PR and content: 10 things you need to know in 2016

The constant evolution of media and communications makes tracking the latest developments vital. Head of Content Simon Donohue offers 10 things you need to know about PR and content in 2016

1. The press release is definitely not dead

Far from it, in fact. Press releases remain a valued resource for journalists who are increasingly short of time and reliant on fast access to accurate news and information. In addition, Google values company press releases in search, providing them with prominent search rankings on the basis that companies and organisations are trusted sources of credible information about their own products and services. Most importantly, press releases remain a powerful platform for the initiation of media conversations that can lead to insightful thought leadership articles, in-depth features, and other hard working packages of PR and content. Do not underestimate the power of the press release in 2016.

2. Paid media is a big part of the PR and content mix

Maximising the impact of a client’s marketing budget has always been at the heart of the public relations offering, but traditionally stopped short of booking and paying for an advert. At Intelligent Conversation we’re now routinely planning, managing and executing paid media content strategies for clients, whether that be through traditional print media, boosted social posts, or content marketing platforms offering pinpoint targeting and totally transparent evaluation. In 2016, PR and content agencies will need to offer paid media management, with every click, comment and sale counting towards campaign success.

3. SEO, PR and content are on the same side

Much was made in 2015 of the battle between SEO and content for supremacy. The truth is, SEO is always front and centre in the minds of PR and content specialists like us. We know that websites need to be fast loading and responsive, and that authoritative and original organic content needs to be wrapped around a disciplined key word strategy.

4. But SEO needs content more than content needs SEO

It’s vitally important to get the technical SEO aspects of a PR and content campaign right. More important are the stories that you tell, how you tell them, and who you tell them to. Technical SEO expertise without a narrative is like a well-tuned engine without any fuel. In 2016, good SEO practice will be a given, great content will be a must.

5. Digital PR and content is different

Are we stating the obvious? Not really. Many of the fundamental building blocks of a traditional PR and content campaign are the same for a digital PR campaign. But supporting journalists, bloggers and community managers serving online audiences requires a different approach. Clever headlines are out, click-through targets are de rigueur. Knowing the difference is all important in 2016.

6. Collaboration is king when it comes to PR and content

Digital media has blurred the lines between who does what like never before. Anyone anywhere can do anything. But can they do it in the best possible way? We work with a range of preferred partners who are the experts at what they do and working with them means we get the best results for clients. This partnership working – both between agencies and individuals – is a growing trend, which is why we think collaboration will be king in 2016.

7. Media relations skills still matter

It remains vitally important to work with PR and content professionals who have first class media relations skills. Securing positive coverage in traditional media titles read by millions of people can make a real difference for your brand. So can providing the right story to the appropriate trade or niche title at the right time. As a team of former journalists and PR professionals, we can speak the same language as journalists across the world (literally in some cases), and know how to help them get what they need to do their jobs effectively. We know that media relations skills still matter.

8. Your audience is out there

A bold and challenging free press is a vital component of any democracy. The digital disruption wrought on the media landscape by the internet means that many news outlets are no longer viable in their current form. In their place are numerous emerging platforms serving the exact niche audience you’re looking for. A blogger with an engaged audience is every bit as important as an editor managing an impressive circulation, or the influential head of busy Facebook group.

9. Smart PR and content turns 360 degrees

Communicating with diverse audiences across multiple channels is entirely possible with an effective PR and content strategy. Laying firm foundations at the planning stages is the key to building a rich resource of strategic PR and content collateral that can be sliced and diced, then amplified across the channels you choose when the time is right. 2016 should be the year when you don’t need to start from scratch every time.

10. 2016 is the year you get to own the media

No, really. Of course, building influence and audience through traditional media outlets remains massively important. Increasingly though, customers and clients are more than happy to engage directly with the brands and services they work with. That could mean a more intimate relationship with clients via a news hub on your website, through Facebook, or on LinkedIn. Utilising brand journalism and content marketing techniques as part of a coordinated PR strategy will become increasingly important in 2016. Make sure you grasp the opportunities that present.

Call 0161 212 1616 to talk to Intelligent Conversation about PR and content in 2016.