Emerging Trends in Digital PR

by Kieran Harris

PR as a profession is one that continues to flourish and adapt in the face of new technological advances, remaining afloat in a changing digital landscape. Industry professionals are always seeking innovation new ways to ‘break through the noise’ – these are just a few emerging trends that have grown in prominence for achieving success over the last couple of months.

Live Streaming

A key trend that has emerged following the popularity of Snap Chat is live video streaming, which has been quickly adapted by major players Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Through live video, organisations can now directly interact with their consumers in real-time through competitions, live interviews and unboxing videos, in a manner that is cost-efficient and time-effective. This is because content is live and unfolding as viewers are watching, so extra time and resources, for example, don’t have to be utilised through a process of editing. Live video can be an effective tool to use around the launch of a new product to stimulate online conversations and also provide deeper visuals instructions to further educate prospective customers. Customers can be further engaged if they’re encouraged to comment questions for a Q&A or share content in a specific time frame for a chance to win a competition. Its potential as a tool has yet to be fully exploited and increasingly likely that it’ll continue to sky rocket in future.

Visual Storytelling

 With content on our social media feeds becoming increasingly more visually focused, it’s important that the correct compelling images are used to really communicate your message and stand out from the crowd. Visual storytelling is simply what its name suggests, being able to convey a story at a glance through the use of images. The practice of visual storytelling can be incredibly powerful as it’s an opportunity to seize consumer’s attention by connecting with them on a deeper emotional level. Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle Theory reveals that people are engaged on a deeper level when they know why people do things, and visual storytelling works to tap into this aspect of our nature. Visual content can be used to present a particular image that an organisation sees desirable and can also be used to strengthen its reputation by altering public opinion.

Virtual Reality

2016 was the year that really pushed VR technology into the consciousness of the masses with the launch of Microsoft’s Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR for mobile users. The technology and application of VR dreams up endless possibilities for marketers and PR professionals to craft creative and engaging content for their audiences. Imagine, for example, offering your customers virtual experiences like being to try on new clothes, look around hotel rooms or view potential new homes. IKEA has recently toyed with VR to allow users to explore and interact with different designs of kitchens. The app titled IKEA VR Experience launched on mobile devices and Steam back in last April. Earlier we mentioned the power of visual storytelling; with VR it creates a whole dimension to the technique, allowing users to be fully immersed in your content. BI Intelligence Estimates have predicted that VR technology, especially mobile-powered handsets, will continue to rapidly grow over the coming years, highlighting its potential and necessity to be utilised effectively.

Exploiting the Power of Influencers

Influencer marketing has become a key method for organisations to generate attention towards their products. Influencer marketing involves targeting individuals who are widely followed and respected in a particular industry, so that they may generate interest by sharing their insight and opinions. Public relations professionals have come to realise the potential of influencer marketing, as the association with the influencer can enhance the products image and enable it to gain traction online. Not only is it an incredibly subtle method of marketing products, but it’s a great way of enhancing levels of brand trust, as followers will likely value the opinions expressed by influencers. As mentioned by Forbes, influencers covering smaller niche topics provide a strong pull as there is limited saturation within that individual area. Influencer marketing has received some criticism however, as influencers weren’t formerly required to reveal that they had received payment for content.  Last year, the Federal Trade Commission worked to enforce fines and crack down harder on those who failed to announce endorsed content.

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