Top tips for PR & digital marketing in 2019

Another year has flown by and we’re now at the start of 2019 (where did 2018 go…?).

Another year has flown by and we’re now at the start of 2019 (where did 2018 go…?).

So, it’s that time again to look back over the past year and reflect on what we can expect for PR, digital marketing and communications over the next 12 months, with some helpful tips for the year ahead.


During 2018 several big brands unexpectedly found themselves at the centre of a reputational crisis, from KFC and its chicken shortage to United Airlines dragging a passenger off a plane, while Facebook faced intense scrutiny over its handling of user data.


We can certainly learn lessons from how each of these organisations handled their challenge. Meanwhile, many businesses from large to small faced their own challenges with the introduction of GDPR which fundamentally changed email marketing.


Trends to look out for in 2019 include:


  1. The continued evolution of the ‘traditional’ media landscape
  2. Many brands will remain unprepared for a reputational crisis
  3. News of Facebook’s death will continue to be greatly exaggerated
  4. ‘Ok Google, what’s in the news today?’


    1. The continued evolution of the ‘traditional’ media landscape


It’s been another tough year for local newspapers with many struggling to keep afloat due to declining readership and advertising revenues. However, don’t underestimate their continued importance as a channel for getting your messages out.

With all the talk of ‘fake news’ and ‘half-truths’, local papers remain a trusted source of information by the general public. But, with journalists increasingly strapped for time, you will need to clearly and concisely highlight the potential local interest in your story and build trusted relationships with your contacts to maximise opportunities.

Many publications (including the EADT here in Suffolk) are also taking a ‘digital first’ approach, moving more towards online content to combat declining print sales. This means press releases sent to media need to be optimised for online use and integrated with your SEO. Media outlets are also increasingly looking for video content to support their stories.


      1. Many brands will remain unprepared for a reputational crisis


A reputational crisis can happen at any time and come from the most unexpected of places. The old saying goes ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ and as we’ve seen with the recent alleged drone incidents over Gatwick and Heathrow airport, poor communication can do immense damage.

Smaller companies are not immune to a PR crisis, particularly with the public having instant access to social media to share concerns. Consumers are also taking more notice of the ethical side of the brands they engage with (for example their environmental impact with plastic packaging) so it’s important to understand and address these concerns to protect and enhance your reputation.

So, if you haven’t already, 2019 is definitely the year to develop or update your PR and crisis management strategies. You need to know how you will manage the media and social media if/when the worst happens.


      1. News of Facebook’s death will continue to be greatly exaggerated


There’s no denying that 2018 was a tough year for Facebook. In fact, it’s hard to recount a company facing such continued pressure on a variety of fronts (data protection, security, accusations of bias, undercover investigations into how they moderate content etc).


However, with well over a billion users, Facebook is a key communication channel for any business looking to grow its online presence. 2019 will see an even greater focus on local community groups and a need to invest in strategic and targeted Facebook advertising to stay ahead of your competitors.


      1. ‘Ok Google, what’s in the news today?’


2018 saw a huge boost in the uptake of personal assistants (Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and Apple’s Siri) and this trend is expected to continue in 2019 as more features are added and the systems become more advanced.


With consumers increasingly ordering products or searching for information on the internet by voice, brands will need to adapt their marketing strategies to take advantage of this.


It won’t be long before we reach the end of another year and reflect back on this blog post. So, in the meantime, let us know your thoughts about what you expect in 2019 or get in touch with us to talk about how we can support you.

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PLMR’s crisis communications experience is second to none, and includes pre-emptive and reactive work across traditional and social media channels. We work with a range of organisations to offer critical communication support when they are faced with difficult and challenging scenarios.