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Newsletter - Winter 2017

As 2017 draws to a close it’s time to take stock and evaluate the year. Reviewing what was achieved versus your aspirational 2017 plans and looking back on successes and failures. It’s all part and parcel of putting the year to bed.

I might be in the minority here but I actually enjoy this time of the year, exploring what’s possible for the year ahead with the aim of building on your achievements to date and deciding on the future opportunities to be invested in.

However, the process of looking to the future is not as clear-cut as it used to be. The boundaries that define Public Relations have changed beyond recognition in the past 10 years. The ‘blurring of lines’ between agencies, including PR, advertising, digital and marketing, means there is so much more up for grabs with all converging in the content space. This creates challenges in terms of PR’s ability to upskill, expand and react but also great opportunity particularly in the digital space where engaging, brilliant content (the foundation of good PR) dominates.

The PRCA’s Digital Report, which was launched in Bristol last month, showcased some of these opportunities; both those that are being seized by PR and communications professionals and those that are out there for the taking. As an industry, I strongly believe we should be staking our name on digital opportunities where content is a strategic asset. After all, it’s what we’ve been doing in the terrestrial world for decades through earned media so it makes eminent sense for these skills to be transferred to the digital space.

The signs are promising that PR will indeed flourish. For example, agencies have seen a general rise in their use as content-creators with video based content up by 10%, image based content up 5% and text based content up 7% on 2016. However, more ‘traditional’ techniques - Social Influencer Outreach (56%), Digital Crisis Management (51%) and Online Reputation Management (51%) - remain at the heart of what a PR is expected to deliver online.

Upskilling and building our knowledge will play an important part in PR being able to seize these opportunities, whether exploring the place of targeted content offered by AI, deepening our understanding of SEO or being informed about the potential offered by technology and platforms.

I for one am looking forward to what 2018 brings. These are exciting times!