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January 10, 2019

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PR Trends We Want to See in 2019

The new year has begun and we’re feeling refreshed and optimistic for things to come. With goal-setting and self-improvement on the brain, we’ve made a list of resolutions that PR professionals should consider for 2019:

Better tracking metrics for podcasts. 

We love podcasts. After years of being touted by the industry as “the next big thing,” podcasts are now more popular than ever. Because of the niche nature of the medium, we love being able to set up interviews for our clients with reputable podcasts because it means you’re reaching a very specific target audience, and you’re likely able to have a great in-depth conversation about what you are promoting.

The issue with podcasts, however, is that there is very little information available to publicists and marketing professionals when it comes to tracking and metrics. TV, radio, and r online news outlets have a plethora of statistics about their performance as well as ways to access that information, including third-party media rating systems. Despite the spike in popularity, there seems to be no consistent or readily accessible way to review statistics for podcasts, other than the information that the producers are willing to share with you directly. Ideally, we could measure the reach of podcasts through metrics like total subscriber number, episode-specific listener count, user rating. Of course, these stats would have to be consolidated from all streaming services and sources that the podcast is available on, and account for potential radio playbacks and supporting website and online materials as well… It’s a big job to undertake but hopefully, we start seeing more transparency and standardization here soon.

Giving radio a comeback.

While there tends to be a widespread belief that radio listenership is shrinking, a recent report by Deloitte predicts that young Canadians may soon be spending more time listening to radio than watching traditional broadcast television. The report revealed that Canadians are listening to the radio just as much as they were 10 years ago, while television audiences are dropping off at a much faster rate. PR and marketing professionals take note! This medium is resilient in the face of streaming services and should never be overlooked when building your strategy.

A focus on Canadian Content.

As a Canadian PR firm that focuses on Canadian content, we may be biased, but we think that there should and will be a lot more pride and spotlight on the talent coming out of our own country. While still considered a rising star in the eyes of international media, Canada has made some huge jumps forward into the international market over the past few years in terms of film, television, and entertainment. We’ve got actors and musicians on the A-list, our original CBC series are getting critical acclaim internationally, and our studios, cities, landscapes have become a standard backdrop to some of the biggest blockbusters out there.

We think it’s time that we show a little more pride in how much Canada provides to the industry on an international scale. A major shift is coming to the way that we define Canadian content and recognize Canadian talent that work both within and outside of our borders. We’ve got a few projects up our sleeves with some amazing Canadian content producers and ambassadors for the coming year that we think will help… Stay tuned!

Better media literacy and transparency.

“Fake news” has been a thing long before it had specific connotations to politics. Social sharing has made it easy to share and find misinformation. Now, with the continued rise of advertorial, lines are blurred even further. Media literacy is more important than ever, and should continue to be a topic of discussion in schools and in our industry. In 2018, we saw Facebook and Instagram make an example by enforcing a stricter policy on labeling sponsored content and paid partnerships. It’s a step in the right direction. As content consumers, it’s also important for us to be aware of how and why content was generated, and to not take everything at face value. As PR professionals and journalists that develop content like this, it’s even more important to be transparent about the messages, people, and products that we promote.

Live/public events as publicity.

As much as it made the major intersection next to our office crazy to navigate, we actually do miss the days of Much Music Live, when crowds would gather outside of the Queen St. storefront window to get a glimpse of the band that was playing or the celebrity being interviewed. The MMVAs telecast still shuts down the block every year, but we miss those smaller scale day-to-day events that added to the vibrancy of the city.

With the ongoing trend of high-profile pop-up shops and temporary art installations drawing huge crowds in-person, and amassing a viral viewership online, we expect that we may see a return to public and live events presented by broadcasters as part of PR campaigns. What better way to draw young audiences than with a limited-time, totally instagrammable, in-person experience, guaranteed to induce FOMO from online followers? Creative promotional events can be some of the most fun projects for a publicist the work on. It keeps us engaged with local communities and creative when planning campaigns. At best, we hope that pop-ups and events like these can continue to help build the character and community in our cities and cultural landmarks.

Working in the fast-paced world of PR means every time the Earth circles the sun, there are new trends to keep an eye on, big changes in technology that affect the way we work, and huge cultural shifts and events that impact the way we tell stories. 2019 is here and we’re expecting to see some big and positive changes. Fingers crossed that the industry can keep up with this “new year, new you” energy!

Touchwood PR is a full service publicity agency that specializes in arts and entertainment. Reach out to us about publicity, promotions, sponsorship, event planning, social media and more. 


PR, Touchwood PR