As the media universe continues to significantly impact lives, business success in the new year ahead means accepting – no, embracing and leveraging – modern marketing practices designed to elevate visibility and increase engagement.  These three PR trends are shaping the PR landscape by helping companies to effectively communicate with their audiences.

Content That Performs

By now, the most effective PR plans include smart content marketing – the delivery of interesting, valuable and potentially viral information through unique channels, including social media, podcasts and blogs.  Savvy marketers know the best strategies blend content creation with content performance.  That is, it’s not enough to simply provide audiences with information that may pique their interest.  When done right, the information ideally spreads.  Newspapers, for example, are increasingly becoming aware of articles that appeal to subscribers – but also have the ability to increase web traffic, social shares and page views.  Editors still want to satisfy their primary objective, which is to deliver newsworthy content.  But, they are increasingly striving to address another primary objective – improving their own performance metrics.  Editors used to wonder if a story would get read.  They now are also concerned with its ability to pull in other readers, spawn comments and generate engagement.  Effective content marketing plans will account for this evolution.

Micro-Influencers: Small but Mighty

Micro-influencers do not have the largest social followings. However, what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality.  A powerful subset of the influencer marketing category, micro-influencers generally have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers.  They are small, but they pack an authentic punch.  They are more niche than they are mainstream.  Their followers may have shunned big-name brands to be more selective, finding trust and credibility in an undersized voice.  The result is a highly engaged audience capable of mass brand enthusiasm.  Companies opting to partner with micro-influencers likely will find them easier and more cost-effective to work with than social giants, but the results can be just as eye-opening.

Trust in the Fake News Era

Whether or not you believe that fake news is rising, or even real, the term itself is now ubiquitous and trust in media is nearing an all-time low.  Some polls have claimed that media is one of the least-trusted institutions.  As such, communication strategies that once safely assumed trust as a given must now account for changing perceptions.  Successful communication plans must focus on establishing a foundation of believability.  As the PR industry works to craft public images, the skepticism brought on by the fake news era cannot be overlooked.  Credibility and authenticity are paramount.  Interestingly, while trust in the media may be compromised, the public desire to trust is still strong.  In fact, some studies suggest that trust in technical experts is on the rise.  More than ever, readers, viewers and listeners want to hear from experienced CEOs, successful entrepreneurs, and proven industry leaders. Creating, honing and sharing expertise is an excellent strategy to help build public trust and boost engagement with audiences, especially as they seek a voice to believe in and embrace.