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Guest Column: The lines between advertising and editorial will blur in 2017: Ashish Jalan, Concept Public Relations

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Guest Column: The lines between advertising and editorial will blur in 2017: Ashish Jalan, Concept Public Relations

Ashish Jalan, Director and CEO, Concept Public Relations on the changing face of paid media, the importance of integration and genuine voices becoming the cynosure for delivering results in the coming year

It was 110 years ago, in 1906, when the world set their eyes on the first ever  Press Release after a train accident killed 50 people in New Jersey. Years later, in 1994, Yahoo and Altavista were accessed by people who had internet access, becoming platforms of transmitting news.  Then came Facebook in 2004 which made the world a really small place, connecting one and all, apprising everyone about what’s happening around the world.  Technology has changed the manner of communication and creating awareness.  Today, ‘wire services’ are accessed by more than 200k media outlets and 10k prominent websites.  The year 2016 definitely belonged to technology and the digital platform, no campaign was complete without a structured digital presence, be it wires, bloggers and, of course, social media.

The year gone by included quality content marketing - concise and engaging.  Anticipating a client’s need became the call of the day. Effective campaigns across social media platforms played a key role in communicating information about products and services to the targeted audiences. Digitisation became indispensable and omnipresent and campaigns went viral.  The might of the pen shifted from the privileged few to the masses. Every individual with an internet connection became a news carrier and an opinion maker.

Public Relations is a dynamic industry subject to immense information. The coming year, 2017, will be disruptive for the communication industry and I am convinced that we will see lots of fundamental changes.

 The most crucial change would be the culmination of all the elements of communication to have the most effective strategy for meeting the end goal. Integration will be the KEY to a successful 360 degree activity which public relations will adopt to ensure clients get more than what they expect from the industry.

The lines between advertising and editorial will blur, creative campaigns, good content on both platforms - media and non media, paid PR, online reputation management, social media will all work in sync to create the holocaust that the client agency combine would want to showcase to the unsuspecting consumer.

Paid media, which was considered immoral till a few years back, has now proved to be invaluable with authenticity of content setting the pace of enhancing the reputation of clients making their customers wanting to connect. Influencer marketing will play an important role in 2017. PR agencies will be party to influencers as consistent contributors towards brand awareness.  Mere endorsements will lose face with genuine voices becoming the cynosure for delivering results.

Media coverage will encompass a gamut of platforms like social media to online reviews and authentic influencers.  Relationships with industry leaders and influencers will take on a whole new meaning.  With thought leadership strategies serving as such a great base for public relations efforts, we’re seeing more and more leaders produce and distribute content around their brands and expertise to fuel those PR efforts. From authored articles in the print media and guest appearances on the electronic media, the influencer community has made their presence felt on the internet and mobile platform via blogs, Twitter handles, YouTube videos etc.

The other revolution will be journalists acting more conscientious than ever. One may question why the extra diligence. Well, the US elections proof of mis-matched information and glorified figures under the guise of facts and the dissemination of false news finally culminating into unexpected results. Third party research will play a crucial role with the world of media on its toes. Third-party reliable sources desirous of participation will bolster pitches. Misinformation will be replaced with excessive information and the need to filter the same for better time management and relevant information would be the need of the hour. For clients, reputation management will form the crux of their existence, and managing the huge media universe would be a compelling challenge.

Content will be amplified for the better – marketing newsletters, infographics will gather a lot of momentum.  Paid promotions and the digital world will reap rewarding returns in this new era of communication.    According to CISCO – 75% of the world’s mobile traffic will be addicted to information via video by 2020.

The industry has seen a world of changes and it is evolving with each passing day. 

(The author is director and CEO, Concept Public Relations)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of 


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