Five Social PR Trends to Watch in 2013

by PR Coach on January 6, 2013

No Mayan apocalypse, just social PR trends

Between dodging the Mayan apocalypse and rappelling back down the fiscal cliffs, 2012 ended or nearly ended with a bang didn’t it? Depending on your perspective of course.

I enjoyed a break from blogging and tweeting during the holidays. The best part is I also filled up the fresh ideas files too.

Now I’m ready to dive back in with my five PR Trends to watch in 2013.


Five Public Relations Trends to Follow in 2013

Mashable redesigned and relaunched itself on December 4, 2012. The online magazine showcased a fresh design, expert usability, mobile and tablet-friendliness, and brilliant positioning. Their tagline says it all:

Social. Mobile. Visual.

As founder Pete Cashmore says: “Social networks have evolved beyond personal updates to become venues for news discovery.” In his business, failure to be social, mobile and visual would be a recipe for failure in the super-competitive global media marketplace.

Mashable redesigns website

Mashable: more social, mobile,visual

As soon as I saw it, I knew Mashable’s tagline would form part of my 2013 PR trends to watch. Mashable struck the perfect chord for media, as a “social business”, and in staking out its positioning for the future.

No better statement for public relations professionals to embrace in 2013 too.

PR as Social Business

Our profession has already become a social business. In his New Year’s message, Toronto PR agency CEO Joe Thornley says we must be prepared to reinvent ourselves constantly. He reflects on the changes at his agency:

“Today, only about half of Thornley Fallis’ revenues are from what would have been considered traditional public relations services. The other half? Video production, public engagement, content marketing, design and development.”

Thornley adds:

“You’ve probably noticed the absence of social media from that list. Where’s social? Integrated across everything we do. What was hot a few years ago has become simply the common entry fee.”

This is the year that PR people will prove their value by helping their organizations or clients evolved into social businesses.

Mobile Forces Constant Change

Mobile will continue as a powerful force in the New Year. Its influence is far-reaching in every business including PR. Last year, we ensured our messages and content were visible on smartphones. We recognized our content had to be laser-targeted, shorter, more scannable. Suitable for the “many screens” consumer.

This year, watch for new power apps. Designed to increase your efficiency and productivity. Look for continued growth in mobile phone usage for everything from banking, payments, web search and more. You may want to create your own app but only if it has real value and you keep the marketing department’s hands off. And, your mobile content better include visuals and video. Which leads me to my next trend.

Carlos Santana live at Montreux

Carlos Santana live at Montreux 2011

Videos Rock, Visuals Roll

YouTube is now the second largest search engine world. Organizations from IKEA to Home Depot, charitable organizations to sports teams, have embraced video. Spending on it in the marketing mix is growing quickly for one simple reason. Results.

Most PR people have expertise in video or know how to direct it or buy it. Big budgets and high production values are not yet a barrier to entry. Creativity, storytelling and focus matter the most. This is the year to use it or lose it.

Visuals will be even more important this year than last. We know visuals double or even quadruple news release pickup for example. On a cell phone, in the marketing mix, in news or social media, visuals are critical for impact.

Look no further than Pinterest, Instagram, Slideshare  and other visual social media channels for new opportunities and ways to extend your reach.

Two Final PR Trends to Watch

Storytelling and content marketing will drive and complement most of our communications in the future. Storytelling instead of “story selling” will assume huge value for its ability to engage, retain and motivate audiences. Content marketing has become hugely popular. It’s a marketing buzzword and our challenge this year is not only to break through but to differentiate ourselves from the “marketers.”

You know the type? The screamers and yellers. I call them the Sham Wow charlatans. With every new technology or shiny new social media they arrive soon after the earlier adopters. Barking and scamming their way while the rest of us run in the other direction.

We’ll win by making our storytelling so compelling and our content marketing so effective, they’ll be left in the dust behind us.

Want Social PR Results? Integration Rules

Social PR demands integrationMy final and most important trend is integration. That’s where we can add value most as PR and marketing communication pros. Management and clients are frustrated with a lack of ROI on social media spending. Integrators will be critical to success.

Coordinate your social media efforts. Force your marketing partners to listen and then respond. Lead by listening and showing how social media monitoring is critical to research. Gear up for quick response.

Yes, you’ll need to listen, engage, interact, talk, tweet, like, pin, tell stories and take action. You’ll win by managing and integrating traditional PR tools, experience and strategic thinking into your social business. Most important of all, help your organization or clients stay on the path to becoming a social business.

That’s not just a trend for 2013. It’s a reality for business and organizational survival and success in the future.

Has another trend got your attention in 2013? I’d enjoy hearing about it in the comments below and I wish you the best of success this year. Looking forward to our conversations in the future.

My next post will look at ways to be more strategic in your PR and social media programs.

Searching for new ideas and fresh thinking? We’ll help you find it. Our PR Library now has more than 8,000 carefully curated articles, tips and links to resources in 32 categories from crisis management and content marketing to PR jobs, social media and strategic PR.

Author: Jeff Domansky

Visuals: Dreamstime, Mashable, Joe Thornley, Carlos Santana, iStockphoto