Top PR Trends for 2018: Part 1

When I first joined the Dittoe Public Relations team in 2006, one of our go-to research methods was thumbing through the paper-thin pages of the 10-lb printed Bacon’s Media Directory (maybe a slight exaggeration, but that thing was heavy). It took way too much time flipping through its thousands of pages just to find one good contact.

I can confidently say I don’t miss those days. I’m so thankful for the evolution of public relations over the past 12 years and the tools and tactics that make the lives of PR professionals easier, so we can produce amazing results for our clients.

Today’s blog post is part one of a two-part series that will look at four trends shaping PR in 2018. Part two will be posted by Dittoe PR VP and Partner (and PR phenom) Lauren Sanders.


Continued rise of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has grown significantly over the past few years. It’s no longer a nice-to-have for PR pros and the businesses they represent, but a must-have. It should come as no surprise considering that 88 percent of people trust online recommendations as much as they do endorsements from family and friends, according to data compiled by NoGre.


Social influencers are now just as important to consider in your PR strategy as coverage in traditional media outlets. Stories on Instagram, Snaps on Snapchat, a post on a blog or a video review on YouTube all have the ability to change the way people feel about a brand and influence purchasing decisions.


On a personal note, the shopping app has changed the way I buy clothes. Instead of trying to decide what I think is cool to wear, I now rely on the best-dressed social influencers to tell me—and purchase what they recommend. I’d venture to say that three-quarters of the clothes I bought last year were because someone on social media told me to (sad, but true).


In 2017, Social Media Today reported that the average person spends nearly two hours on social media every day—that’s a total of 5 years and 4 months over a lifetime. In 2018, these numbers will only increase, and influencer marketing will be more important than ever.


Often, businesses aren’t strategic in their decisions about the influencers to partner with and end up wasting time, money and resources. There are several key considerations to evaluate before relying on influencers to drive meaningful business results, including:


  • Think quality over quantity. Just because an influencer has 1 million followers, doesn’t make them the best fit for your brand.
  • For sponsored Instagram posts, consider micro-influencers, or those with followers in the 10,000-100,000 range, as they often have a more highly engaged following that is more inclined to purchase your brand’s products or services.
  • What is your brand image and how does that align with the influencer’s?
  • Who is the influencer’s audience and are they relevant to your own?
  • Does the geographic location of the influencer and his/her followers matter to your business?
  • What are the terms of the agreement? Many influencers charge a fee for a meaningful partnership. Be clear about your expectation for frequency of posts and engagement.
  • How can you track the impact of the partnership? Customized promo codes are one idea to measure the results.


Evolution of the press release

For years, many PR professionals have said that the press release is dead, or less dramatically, on its way out. While I think there’s still a lot of life left in the press release, I do agree that it has gone from always-necessary to a good supplement for a great media pitch.

At Dittoe PR, we stopped encouraging our clients to distribute their press releases via wire services several years ago for a few reasons. The links aren’t permanent, unlike earned media stories that we pitch and obtain for our clients, which stay online indefinitely. Also, press releases distributed on wire services aren’t usually picked up on quality news sites. Quite frankly, it’s also quite expensive to use a wire service. In short, wire services rarely guarantee lasting, meaningful, organic media coverage.

Personalized outreach to the media is the way to go to get the best earned media coverage, and it’s what we do best.

In 2018, the press release will evolve beyond text-heavy Word docs with lengthy paragraphs that no one reads entirely. Instead, PR professionals will think digitally and start embedding more videos, images and graphics to bring their client’s news to life. Copy will be minimal and only include the most pertinent details of the announcement.

Press releases do still matter, but in 2018, we need to give them a much-needed makeover.


Come back to our blog next week for part two of this series on the latest trends shaping PR in 2018. In the meantime, if your brand could benefit from working with social influencers and generating meaningful media coverage, we’d love to talk with you!

Twenty-four hours, 223,000 impressions and a heart-warming initiative

TCC RileyIn August 2015, TCC, the largest Verizon Premium Wireless Retailer in the U.S., made a commitment that would forever impact the patients, parents and administration at Riley Hospital for Children as well as the company’s own employees. During a special presentation, TCC CEO Scott Moorehead announced a $1 million donation and multi-faceted 5-year partnership with Riley Children’s Foundation that is creating life-changing opportunities for the kids at Riley Hospital. A great story in People—secured by Dittoe PR—told the story of how TCC brought smiles and tears of joy to so many faces that day (the article was shared 8,500 times on social media alone).

Fast forward to March 1, 2016, when Dittoe PR had the opportunity to join TCC, a client of six years, in kicking off Child Life Month at Riley Hospital. The two organizations hosted a ribbon cutting for the new TCC Rainforest Activity Center, an area solely dedicated to therapeutic play for patients and families on the 7th floor of the hospital. TCC equipped the room with art supplies, tablets and a multi-media projector, in hopes of giving young patients a place to take their minds off their health issues and allow them to just be kids.

TCC Riley 3While TCC did an incredible job of outfitting the room, it was up to Dittoe PR to get this wonderful story told across Central Indiana. In just 24 hours following the event, Dittoe secured media placement on WRTV-TV (ABC), WTHR-TV (NBC) and WTTV-TV (CBS) as well as in Current in Carmel. The ad value of the TV spots alone added up to more than $8,200 with a total viewership of 223,000.

Needless to say, the day was a success for all in attendance. TCC’s ongoing investments in the local communities in which it does business are made possible through its Culture of Good program. At Dittoe PR, we’re thrilled to play a role in telling the story about all the good that TCC does.

Need help telling your story? Contact us for a consultation. 

Dad to the Bone: Great Gifts for Every Father!

It’s that time of the year again! At Dittoe PR, we love this time of the year, because there are so many great opportunities to get media exposure for our product-based clients! I’m talking about gift guide season – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grads!

In honor of this celebratory time of year, I am putting together a list of some Father’s Day gift ideas from the Dittoe PR team. All of the products included are from our amazing clients.

Is your dad obsessed with everything tech? I know my dad loves to get his hands on any tech toy or gadget he can find. Here’s the perfect idea for every geeky dad – and, at less than $10, it makes a perfect gift from the kids:

Zibits is a new line of miniature collectible robots that come to life with remote control. Dads will have a blast collecting 12 Zibits in multiple unique, fun designs. At a size of just more than two inches, the mini Zibits are brought to life with the touch of a button that moves the robots several directions, including a full 360 degree rotation. They’re also fully equipped with incredible robotic lights & sounds. You can find Zibits at Toys “R” Us stores across the country. They’re also available online at Botabingbotaboom, eToys and Amazon.

Most dads love rocking out to their favorite music! I remember growing up and jamming with my dad to Tom Petty, the Beatles and Eric Clapton. Oh, the memories. Well, here’s an idea for any music loving dad:

Among the world’s smallest, lightest in-ear headphone designs, theImage X10i headphones are the epitome of high-quality sound, comfort and performance. A must for the stylish, music-loving dad, the X10i headphones are equipped with a micro-speaker that delivers some booming bass. The headphones also feature a built-in microphone and Apple’s very own three-button remote system that seamlessly controls music and phone calls. Its mic and remote system handles the music and/or voice control for the iPhone 3GS and third generation iPod Shuffle. Available at, $349.99.

Does your dad think he has the handyman skills of Bob Vila, but in actuality he’s more like Tim “The Toolman” Taylor? If so, get him a gift that will make him think he’s a true DIYer:

The AirFlow Breeze Ultra is a universal vent booster fan (with remote control) that fixes “problem” rooms that are either too hot or too cold –making your home the perfect temperature, no matter the season. A built-in temperature sensor quietly delivers warm or cool air to areas of the home that always seem to be too hot or too cold. The fan can also assist in moving air up, down, from room to room or level to level. With operating costs under $5 per year, it’s the most cost and energy-efficient way to keep the home cozy.  In addition to its role as a register booster fan, the AirFlow Breeze Ultra can be used to quietly pull warm air from fireplaces or woodstoves from room-to-room or level-to-level. During hot summer months, the AirFlow Breeze Ultra can pull cool air into rooms where you need it most. You can buy it from AirFlow Technology.

Christy Oberley tells me that, “If there is one thing I’ve learned from spending time with my dad and his posse of beer-drinking, golf-playing, bbq-burning 50 year old friends, it’s that they are concerned with TWO things.” So, here’s a gift idea for the “Hip Dad”:

1.  New, hip and innovative items for their collections of randomness; and

2.  Where their money is going.

This Father’s Day you can give them a gift that kills two birds with one hunk of duct tape – Ducti Wallets! Ducti wallets are made from 100% duct tape. They are fun, durable, trendy and a great conversation starter. You can purchase Ducti wallets onSobongo, a unique online store with a social twist. And who said the duct tape was just for kidnappers and handy men?

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)