By: Bri Olson (@brii_olson)

First and foremost Happy New Year! I’m afraid to say we are only a week away from returning back to our Monday through Friday grind. On the plus side, there’s more in store for PRSSA this year than ever before. While sharing what to look forward to this semester, I’d also like to shed some insight I received while tuning in to PR Week’s webcast on “The Top-10 Digital Media Transformation Trends to Watch in 2018.”

PRSSA in 2018
As I’m sure you already know, our first meeting of the semester is Wednesday, January 10th at 9PM in Niemeyer Honors College room 148. I am especially excited for this meeting because former PRSSA President and friend of mine Tyler Lehner will be presenting with his coworker from Weber Shandwick Detroit, Margarita Bauźa. Tyler is passionate about diversity and the LGBTQ community so we felt he’d be the best speaker on the topic Multicultural PR. Our VP of Chapter Development, Trevor Bryan, is working on a diversity initiative within our PRSSA Chapter to hold us to the same standards as our inclusive university and to PRSSA at a national level.

Also taking place this January is the APR program’s “New Year, New You, New APR Brand” alumni mixer. Mark your calendars for Friday, January 26th, 2018 from 6-8pm at 8THIRTYFOUR Integrated Communications for networking, refreshments, and an optional fundraising opportunity for the GR Pride Center. I am so proud of our Director of Alumni Relations, Vanessa Lansdale for working so diligently to execute this event.

In February, our Chapter will work on a campus-wide social media training event. We’re working on obtaining insightful speakers on the topic of social media from things like creating content and tracking analytics to building an audience.

This will be the semester that Trevor and Christina Oberly, VP of Member Services, apply for various national awards to get our Chapter recognized for all our “never done before” efforts mentioned above. These awards include the Star Chapter Award, the Pacesetter Award, and the Fundraising Bowl Award; all through PRSSA National.

Digital Media Trends to Watch in 2018
A few trends I picked up on to share with you are similar trends that are already occurring now. However, in 2018 they’ll be more intensified.

For example, we are already fairly aware that social media is changing the ways brands interact with their consumers. As communicators, we have to ask ourselves how our branding adds value to these consumers. Having a more transparent environment via social media presence means 2018 will be a year where reputational risk increases. This is where internal PR comes into play.

Another takeaway was the fact that video communication will be the forefront of social media campaigns. Not only motion picture videos, but even animated videos and simplistic videos with strictly text. Visual storytelling is the most engaging content currently on the web; the prediction is that sooner or later, all online content will be expressed through video.

Lastly, as PR students we’ve been taught to make sure our objectives are measurable. One way our industry aims to track social media objectives is through data and analytics tracking. In 2017 we warehoused so much data that we almost didn’t know how to make sense of it. One trend to look out for in 2018 is artificial intelligence and machine learning. Machine learning is an artificial intelligence approach that filters through ambiguous data and pulls out valuable information.

With those trends in mind and a semester full of exciting events, I wish you all a very happy New Year! Cheers to 2018, may this year be our best year yet!

Bri is a senior at GVSU majoring in Advertising and Public Relations with an emphasis in PR. She is also passionate about photography and the creativity behind it. One of Bri’s favorite aspects of PR is media relations. She is an eager, motivated, and curious student that is excited to serve as President  of GVSU PRSSA this year.