PR TrendsOn the third day of Christmas, Spin Sucks gave to you three PR trends, two PR books, and one habit to change in 2018.

The words are starting to work with the song, right?

You might have to add an extra syllable to get it there, but it’s coming together nicely!

We’ve focused this first week of the 12 Days of Christmas series on things for the PR pro.

And today one of those things is PR trends to help communicators stay ahead of the curve and continue to evolve.

Here are three for you to include in your plans for 2018.

PR Trends: Artificial Intelligence

This one isn’t a new one for PR trends from Spin Sucks—we included it last year, as well.

But many communicators still have their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears, yelling, “I can’t hear you!”

Artificial intelligence is not scary.

It’s not going to replace you.

You’re not going to lose your job.

It is, however, going to make you much more efficient.

Let me give you an example.

How many of you still use spreadsheets to track your media relations placements?

(I really wish I could see you raising your hand.)

I’m going to venture to guess it’s the majority of you.


Because it’s comfortable?

Because it’s what you know?

You don’t have time to change?

(Go back and read Laura Petrolino’s first day of Christmas article on Monday, if that’s the case.)

There is absolutely no reason you should be using a spreadsheet to track your media relations efforts in 2018.

No More Spreadsheets!

Instead, invest in Iris.

Yes, it is software and it does have a cost.

But consider this: how much time do you spend updating your spreadsheet? What is your hourly rate?

(If you’re in-house, figure out your hourly rate by dividing your salary and cost of benefits by 2,080 (the number of working hours in the year.)

Let’s say it takes you 10 hours every month and your hourly rate is $150.

That’s $1,500 a month.

Is it fair to say you could spend $1,500 a month to help you do your job so you could spend that 10 hours a month elsewhere?

I really like Iris because, while not a chatbot responding to messages for you (keep reading for that), it does make you much more efficient.

All you do is add a code to the bottom of your email pitches and Iris does the rest.

Now all you have to do is open your dashboard and everything you need is right there.

No more spreadsheets!

In fact, it gives you pretty graphics, as well.

So now you’ve saved time updating your spreadsheet and you’ve saved time creating graphics for your executive presentation.

No More Agonizing Over Tiny Bits of Data

Here’s an other example.

If you do any paid media, you likely spend a good chunk of your time analyzing Facebook ads.

Which ones worked? Which ones didn’t? What messages are resonating?

During a Facebook ad campaign, you could easily spend four hours a day tweaking and optimizing the ads.

Using the same $150/hour rate as above, that’s $3,000 a week—or $12,000 a month.

Enter Albert.

What just a year ago was cost prohibitive, except for the largest companies, is now affordable for everyone.

In the Facebook ad campaign scenario, it takes your creative and optimizes it.

Now, instead of you spending four hours a day, you have robots that spend 24/7 analyzing, tweaking, and optimizing.

As soon as it finds a message doesn’t resonate, it changes it.

What would take you or I five days to figure out, it does it in seconds.

And it’s far more successful because it doesn’t have the emotion behind the decision.

It only looks at data.

Does it make sense for you to spend the equivalent of $12,000 a month in your time doing this work, or can you spend a few hundred bucks on artificial intelligence and free up 20 hours a week?

These are the kinds of things that we’re talking about.

You can have artificial intelligence answer your emails so your time is spent doing work that matters.

You can create Facebook messenger campaigns run by chatbots.

The things we have at our fingertips today are incredible.

Use them so you can spend your time on the art side of what we do.

PR Trends: Repurpose Content

One of the PR trends you should already be using is repurposing your content.

There are marketers who have been doing this incredibly well for years—Lee Odden and Jay Baer come to mind.

Just like artificial intelligence makes your more efficient, so does repurposing your content.

How many of you create one piece of content and let it live in a silo?

Sadly, I would have raised my hand two years ago.

I was right there with you.

It feels like repurposing content is going to take lots more time—something none of us can replicate.

Or we think, “I’ll do that later. I just need to hit publish on this now.”

But let’s say you write a blog post.

As soon as you publish it, you pull out your microphone, open Zencaster, and read the blog post (add in some color commentary) to record for a podcast.

(And then hire One Stone Creative to do the production for you.)

Then, using Lumen5, build a video from the same blog post.

The blog post took you two hours to write, the podcast 10 minutes to record, and the video 20 minutes to create.

So you’re two and a half hours into the project, but you also have three pieces to use and promote.

For everything you publish, try to have at least five ancillary pieces you can create.

Optimize the heck out of your creations.

PR Trends: PR Metrics

It’s not going to come as a surprise that one of our PR trends is metrics.

If you are a consistent reader of Spin Sucks, it does feel like we are constantly banging this drum.

That’s because the industry still isn’t there with PR metrics.

Outside of the U.S., AMEC and CIPR both are coming down hard on professionals who use media impressions and advertising equivalencies.

It makes me sad that we haven’t done the same here.

Regardless of there being a governing body that will punish you for using bunk metrics, your focus in 2018 should be on the right things to measure.

It should be on educating your executives that their Facebook fan numbers and number of media placements don’t matter.

And it should be on learning how to read data so you can make informed—and swift—decisions.

Here is a quick guide on the things you should be concerned with:

  • Website traffic
  • Domain authority
  • Search results
  • Visitors specifically from your owned and earned media efforts
  • Number of email addresses added from your efforts
  • Number of qualified leads
  • Percentage of leads converted to customers

The last two might be more difficult for you to get, but if you can attribute someone providing their email address, filling out the contact us form, or calling in to your efforts, the rest will fall into place.

Work really hard in 2018 to set up your reporting that way so, by this time next year, you have real results to report.

And let us know if we can help.

The PR Dream Team has this conversation daily so you can pop in there to get examples of reports, dashboards, and how to educate executives.

What PR Trends Are You Watching?

Of course, there are other PR trends, such as voice search and paid search, but we’ll leave those for another day.

Now it’s your turn.

What PR trends are you watching?

The 30-Day Communications Challenge begins on January 3. Are you subscribed?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich