What can we expect in public relations in 2019?

I’ve been luck to travel to New York, as part of Aura’s 10th anniversary celebrations. I’m not long back and I’m buzzing with ideas, I’ve got great content and I’ll be making a start at planning my 2019 strategy soon.

But first, looking to 2019, what does public relations hold for us?

In addition to attending the GirlBoss Rally in Brooklyn, I also met with some PR leaders in Manhattan to find out about the industry landscape their and what they were finding a challenge, as well as spotting opportunities. I’ve incorporated some of the conversations into this post.

Bring it back to basics

I’ve been reading and hearing PR, marketing and communication practitioners talking about getting back to basics and stop chasing shiny new things. I think this is right. There will always be something new and shiny to try, use and incorporate, but we must focus on the important goal we aim to have for clients – impact!

Less is more, quality over quantity, sometimes we have to take a step back, strip everything back and if we know what’s working, keep doing it.

Post-Brexit Britain

Do we even know at this stage what it will look like? Relationships have been fraught and broken, up and down the country, across borders and even in personal lives. Public relations doesn’t have a silver bullet (it never does), but it does have the opportunity and indeed responsibility to look at rebuilding relationships, look to develop new relationships and continue to underline purpose.

Whatever happens, we can help shape the future of our nation by doing what we do best.

public relations in 2019

What even is digital PR?

Why do we even bother with this term anymore. Digital public relations isn’t any different from public relations. Digital isn’t new. Digital is how the majority of us communicate nowadays. We need to stop talking about what public relations is and how we define it. Our actions will prove it and it’s up to us to demonstrate our professional worth through achieving results.

If you’re not practicing ‘digital PR’ then you’re in the dark age!

Community building

I love this part of my work. In recent months, most of my conversations with clients have come back to one thing – to achieve results, we need to build a community.

Building communities will bring people together and encourage meaningful conversations with the people who matter. Firstly you need to have something valuable to say, then you need to take action to start building, then you’ll find ‘if you build it, they will come’.

Building a community will allow others to build relationships and not just use each other, as so many do in traditional networking situations. It also allows you to take the online conversation and turn it into something which can work in person. You have the opportunity to set the tone and culture for this community.

You’ll find more people will act as ambassadors for the community as they have been a part of it and helped build it, in their own way.

Don’t be scared to start something. If it doesn’t work, you’ve lost nothing.

Stakeholder engagement realisation

In the last two years I’ve seen a marked increase in discussion around stakeholder engagement. I think finally the penny is dropping that stakeholder engagement isn’t a ‘nice to have’, it’s a necessity. It’s actually taking place whether you know it or not, but the biggest opportunity you have, is to develop a strategy for stakeholders and really start engaging. It’s not just stakeholder management, you need them on board, helping drive social purpose, building relationships and speaking positively about you and your work.

I think this will continue to grow.

New skills for a modern practitioner

Through my work with PRFest, I’ve started to look at new skills, such as coding, which the modern practitioner will need. I’m not saying everyone has to know code and be able to do it as a specialism, but we at least need to know the language, how it works, how long it takes and how it can actually allow businesses to innovate.

We’ve also been talking about AI for sometime, and the CIPR has made good headway through its #AIinPR panel. I’m looking forward to setting this as one of my goals for this year, as I work out how it will impact the work I do, the work my clients do and making recommendations from there.

GDPR has hit us this year, some worse than others as they realise they’ve been collecting data without permission. I have been learning more about open data however, and the risks and opportunities. I will be starting to look at how my clients can use this better or help others. I have two crowd source projects on at the moment and I think both can use the research and outcomes to help others make informed decisions.

I’ll be revisiting this early next year!

Feel free to drop me a tweet @AuraPR if you think I should add anything else or if you’d like to chat to me about public relations in 2019, contact me here or any of Aura’s social channels.