Thought Leaders on What to Expect in PR in 2016: Story and Content


What should we expect for PR in 2016? We asked top industry thought leaders for their thoughts.

Three powerful themes emerged from their responses:
Scope and Breadth (Click link for insights)
Science, Data and Analytics (Click link for insights)
Story and Content (Insights below)

On story, content, and channels, Michael Brenner of Marketing Insider Group points to the power of storytelling, Mark Schaefer of Schaefer Marketing Solutions says we need to focus on content, Lars Voedisch from PRecious Communications explores how content marketing and story telling can bring results, while Trevor Young looks to the potential of video live-streaming.

Read the insights on story and content from these top thought leaders below.

I expect the PR industry in 2016 will shift to helping brands tell their stories in the classic tradition on storytelling. Great stories have heroes who overcome a challenge and find surprising things about themselves along the way. The hero of the stories brands tell needs to be their customers. And PR pros will continue to focus on classic storytelling techniques in 2016.

Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group
Follow on Twitter: @BrennerMichael

There is one mega-trend affecting every PR person on the planet: Rising above the tidal wave of information density to stand out. And this is a problem that is expected to get much, much worse. The amount of information on the web is expected to increase by 400% in the next four years. This trend will impact budgets, strategies, content/platform innovations and the skillsets needed to succeed now and in the future. How do we win in this environment? By focusing beyond content, beyond the message, to concentrate on who and how the message is getting shared.

Mark W. Schaefer,Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions and author of The Content Code
Follow on Twitter: @markwschaefer

The hot topics for 2016 are content marketing and story telling – in my opinion not new topics though, rather a new context of discussing them from a PR perspective and trying to label them.

PR’s job has always been to influence different audiences’ perception of brands, people or topics. And the arsenal of communications methods has always gone beyond the different iterations of the press release. Combinations of white paper, opinion pieces, blog posts or editorial contributions are at the centre of content and story telling – just that finally we look at it from a more strategic approach of the core story to bring across and then packaging them into different formats and pushing them through different channels across earned, shared and paid including third party services like e.g. Outbrain.

But for PR to keep its hands in the game and fend off marketing – it has to look at the ROI from those activities. For the longest time PR wanted nearly frantically to not be associated with sales results. Those artificial wars have to be over – we’ve to look into linking efforts not only to outputs, but outcomes: Do our activities drive traffic, conversion or perception changes.

Real strategic PR will use stories and content from a holistic perspective and link it to a wider sales funnel approachl – at which points of a customers or audience conversation can we influence behaviour and trigger perception changes, if not even actions!

Content is only as effective as the results it can provide.

Lars Voedisch, Managing Director, PRecious Communications
Follow on Twitter: @larsv

I’m bullish on video live-streaming. I think it has tremendous application for PR and comms folk, especially around humanising organisations and putting a sense of urgency back into our communications. THINK: Periscope, Meerkat – and we’ve just seen the launch of MeVee, which has some extra benefits – this, from @MeVeeApp on Twitter to me the other day: “we have ad revenue sharing opportunities, streams don’t disappear … anyone can view the streams, you can share streams to any social media channel”. And I think has tremendous potential. Hopefully as an industry we can start embracing these new social formats.

Trevor Young, Founder and Chief, PR Warrior
Follow on Twitter: @trevoryoung