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2019 Trends to Watch for Solo PR Pros

We hope that 2018 was a good year for you, both personally and professionally. Now that 2019 has arrived, what new tactics and capabilities can we expect as we strengthen our positions as strategic partners for our clients?

Voice Search / AI

Did you receive an Amazon Echo, Google Home, or other voice assistant device as a holiday gift? If so, you’re now among the estimated fifty percent of households in the U.S. using these devices. Increased reliance on these smart speakers — for news, listening to music, and searching for information — means PR pros need to incorporate “speakable content” into client communications plans.

Source: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/voice-assistance-consumer-experience/

Meredith Eaton of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry provides these tips to best position client content to be found via voice search:

1. Write concise content that could be read aloud in answer to a question.

2. Find other keywords to explain and tag your topic, so it aligns with how people search for it.

3. Target valid news sites that will be recognized as an eligible publisher by Google.

4. Submit your brand or clients’ sites and blogs for inclusion in the Google News Publisher Center.

5. Using Schema.org/speakable code to identify and mark audio snippets on your site or in contributed content (check out this WordPress plug-in to help).

Chatbots

Use of chatbots follows a process similar to voice search. They need to be programmed with precision, including all anticipated keywords and phrases customers might use in the course of an inquiry. The result? Customers receive the information they need efficiently, and you and your client now have additional insights to use in future messaging.

Blockchain

Some of you may be thinking, “What is blockchain? And what does it have to do with PR?” If you use Google Docs, guess what? You’re already using blockchain.

Blockchain is defined as “a digital, public ledger that records online transactions. A blockchain ensures the integrity of a cryptocurrency by encrypting, validating, and permanently recording transactions.” Used mainly in bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges; its potential goes well beyond finance.

The main benefit of using blockchain is its permanence. Once data has been placed in a block, it cannot be changed. For the PR pro, this presents opportunities to help explain the benefits of blockchain to client audiences and to secure information released on behalf of clients.

Social Listening

Social listening is not a new concept, but it is expected to become more widely adopted this year. You probably already have Google or Talkwalker alerts set for your clients’ company names. Social listening deepens that monitoring to include mentions of companies, brands, and keywords online and across social media platforms. You can develop your own monitoring system using your current social media dashboards or consider one of these recommended by Business2Community.

PR Metrics

Impressions will no longer impress, nor should they. Ragan.com outlines some methods PR pros will use to interpret and refine their data, propelling effective messaging.

In our Solo PR circles, we often discuss starting with the measurable goal and working backward to develop the campaign to get us there. Our fellow Solo PR Pro Lisa Gerber of Big Leap Creative taught us how to set up a measurable campaign using our smarts and free data from Google Analytics. View the webinar now and get ready to wow your clients.

Crisis Management in the Digital Age

Panera, Ticketfly, Facebook, we could go on listing the companies who faced data breaches in 2018. If your client does business online to any degree and does not recognize the value of having a prepared response, make 2019 the year you convince them. No one is immune and the time, effort, and expense it will take to rebuild a reputation far outweighs the cost of maintaining it.

Content Marketing

Consumers are increasingly become savvy to – and wary of – being sold to, making content marketing all that more valuable. Consumers trust content that shares experiences, teaches, and helps the reader make a fact-based decision. Expanding brand journalism with video, podcasts, and long-form content will serve this growing desire for shared experience and storytelling.

Ready for the New Year?

If you’re reading this, of course, you are! Being ready to adapt and learn is nothing new in this profession. As solo practitioners, because we are prepared to reevaluate our platforms, processes, and strategies, we are far more nimble. We extend that experience and value to our current clients and those we’ll be signing in 2019. Let’s make it a great year!

Photo by Stephan Henning on Unsplash