2018 is quickly coming to an end, and I for one, can officially say that I’m in the holiday spirit! Toward the end of each year, I like to spend time reflecting and revisiting the previous year’s hot topics and trends, identifying lessons learned and looking ahead on what’s to come in the new year, especially as it pertains to the future of PR.

As I look back on 2018, one thing is for sure – a lot has happened this year from a PR and marketing perspective, and there’s even more excitement on the horizon as we continue improving the industry. Let’s reflect.

PR Is Measurable

For years, clients and agencies both have wholeheartedly agreed that agencies need to better prove the impact of their work through measurement. In 2018 in particular, PR practitioners were challenged to better showcase ROI gained from specific initiatives. With this in mind, our team recently collaborated to determine how to more effectively create compelling content that results in a qualified lead. Moving forward, having tangible metrics like this won’t just be “good to have” – they will be a “make it” or “break it” consideration for retaining and landing clients. This is especially crucial today considering over the past year, agencies’ approval of their agency/client relationship has fallen from 70 percent to 53 percent.

PR Is Integrated and Collaborative

PR professionals have argued for years that PR is not marketing and should not be held to marketing or sales goals. In 2018, however, PR was challenged to fight for a seat at the table, but there is still a way to go. According to the Communications Bellwether Survey, only 60 percent of the companies surveyed had made significant strides towards fully integrating their PR and marketing functions. Given that our industry still struggles to prove its value, as mentioned above, it’s important for PR to have the same goals as the rest of the company – goals that are tied to the success of all teams (including finance, IT, sales, marketing, etc.), and that allow for all communications from various departments to be coordinated. In 2019, agencies should feel encouraged and inspired to collaborate with other teams and departments, aligning strategies and tactics that will better impact the organization’s bottom line.

PR Is Newsworthy and Impactful

Media relations is just as much an important part of PR today as it has been in the past. But, we must continue to showcase the value and worth of these news articles, reporting on more than just impressions. As such, it’s critical to not just make the news, but also measure and report on its impact. This means for each media placement secured, PR practitioners must provide valuable metrics, providing insights on not just how many people saw the company’s top-tier headline, but how many users actually went and visited the website because of it, how many top keywords were included, the impact the placement had on the sales funnel, and much more.

Today, PR and marketing budgets now comprise 11 percent of a company’s total budget, up slightly from 2012. As such, it’s crucial for teams to make news that generates leads and conversions like never before. For more on how ARPR makes this happen for our tech clients, check out our unique approach and capabilities here. The future of our industry depends on it.

As ARPR’s health IT account director, Cortney brings her strategic vision, media relations chops and hunger to the forefront to PRopel What's Possible for all of her clients.

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