As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to look ahead to what the next year has in store. But before we light fireworks and pop the champagne, it’s important to stop, take a moment, smell the roses and reflect on the marketing trends of the past year, and what we’ve learned from them.

1. It’s All About Framing

The way you phrase a question can have a big impact on the answer. When we ask someone, “what’s wrong?” we immediately create a negative frame of mind, leading them to fill that space with negative content. That was the ask, after all. In this forced negative reality, life (or health, marriage, business, hope, etc.) looks pretty grim. However, if we instead ask, “what’s right?”, we create a positive reality and guide our friends, loved ones, clients (or ourselves) to account for positive outcomes, appreciate achievements, and build upon those new hopes and aspirations.

2. Embrace the Long Form

Although it’s tempting to go with the catchy one-liners and quick, easy reads, long-form content is just as important. Not only does it benefit you with increased time spent on your site and better rankings on search engines, but it also delivers your readers real value. By providing interesting and educational content they want to see, you’ll be giving your audience a rewarding reading experience and, as a result, increase engagement for your brand.

3. Fortune Favors the Bold

When creating a brand identity, don’t just blend in with the rest. Be bold, and don’t play it safe, or you risk losing out on the opportunity to create a community and make a real impact. Although taking a stand may polarize your audience and, as a result, alienate some, it will create a real, strong, and genuine connection with your target audience who’ll stand firmly behind you.

4. The Art of the Anti-Sell

No one likes to be sold to, but everyone loves the thrill of finding a cool new product all on their own. Although it’s important to use your marketing strategies to promote your brand, sometimes it’s better to take a light-handed approach. With so much advertising constantly thrown at consumers, it takes away from the excitement of uncovering something new, because there is always more joy in making a discovery than making a purchase. Creating intriguing content without the hard sell will entice your audience to come to you.

5. Quality over Quantity

The saying is simple, but its meaning rings true. When it comes to PR, it’s easy to get wrapped up in wanting as much coverage as possible, but taking a step back and being strategic about your outreach creates better results in the end. Just a few features from top tier outlets is far more valuable than many hits in smaller outlets. It increases brand credibility and often strikes organic interest from other smaller outlets.

6. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it! This philosophy can be applied to almost anything. Running annual sale ads that performed well last year? Instead of starting from scratch, just make any necessary tweaks and repurpose it. Have a cool concept for an email or a blog? See if you can work it into other areas of your campaigns. Get creative with the way you use content, and don’t shy away from replicating things that worked.

7. Track-Report-Repeat

Without tracking, it’s almost impossible to know what’s working, and even harder to shape your future marketing strategies. Not everybody loves reporting but it’s a necessary part of any department. Not only are you showing your value and genuine interest to the client, you’re also setting yourself up for success going forward. The only way to learn, adapt and grow is to be mindful of all your efforts.

8. Be Relevant

Believe it or not, audiences do actually care what you have to say, and they do get value from it! Just posting for the sake of putting out content won’t cut it. Consistently delivering relevant information to your audience will keep them entertained and coming back for more. Trends are always evolving, so try some out and see if they work for you. Remember, customers are increasingly turning to social media as the ultimate representation of your brand and they’re looking to get timely responses to questions, updates on your company, and to learn something new, so be sure your online presence is top notch.

9. Persistence, Persistence, Persistence

Determination is key. When you work in public relations, submitting a client to what seems like every media outlet for a feature can be discouraging. Often you never hear back or aren’t provided with the answer you’re looking for. Whether it’s in your career, your personal life, or your marketing efforts, persistence can be your golden ticket to success. Eventually, someone will reply with that coveted “yes”, and it will make all of your dedication worth it.

10. Don’t Rush the Process

All great things take time. No matter what field you’re in, it’s near impossible to get anything perfect the first time. To achieve the best outcomes, you also have to put in the work to get there. As someone in the creative field, or any other industry, there will be tons of feedback headed your way. Learn to take it in, work with it, and learn from it. You’ll not only end up with a great finished product, but you’ll have gained valuable skills you can bring with you into all your future projects.

As you think back on this year, what stands out? Did you hit your goals? What are some things you could change? Use this time to reflect, it’ll help you gear up for the future, and provide you the insights you need to dive into the new year with confidence, and more than a little foresight.