As 2015 draws to a close, we start to see lists and reports highlighting what was trending over the past year. With 2016 a few weeks away, it’s also  time to start looking ahead at what to expect in the New Year. For those of us in the public relations and communications industry, that means looking at how the industry will change and the new trends to be aware of as we work on campaigns for our clients. To this end, Hotwire PR complies an annual report of the key trends that will impact the industry in the coming year.

Courtesy Hotwire PR

Courtesy Hotwire PR

When working with our clients, we stress the importance of having local statistics or local spokespeople. Not surprisingly then, one of the first trends that will influence the PR and communications industry is “hyperlocal content”. Using the example of The British Conservative Party in the United Kingdom’s 2015 election, Hotwire’s report indicates that going forward, it won’t be enough to simply have local content, but the content must be further localized to specific groups, such as voters in specific age groups. By incorporating this, it’s likely that messages we put out on behalf of our clients will have a stronger impact on a desired target audience.

With 2016 being an election year, it’s likely that political and social issues will continue to be at the forefront of most news stories. Accordingly, a second key trend to look for next year is the “growth of values-based activism by brands and organizations.” According to the report, “values hold communities together, so they form the core component of communications strategies.”

We often hear from reporters about the subject lines that stand out in their inboxes and grab their attention.  Part of that relates to PR professionals providing them newsworthy content. With the increasing amount of information that is put out, the trend of “continuing to keep content relevant” will be especially important. According to the report, it will be up to PR and communications teams to ensure that “we become the signal our audience is drawn to rather than just another piece of white noise.”

A recent article from Forbes comments on how millennials are one of the biggest groups of influencers today. Hotwire’s report defines millennials as “individuals born between 1980 and 2000, with different ages in the different life phases.” In the past, millennials have often been targeted as a blanket group, with a “one-size fits all mentality”. Going forward into 2016, the trend will be to “drill down into the data and understand what motivates different segments of our younger audience rather than assuming they all act the same.”

What’s clear from Hotwire’s report is that our industry will continue to evolve in the coming year and what was used this year may not be as successful in 2016. What do you think are some PR and communications trends to watch out for next year?

Stay tuned…