Top Four Public Relations (PR) Trends

Public Relations 2018

It’s that time of year again where Public Relations (PR) persons will gather to strategize for the next fiscal year. To make this year’s planning different, I will be sharing some strategic ideas, communication trends and international best practices.

If you plan on soaring in the new year, here are some ideas to pay attention to.


Visual storytelling

Last year, many companies spent a chunk of their communication budget on broadcast media alone. We can’t keep paying over GHS 6,000 for TV news coverage when Facebook Live is free, effective and interactive. We can’t pay for a channel or segment our target audience don’t watch, listen to or read. Feel free to disagree though.

Ask yourself this: “are the demographic factors of my target audience in sync with my choice of media platform?” At the end of the day, we as PR practitioners must review what works in our industry and what doesn’t.

The power of video is undeniable. More than 8 billion average daily views and 100 million hours of video are watched every day on Facebook. As PR and business practitioners living in Ghana, I’m not sure we have milked the dawn of video storytelling enough.

I don’t know if you have noticed also that attention span is shortening. People hardly read newspapers from cover to cover. People hardly listen to news from the beginning to end, etc.

Dear PR people, if you are not harnessing the video era, start now. Go to Udemy, Skillshare and the Khan Academy to take free online courses.

         Related: Why I Quit Career Networking and Why You Should Too



Most people at agencies or with a client start off their PR career doing media monitoring and clippings. This necessary evil has become a trend the world over. Because of time and staff constraints, the average PR practitioner monitors for monitoring sake. No trends, patterns, opportunities and the deeper analysis are suggested for planning. I dare say the absence of project/campaign measurement has fuelled the perception that PR doesn’t bring much to the table.

Every year, let the relevant measurement tools and analytics do the talking in our reports. Tools like AMEC Integrated Framework and Google Analytics can help with PR campaign measurement. You can take free webinars on measurement at Ragan’s Measurement for Communicators Conference.

             Related: How My First Note To Self Prepared Me For 2018

Let’s look at more PR measurement tools below:

TrendKite: Trendkite’s PR analysis helps to know PR’s true impact. It does this by measuring impact, enhancing quality coverage, and strategically shaping your approach to PR.

Gorkana: Media database, monitoring and social media analysis

Meltwater: Meltwater offers the largest global media database, ensuring you’ve found all of your media mentions. With intuitive dashboards and one-click reports, it’s easy to demonstrate campaign performance and ROI.

Newsmeter: Newsmeter is an online global news tracker service with an award-winning indexing technology. Our platform traces all the global news resources around the world continuously. Our platform has the capability to gather all published news together and generates detailed reports on topics that interest you by analyzing these news articles.

Talkwalker: Protect, measure and optimize the impact of your brand communication with our leading social listening and analytics suite

Hootsuite: Manage all your social media in one place. From finding prospects to serving customers,
Hootsuite helps you do more with your social media.

TweetReach: Monitor all the topics and profiles important to you on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Improve your social media strategy and execution across social media with Union Metrics.

               Related: Five Most Abused News Headlines in Ghana


Must-Have Tools/Software

Departments like Marketing, Finance, Operations, etc. have always questioned how the PR budget is used. Some practitioners are not able to justify in detail how a campaign’s performance is linked to ROI. In an era of Artificial Intelligence (AI), PR divisions must invest in platforms that provide value and analysis on projects.

Cision: The award-winning Cision software brings together the elements you need to engage the right influencers, get coverage, achieve measurable results and manage your campaigns. Cision circulates media stories globally and with so much convenience. Hence there’s no need to bother media cabal here in Ghana to publish your stories for you; the system does the distribution for you.

Trello: Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way.

Mention: Mention monitors millions of sources in 42 languages, helping you stay on top of all brand mentions. It monitors social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or any web page. The app lets you keep track of your team’s actions, shares alerts and assigns tasks. Generating reports and exporting mentions can help you get a snapshot of your mentions by source or language over a selected period of time.


Worldwide PR Conferences

If you are looking to attend PR conferences, submit a proposal to speak, or get an award, scroll down. The list covers most prestigious PR events, juicy training programs and the likes.

PRWeek Awards: PRWeek Awards celebrates the best of the best corporate, agency, nonprofit, etc. and the work they produced during the entry period. Within its 19 years of existence, only 39 trophies are awarded each year.

African Public Relations Association (APRA): The 30th edition of the annual APRA conference is themed “Re-PResenting Africa”. The conference will consist of plenary sessions, workshops and trending case studies. It will continue the quest to change Africa’s narrative by further defining strategies for driving such change. Emphasis will be on storytelling as a tool of public relations.   Date: May 9-11       Location: Gaborone, Republic of Botswana

International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) World Conference: The IABC World Conference is a long-standing, global professional development event that typically draws 1,000 to 1,200 attendees from around the world. Dates: June 3-6 Location: Montreal, Quebec

Arthur Page Society Annual Conference

PR Society of America (PRSA) International Conference

Related: Social Media: Send to 20 People Dey Bore


Bonus Points

  • Further your education
  • Join a local or international PR body and partake seriously
  • Earn your space in your company, PR industry and in the corporate world
  • Carve a social media voice
  • Invest in relevant apps and training worldwide
  • Access quality and high-resolution images on Pixabay, Flickr, Freepik and other free platforms.


Over To You

What are you looking forward to learning more about in 2018? I’d love to hear about what new skills, training, services that weren’t captured in this piece.

#PublicRelations #Communications #TeamPR #PRrevolution #ReinventingYourself #BetterVersionOfYou

Story By Paa Kwesi Forson

Paa Kwesi is a PR practitioner with one of Ghana’s finest PR agencies, Global Media Alliance Connect with him on LinkedIn @paakwesiforson.

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