5 Things You Need to Know About Digital PR

PR and Events

5 Things You Need to Know About Digital PR

by Juanita Wyght

So you want to get into PR/Digital PR or find out a little more about what it really involves. Well, let’s get into it!

PR and Digital PR ultimately helps obtain coverage and increase brand awareness. But this is not all it does. In this post, we will cover five key things that you absolutely need to know when it comes to PR; including some terminology that you’ll want to get under your belt to get started.

Glossary:

Before we delve deeper into the need-to-knows, there’s some terminology that, as a budding PR person, or someone expanding their marketing knowledge, you’ll want to make a note of:

  • KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) – Also known as measurements of success. KPIs are what you as a PR or marketer will always be working towards.
  • Media Relations – Refers to relationships with journalists, publications and outlets. Typically, this is the focus for a PR in 2020. It includes writing press releases, sending stories/quotes/insight and organising assets.
  • Assets – This can include anything from Infographics, videos, product imagery, photos/headshots to press releases, quotes, data and research.
  • Samples – Usually these are sent directly from the brand or a press officer. However, as a PR you’re in a unique position to offer and organise products to be sent as ‘samples’ or ‘gifts’ to key contacts.
  • Outreach – This refers to reaching out to contacts who may be interested in the business (and the information they have to offer).

1. Traditional PR vs Digital PR

Before digital really took off, Traditional (trad) PR had been focused on print media. Although they still do this nowadays, Trad PRs also deal with relevant websites for online coverage; and also touch on social media and influencer marketing. Trad PR methods are great for brand awareness and product launches. In this discipline, a PR gal is more likely to send samples to press or influencers.

On the other side of the coin, we have Digital PR, which is typically known for supporting and enhancing SEO. Often activity is done for SEO purposes, which include increasing rankings in search results through outreach and gaining links.

There are no doubts about the effectiveness of both types of PR, but there is one main difference between the two, and that is the KPIs that will be attributed to activity.

2. Types of PR activity

Despite what people think, there is a multitude of PR activity that can be done for businesses and brands:

  • Campaigns – Either large or small content pieces. They can range from being a blog post with some data to a full-blown interactive piece, and everything in between, including celebrities launching collections or products.
  • Content Marketing – A type of marketing that involves creating and sharing blog posts. Although a slightly separate entity, you’re likely to touch on content marketing if you work Digital PR.
  • Crisis Management – The practice of acknowledging, managing and reversing negative press and comms around a business/brand crisis.
  • Reactive PR/Newsjacking – Both terms refer to an ‘always on’ approach. This means you’re constantly looking for a relevant story for your client/brand to become the centre of the conversation.
  • Product placement – Think about websites that do a round-up of clothes, accessories or beauty products; usually its a list or an image gallery right? This is an option that works for fashion and eCommerce brands. It does particularly well during seasonal times such as Valentine’s, Black Friday and Christmas.

3. One size does not fit all

It’s common for a client to have an idea of what they want already – it may have been something they’ve seen a competitor do or something they have read – but it’s important to note that one size doesn’t fit all. Budgets, KPIs and resource all factor into what is achievable, while the size of the client also plays a part.

A small jewellery start-up, for example, doesn’t need a huge interactive campaign and may not have the budget. Instead, you should target fashion journalists/publications, introduce the brand and aim for “new brand” coverage along with some product placements. Likewise, more corporate companies may prefer reactive PR and content marketing, while high street brands may be all for a campaign, providing it takes their offering into consideration.

4. Performance

There is a whole host of KPIs that come with PR activity, including:

  • Backlinks
  • Brand mentions
  • Conversions
  • Domain authority
  • Sentiment
  • Site traffic
  • Social media engagement
  • Social shares

(Esther has already done an amazingly detailed blog post on How to Measure PR Performance where she covers each of these KPIs/measurements of success, which I highly recommend you bookmark and read!)

Depending on the type of client, and work that is requested, the KPIs can include all of the above or just a few. More often than not, PRs are likely to keep an eye on all of the above, regardless of what a client has specifically asked for, and use it to potentially be reactive with any additional activity that can be done such as running another story or offering quotes/insight/data for ‘reactive’ PR opportunities.

5 Skills you will want to have, and definitely will develop

Great communication

As the foundation for any public relation role, one of the primary focuses of PR of any kind is goods comms.

Creativity and creative thinking

Every brand needs PR, no matter what type. So, regardless of if it’s a super fun one such as a well-known clothing brand or a corporate one who focuses on business and HR, you’ll have to be able to think outside the box in order to develop a strategy. Creativity is key.

Social media

You may not need to be an expert, but it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of how different social platforms work, and what makes them unique. As we previously covered, social engagement can be a KPI for PR, so being able to create something that works for social platforms can also help spread your PR outreach and efforts that little bit further!

Writing skills

Where PR used to be centred around meeting journalists for lunch and talking on the phone, nowadays email is one of the most crucial points of contact for a PR. While you will ultimately finesse your style, tone of voice and approach over time, writing press releases, emails pitching a story to a journalist and any quick quotes for client sign off are all an integral part of the day-to-day job.

Positive thinking

PR is fun, but it can also be time-sensitive and pressured – journalists chase for info but also go radio-silent, and clients chase but also say they’re too busy to look over something, all the while you’ll still need to achieve your results. Successful campaigns and placements cannot always be guaranteed but that should never deter you from continuing and pushing forward; instead learn from everything to become bigger and better!