Month: January 2015

Whither Public Relations and Communications in 2015?

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As marketers, it’s always worthwhile to take a few minutes at the beginning of the year and think about where the world of public relations and communications is heading. Since some trends rise and fall very quickly, making a small impact on the communications and PR world, only to fade into obscurity, it’s hard to say with any certainty just what trends will actually make a lasting impact in the coming year and beyond. But, while we can’t be 100 percent certain about what the future holds, we can look at the direction things seem to be going and make a few educated guesses.

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Will a New Social Media Network Take Over?

In July of last year, Ello, a new, ad-free social media platform that positioned itself as the opposite of every other social media network out there, seemed ready to change the way things were done. Although initial reports predicted that Ello would continue to gain in popularity, things quieted down pretty quickly.

It might be too soon to say whether Ello, or another social media network, will pop up this year to shake things up. At the end of December, VentureBeat noted that Ello had a few big plans for the upcoming year, including an update to its desktop version and native apps for both Android and iOS.

Ello’s ad-free nature might make it not a good fit for those in communications, PR and marketing. For that reason, it might be worth focusing efforts on the social media networks that are already major players, such as Facebook, which reported more than 850 million active daily users at the end of the third quarter, an increase of nearly 20 percent.

Will Paid Media Overtake Traditional PR?

The field of PR and communications is becoming ever more crowded, as traditional print media hangs on while websites, social media and other digital forms continue to grow and expand. As the field becomes more packed, some are turning to paid media options more and more, such as native advertising and branded content. There’s been the suggestion that paid media will overtake traditional PR in the coming year.

Native advertising, advertisements that look similar to the articles and other content on a website or in print, is one form of paid media that is expected to become increasingly popular, not just in 2015, but over the course of the next few years. Business Insider predicts spending on native advertising will climb to more than $10 billion in 2015, up from $4.7 billion 2013.

For companies, it might be better to focus on a mix of paid media as well as more traditional PR measures, such as non-paid placement in news stories, social media tactics, and blogging. While the reception of paid media such as native ads has been positive so far, there is the risk of backlash, especially if it is the sole tactic used by a company.

Content Will Become Even More Critical

“Content is king” has long been the mantra of marketers and those in the communications field. In recent years, the focus has shifted from quality over quantity, and in 2015, that focus on quality will become even more pronounced, as the arena becomes ever more crowded.

This coming year, content will need to be specifically tailored to its target audience to make the greatest impact. That can mean that more research will be need to performed on the part of the communications and marketing team to make sure that any content produced really lands and sticks with its audience.

No matter where things end up going in 2015, one thing remains clear. Focusing on engaging with an audience and producing quality media that people want to interact with will be key to any company’s communications success.

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It’s 2015: Four PR and marketing New Year’s resolutions to make (and keep) for your company

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The champagne corks have been popped, the clock has struck 12, and the ball has dropped. That means it’s another new year, and time to make resolutions to improve your business, your marketing strategy, and your overall reach in 2015.

New year’s resolutions can fall into the realm of cliché — who hasn’t resolved to lose 10 pounds or to spend more time at the gym, at least once?– but they can also be a useful tool for revamping your company’s marketing and PR strategy in the coming year. As 2015 gets underway, a make resolution or two to enhance your company, increase its reach, and broaden its customer base.

Reflect and Plan

The start of the new year is a time for looking forward, as well as a time for looking back and reflecting on what worked and what didn’t in terms your marketing and public relations strategy in 2014. You can look back on a particular campaign and examine the aspects of it that brought in more customers or aspects of it that were more challenging than needed or that didn’t pan out the way you had intended.

Once you’ve looked over key events from the past year, resolve to lay out a plan for the year to come. What’s on the calendar for your business in 2015 and what do you hope to achieve over the course of the next 12 months? Your plans for 2015 don’t have to be set in stone, but it is helpful to have a basic outline to serve as a guide.

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Tweak Your Social Media Strategy

Take a look at how your company is (or isn’t) using social media and resolve to improve upon it in 2015. A first step to take is to look at each social network you are (or aren’t) using and determine the type of customer your company reaches, or could reach, on that network.

People use different social media sites for different reasons, as this report from Business Insider demonstrates. Someone is likely to turn to Twitter for news, to LinkedIn to connect with fellow professionals, and to Pinterest or Instagram for lifestyle help.

Figuring out what you’ll say to your audience on various social media platforms is just step one. If you haven’t been the best at actually posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like, 2015 is the year to get that underway. Start small and resolve to post at least once a day to the social network that’s most likely to appeal to your customer base or audience. As the year goes on, add new networks to the mix. One way to figure out the best social media networks to use is to take a look at where your website is the most popular. SocialCrawlytics crawls your site and provides you with a report that lets you know how often it has been shared and on which networks.

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Commit to Blogging

What’s one way to generate more leads for your business in 2015? Start a blog or commit to posting to your already existing blog more often. According to an infographic from Digital Insights, B2B marketers generate 67 percent more leads by blogging. The majority of people online, 77 percent, read blogs. Blogging also gives you something to share on social media, and keeps your audience in the loop about what is going on in your industry and in your business.

Make Your Goals Measurable

You’ve made your resolutions and now the big question is: “How will you keep them?” The answer is by setting trackable, measurable goals. If you’ve resolved to blog more, for example, set a goal of creating at least one post per week. If you’ve resolved to make better use of social media, set a minimum number of posts per week, then track how well each post performs.

Your goals don’t have to be directly related to your resolutions, either. In 2015, you might aim to expand your company’s media coverage, for example. A measurable goal might be to have your company mentioned in one additional print or online media piece per month. Another measurable goal might be to increase your customer base by 10 percent over the course of the year.

New Year’s resolutions aren’t necessarily made to be broken. Use yours as an excuse to improve upon your company’s marketing and PR strategy. You might not know what 2015 has in store, but making resolutions and setting goals will give you at least some insight into what lies ahead.