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Our newest episode of “Time Out with Click” explores the topic of Digital PR, with Senior Digital PR Executive, Damien, as the guide. If you like the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more content like this.
Read on for the transcript
Hi, I’m Damien, I’m the Senior Digital PR Executive here at Click, and today I’m going to be talking to you all about the exciting world of digital PR and hopefully demystifying some of the process behind it.
What is Digital PR?
That’s a really interesting question, actually. It’s hard to define what PR is because actually PR has been around for over 100 or so years now, even further.
PR stands for public relations and it’s essentially classified as a strategic communication between a brand or an organisation, and it’s public. That could be the consumer, it can be stakeholders, it can literally be anyone that has a vested interest.
The reason I say it’s difficult to kind of define is because one of the earliest examples we have of PR in the traditional sense comes from the American Revolutionary War. They used to send out pamphlets basically promoting one side or the other.
It wasn’t called public relations at the time, but it is what we now consider PR. And it’s really interesting to consider this when we look at the world of digital PR, because digital PR is essentially still public relations, it still takes that fundamental process of trying to influence a person and get them to learn more about your brand. It’s just moved it and evolved to the digital world.
So obviously digital PR is in some ways very new because it’s only been around since the invention of the World Wide Web and kind of the explosion of online media, but in some ways it’s also really old because it still carries on those fundamental lessons that we learned hundreds of years ago on how to influence people.
Why should a brand use Digital PR as part of their marketing strategy?
So it’s really important for a brand to use digital PR as part of that overall marketing strategy or any type of PR really, because if you’re not using that tactic, you’re kind of missing an essential part of the equation. You’re missing a way that you can reach out to your consumers or your publics, and it means that your overall strategy will be less impactful.
There are a number of ways, a number of ways that digital PR can help your overall marketing strategy, whether that’s from boostin the domain authority of your website via a backlink profile, whether it’s increasing your search ranking when consumers go and Google your brand, or whether it’s by increasing brand reputation and brand awareness.
By simply just making sure that consumers are aware of who you are, what you do, and how you can impact their lives on a day to day basis.
What techniques do you use in a typical digital PR strategy?
That’s really interesting because there is no such thing as a typical digital PR strategy because digital PR is all about making sure you can strategically communicate with your publics, or your consumers, the way that you do that can be really varied.
It can be through press releases with traditional media, it can be through liaising with bloggers to create content, unique content on their site, it can be through influencers, which is very popular at the moment…
But as long as you’re communicating with the public, that is the typical way to do digital PR, so you’re only ever really limited by your creativity.
There are a few tactics that we use quite regularly at the moment. Unique scoring systems have been really popular for the past few months. They are fading a little bit away now and we are seeing this kind of replace with more light and fluffy approaches.
Even here at Click, in the past few months, we’ve had a lot of success with some of our clients using brainteasers, which is a really simple way of just getting our clients in front of the consumer and the media that they digest on a regular basis without actually really saying very much.
Are there any practices in digital PR that you avoid?
Again, this is really interesting because they’re probably are practices that sometimes don’t work, but that doesn’t mean that you should write them off completely.
It is about finding the right way to communicate and the right way to approach that stakeholder or that consumer. It can vary day to day. It can vary month a month. I think at Click we place a lot of kind of importance on making sure that we value relevancy over volume.
So other digital PR agencies, potentially when their outreaching a press release, will kind of mass blast it to
any journalistic contact they could find. That’s not to say that that’s a bad strategy, because it probably will increase their pick up rate.
But actually, are you only going after those sites because there are vanity metrics, say like the Daily Mail? Or are you going after them because you just want volume, numbers. That may or may not be what’s best for your strategy.
We at Click kind of place that importance on relevancy and we say that it’s much more important to be in a magazine or a publication that people who are interested in that topic actively read, rather than a publication that is read by millions, but who are probably not going to click on your story.
How do you keep up-to-date with trends, and how do you implement them into a strategy?
So keeping up with trends is kind of really important obviously, with what we do day to day. As I say, traditional PR and PR in itself is hundreds of years old, but it is constantly evolving.
The advent of the digital world, it’s meant that we kind of have to keep pace and you can see it yourselves every single day. The digital world is constantly moving forward and it’s up to digital PR to kind of play catch up in that sense.
We have to still define how this digital world is existing within our sphere and what that means for us. So essentially it is a lot of research.
You have to stay on top of trends, whether that is for living and breathing your clients vertical, and making sure that you subscribe to any publications are relevant to them and staying up to date with the industry media as well…
Making sure that you have a strong presence on Twitter, following other journalist’s or following other PR people just so that you can see what other agencies are doing and what is happening within your sphere, so that you’re never playing, falling too far behind when you are playing catch up.
What technologies/programmes do you use that help you in your role?
Yeah, so it’s kind of like I don’t want to give away the industry secrets and tell you all the tools that we use because that is giving you the, the tools that you need and do it yourself.
But a few that we do use that are quite noticeable are:
ResponseSource, which is a tool that journalists use to send out queries or to say that they’re working on a story and they need maybe an expert opinion from your clients, or they use data which many of our campaigns may have covered in the past. These are opportunities that then allow us to kind of go to our clients and say, you know, this journalist from The Guardian is working on this piece, it’s a great fit, let’s get something over to them. That then helps us build that relationship with the journalist away from the tool as well.
Another tool that I use on a regular basis is Feedly that allows me to curate a unique kind of news feed, so that I can stay up to date with any of my clients verticals, make sure I know what’s happening within their industry on a day to day basis.
Another tool I use very often, it sounds weird, is Twitter. We have journal requests and PR requests. It’s very similar to ResponseSource but again it’s just allowing me to make sure that any opportunity that journalists are putting out there, we’re able to jump on.
However, I’d say probably the most important tool that we use on a day to day basis is the news media itself making sure that we’re constantly staying up to date with what’s happening within the world, whether that’s through Twitter, whether it’s through online news publications, whether it’s from as simple as reading the newspaper in the morning. It’s not a tool or a platform, but it is something that we need to be doing on a day to day basis.
As I mentioned earlier in the video, digital PR should always be a part of any marketing strategy that you put together. It is often that missing piece that allows you to gain that maximum potential for that strategy.
Whether it’s coverage in the press, whether it’s monitoring your relationship, making sure that your consumers are aware of you, or your reputation that they have of you is where you want it to be. And it can be something that a lot of brands struggle with, especially because traditional PR, digital PR, it is ever changing and it is something that you have struggled with in the past, we’re always available to help.
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