2020 predictions for the PR industry


30th January 2020


Leigh-Ann Hewer

Reading time

4 minutes

I know, I know – we’re already a month into 2020 and I’m only just putting my predictions out there! Seeing as January has about 385602873 days, I thought I’d have time. But, it turns out, January is also an insanely busy time for Carnsight Communications.

It’s actually been great to keep my thoughts in the back of mind and see if any of them were put in practice in the industry in the first month of the year. Anyway, Happy New Year! I hope, wherever you are and whatever you do, it’s a good one. Here are my predictions for what the PR industry has in store.

Prediction 1. Flexible working

Not necessarily a brand new topic but definitely something we’re going to continue. We’ve got a quote in the office: “It’s PR, not ER” and this reminds us that no matter what happens, work is work and life is life, the two work together harmoniously (in theory).

We worked hard in 2019 to ensure that our 4-day working week policy was well embedded in Carnsight Communications’ ethos and we will continue to do so.

I find it hard to believe that others in the industry won’t start to follow suit; if not necessarily 4-day weeks other types of flexible working. One of our clients champions the 9-day working fortnight, for example. Not only will it add variety to many offices but it will help with burnout and stress-related illness.

Prediction 2. Influencers and PRs

2019 threw some weird curveballs our way in terms of influencers and influencer marketing. The one that springs to my head almost immediately is Moon Rock-gate; a number of influencers received a package, advertised as Moon Rock from a YouTuber, asking them to promote this fantastically, magical item. Unbeknownst to them, the product they were so graciously selling was gravel.

Relevant influencers with an organic following and a real belief in what they promote will be on the top of PR’s list this year – especially in the face of Instagram likes potentially disappearing. Genuine is the buzzword of 2020.

“Genuine is the buzzword of 2020”

Prediction 3. AI and PR won’t mix as much as we thought

AI is huge; it’s everywhere and it’s on everyone’s minds. I saw so many articles last year discussing how PR and AI can, and will one day, work in tandem perfectly. One of which I thoroughly enjoyed was from Meltwater; the piece highlighted how niche areas could benefit from AI such as crisis comms and media coverage. Whilst the quantitive side of PR will more than likely one day be taken over by such technology, the beauty of PR is it’s qualitative side.

The people in PR are what make PR. No matter how intelligent the robot or how fast-paced the technology, nothing will ever replace those human connections between agency and client. The  joy of sitting down and brainstorming how to fulfil a brief or working together on a double-page spread. And person-to-person relationships between PR and journalist are paramount. When that changes, we can no longer call PR, PR.

Prediction 4. Broadcast media will surge in all its forms

Whilst a lot of people still appreciate the wonders of print media (including us – just have a look at our bulging magazine rack), online media is at the top of many clients’ lists. However, what we may see a lot more of in 2020 is a growing desire to work with newer channels including video and podcasts.

Video is the ever-growing medium which is seeing incredible engagement rates. A one or two minute video can generate 100s of likes within minutes. It’s also an accessible form of content for all. In 2019, 68.3% of the population engaged with digital video content and this figure is only going to go up.

Similarly radio, whilst seemingly a more traditional medium, has seen listeners rise dramatically (doubling!) in the past five years. In 2019 1 in 8 people tuned in. We’ve enjoyed placing clients as podcast and radio guests this year and the traction has been incredible.

“On average, regular podcast users listen to around seven podcasts each week”- Ofcom.org.uk

Whatever happens this year, one thing is for certain – PR will continue to evolve and adapt to the needs of its workers and its audience. To all of us in the industry, have a fantastic year and please keep us up to date over here at Carnsight Communications about what trends you see emerging during 2020.

To read more about our thoughts on flexible working and the 4-day work week, read our blog on challenging the ‘more hours = more productive’ equation.