With that in mind, what PR and content marketing approaches will come to the fore in 2019? Here are some predictions.
Prediction #1: PR will get even more personal
The power of personal PR over company PR will become increasingly recognised, and brands are really missing a trick for free PR by not taking advantage of key influencers within their own organisations.
In an age where online influencers can often have a bigger impact on branding efforts than the company’s own social media pages, a socially savvyCEO or senior stakeholder that can use these channels effectively to position themselves as an expert in their field can offer real rewards.
Used cleverly, social media also allows a look behind the scenes into a leader’s everyday life, helping customers build an emotional connection with them.
Nowadays, many customers want to hear news and opinions straight from the source, instead of filtered through a company page. This approach can help create a personal connection with customers and create that ever-important brand loyalty.
Prediction #2: Brands will prioritise user-generated content
Where possible, brands that can implement a content strategy that leverages, integrates and promotes user-generated content (UGC) will fare well in 2019. UGC shared on a brand’s social channel typically enjoys a 28% higher engagement rate than standard brand posts, and millennials trust UGC 50% more than original content generated by brands.
For consumers, being mentioned or having content shared by a brand is fun and exciting, while providing authenticity for brands too.
In 2019, brands that recognise the power of UGC and optimise content strategies to use it to its full potential will fare well.
Prediction #3: Organisations will become increasingly political
Consumers will increasingly base loyalty and purchasing decisions on whether a company’s values and reputations align with their own morals.
Many of you will have seen HSBC’s new ‘We Are Not An Island’ campaign. Some have applauded the brand for taking what has been perceived as a political stance ahead of Brexit, while others have ridiculed the anti-Brexit sentiment.
In response to this feedback, HSBC has been forced to clarify the thinking behind the campaign, with a spokesperson telling The Drum: “This campaign is not about Brexit. It focuses on the importance of being open and connected to the world.”
Nevertheless, brands will increasingly come to realise in 2019 that it can actually be conspicuous to not weigh in on issues and debates in the news agenda.