Public relations

PR predictions for 2020

Written by Sarah Taylor, Pippa Cranham and Claire Slobodian

15 January 2020


2020 is already off to a news-heavy start. So, how will PR adapt and cut through the noise in the coming 12 months? To make sense of the changes in the landscape this year, our public relations experts have made five top predictions for PR in 2020. Our forecasts cover social media, new forms of content, on-going news stories and changes in strategy.

Our PR predictions and forecasts for 2020

We will see the declining power of Insta influencers

Instagram’s new system of removing likes – apparently so that people feel ‘less pressure’ around the content they post – will mean engaging influencers on this channel will decline. Without that metric, clients will struggle to see the value and engagement of specific posts.

That means they will turn their focus to other, newer, social channels, and perhaps move back to ‘good old-fashioned media relations’. This will put the onus on agencies to deliver more with traditional methods (i.e. press releases) and also to monitor the resulting upturn in other channels (primarily Facebook, or possibly TikTok – see below).

What’s more, we expect to see increasing scepticism among followers around the value of influencer content. Therefore, our PR prediction is a growing resistance to ‘manipulation’ will rise, from both companies and followers.

Image: Getty

Brands will embrace TikTok

Things move fast in the world of social media and Snapchat is already outdated for many young users. Now, TikTok, the viral video-based social app, is the platform where Generation Z really live. As they try to reach this generation of shoppers, organisations as diverse as Guess Jeans and the United Nations have already planted their flag on the platform.

Even media is in on the game – The Washington Post was an early TikTok adopter with its bonkers ‘life in the newsroom’ clips. In the year ahead, it’s only a matter of time before more big company names follow suit. Whether this new brand content will be of execs lip syncing and dancing to Lizzo – we can’t really comment!

Podcasts will continue to grow

In 2020 will see a continued rise in the dominance of podcasts, and brands will start using them more with clients for message delivery and coverage. This could be in the form of creating their own, or participating in established ones, to position themselves as industry authorities.

Brexit fatigue will set in with media

Brexit is definitely going to keep hampering coverage efforts, especially when it comes to the national media. As a result, clients will try even more desperately to create a news hook to get a share of voice on the topic. This calls for a more consultative approach to creating compelling stories that distract journalists from their ongoing ‘Brexit fatigue’.

Data has a better idea

PR will become more data-focused

Our access to insightful data has never been greater. We are increasingly seeing marketing managers measured on leads and ROI from their PR campaigns. This growth in demand for data insights will lead to a greater focus on accurate and immediate analytics in 2020, to track campaign success and opportunities.

SEO and digital marketing will also become a growing focus for PR agencies, as brands look to grow leads through owned channels. Many journalists also now have SEO targets to encourage traffic to their media websites. This means well-optimised content is likely to stand out at the pitch stage.

Want to find out more about shaping your PR priorities in 2020? Get in touch with our public relations experts.