We recently chatted with Sheelagh Caygill, creator of CommunicateInfluence.com about trends in communications from content marketing to journalism.
- What is the biggest surprise/change you’ve seen in the communications/PR industry in the past year?
“The progress of AI and data, and its impact on our work. It’s not new, but it’s evolving quickly. As APEXer Diane Bégin notes in her interview with me a few months ago: ‘As communications platforms expand and analytics tools get more complex, more agencies are hiring folks dedicated to marketing analytics.’
If organizations aren’t hiring the right people and accessing third-party tools to utilize data, they’ll be quickly overwhelmed and simply unable to serve their clients.”
- Who or what is a true disrupter or game changer in your opinion? Why?
“Unfortunately, Donald Trump is the first person who comes to mind. Obviously his attacks on the media are harmful and it’s too early to fully understand their impact. But the positive from all this is that good journalists and PR-communications practitioners are rethinking approaches to their work, and how they analyze the impacts and results of their efforts.
I think too there is more focus on how the media’s offerings of overly simplified information and soundbites has contributed to the rise of populism. Former Guardian editor Alan Rushbridger explores this in his new book, Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters.”
- What app or technology do you rely on most day-to-day?
“MS Word, various Google apps, LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, the Guardian, Insight Timer, and Brain.fm.”
- What don’t you want to see carried over in 2019?
“An end please to anonymous social media accounts that publish nasty or abusive content. On that point, I’d add that we’ve seen how social media platforms can be manipulated, and the impact of fake news. I think communications and marketing professionals could be amongst those pushing for much greater transparency/disclosure from these platforms. If the tech giants won’t/can’t deal with this, there’ll be more legislation around the world to resolve some of the issues.
‘It is what it is’ is slightly annoying in professional circles. Give me clarity over ambiguity anytime.”
- What are you most excited about for 2019?
“More influential people in all industries embracing our value. When comms pros are valued and integrated with clients, they prove themselves to be invaluable.
Not excited about this, but like many I wonder how Brexit will unfold. Fundamentally, Brexit points to a need to really start listening to people, being inclusive, and creating bridges. On a lighter note, I always enjoy discovering good writing, video, podcasts, and new (useful) apps.”