Digital PR is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy in 2019. Digital PR is not only a key brand image tool, but it also supports many other aspects of digital marketing such as link building and SEO. Building a digital PR strategy is critical to ensuring your take full advantage of the opportunities presented by digital PR.
Here is a step-by-step guide to creating your own digital PR strategy to build your brand and achieve your business goals in 2019.
What Is Digital PR?
Digital PR, like traditional PR, uses media and publicity to build your brand’s image, increase brand awareness, boost visibility and strengthen your customer base. It integrates modern digital techniques and platforms to deliver these results using digital methods, and is focused on digital media, online publications, influencers and content creators,
Digital PR is critical to building your brand’s awareness in our changing digital world. Digital PR can also be used to launch a new product or service, generate leads, bringing in referral traffic and supporting SEO strategies.
How To Build a Digital PR Strategy
It is important to remember that while Digital PR shares some attributes and many of the end results, they are also very different in some critical ways. Therefore, those who simply copy traditional PR strategies in implementing digital PR are doing themselves a disservice.
In order to effectively execute digital PR, it is necessary to build a dedicated strategy which encompasses these four pillars:
- Understanding: knowing what you want to achieve through digital PR
- Planning: having set and detailed plans to show how you will meet your goals and objectives
- Implementation: carrying out the planning consistently and effectively.
- Evaluation: monitoring and analysing results, and adjusting as necessary.
Here is a seven step plan to build a Digital PR strategy which will take your digital marketing efforts to the next level.
Define Your Goals And Objectives
Having clearly defined goals and objectives is imperative for any kind strategy. After all, if you don’t know where you want to go, how can you work out the best way to get there?
Many agencies and businesses skip over this step without thinking about it, and get stuck into techniques and tactics based on what they already know or what they have seen others do. However, it is highly advantageous to take a step back to set your goals and objectives and use these as a basis for establishing plans and execution.
To do this you will need to be clear on the difference between goals and objectives:
- Goals are broad, usually unquantifiable, desired end points of your campaign
- Objectives are specific and generally quantifiable – they are the building blocks which will bring you closer to achieving your goals.
Identify Your Target Audience
Having a clear picture of your target audience is also essential to building a successful digital PR strategy. Although data and testing come into play here, it is not an exact science and each target audience is very individual to each brand.
The first step is to define your ideal customer based on factors such as demographics (age/gender/ethnicity/location), their interests, digital habits, income and education. Next, test your sample group(s) through surveys, feedback forms or interactive exercises such as competitions. Social media analytics can also give you insights into your existing audience, as can email lists. Finally, competition analysis is a great way to see who are competitors are targeting and identify any gaps which could represent an opportunity.
If preparing a new campaign, it can be a good idea to prepare multiple target audiences and run split tests (also known as A/B tests) to define your ideal target audience.
Develop Your Key Message
Your messaging should be reflected in every aspect of your campaign, so it is important to have it clearly defined from the start. Each campaign should have at least one key message which reflects the goal of the campaign and is tailored to achieving that goal. If your campaign has multiple goals you may have multiple messages: one per goal.
As you roll out your digital PR campaign, make sure your message is communicated clearly and consistently throughout.
Create Your Editorial Calendar
Your editorial calendar is essentially your campaign’s road map. It lays out roll-out dates, as well as key messages, contacts and team responsibilities.
This essential tool will let you not only plan out your campaign, but also provide timelines and let you track that everything is being completed on schedule.
This will not be applicable to every digital PR campaign, but in many cases it will be one of the most critical steps. If your digital PR activities are based around working with niche-based authority websites and online publications you will likely be creating editorials or guest posts for these sites. On the other hand, when relying on digital media you may not need to create much content if any at all.
If your digital PR strategy relies on creating content, it is essential that this content is high quality, interesting and useful. Many small businesses do not have an in-house content team and so use external content marketing services for this part of the strategy.
This is the stage where digital PR is solidly in the realm of traditional PR: pitching your content and publicising your campaign to the rest of the world.
There are two main types of digital outreach:
- Solicited Outreach: This is also known as “jumping on board”, as you are jumping on board with the trends and types of content which digital media and sites are already looking for. This could be through analysing the current trends in the market, or through working off the established content calendars of digital publications.
- Unsolicited Outreach: This type of outreach involves leveraging your own specific expertise or area of interest, and using this to pitch original ideas to digital media and online publications.
In both cases, it is important that pitches are made in strategic ways and to the right people. This requires a lot of preparation work to compile contact databases and build relationships with key people.
Analyse and Evaluate
This is the final step in the process, but it is something that should be prepared from the start. Before your campaign even goes live, have systems in place to be able to track its results as it rolls out. Identify your KPI (key performance indicators) which will indicate whether you are meeting your goals and objectives, and tracking these throughout your campaign. One of the defining characteristics of digital PR, as opposed to traditional PR, is that results start to come in almost immediately.
Perhaps even more importantly, evaluate what these results mean as your campaign progresses. Translate all the data and figures associated with your campaign into what they mean for your business: whether in terms of lead generated, sales confirmed, ROI, or something else. Doing this as your campaign progresses allows you to be responsive and make any necessary changes to make sure you meet your goals and objectives.