It’s that time of year again when thought leaders from a host of sectors share their thoughts on their predictions for what lies ahead in their industries in 2018. From sport through to tech there are plenty of predictions for what’s to come this year in all sectors; and, the B2B PR and marketing industry is no exception.
To save you doing your own research into how you should be shaping your future PR and marketing plans, we’ve done it for you and have come up with our top seven suggestions for what we believe should be your focus in 2018.
- Uber targeted media pitching
If you think your content is already fairly targeted, then you might want to think again. With content being pushed out so widely via a range of different platforms, journalists have access to more sources of information than ever before. As a result, PRs are going to have to work hard to come up with new angles and hooks that are likely to engage the media. Marketing managers need to work closely with their PR agencies to help them come up with compelling, targeted content which resonates with their target press.
- What’s your niche?
It’s all about the niche and targeted content this year. With so much content coming at us from such a wide variety of sources few of us have time to read everything we see that’s of interest; how many of us actually find the time to read the stuff we bookmark for later? So, it’s more important than ever that all content (a report, guide, blog or byline article) focuses on a specific niche. Let’s say you’re a provider of ventilation units for large organisations such as hospitals, hotels or restaurants. Generic content on the benefits of your units is unlikely to be compelling to all of your prospects, but targeted content that talks specifically about ventilation issues for different industries just might. Showing your target audiences that you understand their own particular business pains and challenges and that you can help them sector, is more likely to make them sit up and take notice.
- Embracing new technologies
Ok, bear with me here! Ten years ago, or maybe even less, marketers probably wouldn’t have been having conversations about the need to optimise web content for mobile; they probably weren’t overly concerned by social media either and instead considered it something just large enterprises need to do. Yet, here we are, relatively few years on and these are both now key considerations for marketers. Until fairly recently, Virtual Reality, may have just been something we associate with gaming headsets, it’s now starting to emerge as a marketing tool too. Virtual and augmented reality has the potential to truly engage target audiences with a product or service, particularly those which are complex or difficult to bring to life through words and images.
- Stay cool in a crisis
It’s on many organisation’s to-do lists year after year, but it is often the one item that always seems to fall off the list all too easily. How we correspond with our customers has increasingly come under the microscope as Twitter has become a quick and accessible root for customers to get a response to an issue. The odd customer complaint over Twitter might not be something you consider to be a crisis, but unless the complaint is taken offline and dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible, then it has the potential to escalate into something far more public and extreme. Learning how to control communication in any kind of crisis from the minor to the major is a must for all organisations.
- Don’t underestimate the power of video
We’ve talked a lot on our blog about the benefits of video as a marketing and PR tool, and it looks like it needs to remain firmly on our list for 2018 too if the statistics in this infographic are anything to go by.
The statistics which particularly caught my eye include: According to Forbes, 75% of business executives claim to watch work-related videos at least once a week. While 70% of B2B marketers agree that video is the most effective medium of driving conversations. And, the Content Marketing Institute claims that adding video to your social mix means audiences are far more likely to engage and share the post.
If video doesn’t yet appear on your marketing plan for 2018, you might want to find a slot for it and soon.
- Who are you trying to reach?
The media has become just one of a set of influencers that businesses are trying to reach these days and it’s important that companies realise the importance of each set of its own influencers. A publication may have a significant readership and be highly regarded in your sector, and there might be an industry thought leader, blogger or influencer who has a small following but each of his/her followers are the exact target audience you need to reach. This year, marketers need to work with their PR teams to identify exactly who they need to target, how to target them and then balance their efforts of reach them accordingly.
- Paid or earned, does it still matter?
PR has always been about earned media opportunities. However, as sponsored content becomes more and more popular as a way to promote a piece of content, the line between paid for and earned media is likely to become blurred. Paid for opportunities have their place and PRs have the opportunity to help their clients ensure they make the most of these pieces of content.
New and exciting opportunities lie ahead for our sector in 2018. What have you got planned for this year?