PR Predictions & Tips for 2019

I don’t know about you, but 2018 has flown by for me.

The PR industry is a different place to last year.  It has been affected by innovations such as Blockchain, news stories like Brexit & #MeToo, and disrupted by social media algorithms & SEO updates. It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest developments in your industry so that your strategy remains agile. 

We’ve caught up with some of the leading PR’s in the UK to make sense of what 2019 is likely to look like for the average PR pro!

Check out their PR predictions below:

Andy Barr, Co-founder & Managing Director of 10 Yetis Digital

“The last few years have seen a real obsession by large organisations, national and local authorities, and professional sports clubs to try and move away from traditional media communications and instead concentrate on building their own communications platforms to go direct to consumers without the need to use journalists or media outlets. The main aim of this is to try and “control the message” from end to end but I feel it quite often results in the much-needed journalist level of scrutiny being lacking, and is not always in the best interest of the end consumer.I think that 2019 will see the gradual decline of this approach, as brands and organisations begin to once again realise that the fastest way to communicate an important message is via online news media.

2019 is going to be mired with heavy messaging around Brexit and the reality of our leaving the EU,  and I believe that that traditional media have a vital role to play in cutting through the swathes of jargon that will emerge from Local and National Government departments in order to deliver the facts around a situation.”


Ella Minty, Corporate Affairs Adviser & Co-Chair of the Energy Leadership Platform 

“Although the recent Bell Pottinger scandal should have put ethics at the forefront of everything we do, I believe 2019 will be the year when we are really going to see a divide between the “dark” and ethical PR. There will be much more scrutiny on influencer marketing and the actual reputational impact influencer relations brings to brands, and we’ll also see a stronger focus on social activism from either PR agencies or consultants. The “tools” will constantly evolve and provide an easier analysis for mass communication projects but we’ll still need to work on the data’s interpretation.”


Note: “Dark PR” is a form of unethical PR, where to goal is to manipulate and/or tarnish other brands. This is the type of PR that Bell Pottinger indulged in.

Jane Hunt, Co-founder & Marketing Director, JBH – The Content Agency

“In 2019, we’ll see more collaboration between marketing functions, with PR’s not just thinking about brand awareness and sentiment but also how PR is interlinked with content and SEO. Creating content for link acquisition not only generates brand awareness but also boosts a brands ranking in search and can drive relevant traffic.

With the E.A.T update from Google this past August that focuses on Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust, PRs are now under more pressure to create better quality content so they can gain links from high-authority sites and work with authors who have established reputations in their fields.

In the year to come we can also expect to see blockchain make it easier for journalists to verify content that PRs create, helping to combat fake news and ensuring that content creators use data from legitimate sources. It will also help creators with ownership and copyright, stopping other users being able to plagiarise their content as the blockchain will be able to identify the original source.”


Elliot Nichols, Head of Public Relations, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

“Over the next year PR will continue its journey towards being seen as a fully-fledged management function – encroaching on the ‘consultancy’ space and informing as well as explaining strategic decision making. Concurrently, the transition of PR into ‘communications’ will gather pace. In the not too distant future people will wonder how on earth we ever had marketing separated from PR or digital content creation apart from media!

David White, Associate Director of Content Marketing, Edit Agency 

“My prediction for 2019 is that public relations experts will have to focus more on communities, particularly, if they focus on Facebook as a channel for amplification. Facebook has been moving to a community-led model and as public relations experts, we need to understand how best to use these in our strategies. Some of the most engaged pages on Facebook are community-driven groups and events. let’s make friends with the page admins and offer localised content that drives a real result.”


Helen, Karen & Becky, Team of journalists turned PR trainers, Nine Media UK

“In 2019 there will be a lot more demand for personal PR – promoting the people behind businesses as ‘experts’ in their field, rather than the businesses themselves. Digital media is flooded now with blogs, how-to/advice pieces and comment pieces, not written by journalists, but so-called thought-leaders who are specialists in a certain profession. They get a byline, they get a link to their website, they get their Twitter handle mentioned and it all helps their business SEO. As we go deeper into the digital age there will be more demand for people PR, rather than company PR.”


Laura Sutherland , Founder of Aura PR & PRFest

“The PR landscape will continue to evolve, absolutely. More practitioners will realise they need to know how AI will affect their jobs and how they work, as we assert our value within organisations, practitioners will undoubtedly have to be excellent at measurement and evaluation, demonstrating true impact.

In addition, there is a need for better tech skills. I for one have been developing learning opportunities in Scotland, through PRFest, for practitioners to start understanding coding. Rather than having ongoing conversations, we need to be coming up with the solutions!

Businesses and organisations will have to hire skilled practitioners, yes, but also those who are forward-thinking and can apply ‘entrepreneurial thinking’. Those committed to professional development and in my opinion, those PR practitioners who are chartered, should be first choice, because they are the ones who will be able to provide leadership, advise on and make ethical choices and will act strategically.

Diversity will continue to be a challenge in public relations until businesses and organisation revise their recruitment practices and understand the wider benefits, not just at grassroots level, but with senior appointments, too.”


Thanks to our PR experts for their advice! Remember to give them a follow & let us know your PR predictions for 2019 on Twitter @Meltwater