I have three top tips aimed at anyone looking to get into digital PR, mainly from a client or brand perspective. However it also works if you are looking to get into the industry as a PR professional.
Chapter 3. Digital PR Irrespective of Industry
1. Identify campaign goals
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to creating a strategy for digital PR, therefore my first tip is to identify your campaign goals and work backwards from there. You need to identify your goals and be clear on what you are trying to achieve from having PR in general as a service, or how you’re trying to generate results for your client.
If you’re looking to drive traffic to a particular product page, you want to think about content which is loosely related to that product. If you want to establish authority, then it might be that newsjacking or reactive PR and thought leadership will be more beneficial because you will demonstrate expertise that way. Or if you want to raise brand awareness, then something more PR centered, more creative, bigger and bold, especially across content marketing, might work better for you. If the objective is that you want to rank for a certain keyword, then typing that keyword into BuzzSumo will show you what kind of PR campaigns already exist around that, and you can assess what seems to have worked well or not and go from there.
2. Know your audience and your competition
My second tip is to know your audience and to know your competition. From a content and SEO background plus PR you need to always think about your audience and the user intent behind everything you’re creating. As good as it is to have a really creative idea, you have to think about who is on the end of that and what you want to achieve from the idea. Therefore you need to have a clear idea about who you’re creating that content for.
The best way to do this is to look at the kind of content that your target audience or your target publications are consuming themselves. What do they engage with? What kind of articles are the journalists that your targeting writing about? If you want to get in a particular publication, what kind of stories are they covering? Always look at that and see where you are idea fits so that your content will have a better chance of being seen by this audience. Good user intent and audience awareness will always deliver.
Keep an eye on your competitors and what they’re doing as well, because this way you find out ways to bridge the gap. Are they offering something to your audience that you currently don’t? What have you got that is different? What’s your USP – Unique Selling Proposition? How can you make sure that you’re not only competing, but going above and beyond to put yourself at the forefront?
3. Think like there is no box
My third tip is to don’t think outside the box, but think as if there isn’t one. Obviously you must do so with your users in mind and ensure the content is relevant.
The best way is to think as if there is no box is to go back to your strategy which should allow you to be reactive, be bold, take risks, give you the space to create and have lots of fresh ideas. You should not be afraid to try new initiatives, but you should learn from ideas that haven’t worked so well. Therefore when creating the strategy, think of other ideas outside of the product or service that you’re directly trying to market. Don’t limit yourself by thinking too closely to your product or your service otherwise you run out of ideas very quickly. Follow brands and businesses, people within the industry who are experts, people that you look up to, people who are sharing ideas all the time, competitors, pay attention to what they’re doing and pay attention to the kind of things that they consume.
Look at trending topics (use Google Trends) and think about important dates and news and events, so there’s always something that you can make PR-able around that. Drawing inspiration from the product/service itself, the events, consumers because there is a lot of content out there to compete with, so you want to make sure that you’re doing something different, or if it already exists, you want to make sure that you’re doing it better.
Jess Peace is an experienced copywriter with a passion for all things content, social media, SEO and digital PR. After completing a degree in Journalism, landing her first job as a reporter and risking it all to seize a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to move to Barcelona, she fell into the world of marketing. She has held various roles within the industry from account management to managing an SEO and content team, and have worked both in-house and agency side. Jess leads creative content strategies for a wide range of clients at Evoluted and uses her copywriting skills to create purposeful content to drive traffic and increase rankings, build links and land placements, but more importantly, to help brands tell their story and connect with their audience.
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Try and monitor something like #JournoRequest on Twitter. This is a good way to kind of see what’s happening in the news and it gives you an opportunity to be reactive and to use newsjacking to jump on opportunities. You want to follow brands that you love, so even if they’re not relevant to the brand or the client that you’re marketing for, you can draw inspiration from them too, it doesn’t have to be directly related, as well as PR professionals and other places for campaign inspiration.
I like to follow these on Twitter, @Campaignmag, @DigitalPREx and @famouscampaigns. Whenever you create a campaign you want to make sure that there is a hook, because sometimes great ideas need a bit of substance.
You need to make sure that when you’re going out to journalists that they know that they can cover it straight away, it’s something that appeals to them. Try and write your headline as if it is something that they would already cover. Always think about the news angle right at the ideation start of your campaign, not after you’ve finished. And always look for ways to keep your campaign going for longer to keep it fresh, so it might be that you re-angle it according to something that’s come up in the news, it might be that you create supporting content or unicorn content, it might be that you can create cluster content or a series of content around it, but make sure that it’s not just a one campaign that you’ll push once, it’s something you can return to and that will keep on giving.