We had a great 2016, having delivered some impactful PR programmes for our clients. What’s more exciting for us, and the broader PR industry, is what’s in store this year. Here are our five views (and hopes) on how PR can further grow in importance.

Strategic PR Planning:

Businesses destined to stay ahead of the crowd will work with a strategic PR partner, and be increasingly open to a holistic PR approach. To achieve this, they should consider a partner that is not only robust on the execution, but is closely aligned with the business strategy.  Quick fixes & hits can work in the short-term, but having a strategic view will serve your brand better in the longer term.  The CIPR’s recent ‘State of the Profession’ report which indicated that 70% of agency practitioners now play some role in the business strategy, is a positive.

Messaging Refresh:

Many firms will need to look (or re-look) at how they describe their value proposition, the competitive point to their offer and how they identify and engage with audience-relevant issues. Especially in the B2B and technology world, jargon needs to be binned, as firms work hard to combat the ‘so-what’ factor.  Clearly articulating the vision, value and message for an increasingly time-poor audience will be crucial.

Content Marketing Evolution:

Research from The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found that 66% of marketers expect to increase their budgets and the volume of content marketing in 2016. The winning firms need to get more interactive to appeal. Investigate more photos, video, slideshows, podcasts, infographics to complement the written word.  PR writing skills are not to be neglected, and this needs to be extended from articles, blogs and social media to other marketing disciplines.  PR pros should know the message, and how to write, to make a positive difference.

Better Measurement:

Businesses, quite rightly, want more measurable objectives across their marketing channels. Always a challenging question for PR firms, but we (clients & agencies) need to work together to agree what and how to measure.  The Amec framework (being developed further) is a good start, and enables both parties to plan, monitor and measure results against objectives. It considers all the stages and can show how your audience moves from awareness to interest, preference, action & advocacy.

Closer Partnerships:

This relates to even closer and more fruitful partnerships between brands and agencies (or multiple agencies) that truly understand each other’s goals and motivations. Real listening and empathy have a place here, and will go a long way to ensuring that objectives and thinking are aligned for mutual benefit.  Being polite, humble and kind also goes a long way, but that’s for another day…

Nothing rocket science here (we don’t think) but the challenge is for both parties to focus on the above during the year.

Have a productive and happy 2017!