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The Strategy Room

Ready for the Future of Public Relations Strategy? Shift Your Mindset

By: Emily Wenstrom

There is a regular rotation of public relations trends posts, and they are always eager to tell you what newest tactics you should jump to next—or ignore at your own peril as you fall farther and farther behind the curve.

They’re not wrong, exactly. The trends cited so far for 2019—a storytelling approach, implementing video, AI tools—can help your efforts stand out in a crowded and competitive landscape.

But it’s not enough to implement the latest tactics and call it a day. Staying ahead of the noise to connect with reporters and target audiences is about something bigger.

To stay ahead in the rapidly changing world of PR, you have to shift your mindset.

You can start with these three key foundational principles:

1. Niche is greater than reach.

It’s never been more important to know your audience. The broader our options to connect with audiences becomes, the more noise there is. And, the more content fatigue, too.

Because of this, shouting your organization’s news from the tallest rooftop doesn’t get the job done like it may have in previous eras. Forget getting your message in front of as many people as possible—focus instead on the niche communities who will care about it most. A targeted, trusted voice resonates stronger than a broad, generalized one.

2. Think beyond the newsroom.

The Internet has broken down traditional barriers of many kinds, and this includes the walls that clearly defined what is and is not news, what is and is not a media outlet, what is and is not a platform. From podcasts to blogs to influencers, the modern landscape gives us a plethora of new media.

These new realities have led to an entire generation’s worth of new, nontraditional influencers who pack a ton of power in what they present to their followers, and how. As public relations professionals, shifting our mindset to adjust to these new realities is not just a matter of adapting to the digital age, but to serving our clients well.

3. Integrate, integrate, integrate.

The technologies that drive communications are evolving constantly now—from the social network where we connect to our audiences to the industry tools that support our services, like monitoring and targeting. AI is on the cusp of changing the landscape even more. If you’re not integrating these tools now, you’ve already started to accumulate a technology debt that will be tough to recover from.

But integration isn’t just about technology and tools. As the digital age brings together so many new ways to reach audiences, public relations professionals (and firms) need to be prepared to integrate many more aspects of communication and outreach into their strategic plans and tactics. Outreach works best when everyone is rowing in the same direction.

Trends are fleeting, but mindset is eternal.

Tactics are important. They’re the crucial stepping stones from which we reach our organization’s strategic objectives. And sure, chasing the trends for tactics-level shifts will keep you in constant motion…but it won’t necessarily get your organization anywhere meaningful. Not alone.

For truly compelling, long-term evolution in your organization’s public relations strategy, you need a mindset that is prepared for not just today’s shifting landscape, but tomorrow’s too. With these three core principles in place, you are setting a path for future success.




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