As we near the end of the year, we tend to look both backward and forward, asking ourselves several questions: What have we accomplished this year? What could we do better? What’s likely to trend in the coming year?
So, we thought it might be fun to make some predictions for what we think will be coming in 2024. Here are our thoughts, along with a couple of caveats based on those predictions…
Usage of artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to explode and will no doubt improve a company’s public relations efforts by increasing the speed at which research can be accomplished and by providing some tools to reach audiences more quickly.
- Be careful not to put any company confidential information into a generative AI platform.
- If you need a website in a hurry, AI may help you create new content ideas – but remember that anything generated completely by AI is not yours and you cannot own the copyright on it – so it’s best to use AI just to help you flesh out some concepts and then write your own copy, or have it written by a PR professional.
- The PR Council in NY has put out some guidelines that can be helpful to all writers.
- The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has also recently published a white paper on the ethical use of AI for professional PR practitioners.
With the proliferation in AI, consumers will increasingly crave a greater sense of human connection and community. Studies show that a leading concern in PR surrounding adoption of AI is the loss of human touch (56% of PR professionals expressed fear of this according to Prowly). As human beings, we seek out stories and connections with others.
- In fact, people are more likely to recall information when wrapped in a story. Science shows that the same brain networks that process emotions are fired in people during emotional parts of stories; we synchronize emotions with the storyteller.
- Be aware. Through its “helpful content update,” Google is also prioritizing content with first-hand experience to combat generic or AI written content.
- In 2024 and beyond, smart brands will seize upon relationship-building and storytelling to connect.
Blending of owned, earned, and paid news and content will only continue to intensify. It started years ago with the tightening of newsroom staff, and as media strive to survive financially, we will see a continued blurring of editorial lines, such as with sponsored segments and advertising. As consumers continue to rely on their smart phones, the ways in which we consume news will continue to evolve away from traditional broadcast and mainstream media to more custom social channels, apps and solutions. This, and the ability to monetize websites, will continue to advance custom channels, influencers, affiliate marketing and citizen journalism.
- Companies and organizations will need to continue to position themselves as experts in their industries and as sources for news through proactive outreach and offering of contributed articles.
AI will prove a boon for professionals in the coming year by offering fast and easy research, trends, and concept opportunities. The proliferation of AI will enable many professionals, particularly in consulting, public relations, marketing, and creative industries to elevate their role as a specialist or subject matter expert. Some are referring to this as upleveling. Professionals who harness the power of AI correctly will be able to get more done, yes, and will also be able to position themselves as the experts who have the experience to determine the value of AI’s output, provide context, and offer guidance on strategic initiatives.
- However, it is important to recognize that publications will be scanning for AI-generated content and anything perceived to be completely AI-generated will ruin your trust with that publication.
- If they distrust your content, then they are unlikely to ever print anything from you again – so just make sure there is real human thought behind your content thought pieces.
Thought leadership for B2B companies in the form of contributed content and opinion will take on a greater importance in 2024. Unfortunately, the media in general continues to struggle with advertising revenue, leading to continued layoffs in newsrooms and consolidation of media outlets. According to Axios, the media industry has announced at least 17,436 job cuts as of June 2023, marking the highest year-to-date number of cuts on record. The level of cuts is worse than at the outset of the COVID pandemic in 2020, when 16,750 job cuts were announced through May. This has media outlets looking for content that they don’t have to pay for. This is where thought leadership comes in. In 2024 media outlets will be interested in thought provoking, well-written contributed articles, op-eds and content like never before.
- The trick is to have an actual point of view and write the content in a style that media outlets require.
- Pre-pitch the idea to outlets first to hear what angle they are interested in before you start writing.
- Ensure you adhere to the media outlet’s contribution guidelines.