Brands large and small have utilised PR as a strategy to raise awareness of who they are, what they do and how customers can find them.
And for as long as newspapers have been published, savvy brands have worked hard to generate coverage that conveys a key message or paints them in a good light in front of the right people.
But the advent of the internet, the launch of online editions newspapers and the emergence countless new platforms has forced brands to rethink their PR strategy.
Add to that the rise of the smartphone, which puts in the internet in the palm of any potential customer’s hand, and brands are waking up to the realisation that a coherent digital PR strategy is essential if they are to retain or grow their market share.
DIGITAL PR STRATEGY EXPLAINED
What is the difference between traditional and digital PR?
Traditional PR refers to the practice of generating coverage in relevant and major news publications, including newspapers and magazines. The coverage generated will likely convey a particular message on behalf of the brand, showcase a particular milestone, such as a product launch, or portray the brand as an authority on a particular topic.
The key to effective PR is telling a story that journalists believe their readers would be interested in. PR that is too salesy will likely not make it past the inbox!
All of the above remains true in the world of digital PR, although the strategy can be used to achieve a more diverse range of objectives.
While traditional PR can raise awareness, digital PR can more effectively generate leads, including pointing readers to visit a particular website, follow a particular social channel or even make a purchase. An effective digital PR strategy, which takes in strands like earned media, can even help your business achieve its SEO objectives.
While newspaper column inches, by their nature, are limited, digital PR engages with platforms for whom print deadlines and word counts aren’t really an issue.
And even though traditional PR can also effectively engage with digital platforms, a tailored digital PR strategy can deliver much more impressive all-round results.
How can I do digital PR?
If your company does business online, then digital PR should be high on your list of considerations. Much like in traditional PR, the origins of a great digital strategy are in effective story-telling and being able to generate content that engages and informs, instead of just selling.
It also pays to build relationships with media relevant to you, whether that be at regional or national level, or the sector in which your business operates.
But before you start, you must ensure that your brand’s presence online is where it needs to be. Is your website user-friendly, informative and on brand? It should be quick-loading and optimised for both desktop and mobile.
Are your social media channels regularly updated with engaging content? Consider which channels your customers are most likely to use and focus resources accordingly. Can customers who find you online actually do business with you? A clear and simple customer journey is absolutely essential.
If you have these building blocks in place then digital PR can underpin any business’s ambitions for growth.