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PR Poker: Element’s Experts Place Their Bets for 2018

Hello, it’s your favorite furry friend here, Canuck the Moosey Mascot, and today I’m on location in none other than our Neenah office. Back in December, you tuned in as our team duked it out over the divisive topic of hashtags. Today, our public relations pros are going gambling and playing a round of PR poker to decide the best and biggest industry trend for 2018.

Before we find out who has an ace in the hole, let’s meet our resident card sharks.

element public relations team

The cards are dealt, so here we go!

Tara is first to toss out her chips and is betting big on connecting earned media and its ROI to integrated marketing campaigns:

“It’s time to go big or go home. In 2018, we will see more marketers looking to integrate earned media strategies into their performance marketing and demand generation goals. For many years, earned media was viewed solely by marketers as a brand awareness tactic. However, because of its power to influence a potential buyer, savvy marketers are shifting spending from traditional paid advertising into earned media efforts. According to a recent survey conducted by Demand Gen Report, nearly 61% of B2B marketers said they have expanded their use of earned media as a part of their overall demand generation efforts.

While this is good news for public relations professionals who are experts at identifying influencers for earned media opportunities, the challenge lies with measuring the financial impact of these efforts. Traditionally, public relations professionals have struggled to communicate their value to the C-suite and, as we continue to integrate earned media strategies into performance-based marketing campaigns, the emphasis on measurement and ROI becomes even more important. I’m betting that in 2018, public relations and digital marketing professionals will be challenged to think beyond vanity metrics such as page views and likes/shares and look deeper into how earned media efforts tie to business goals and drive leads into the sales funnel.”

Tara’s poker face is hard to read and her bold approach could pay off. However, Becca’s upping the ante as she doubles down on the importance of thought leadership:

“Tara’s got a point, connecting earned media with a brand’s bottom line is big deal. But, without tangible results to measure, what’s the point? I bet thought leadership and contributed articles will be king in 2018. Media outlets and publications are a lot like PR pros: always on a tight timeline and, quite often, on a tight budget. With shrinking staffs, editors are on the lookout for quality content at little or no cost to them. This offers big opportunities for us as public relations professionals to help our clients become contributors for these outlets and provide meaningful thought leadership pieces.

Whether you’re working in the B2B or B2C realm, contributed articles are an excellent opportunity to tap into your pool of subject matter experts and leverage their immense knowledge base, while also increasing your organization’s brand awareness. In 2018, we will continue to secure these opportunities for our clients and also explore ways to improve and extend our relationships with editors and media outlets. Thought leadership articles also present a great chance to learn more about subject matter experts and any additional topics they can speak to.”

Becca looks cool, calm, collected, and far from folding, but Chloe is calling her bluff and raising the stakes with changing channels for editor communications:

“I get what Becca’s saying, but you can’t land a thought leadership article without understanding editors and building reporter relationships. So, I’m betting big on the evolution of editor communications. Reporters are constantly on the go, many working different hours than the average professional. That means, as PR pros, we have to be available at all times.

Over the last year, I’ve noticed the communication styles of reporters and editors have evolved to more short form ways of communication, such as through texting or Twitter – which is where a majority of my PR communication happens these days! We plan to use what we’ve learned about preferred methods of communication in 2018 to continue to strengthen our relationships with the media. At the end of the day, we want to make it as easy as possible for them to work with us!”

Chloe’s card counting just might pay off, but Kayla’s coming in confident and cashing in on the continued rise of influencer marketing:

“Sure, traditional PR is here to stay, but influencer marketing is a super-hot trend that isn’t about to slow down in 2018. According to a study by TapInfluence, influencer marketing content delivers 11 times higher ROI than traditional forms of digital media *cough* Tara *cough*. It will be interesting to see how influencer marketing grows beyond mommy blogs and into more contemporary social media streams.

I’m betting that vlogging will become a more mainstream way for brands to share products and services through influencers in 2018. Vlogs posted on YouTube often show the influencer going through their daily lives, sharing products they receive, or going on brand-sponsored trips, just to name a few. These are great opportunities for brands to grow name and product recognition and help gain new customers. I know I personally can be persuaded to buy or try a product just through seeing it used or unboxed in a vlog, so I think it will continue to become an easy way for brands to reach the public’s eyes and wish lists.”

Who will win, you ask? Only time will tell.

No matter who takes the hand, working with Element’s PR team is definitely a safe bet. They know when to hold them, when to fold them, when to walk away, and when to run. (cue Kenny Rogers)

With low risk and high reward, the odds are definitely in your brand’s favor. So, you in?


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