The New Year is around the corner, and if 2017 is anything to go by, then the coming year is going to surge forth in technological developments. With the powerful combination of artificial intelligence and social media gaining momentum like never before, we can expect everything from our marketing and communications strategy—including the way public relations (PR) works—to witness an overhaul.

With evolving content marketing trends and technologically advanced social media tools, PR experts can expect a fair share of changes in the coming year.
Here are some of the highly anticipated PR and communications trends for 2018:

  1.   The areas of specialisation in PR will grow: With every year, the areas of specialisation in PR seem to be growing in number. For instance, crisis management has emerged as an essential facet of any company’s PR expertise. As a brand, you will need to hire resources that can tackle various crises by first assessing them carefully and then attending to them proactively. Similarly, social media PR, thought leadership, event planning, etc., are going to emerge as some other prominent facets of PR. As a brand, your approach to PR must be a comprehensive one.
  2.   Your online presence must become more meaningful: For a brand to have an online presence is non-negotiable. However, your online presence cannot solely be restricted to having active social media accounts across channels. Even if you are posting right content regularly, that is not nearly good enough. With consumers’ attention spans have gotten shorter than ever before, it is essential for brands to put out only what their target audience wants to read (and see). The content must be compelling enough for people to keep coming back, again and again. It is, of course, only possible after a thorough understanding of your brand goals and of what your target group is looking for. To stay ahead of the race, you may want to consider creating content that your target group will want (rather than supplying them with what they already know they want).
  3.   Measuring the results will be key: At the end of a year and the start of a new one, it becomes most important to measure the results of the PR efforts that have been put in and the value that they have added to the brand. Influencers have emerged as one of the most popular and effective ways to market a brand, and this trend is likely to pick even further in 2018. You may want to take stock of the value that these influencers are adding to your brand. Measuring the results of all PR efforts is also recommended as an ongoing practice.
  4.   Press releases will be reinvented: The press release sounds like an archaic and outdone tradition. However, if you think that the press release is entirely over and done with, then you are mistaken! Press releases are just as important for brands even today. However, they have primarily been reinvented, and that process is still unfolding. Instead of the old-style press releases that were arduously text-heavy, the new-age press releases are all about the images, graphics and interactive content. As for the copy, it is to the point and minimal. So, don’t give up on the press releases—give them the much-needed overhaul.
  5.   The focus will shift to video content marketing: Content marketing might as well be relabelled as video content marketing because regular copy and static images are not cutting it with the audiences anymore. As mentioned previously, the shrinking attention spans are only willing to process interactive content, and that is best captured in videos. Come 2018; it may be essential to start thinking beyond pre-recorded videos. Live videos add a greater level of authenticity to the content and make it even more interactive. They seem to be the way to go, hereon.
  6.   Brands must develop their voice: Whether it is brands or individuals, the recent years (and the upcoming ones even more so) have been about developing one’s voice and viewpoint. The time when brands took no stand on contentious issues is long gone. Brands (and influencers) are now best recognized by the stand they take on issues that pertain to human rights, animal rights, immigration, feminism, climate change, and so on. If your brand does not yet have its distinct voice, then it is about time you give it one. This, of course, does not mean that you must have a stand on everything. Let your brand speak for a cause that seamlessly complements its identity.

A brand’s PR efforts form an intrinsic part of its identity. To augment your brand identity in the coming year, it may be a good idea to build on the expected trends into your PR and communications strategy for 2018.