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2018: Sticking to it

Congratulations on making it! The drought of Dryuary is over, feel free to raise a glass and continue on your merry way. It was tough though, right? Changing the habit of a lifetime isn’t a molehill-sized task, and you certainly can’t climb a mountain on your own.

It can be easy to get lost in the ‘New Year, new you’ mentality. This mindset quite often sets goals that are all too ambitious, resulting in failure. If you’re still looking for a resolution that will stick, the PRCA’s 18 for ‘18 should offer plenty to get you started.

Although it should be said that these are not rules to live by, but rather points to consider as we navigate our way through a changing media landscape. With both GDPR and Scottish lobbying regulations coming into force in early 2018, communicators have lots to get their heads around.

But don’t be scared by the law, it is the cultural and technology driven changes you should resolve to deal with as these require much more of your attention. As discussed on this blog before, today’s PR practitioners can no longer just be press officers. Every member of the team should be digital savvy – the real PR challenge for 2018 is another raft of digital innovations either coming our way or getting ready to go mainstream.

Generation X’ers may have already grasped the social media keyboard with both hands, but how many agency and in-house colleagues simply leave it to the young ‘uns? It should be our role as next generation practitioners to ensure we’re up to speed, equipped with the necessary skills, and pulling our colleagues along for the ride.

Let’s take a look at some of the recommendations on the PRCA’s list: artificial intelligence; datanation; sensory immersion; becoming social; story time; social media abuse; misinformation; integrated comms; and GDPR. Are you plugged into the theme here? At least half of the recommendations take on a digital dimension. The future is #digital, and knowing how to hashtag just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

However, the disconnect between 2018’s recommendations and last year’s PRCA Digital PR and Comms report should worry even the most cool young practitioner. The report revealed the largest budget cuts fell on digital training, social media monitoring, and web development. Both in-house and agency teams appeared to shun major networks, with the number of Snapchat and Instagram campaigns taking a tumble. Practitioners even appeared scared of these new channels, with ‘fear of attack from campaigners’ cited as a major reason for not using digital media.

Compare and contrast with our 18 for ’18, and we uncover a gap in understanding. We should be deploying intensive social media monitoring, tackling and rebuffing online misinformation and using new functions to create our narrative. All of this requires constant upskilling of our digital know-how. It is now the time to ask ourselves - will we be left behind this year, or are we ready to embrace the new world of digital?

Some may scoff and say industry leaders have been foreseeing the digital revolution for years, perhaps decades. But just like that January detox, the uptake of digital is not a one time pick-up, it is an ever-evolving behemoth which requires communicators to have their fingers on the digital pulse.  


Worried you’ll fall off the digital bandwagon? Check out the rolling schedule of PRCA training courses and keep an eye out for NextGen networking opportunities. These are a great chance to catch up with industry colleagues and learn how to put ideas into practice – no resolutions required.