The new year brings an opportunity to reflect upon the months behind us and a chance to look at the year and possibilities ahead. As communicators, it’s imperative we stay not only up-to-date on industry trends, but ahead of what’s to come. With the closing days of the year upon us, we offer a preview of communications trends to look for in the year ahead and how it will shape the way we talk to each other and our audiences.
- Further Informalization of Communications
We’ve slowly seen intra-office communications tools like Slack, Teams and other instant messaging replace the formality of a constant thread of emails between employees – thank goodness. This trend will continue and could completely take over the need for staff emails and company-wide communications in 2019. This quick and casual method of communication is more of a dialogue rather than a stuffy exchange.
On the external communications side, traditional press releases are sure to become less and less formal, with the strict formatting we all learned in college taking a back seat to easily digestible information nuggets. Does this mean traditional press releases will vanish in the near future? Doubtful. But the days of five-page releases with highly detailed technical information are numbered.
- Social Stories to Take Priority
Since the early days of Facebook, the way we deliver and consume social media has evolved. From the tone of our updates to how companies distribute and engage with consumers is wildly different today than it was 10 years ago. With the advent of Snapchat, social stories have quickly slingshot to one of the top ways content is viewed. According to Facebook chief product officer, Chris Cox, stories will surpass feed in viewership sometime in the coming year.
This greatly affects the way communicators need to think about how we’re going to deliver messages on social media and beyond. The answer is trending toward massive amounts of content in a quick and digestible format. For the year to come, quantity is overshadowing the need to develop highly polished content.
- Using More Inclusive Language
As visibility of trans and non-binary gendered individuals grow, we’re expecting to see more inclusive language in all forms of communications, including simple emails and event invitations. We predict that asking someone their preferred pronouns and addressing someone by he, she, zie, or they will become more prevalent.
Current social convention calls on the trans or non-binary person to self-disclose their preferred pronouns and looking ahead we expect to see the pendulum shift. Outing yourself, especially in a professional setting, is stressful enough. Being forthright in asking someone their preferred pronouns signals that all genders are recognized and welcome.
- Local News Will Gain More Importance
Have you looked at the news lately? Right now, distrust for national news is at an all-time high. However, we predict more Americans will turn to their own local news stations to find out what’s affecting their area. Local news outlets are also using creative ways to reach their audience. The Facebook group Woodward248 was created by journalists at the Detroit Free Press to engage with people living along the Woodward corridor in Detroit and the surrounding areas. It’s a connection tool for the public to help shape how the newspaper covers local news.
Other newspapers are adopting similar strategies to grow their audience. This NPR article, ”Digging Deep Into Local News, A Small Newspaper In Rural Oregon Is Thriving,” discusses how a small-town newspaper in Oregon is thriving. The readers trust the newspaper to deliver factual, important, information about their town. Les Zaitz, the owner and publisher, has earned his readers’ trust with his devotion to bedrock principles of journalism.
- Tailored Influencer Programs
More companies are turning to influencers for promotion of a product or to disseminate a message. But in the precarious world of pay-to-play influencers it can be confusing to know who offers paid marketing and who is open to a free partnership.
We’ve been working with our clients and influencers to create tailor-made campaigns relevant to their audiences. Due to this exclusive and tailor-made approach we’re able to create impactful programs influencers are happy to attend for free.
This post is co-authored by Steve Diehlman and Jessie LeTarte, who work in Stratacomm’s Detroit office largely supporting our transportation sector clients. Check out Steve’s past post about the “Cars that Shaped Us” and Jessie’s on “3 Shocking Tips to Fight Fake News.”