Read any “how to” article or guide on digital PR these days, and sooner rather than later, expect to run across the word “awareness.” In fact, when customers are aware of a brand, that’s a very good thing, but awareness is not enough. Brands need engagement, they need fans who share their content, creating more awareness and, more importantly, more fans.
Digital PR comprises all the strategies used to reach an audience online or on social media. While many of the methods are similar to traditional PR, there are some important distinctions and additional tools that should be included in any digital PR campaign. Some of these tools, like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), are strictly background and all about the setup. Others, like content marketing and influencer marketing are all about connection, and keeping the conversation going, and that’s the aspect in which digital PR really shines.
Focusing on one-off campaigns is not how to develop sustained success using digital PR. The key to success in this arena rests in creating connection points for people as well as ongoing exchanges that keep them engaged. We’ll talk about the goals in a moment.
First, let’s look at some best practices for preparing and executing an influential digital PR campaign:
Begin building relationships with key members of the media. This is no different than traditional PR in principle, but the jobs are a bit different, as are the personalities. Get to know bloggers, online journalists, and content creators on social media, especially effective YouTube influencers in the right niche.
Another step that’s similar to traditional PR, but much more important in a digital setting is the business’ online profile. Brands should create several different types of online profile that vary in length, focus, and target audience. Each of these unique profiles should be tailored to fit the venue and the intended audience.
It’s also wise to gather and organize business and brand reviews, which can be used in many different ways and in many different venues online.
Work with influencers to help generate brand recognition and begin laying the groundwork for those ongoing conversations.
Finally, make sure all the content and venues are cross linked so people can easily move between brand-specific online environments.
With all that in mind, let’s get back to going over some of the goals of a digital marketing campaign. Digital PR can be used to generate or boost more traffic for individual websites, and it can also be employed to increase time on site and to encourage users to move from one brand-owned digital platform to another.
Properly executed, a digital PR campaign should also help brands define themselves as leaders or authorities in their market or niche. Targeted, information-rich content draws people in, answers their questions, and creates conversations that keep users engaged.
A digital PR campaign should also improve a brand’s public image, build trust with prospects, and encourage current customers to become enthusiastic fans who tell others about the brand and what it offers.