The transformation of business communications demands a transformation of marketing skills. It’s not just about press releases anymore. We’re pushing our clients to stretch their creativity and embrace multiple channels and visual mediums. Artificial intelligence? Bring it on. AI is already being used by Reuters for quarterly earnings stories. What’s next on the horizon for us and you?
Here are five critical facts to guide your 2018 strategic communications planning:
Online readership accelerates: A survey by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of Americans getting their news online has jumped 5 points to 43 percent—nearly the same audience as TV journalism. The trend grows as Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites increase their news coverage.
Traditional media still has muscle: Despite questions about long-term prospects, traditional news outlets remain a trusted source. Big daily newspapers have experienced a surge in digital subscriptions based on their print reputations and standards. The Washington Post surpassed one million digital subscriptions, an approximately 100 percent increase from 2015. The New York Times added 308,000 digital subscriptions in the first quarter of 2017, a more than 15 percent rise, and now has over 2.2 million digital subscribers.
Paid content is growing: Content has skyrocketed. Facebook users alone exchange an estimated five billion items daily. In this free-for-all, paid content has built-in guarantees of message and placement. According to Tyler Stevens for the University of Southern California’s Relevance Report, “even with a modest budget, brands can use paid media to reach their desired audiences in ways that are more controlled and effective than an organic post ever could.”
Video is surging: Cisco reported that by 2019, video content will make up 80 percent of global Internet consumption. Why? Because it builds engagement. The news site MarketingLand estimates an average 157 percent increase in organic search engine traffic. You don’t need to be Stephen Spielberg to create a great video campaign. As Forbes reported, even “poor quality” video from a phone “devoid of professional lighting and audio, outperforms text and images alone.”
Mobile means power: Ad agency Zenith found that mobile devices will drive 80 percent of global interest in the coming year. A separate survey by the software and services provider Salesforce says that 68 percent of companies use integrated mobile marketing as part of their strategies. This includes Snapchat’s “geofencing” and “beaconing” to target messages more precisely to an audience when they are likely to be most receptive. That can mean the difference between an ad that translates into sales and one that disappears into a void.
Today, we must try new tactics and measure results to determine what works. It’s what we do for our clients daily.