foundation’s Girl Up campaign that resulted in $1m in donations by Disney which promised $1 to Girl Up for every share. The campaign received 1 million likes in 5 days.
3 – Curated Experiential Events: “The media is looking for unique experiential events just like you are,” said Hosford. Think about what your brand can bring to life – IRL, in real life – and give journalists and other stakeholders “Instagrammable moments.”
4 – Branded Content – This is an area that PR is ripe to take ownership of. Hastings recommended that communicators pitch branded content like they would an editorial pitch.
5- Clickability – Create content that circulates and drives engagement. To do that, it’s as simple as telling a great story and writing a catchy headline. Through social listening tools, you’ll start to see the trends and issues bubbling to the surface and then it’s on you to frame a pitch or campaign that plays off those hot topics.
6 – Translating Tech Trends for PR: Communicators should be the first in their organization to identify and understand the tech trends and to actually learn the technology to drive PR. By doing this, PR becomes the leader and go-to person internally. “Maybe you will even get more budget,” said Hastings.
7 – Authentic Editorial and Influencer Partnerships – Amid the talk about influencer marketing, is the rising importance of the micro influencer. These are people passionate about your brand or industry and who hold a lot of sway in their communities. We’re not talking the Kardashians, we’re talking people with (just) tens of thousands of followers, perhaps, and who are having a clear impact on that group.
8- Psychographics – When crafting your messaging and campaigns, go beyond demographics to mindset and behaviors (psychographics). Hosford and Hastings pointed to “The Perennials,” relevant people of all ages who stay current with technology and have friends of all ages and backgrounds. Find those Perennials.
9- Great Writing, Pitching and Storytelling are always in style.
“I have seen more of the focus coming back to earned media relations than ever before,” noted Hosford. Start by telling a good story, she said. That’s what communicators are trained to do and that’s what the people want.
— Diane Schwartz