5 Tips for PR Success in 2020

5 Tips for PR Success in 2020

Successful communication programs in 2020 will be guided by two key principles:


  • Be Authentic 

Focus your storytelling on what is inherently true to your organization. If it doesn’t hit at the heart of who you are and what you do, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Figure that out before you spend one more dollar implementing a plan that will not ring true or resonate with today’s discerning stakeholders. Don’t get me wrong. You should be aspirational; the world needs your organization to be aspirational. But make sure your communications and operations bridge the gap between who you want to be and who you are.


  • Be Targeted

Gone are the days of blanketing the world with clever press releases and pretty influencer mailers and watching the hits roll in. With marketing dollars more precious than ever, your job depends on making every investment in every outreach count. Think about who you strategically want to reach while weighing who will genuinely be interested in what you have to say. If the target doesn’t tick both boxes, move on.


A few tips for adapting these principles into your planning:


Precisely Pinpointed Media Relations

If you truly believe you have a something worthy of media attention, first you need to really, seriously think about what media will be really, seriously interested in your message. Newspapers? TV? Trade? With the rapidly decreasing media landscape, there are fewer media to pitch and they have less bandwidth to respond. So if your goal is media coverage, you need to make sure you have a solid story directly in line with their beat. It’s a far better use of your resources to approach a few media with a really solid story and opportunity than blitz everyone and hope it grabs somebody’s interest. 


Ambassadors not Influencers

Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and impatient with blatant ads on influencer social media that don’t mesh with the influencer’s personality. In the last couple of years marketers have moved away from huge reach, huge price-tag influencer marketing to more campaigns with smaller reach, higher engagement influencers. In 2020 we’ll see another shift, with more brands moving away from influencer blitz campaigns – where they pay a number of influencers to promote one product in the same timespan. Instead influencer marketing will move toward more authentic engagement with influencers who have a true connection to their brand. The brand and influencer will truly collaborate to create and share brand-related content over an extended period of time so they become continuous, long-term Brand Ambassadors vs. a quick 5 second ad.



Being a good corporate citizen is good for business. A recent Ipsos study showed that 47% of Canadians say they are loyal to brands that support good causes, and 83% say they would switch brands to one associated with a good cause, price and quality being equal. So more Canadian companies are investing in their Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Social Responsibility programs to show the caring, giving corporate citizen they are – not just for their consumers, but for media, partners, suppliers, employees, influencers, franchisees, shareholders and all their other stakeholders. While at one time these CSR campaigns were rolled out and feted for one or two weeks a year, now and going forward they are increasingly the foundation of a company’s integrated marketing, HR and operational annual planning. Companies who don’t walk the talk will be left behind.


Embrace Evolving Sponsored Content

Advertorials have come a long way, baby. Today there are many forms of branded or sponsored content and many feature multi-platform offerings with content drivers to drive eyeballs and engagement to your content. As media continue to look for new revenue opportunities, sponsored content programs will continue to expand and evolve into a prime tool for communicators. Remember that a key element of these programs is creating and executing a content promotion strategy on your organization’s owned channels to also drive engagement and showcase your association with the well-respected media outlets you’ve chosen for your campaign.


Invest in Measurement

Hope you’re good with numbers! The 20’s are going to be increasingly focused on showing and proving results and ROI for every marketing dollar spent. No doubt there will be all new innovations in measuring and tracking results that we haven’t even thought of yet. But for now, always set clear measurable goals at the start of each program and ensure they are addressed in the planning, execution and reporting stages. Invest in measurement training for you and your team so you stay up-to-date with the latest tools and approaches. And wherever possible, seek out program dollars to invest in processes and technologies that will prove the success of your communications planning.


By Cathy Cowan