We’re well into 2015, but there are still a plethora of articles being written about trends to expect for this year: steps to being a better PR person, getting the most from your social media, or tips on making your Facebook ad dollars work harder. Honestly, every time I see one of these, I cringe but unwillingly open them. The reason for not wanting to is simple – they too often repeat the exact same thing that someone else wrote a few months ago, and oftentimes a few years ago! (Five steps to pitching bloggers and the media anyone?)
So here are my four steps for correcting the situation (not five, not seven, just four fairly simple ones):
1. If you’re going to author one of these pieces, do some more research to see if someone got there first. (I did that before writing this piece and evidently I’m the first.)
2. Don’t state or include the obvious. For example, the growth in popularity of visual content is no longer a trend, it’s a given. You would have had to have been in a dark room developing Kodachrome for the last five years to have missed this.
3. Make sure you know of what you speak. I read a trend piece the other day where the author pointed out the ongoing necessity of paid advertising. Isn’t “paid advertising” redundant? I get the idea we’re going toward “sponsored content,” but paid media is advertising regardless of how you dress it up and take it out for dinner.
4. Ask yourself, are you writing this to try to convey the impression you’re in the know, or are you really passing on something useful to those of us who may not be as knowledgeable? If this is a vanity project vs. a real thought stretcher, go back and give it another try.
Of course, these steps may not reduce the number of these articles, but I’m hoping it helps improve their quality. That would be a trend in the right direction.