Public relations is thriving – and evolving in exciting ways. It’s a great time to be in the business.

At its core, our work is unchanging: actively pursuing relationships – shaping them, building them and maintaining them. That will always be front and center. But other aspects of our profession are developing or expanding.

Here are the trends I’m watching:

  1. Demand for data. The push to link PR to overall business objectives continues, pushing us to develop more and more meaningful metrics to measure PR performance and impact on operations. Measurement has always been a challenge for PR practitioners, but it’s finally getting easier. Now we can measure article clicks, sentiment and tone much more easily. For example, we can automatically measure links back to websites to show how our work drives traffic or supports lead generation.
  1. Application of search. Search now plays a critical role in forming PR campaigns. We can use SEO keywords to discover trends, identify potential news items and understand the questions, issues, products and service people are looking for. This makes it faster and easier to target our work to consumer insights.
  1. Optimized press releases. People have been saying that the press release is dead for years. And the truth is, the old version of the release is.  Gone are the days when we wrote a release and expected the media to pick it up. Today’s optimized press release is content – content that enables us to tell our own story and manage our message. Still a great way to update reporters on organizational news, modern releases posted on our own sites support organic and paid search, and create opportunities to link back to additional content in our ecosystem. We can use them as catalysts for identifying issues or events to leverage and serve as the foundational content for larger campaigns involving earned, owned and paid media.
  1. Investment in AI. It’s fun to see how artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to play a role in the industry. For instance, a new tool called SignalAI uses AI to make it easier to track numerous companies, people, events, trends – and analyze that information to support decision-making and inform campaigns. And new AI transcription services such as REV make speech-to-text faster and cheaper – some are even tailored to specialized industry sectors like healthcare or engineering. These tools enhance our skill sets and enable us to deliver better service to our clients so our teams can focus on more strategic pursuits.
  1. Continued value of writing. No matter what, at the end of the day, we all have to write. Whether it’s a tweet, an email, a public statement or back-end website items that influence a reputation, we have to continue to perfect the editorial process. It’s vital.

PR has never been more valuable and more relevant. Responding to these trends empowers us to continue to produce high-quality work that shapes debates, changes behaviors and supports business operations. Investing in building entrusting relationships will always be the best marketing tactic of them all.

Aaron Blank
Aaron Blank
President/CEO, The Fearey Group
Aaron Blank is the current president (2019-20) of PRGN. He is also the president and CEO of The Fearey Group. At age 39, he is the second youngest president in PRGN’s 26-year history. Aaron’s laser sharp focus on quality and innovation has allowed the firm to flourish in present-day, while simultaneously remaining true to its renegade roots. Consistently listed in the top five categories of the largest firms in the Seattle area by the Puget Sound Business Journal, they are a generalist firm specializing in public relations, public affairs, digital media crisis/issues management. The Fearey Group’s overarching mission is to build trusting and enduring relationships – one conversation at a time. The firm takes on the Pacific Northwest’s most fun, exciting, and oftentimes, most challenging projects: more recently, they have skated into the athletic realm, scoring the NHL’s 32nd hockey franchise, NHL Seattle, as a client. Enthralled with this relationship, its team continues to play an integral part in shaping the story of hockey in the Pacific Northwest by working for companies and organizations alongside the hockey franchise, including a youth hockey association and a hospital system that recently helped roll-out the first official team Zamboni. In addition to hockey, the Fearey team works in health care, real estate (AEC industry) and professional services. A true ‘40 under 40’, Aaron started at the agency in 2006 as a senior account executive and worked his way up the ladder before earning the title of CEO and owner in 2014 when the firm’s founder, Patricia Fearey, decided it was time to pass the baton. Since 1981, The Fearey Group has been known for creating and pushing the region forward. It has roots connecting it to the launch of the Seattle Streetcar system while dots connecting it to the launch of the now infamous annual Bumbershoot music festival. Through the years, the firm has won a myriad of awards for its client work and innovative business practices and solutions. Besides NHL Seattle, The Fearey Group is a longtime trusted partner for Humana insurance. It also services tribes, non-profits/foundations, and a growing list of organizations connected to the burgeoning Washington state wine industry (2nd largest in the USA). One of The Fearey Group’s most valuable assets happens to be PRGN itself. In the past several years, its team has worked alongside most of the U.S. agencies to fulfill the diverse needs of clients of all varieties. Find Fearey online at www.feareygroup.com.

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