The most important media and PR trends

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Nostradamus. The Amazing Kreskin. John Edward. The Psychic Friends Hotline.

If we want to know the next-generation trends in the media and public relations, we could consult famous prognosticators and psychics via Ouija boards, telekinetic thoughts, emails or laying of hands.  Or we could do it the right way by contacting our friendly neighborhood PR professional.

Reaching out via the spiritual universe, I spoke to some of the best minds in PR today to find out what’s coming next.  Unlike other columns about the future with predictions based on 2016 giving us insights about trends that are already here — People are using social media? No way! — I asked these Seers of Spin to look towards 2018, and beyond.  Many of these PR pros responded directly to me, and others with unique expertise were found on the web.  From Artificial Intelligence to Fake News, content marketing to client communications, here’s what the futurists predict for the communications industry.

Media fragmentation and loss of trust

“Our biggest challenge is info-tribalism and the loss of respect for national media ‘experts.’ Major media has been dealt a million social media blows, and our biggest challenge (and opportunity) is to establish our own credibility on the long tail.” — David Wenger, Director of Communications, McCombs School of Business, @UTAustin

Selling the value of PR

“The biggest issue is that people who work with or use digital marketing or social media marketing thinking it can replace PR. CEOs and CMOs are looking for quick marketing growth hacks and don’t realize that third-party validation and strong press are the only true way to get your company’s story told. PR Pros need to really step up their game when it comes to educating clients or potential clients about this while trying to land more solid results so fewer clients are disappointed and feel like they have to rely on digital marketing to move the needle.”—  Nicole Rodrigues, CEO, @NRPRGroup, Beverly Hills, CA

“In the hyper-competitive marketplace with a PR shop on every corner and young millennials graduating from communications schools hanging out a shingle every day, pressure on fees and deliverables has become tremendous.  We are finding that clients more and more are asking for the same amount of work, at 20% less the budget. The silver lining is that folks that have been around and have long-standing relationships with media and influencers still command top dollar.” — Seth Jacobson, JCI PR, Santa Monica, CA

Paid vs. earned

“One of the issues I’m watching is the blurring of the lines between editorial content and advertising. While the paid placement approach seems to be picking up steam for many reasons, there’s been a debate about whether it’s an opportunity for the PR industry because some resist this change.  As one of the cornerstones of the PR profession is writing and practitioners are already skilled at capturing the client’s voice, it might be viewed as a positive for public relations pros and agencies. However, there are some who believe PR should equal only earned media. That’s where the conflict lies.” — Michelle Garrett, @PRisUs, Columbus, Ohio