Quite the contrary! I’ve never been more excited about the future of PR.

While our industry is undergoing a significant transformation, cutting-edge PR pros that adopt the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model are well positioned to stake ownership in storytelling and be in the driver seat to develop integrated campaigns for brands and startups.

Today’s mobile-first world brings new and exciting ways for any company to be able to directly reach the audiences that matter on a global scale through the proliferation of new channels and platforms. According to Ericsson, smartphone adoption will spike to more than 6 billion smartphone users globally by 2020 and our mobile devices have become the primary way for consuming news and media.

In this era, PR pros can no longer rely on tried and trusted strategies of the past. In our reinvention mode, agencies and in-house communications pros are striving to bring together better data-analytics, become more audience-led, tech-oriented and socially charged in our storytelling.

Nevertheless, traditional media still matters. Brands still want the earned coverage in the New York Times, Fortune and CNBC. But that coverage is no longer the endgame as the hit is just the beginning. It’s about ensuring that the story reaches the maximum network by sharing it via social channels so it reaches and gets further shared by the right audiences.

Here are five trends that future-oriented PR pros and brands should get familiar with and experiment with to engage directly with their audiences:

Virtual Reality (VR) – While still nascent for PR, VR will enable us to create immersive experiences to build stronger emotional connections with the right audience. With the acceleration of mobile video, VR can significantly enhance content marketing to tell better stories. The New York Times virtual reality app is a prime example showcasing how VR can make for more engaging journalism by putting readers inside stories so they can see different views.

Chat bots – While its still early days, chat bots (software programs with artificial intelligence) on Messenger have the potential to develop into a significant opportunity for brands. As we start to get our news on messaging platforms, chat bots offers the opportunity for PR pros to insert content into the news cycle – through story invasions or news-jacking to share timely perspectives on a trending topic.

Direct publishing on Google – Google is experimenting with a new feature that allows marketers, media companies and politicians to publish content directly to Google and have it appear instantly in search results. While still in experimentation phase, this is clearly a big opportunity for brands to directly tell their story to key audiences.

Instant Articles opened to publishers – Facebook recently announced that Instant Articles are now open to all publishers, allowing brands and publishers to create and distribute interactive, mobile optimized articles on Facebook. For PR pros and brands, this offers another avenue to distribute long form content such as blogs and native advertising on Instant Articles.

Live streaming – The explosive growth of real-time live streaming on platforms such as Periscope, Snapchat and now Facebook Live offers lively new ways to create instant communications between brands and consumers. PR pros have the leg up in helping clients with live video, since traditional media relations has always been about timely news or event-driven campaigns. A successful live streaming campaign requires the right strategy for crafting a compelling story and preparing clients for on-camera appearances as well as activating social interactions.

To keep pace of our fast evolving industry, PR pros must continue to learn and get up to speed on new techniques and embrace the mobile future.

Interested in a conversation? Reach out!