From mobile video explosion to emerging social media platforms, like Instagram Stories and Snapchat, 2016 has bought a content-related revolution that has changed the landscape of the public relations industry in the UAE. And just as communications evolves and the needs and preferences of audiences shift, so should the practice of public relations. Based on PR trends that took the world by storm in 2016, we at Q Communications take a deeper look at what we predict will be the top five PR hacks of 2017.


‘Silent influencers’ are the next big thing: We’re delighted to announce that good old-fashioned word-of-mouth is back, and 2017 will see the return and rise of silent influencers. A set of high net worth individuals or authorities, who among their peers, will be able to create far reaching awareness for your brand purely through word-of-mouth recommendations. Their circle of influence includes people with high spending power and trendsetters who can boost your brand without any social media seeding.


Instant content is king: Sometimes quality content alone is not enough to get the message across; you need to be the first on the scene to steal headlines and spotlight. Constant vigilance on social media for any mention of your brands or associations with it will help you capitalise the messages and retain the first right of promotion. Repurpose headlines and social media posts and make it relevant to your target audience. For example, having a member of royalty dine at one of your F&B brands is great PR, but what makes it truly awesome is what you do with that content and how quickly you get it out there.


‘Front-page darling’: For those mourning the decline of print media will be delighted to know that print is definitely still alive. The value of grabbing a spot on the front-page is undoubtedly very high in the PR spectrum; however, the challenge in 2017 would be to create path-breaking content that deserves page one mentions. Yes, our reading lists are shrinking, but with the condensation of print publications comes in a new wave of quality content produced for a targeted audience, instead of having several similar publications diluting content and readership.


VIP invitations: The age old Dubai debate of the VIP guest list is ongoing. Who are the real VIPs of Dubai and do we need them for 2017? The short answer to that question is ‘yes, we do’. Your guest list for events in 2017 should include a sprinkle of national celebrities, Middle Eastern high society, royalty and Sheikhas, socialites, brand ambassadors, along with social influencers who network for a living, and the imperative silent influencer. But in addition to these key invites, it is also becoming imperative to identify local influencers who are on the rise, and will remember you and your brand when they make it in the glittering world of socialites. Your VIP guest list for 2017 is not going to include just the elite and exclusive only, but also the upcoming, sometimes silent influencers, as well.


Integration of social media and PR: It has become increasingly difficult to draw a line that differentiates social media and PR. All major news outlets break news first on social media, making it a very crucial part of the PR landscape. As industry-related stories continue to break, social media will offer the prime way for companies to offer expert commentary and make an immediate impact on audiences.

 Elsa Roodt, Co founder Q Communications