By Jeffrey Davis

Virtual reality, voice marketing and artificial intelligence will continue to attract the buzz, but for most communicators 2020 is likely to bring incremental changes and a fine-tuning of familiar strategies and tactics. Here’s a practical look at what’s in store:

1. Someone Will Declare 2020 ‘The Year of the Podcast’We are still in the “early days” of podcasting and part of a steady growth cycle as listenership will continue its slow rise. Expect 2020 to be similar to recent years, although podcast listeners will become more sophisticated with a more discerning ear. Poor quality won’t be excused as much.

2. Google Will Introduce Another New Algorithm The SEO gurus will have to change their tune when, without any warning or fanfare, Google will reveal a new algorithm in 2020, once again changing the rules. Planning for voice search will become even more important.

3. Workplace Culture Will Emerge as a Much Bigger Deal What do agency executives discuss when they’re together? Recruitment and retention. Smart leaders are looking for ways to attract and keep their stars, with workplace culture a major component. Watch for those efforts to step up in 2020.

4. More Newspapers Will Fold And as they close, people will tweet about how bad this is for society, while even more will read about the closings (for free) and continue to avoid paying for news.

5. More Media Disasters Await A CEO whose company is in trouble will wing it and crash during a media interview, most likely bypassing offers for media training and spokesperson coaching. The first instance will occur by February at the latest.

6. ‘Customer Experience’ Will Get More Attention from Marketers The CX movement is bigger than many communicators realize and will gain more buy-in this year. Sure, we’ve been communicating with customers all along, but this relatively new discipline has drawn the attention of others in the C-Suite.

7. Podcasting as We Know it Will Evolve Podcasting will no longer be 2-3 people sitting around a microphone. The more advanced podcasters will incorporate video, with produced video assets from their podcast sessions used as snippets for IGTV, websites, Facebook and Twitter.

8. The Shift from Words to Video Will Continue Consumers don’t necessarily want to deal with words. They prefer video and images. Smart marketers will deliver these and the search algorithms will reward them.

9. More Twitter Accounts Realize It Pays to Be Less Boring The whole point of social media is to humanize your brand and interact with customers. We saw more brands up their Twitter game in recent years, with accounts like the CIA, TSA, Steak-umm, and Bud Light really working it. If the Pennsylvania Treasury Twitter account can break out, so can your brand. Others will continue to lull us to sleep with links to press releases and other boring posts.

10. You Will be Asked: Should We Get a TikTok? The question at the end of 2019 was: “What is TikTok?” In 2020 marketers will be asked: “Should we be on TikTok?” The answer will likely be “not yet.”

The author is Capitol Communicator’s Baltimore regional editor and managing partner with PR and strategic communications firm Van Eperen.

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