3 Areas of Focus for Social PR Superheros in 2017 


Shonali BurkeBy Shonali Burke, ABC

Earlier this year, I asked a range of pros for their 2017 measurement predictions. Here’s what some folks said: 

  • “Marketers are getting better and better at proving value, and where value is proven, budgets follow. PR and social need to prove their value against other programs to keep their budgets.” ~ Brandon Andersen, Ceralytics 
  • “Everyone is going to have to get up to speed on tweeting.” ~ Sohini Baliga, independent consultant 
  • “The search for proof of genuine value and proper nuggets of insight will continue in this age of content and data explosion coupled with the new threat – fake news. This will force a tighter focus on the audience rather than the media content itself.” ~ Richard Bagnall, PRIME Research 

I could probably write multiple blog posts exploring just these responses – and we received quite a few – but here are a few things that really stand out to me: 

1. The lines between “PR” and “marketing” are becoming increasingly blurred. No one cares. 

I think Brandon is exactly right when he says PR/social departments need to prove their value against other programs in order to keep their budgets (and staff).  

While this has always been the case, now we know that we can often connect outputs to outcomes much more easily and efficiently than ever before.  

I see a lot of seasoned professionals still getting lost in the “Is it PR? Or is it marketing” debate. I don’t think your client (or CEO) is going to care which it is, as long as it’s ultimately generating revenue. 

2. Some things are really, really hard to measure. But that doesn’t mean we a) stop measuring, or b) throw them by the wayside. 

If you don’t know where Sohini’s coming from, with her comment about getting up to speed on tweeting, you clearly didn’t follow the US presidential election.  

Twitter has been one of the most picked-apart brands in recent times. Yet Very Important People continue to use it because of the way it removes barriers to connection instantly. 

So when you’re thinking about the channels to include in your Social PR campaigns, don’t just flock to what’s shiny & new, but what’s going to work based on your end objectives. 

3. Now, more than ever, your audience is going to shape your content. And that means reaching those who influence them… through content. 

Whatever PR “is” or “isn’t,” one thing it’s always been about is influence. I’ve seen “influencer marketing” get tremendous attention in recent years, and I think that trend will continue.  

What smart Social PR pros will learn to do is identify and build relationships with influencers of all kinds – not just those in “the media.”  

That level of versatility and integration is what will separate the madding crowd from those leading it – identify the “Social PR Superheros,” as it were.  

 Btw, you can find out who your Inner Social PR Superhero is in the fun quiz I put together a while back.   

It’ll be a great way for you to get your 2017 ducks in a row… because I have a feeling it’s going to be a wild ride.  

And you’re going to have to get out of your comfort zone to come out ahead. 


 About the Author: Shonali Burke, ABC, is a globally acknowledged, award-winning Social PR strategist, teacher and trainer. She is also the world’s biggest ABBA fan, and would have given anything to see Elvis live in concert. 


CommPRO 640x480 v2

1 Comment

  1. Brandon Andersen on at 10:22 AM

    The clients I talk to just want a solution to a problem. Like you say, they don’t care if it’s PR, marketing, or social. The problem is building awareness, or getting people into the pipeline, or engaging existing clients, etc. Whatever mix of communication strategies fixes those problems is what clients want. Marketers need to learn more about how to do PR and influencer relations, and PR pros need to learn SEO, lead generation and measurement if they each want to offer comprehensive solutions to their clients.

    That might be a great new course Shonali! “Come to the Dark Side: How PR pros/Marketers can be more like Marketers/PR pros.”

Leave a Comment