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2019 PRedictions: Proper PR will prosper

This blog is part of our PRedictions series, a collection of posts from PR and communications leaders offering insights, advice, and opinions on how our industry can grow in 2019. To view our full list of 2019 PRedictions, click here. Lee Benecke, Head Of Digital Engagement, Wavemaker Manchester predicts: 


2018 has been a reset year. Although not shy of innovation, the story of the past 12 months has undoubtedly been one driven by data misuse, fake news, and the much-needed uprising of key groups speaking out against a broken system both online and offline. It’s been tough.

However, with a ‘New Year, New You’ mentality comes aspirations, hopes and – for us marketing folk – predictions. For a PR industry in constant flux, that’s not an easy task. New technologies, services and ways of thinking will continue to challenge everyone in the coming year but the foundations are there and here’s a handful of headlines that I think will grab our attention in 2019.

The Press Release Is Dead, Long Live The Press Release

Nothing truly dies in marketing but I think 2019 might see the press release finally croak. I just can’t see how a text-based long-form document can live as the cornerstone of PR any longer. 2019 will see the continued crusade for an alternative with short-form text, video, interactives, and more being lined up to grab attention in the inbox, but what will win? Nothing, but our arsenal of outreach tools will increase tenfold.

Only Positive Practitioners Need Apply

PR has always been people-based (in your shiny faces Bots) and we’re going to need the industry’s most forward-thinking folk to step forward. This isn’t a year to pivot PR towards social or influencer or any other game of buzzword bingo, it’s a time for good PR people to challenge each other to rid us of fluff, to work under the new world of newsbrands and the digital ecosystems that exist around our favourite titles, and finally acknowledge that if PRs can infiltrate digital then digital can do so right back and the best PR people of 2019 might even be… dum dum dum… broader digital marketers.

Proper PR will Prosper

And that will see us through to ‘Proper PR’ and I say ‘proper’ with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Proper does not mean traditional. Proper PR will see the medium finally elevated to 2019 standards through the combination of classic skills - storytelling and media relations - and innovative insight-led content marketing with actionable KPIs attached that move the dial for clients. If you’re reading that saying ‘that is what I do’ then I hope that’s true because I believe it’s going to become the only way to do PR and traditionalists peddling old school thinking won’t see 2020.