Chapter 3. Digital PR According to Industry

My first tip is to identify your campaign goals and work backwards from there, and this kind of comes from the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to creating a strategy for digital PR, so for any client or brand or whether you’re looking to get into it yourself, there isn’t gonna be a one-size-fits-all approach to it. So it all depends on what you are trying to achieve from having PR in general as a service, or how you’re trying to get results for your clients.

If you’re looking to drive traffic to a particular product page, you want to think about content which is loosely sort of 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 for you guys, because you will demonstrate expertise that way. Or if you want to raise brand awareness, then something that is a bit more PR centered, a bit more creative, bigger and bold, especially across content marketing, might work better for you. As well, if it’s something where you want to rank for a certain keyword, then doing something like typing that keyword into BuzzSumo will show you what kind of PR campaigns already exist around that, and you can kind of go from there.

The second tip is to know your audience and to know your competition. So one thing from a content and SEO background, but absolutely works for PR as well, is to always think about your audience and the user intent behind everything you’re creating. So 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 it, so one thing to sort of think about is who you’re creating that content for. So good user intent and audience awareness will always deliver. So the best way to do that is to look at the kind of content that your target audience or your target publications are consuming themselves. So 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.

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Keep an eye on your competitors and what they’re doing as well, because this way you sort of 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 USB? And how can you make sure that you’re not only competing, but going above and beyond to put yourself at the forefront? 

The third tip is to don’t think outside the box, but think as if there isn’t one. So obviously, with your users in mind, make sure that all the content that you’re putting out there, and especially if you’re outreaching with it, is relevant, but I think the best way is to sometimes from your strategy, yes, it’s all about planning, but sometimes you have to be reactive, you have to be bold, you have to take risks, you have to basically have lots of fresh ideas and don’t be afraid to not fail, but to learn from things that haven’t worked so well.

The best way to kind of devise up your strategy is to think of other ideas outside of the thing that you’re directly trying to market. So don’t limit yourself by thinking too closely to your product or your service or whatever it might be that you’re trying to put out there, otherwise you run out of ideas very quickly. One thing I would say is to try to 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.

Looking at things like trending topics, any kind of industry, whatever your client industry might be, or whatever industry you’re in, you want to think about important dates and news and events as well, so there’s always something that you can make PR-able around that, regardless of what your sort of background is. Make sure that you’re drawing inspiration from everything because there is a heck of a lot of content out there to compete with, so you wanna make sure that you’re doing something different, or if it already exists, you wanna make sure that you’re doing it better.

Here are just some sort of well rounded top tips from this, so how to kind of get into your ideation if you’re not sure where to start, so 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 wanna 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.

Here are some top ones that I like to follow, which are @Campaignmag, @DigitalPREx and @famouscampaigns. You also want to think about whenever you create a campaign, as well as the creative idea might be awesome, 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. So 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.