Ten years ago, PR pros nev­er dreamed of cre­at­ing warp­ing facial fil­ters for Insta­gram Sto­ries or geo­tar­get­ing users with video on Face­book. But as tech­nol­o­gy evolves rapid­ly, so does the abil­i­ty to enrich sto­ry­telling, and stop scrollers in their tracks.

Con­tent will remain one of the most impor­tant strate­gies for brands to engage users and stand out from a media del­uge. We reached out to sev­er­al inno­va­tors to dis­cuss brands’ con­tent strate­gies for 2020.

Telling Stories

Insta­gram and Face­book con­tin­ue to pro­vide a unique, direct way of deliv­er­ing mes­sages.

Brands should devel­op sol­id Insta­gram Sto­ries strate­gies,” says Kat Lapelosa, cre­ative strat­e­gy super­vi­sor at Praytell.  “Now that the likes are gone from Insta­gram feed con­tent, it’s clear the more ephemer­al posts will play a larg­er role. Face­book Sto­ry fea­tures and mul­ti-plat­form inte­gra­tion also will become a big­ger focus as a result.”

Cameron Uganec, VP, mar­ket­ing, at Later.com, notes that ‘authen­tic­i­ty’ remains more than a buzz word. “In terms of con­tent, authen­tic­i­ty is every­thing,” he says.

In 2019, we saw 19 per­cent growth in cap­tion length, which sig­nals a rise in sto­ry­telling. Two years ago, in 2018, the aver­age cap­tion length on Insta­gram was 281 char­ac­ters. This year it was 336.” In 2020, cap­tions will get even longer, to a pro­ject­ed 405 char­ac­ters, he says, based on research from Later.com’s report with Fohr.com.

Cap­tions across all social media plat­forms tra­di­tion­al­ly were short. These short­er cap­tions often out­per­formed in terms of engage­ment. “That’s not the case today with Insta­gram, as the longest cap­tions had the high­est engage­ment per­cent­age this year,“Uganec says. “We expect that trend to con­tin­ue.”

Ash­ley Felts, VP of dig­i­tal at Mur­phy O’Brien Pub­lic Rela­tions, sug­gests mov­ing away from a plat­form-first con­tent approach and focus­ing on the cus­tomer jour­ney.

Con­tent map across all key cus­tomer touch-points and max­i­mize con­tent expo­sure across all rel­e­vant chan­nels,” she says. “Piv­ot toward a more col­lab­o­ra­tive process, where all rel­e­vant agen­cies (PR, social, dig­i­tal, SEO, SEM, cre­ative) are work­ing against one macro con­tent strat­e­gy to dri­ve ROI from each brand asset that is gen­er­at­ed.”


Video will con­tin­ue to grow on social plat­forms, even on sites you might least expect.

Justin Buch­binder, direc­tor of social media at Finn Part­ners, believes that video will become even more of a king in 2020.

As social net­works pro­vide tools to their users to eas­i­ly cre­ate videos, even the small­est of busi­ness­es will begin to dip their toes in the water,” he says. “We’ll see an increase in con­sumer video use. Espe­cial­ly as there’s more pushback/disinterest in the perfect/flawless brand look.”

Adds free­lance film­mak­er and con­tent strate­gist Clan­cy Calkins, “Peo­ple are hop­ing to expand into new forms of con­tent, but video still isn’t going any­where.”

It’s just becom­ing more bite-sized and acces­si­ble, and more con­sis­tent. FB and IG have been big for a while, but LinkedIn is start­ing to up its game. One thing you’ll prob­a­bly see in 2020 is native video post­ed to LinkedIn. Right now peo­ple are doing tons of links (which usu­al­ly are host­ed on FB or YouTube.) LinkedIn wants to change the algo­rithm so you’re hosting/posting direct­ly on the site.”

Nathan Burgess, edi­tor and pub­lish­er of PRBreak­fast­Club, says we can’t for­get Tik Tok, which will shift its focus on video to high­er qual­i­ty out­put in 2020.

Per­son­al out­put (Insta­gram Live, Snapchat, long-form YouTube video/vlogs) is great, but not always of the ‘the­atri­cal’ nature that Tik Tok demands,” he says. “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that means a bit less indi­vid­ual expres­sion in the out­put as it’s pri­mar­i­ly been par­o­dy and pure enter­tain­ment.”



Diverse voic­es pro­duc­ing con­tent mean more ideas and unique sto­ry­telling per­spec­tives.

In 2019, we saw more women claim their pow­er and more brands and news­rooms turn­ing their atten­tion to diver­si­ty, equi­ty and inclu­sion,” says Lau­ra Brus­ca, VP, cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Forbes.

As we look to a new decade, con­tent cre­ators and sto­ry­tellers need to con­tin­ue to tell sto­ries from every point of view to ensure an equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of voic­es – from speak­ers at live events, choos­ing their sources and more. As com­mu­ni­ca­tors and PR prac­ti­tion­ers, we should be thought­ful of ensur­ing that we’re guid­ing our clients as it relates to this. The voic­es we hear, images we choose, or lead­ers we cham­pi­on should be top-of-mind always.”


As anoth­er divi­sive pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year builds, com­mu­ni­ca­tors will ben­e­fit from tak­ing extra care to review their con­tent strate­gies in rela­tion to cur­rent events, whether or not brands wish to be a part of the con­ver­sa­tion.

One defin­ing fac­tor of 2020 con­tent will be the U.S. elec­tions,” says Tyler Men­zel, head of edi­to­r­i­al at GIPHY.

Memes and moments from the upcom­ing cam­paign trails, debates, and con­ven­tions will come at us fast and furi­ous. Pol­i­tics will take over enter­tain­men­t’s most reli­able sources of GIFs, like Sat­ur­day Night Live and late night talk shows. Be pre­pared for plen­ty of par­o­dies, remix­es and mash-ups. (How­ev­er), with the over­whelm­ing amount of ‘seri­ous­ness’ in the cul­ture, it would­n’t sur­prise me if there was a dou­bling down on humor as well.”

Since it’s an elec­tion year, you’ll see a lot of brands play­ing in the ‘what brings us togeth­er’ space,” adds Bethany Evans, direc­tor dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and loy­al­ty at The North Face. “Which is good, as long as it’s sin­cere.”

SOURCE: PR News Online