The digital revolution has swept across the media landscape, forever changing how brands interact with consumers. The new world of PR presents unique challenges but also an opportunity to provide brands and companies with more consumer engagement than ever before. There has never been a better time to expand your digital PR efforts.
We are well into a digital communications shift that has forever changed how consumers get their information and entertainment. The good news is we are just at the beginning — the digital PR methods you test and deploy today will serve you in the future repeatedly as consumers continue to move away from traditional media to digital options.
The Value of Digital PR
PR is important in the digital era because traditional advertising, the main way that companies and brands communicate their message is less effective. Consumers do not appreciate interruptive advertising and now have the technological tools to block them. Computer browsers that block online ads, television digital recorders that cut out TV commercials and premium-tier music services that eliminate advertising completely are just some of the popular ways consumers avoid commercial messages.
Digital PR is uniquely positioned to take the lead in this marketing transformation. That’s because, while consumers want to avoid advertising that interrupts their user experience, they welcome news and information that provides value. Digital PR encompasses a blend of traditional PR with social media, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). Each of these methods encourages engagement and involvement rather than interruption. It allows companies and brands to meet consumers where they are, and give them valuable content that informs and entertains.
Getting Started with DigitalPR
But before you think PR strategy, think about business strategy. Identify your company’s business objectives and goals. Executives usually don’t see merit in supporting a programme unless it positively contributes to what the company seeks to achieve. Here are our 7 steps to help get yours underway…
Define your audience. Determine not only the demographics of your audience, figure out how they consume entertainment and information online. What platforms do they use the most?
Set strategic goals. What is the goal of your PR initiatives? Are you out to educate, inspire or compel them to take a specific action?
Formulate key topics and messaging. What topics and messaging can you devise that will not interrupt their user experience? What content fits into their lifestyle and give them value?
Define distribution. What is the optimum distribution pattern for your audience? Your target audiences have their communication preferences – email, social media platforms, push notifications and so on. They also have their preferred devices – smart watch, phone, tablet, laptop or desktop. You must communicate with your target audience where they consume digital information. If you don’t, no matter how relevant your messaging is, your audience won’t see it.
Don’t forget to ensure your message reflects the preferred format, length and tone of the selected digital platform.
Set the editorial calendar. Put together your editorial schedule, listing the audience, distribution method and format of each piece of content.
Measure and Modify. One of the biggest selling points of a digital PR strategy, unlike most traditional advertising or marketing efforts, is that it can be more comprehensively measured, which makes it much easier to know if your digital PR efforts are having the desired effect. Start by understanding what media measurement categories are most important to your organisation.
Your chosen measurement methods must be linked intrinsically to your strategic goals. For example, if your digital PR strategic goal is about growing your email subscriber base, metrics like the number of interactions and followers won’t tell you how successful your programme is. However, if your goal is related to improving your brand perception, follower and interaction numbers could be helpful metrics but so could third-party surveys.
Use data to evolve your digital PR strategy. Don’t just report the numbers – use the data to advance your digital PR strategy. Make an appointment on your calendar (at least quarterly) to dig into the data on a micro and macro level. It’s critical to see how well the programme is achieving its goals, and what tactics are working better than others.
Don’t restrict your analysis to internal numbers. New data and trends will emerge from outside the PR team. Talk to other departments in your organisation to learn about the changes they’re experiencing. Review external sources that speak to trends in your industry and about your audiences.
Use that comprehensive analysis to inform the update of your strategy, expanding on successes and tackling newly discovered obstacles.
Do you want to be more effective in your digital PR efforts? You’re not alone. Sign up with the digitalprwire revolution and find out what you can do to overcome some of the most common challenges for today’s communicators.