Next year, business communicators are going to work harder than ever to adapt to a radical shift in the consumer mindset, part of which is, “What’s in it for me?” The most crucial objectives are to stay relevant, understand new technologies, and give the market what it wants. But don’t fret – givers get.

Accordingly, expect to see the following practices emerge in 2018.

1. Battling the “me” epidemic in social media. We will be forced to move away from ego-centric, sales-focused marketing communication (humble brags, ninja advertising) and create content that the audience wants. The new objective becomes earning audience trust before moving in for the sale. This is where PR shines.

2. Hiring seasoned strategists to manage the social media function.Stronger writers and business strategists will take the reins of social media and apply more savvy approaches to winning the hearts of key publics with robust, multi-channel content.

3. Businesses as media outlets. While it will still be important to work with traditional and digital media outlets to relay messages to big audiences, resource-rich companies will leverage social media channels (YouTube, Facebook, blogs, mobile phone video, etc.) to create, host and distribute their own content.

4. The blurring of lines between public relations and marketing.  A larger portion of the marketing budget will be spent on audience attraction through brand journalism. Advertising budgets will shrink. Marketing professionals will acquire and apply public relations skills to fill the gaps.

5. Return to human connection. The more we rely on technology to communicate, the more we crave real, heart-felt human connection. Businesses will find creative ways to engage with audiences and devote more resources to building attractive personal brands for leadership and customer-facing personnel.