2017: Preparing for Industry Change

The saying goes “the only constant is change” – and here at Affect, our team is gearing up for the New Year and all the changes it will bring to our industry.  Our executive team –  Sandra Fathi, President; Melissa Baratta, Senior Vice President, Healthcare Practice Lead; Katie Creaser, Senior Vice President; and Brittany Bevacqua, Vice President, have shared predictions for B2B public relations and social media in 2017.

  1. Content marketing becomes content creation for coverage.  A 40% decrease in the number of reporters over the last decade, according to the American Society of News Editors’ (ASNE) annual census, means there simply are not as many reporters to write about the companies PR professionals are pitching. “We are seeing more and more contributed content penned by corporate executives, PR professionals or industry experts in order to supplement the lack of journalists on staff,” said Sandra Fathi.  In 2017, B2B professionals can expect to spend a lot more time writing and staying up-to-the-minute informed of the latest industry developments.
  1. Decline of social media importance for non-consumer businesses.  Affect predicts diminishing interest and diminishing returns for B2B businesses on social media, as the landscape is further fragmented and the focus on measuring ROI increases.  “There are the staples- much like a company website- where you have to have a digital presence.  These include LinkedIn and Twitter for business and Facebook, however many businesses are pulling back from Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and other sites.  Although target audiences may be utilizing these social media platforms, they don’t necessarily want to be interrupted with business conversations- it’s the modern day equivalent of the cold-caller interrupting dinnertime,” added Sandra.
  1. Video is no longer optional.  The human attention span is now less than that of a gold fish, just 8 seconds, according to a recent Microsoft study.  “Research also shows that the majority of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video, and nearly 60% of B2B audiences prefer to watch videos instead of reading text,” said Melissa Baratta.  “In order to really grab their audience’s attention and keep it, marketers will look to use videos as a powerful storytelling medium, infusing them with emotion, humor, and strong narrative arcs that compel their audience to take action.”
  1. Sponsored content earns a critical place in B2B PR Strategies.  “B2B companies have traditionally placed emphasis on earned media, but with fewer reporters, shrinking newsrooms, and increasing consolidated high-profile publications, paid placements will gain greater place within overall communications strategies to guarantee coverage in sought-after media outlets and ensure a company’s messages reach wider audiences,” said Brittany Bevacqua.
  1. Shortening News Cycle Makes Pitching More Complicated.  The Washington Post alone publishes upwards of 1,200 stories, graphics and visuals every day, with the editorial staff responsible for at least 500 of those stories.  What does that mean for pitching?  “Savvy PR pros will learn to move more quickly- leaning heavily on Story Hijacking™ and Trend Intervention™- to provide reporters with critical quotes and sound bytes from qualified sources as fast as news breaks.  When it comes to rapid response, the cream rises to the top – brands will build strong relationships with reporters only if they consistently provide meaningful commentary, data and opinion,” said Katie Creaser.

What are your industry predictions for 2017? How can brands rise to the challenge?

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