PR Trends That Were Meant To Happen In 2018, But Didn’t!

By Pablo Londoño Published: 7 January, 2019 Last updated: February 17th, 2022 at 4:56 pm

a graph going up

2019 is here, and as PR professionals, we managed to survive 2018 in this particular industry —let’s remember it was a rather peculiar year for some brands due to some PR mishaps that hit the spotlight throughout 2018, including H&M’s senseless racist shirt and the Victoria’s Secret CMO slammed for transphobia, to say the least.

If we were to go back in time to see whether the vast majority of PR trends that were meant to happen in the past year really took place, we would find out that they actually didn’t. Yes, SEO playing a pivotal role in any PR campaign and the progressive incorporation of the inbound marketing methodology were amongst the ones that actually started to happen; however, there were very specific trends that didn’t entirely come true.

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If you paid enough attention, almost every PR-related article from 2018 said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) would become a key element under the umbrella of PR, but such claim ultimately never materialized, as most PR professionals aren’t precisely known for being artificially intelligent.

Here are our series of predictions for 2019 that we think will actually come true:

Media Relations Remains Important

Although many PR professionals wrote in 2017 that paid and earned media were going to be just the same thing in 2018, on a serious note, this never happened. Native content is never going to outperform real content. Journalists still want to be treated in an old-fashion way (that is, like human beings) and have content and topics that they like pitched to them. Make sure you read what they write about.

The Truth About Rush-Growth Startups

Earlier this decade, many people, including an array of PR professionals, were excited about those rapid-growth startups that had practically no money nor any other types of financial resources. Remember that? We’re sure you do, but that will come to an end. Trendy startups being pitched that don’t actually make any money will to disappear unless they have an out-of-this-world selling point —one that any journalist on this planet will immediately pay attention to.

Without a clear outline and a solid path towards profit, startups are going to be dubbed as charlatans along with the PR individuals that represent them.

Content Marketing Will Begin To Fade Away

Highly unpopular, right? Let us break this down: 2018 saw an enormous drop in the amount of contributed content to outlets, as media channels suddenly realised that the aforementioned content was free for a reason. It was then brought to the editors’ attention that having the CEO of write 10 ways in which your marketing team was going to rank your website in the first page of Google results by simply using homemade gifs was not really driving clicks, and served only to keep their PR firm hired and the writer coming up with these ideas entertained enough.

We’re not, by any means, suggesting that content marketing will disappear completely, but contributor’s programs have dramatically decreased across media channels. And that’s a fact. The tricky part about this trend is that offering it as part of a PR firm bundle is not, in fact, a bad idea —if, as mentioned above, you actually have something interesting to write about. The initial problem was that lots of people simply seemed to have agreed upon the fact that practically everyone needed a blog, everyone needed content regardless of its quality, and everyone needed to become a contributor. This, however, didn’t go as initially expected.

The Crypto Retribution

Have you ever gone to the races? Ever see a horse that wins one race, then everyone bets on that horse and loses a huge amount of money? That’s basically the PR industry-crypto scenario. By end of the first half of last year, PR professionals were beginning to think they could actually understand the incredible amount of data behind cryptocurrencies and their intricacies whilst having lunch to simply assert that bitcoin would go up and Ethereum would go down, and that that was it; however, it all turned out to be more complex than that — PR firms would recklessly aim their businesses toward crypto just as they did with the crowdfunding hype. Now, under today’s circumstances, what used to be easy publications to pitch to have become immensely picky due to the market crash.

Influencers, Influencers, Influencers!

Yes, we just said that thrice. That’s right: get your influencers. However, here’s the not-so-expected truth about influencers: it’s either an ad buy or media relations. It’s simply another outlet to pitch. 2018 saw the hype about influencers go through the roof whilst insisting that influencers were going to be a total game changer. Someone even ventured to coin the term “influencer strategy”, which makes sense if you want to have some random guy simply just look at things. On a serious note, though, perhaps is that PR people look at things from a different point of view, but we don’t see anyone outside of the games industry that actually interacts with influencer specialists, unless they have the budget to do so.