New market strategies, hot topic tracking, and thought-provoking trade events to start the New Year in pole position – but don’t forget that timing is everything!

This November as PR and marketing budgets are being finalized, planning for the year ahead is very much underway for our clients and the IBA team!

It’s true the content lifecycle never truly stops, but what fuels this messaging engine? A strong content pipeline of course! Key market strategies, well thought out brand messaging, and an acute understanding of what topics are being hotly debated in relevant media circles are crucial factors to establish your brand as a thought leader.

Trends can come and go or indeed go and come as quickly as Sam Altman was sacked and then re hired by OpenAI, but the key to a winning PR and Marketing strategy is careful planning and a watchful eye on appropriate trendjacking opportunities!

It can be a tough balancing act, but our clients this month have proven it’s all possible when you strike at the right time.

Stay one step ahead of your prospects with an action plan

We all know very well that thought leadership planning would be a stab in the dark without clear guidance on what you want your messaging to say. To get ahead of this conundrum, our aerospace and defence client kicked this month off with an all-hands meeting to realign their marketing strategy for 2024 around key messaging pillars. They engaged both sales and marketing so we were there as well, to decide on their key industry sub-segments and consider what set of core thought leadership ideas would help them sell their brand equity – their excellence over their competitors – and grow their pipeline with target organizations.

An ambitious task and a big job to build the roadmap, but once finalized, we are certainly up to taking those themes and producing the content and placements to match in 2024.

Turn the heat up by tapping into trending topics

But here’s the next hurdle – will these themes resonate with your target media or is it time to have a rethink? When in doubt, go trendjacking. This important media activity task certainly pays off to ensure content remains fresh and relevant – something our business management client can attest to, especially as we help them carve another footprint into a new vertical market!

This month the IBA editorial team has carefully poured over trending media stories at large, together with recently published media kits, editorial calendars, and forward features planned for 2024 to compile hot topics and upcoming media opportunities in trade publications that cover our client’s key vertical markets. This invaluable activity signposts topics that our clients would be well-versed to speak with authority on, as well as demonstrating to journalists that they understand topics that will resonate with their audience.

A lot of PR agencies and customers often forget, 63% of journalists say that PR pros who understand their publication’s target audience help make their job easier. No need for a crowbar if your message is on song with the media.

It pays to cast the net wide – draw inspiration from industry events

At the start of the month, we asked ChatGPT to predict the top B2B technology trends for 2024 onwards. While the results were pretty mundane and certainly not visionary, the GenAI tool did end its predictions with a poignant disclaimer: To get the most accurate predictions for PR and Marketing trends in 2024, I recommend staying updated with industry publications, attending conferences, and following thought leaders in the field. Trends can change rapidly, so it’s essential to adapt your strategies accordingly.

The importance of attending industry tradeshows to build the content pipeline is definitely not a strategy to overlook – advice we’ve followed this week as some of our IBA team attended the B2B Marketing Expo in London, where our contact center client was exhibiting. In addition to being a great opportunity to meet our client face-to-face, the expo’s sessions have provided great content collateral for our own IBA thought leadership – so watch this space for upcoming content on how Google and big search engines will be treating AI generated content. Some interesting developments are afoot.

Ideas without action are useless

The final step in this content playbook is to get those ideas into story shapes that will resonate with the media and make a start on drafting timely, relevant content that will help our clients demonstrate their industry expertise – so no pressure!

Hannah Watson is PR Lead – Analytics at IBA International.

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