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Did our 2010 PR predictions come true?

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 22nd December 2010

Back in December 2009, I put together a post that speculated on what the PR industry would experience in 2010. As we approach Christmas and another new year, I thought it made sense to revisit these and see how close I was…

1. Continued demise (and metamorphosis) of traditional media

This is certainly the case. 2010 has seen massive changes when it comes to traditional media. We’ve seen the Times paywall and the suggestion that PRs should ignore the title, the demise of further print trade titles, the revelation that online has overtaken print as a source of news and even the continued transformation of TV. But it’s not all bad for publishers with the launch of the UK’s first new national newspaper for years and new devices like the iPad promising much (although yet to truly deliver). The media is in a state of flux and despite reports that newspapers as we know them will be dead in 2019, it’s surely too early to say how this will play out.

2. Creativity will count

There have been some brilliantly creative PR and social media campaigns this year. But I fear that many agencies are beginning to advocate creativity for creativity’s sake when it comes to the web. Here at Wildfire we use creative ideas to give depth and impetus to campaigns, but the ideas are always supported by a clear idea of the target audience and the most effective strategy to reach them. I’d be really interested to see whether the creative campaigns we have all discussed this year actually achieved business results.

3. More brands becoming publishers

There is no doubt this has happened and will continue to develop and grow in 2011. We actively working with more and more of our clients on owned media strategies whether in the form of blogs, whitepapers or just on Twitter. Taking a strategic approach to this though is the challenge that many brands seem to be facing. Can they achieve (and demonstrate) ROI?

4. Distributed content

Following on from this, creating (creative) content that can be distributed across the internet (and even offline) is vital for effective PR. With the rise of the social web, sharing is where it’s at. Enabling this (and encouraging it) has paid dividends for the most successful PR campaigns this year.

5. Real-time

From Twitter, to Google Instant and Universal search, online, it seems that everything happens in real-time. For PR, this is a challenge. Things can happen very quickly – for good and for bad – as companies like Gap have discovered. We only need to look at some of the companies (like BA) that have been caught out by the snowy conditions this week. Reputation management takes on a new powerful thrust when your audience are reacting online second-by-second. Real-time has a massive impact on PR, but most brands don’t seem to be realising it yet.

6. Video, video and more video

Video has clearly continued to increase in importance this year, especially in the media, with sites like the BBC and the Guardian firmly putting it front of mind. I’ve seen less uptake amongst brands however. The reason for this probably comes down to cost, but for many companies – especially B2B technology companies – video can be a great way to convey a complicated message in a clear and simple way.

7. Even more “social media gurus” hanging around

This has definitely been the case and is something of a bandwagon for me. But I’m definitely sensing a social media backlash from certain quarters and it’s hopefully the start of a more strategic, sustained approach to social media…

8. The PR/customer service dilemma

This is certainly an area we are encountering more and more on a daily basis and the question of who should ‘own’ social media is clearly still one that is attracting a lot of debate and dialogue. Consumers are becoming savvier too and this means that increasingly, when they slag off a brand on social networks, they are expecting a response.

9. Blogging to rise “from the dead” again

Last year I predicted that as the hype around blogging dies, we’ll see less bloggers overall, but those that remain will be more focused, dedicated and interesting. I’ve certainly seen a reduction in the number of people blogging regularly, which can only be a good thing for those that remain. I’ve also noticed (and discussed with others) a reduction in the number of people commenting on posts. I don’t think this means the end of blogging, but I do think its developing into a more mature phase.

10. Even more stressed-out journos

Another one that, in our experience, is certainly true. We’ve lost count of the number of publications that have disappeared and the journalists that have left or moved on (often to PR!). It’s tough out there, but the old trick works the best: deliver a good story to the right person and you’ll succeed!

What have you noticed in 2010? What do you think 2011 will bring?

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