How to PR in the Digital Age

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  • 10/16/2018

    Public relations (PR)—it’s an industry that has gone through many trials and tribulations throughout its lifespan, continuously being mistaken for something it isn’t. But while backlash and banter have tried to knock it down, PR has always come back swinging, proving to the world how powerful and malleable of an industry it really is.

    For a while, what is now considered “traditional PR” was the only type of PR that existed. Communication was mainly conducted in a linear, one-way fashion, where content was sent out en masse to a large audience and the opportunity for feedback was limited. However, as decades have gone by and technology has continued to evolve, PR has evolved with it. Now, with so much technology available at our fingertips, the PR industry has transformed itself into an incredible digital hub that consistently digests new tactics and expertise to elicit even greater deliverables.

    So, let’s talk digital PR.

    Digital PR has completely changed the way the industry runs. Results are more measurable and detailed, and the ability to share more content and interact with consumers is higher than ever before. So, at this point, we think it’s pretty safe to say you can classify businesses into two distinct categories: those who practice digital PR and whose business is thriving as a result, and those who don’t, consequently falling behind their competitors. If you identify with the latter, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

    Here are five industry hacks to help you learn “how to PR” in this digital age:

    1. Know that traditional PR does not mean bad PR.

    First things first: Recognize that while this is a digital age, traditional methods of conducting PR are not bad practice. Press releases, public service announcements and even media placements on television shows or radio slots can all be categorized under traditional PR. While there are a lot of ways to up the ante and digitize these types of traditional strategies, the fundamental purpose is the same: to distribute unique content and get results.

    2. Get noticed.

    It’s not enough anymore to just put content out there and wait for people to digest it. Today, in order to be relevant, Google has to find you relevant. If you want Google to feature you on its first few pages, you have to work for it. Optimize your website and content by adding keywords that define your business or the products and services you provide. Utilize an analytics tool to track which of those keywords are bringing people to your site and repurpose those words in press releases, social media posts and any other content you’re giving out to your audience. (Hint: Google Analytics.)

    Pro Tip: This blog suggests providing hyperlinks in any and all content you produce so when a media outlet runs a story or features your business, consumers find your content easily, thereby improving your search ranking.

    3. Use social media and use it well.

    Think of social media as an outlet for projecting your individual story to the world, giving outsiders a sneak peek into what your brand truly is. This means that simply having a social media profile these days is not enough. You have to be on top of it—posting several times a week, engaging with followers and utilizing every feature social provides (including advertising—don’t forget this!). You can use your social media platforms not only to generate new and creative content for your followers but also as a promotional platform.

    You can use social media to:

    • Tell your business’ story in a way that amplifies your brand.
    • Develop personal relationships with your followers.
    • Develop relationships with media and influencers to get your content distributed to a wider audience while establishing credibility with your followers.
    • Monitor how other brands or companies are engaging with their followers or augmenting their brand (aka social listening).
    • Gauge how your followers respond to new ideas from your business before implementing them.

    Social Media Bonus: This blog reminds us that if your content is useful, unique and engaging, you may find it gets shared and circulated without much extra effort on your part. Use this as your motivation when curating your content. The bottom line: Shareability is key.

    4. Build and maintain a kickass website.

    One of the biggest changes digital PR brings with it is the necessity of building and maintaining a great website. Forbes defines a “great” site (or “kickass” as we say) as one with an updated design, high-quality images, strategy, brand identity and call to action. Basically, this means your site needs to have a unique and aesthetic design that visually amplifies your brand’s identity while giving people a reason to keep coming back. It sounds like a lot, but trust us—if your website does not stand out amongst others, you are already going down a losing path. How you express your brand to your target audience will affect how they view you and whether or not they decide to develop or maintain a relationship with you.

    5. Be present everywhere.

    Finally, in order to successfully “do digital PR,” you must be present everywhere—and we mean everywhere. Most consumers no longer direct their attention to one media source at once. TV placement, for example, is a form of PR coverage, and obtaining it is great for your brand. However, consumers are no longer sitting in front of a TV with their full attention on it. In fact, in this digital age, 85 percent of TV viewers in the U.S. pair their attention with a smartphone, laptop and a slew of other electronic devices (Digimind). So, the lesson here is if you’re present everywhere, your brand has a much better chance of being visible to a wide variety of consumers, thereby amplifying your content, message and brand.

    In all, Forbes reminds us the bottom line is this: PR works—it just works a little differently than it used to. It takes much more work than it used to, but because of that its success is multiplied that much more. Great media coverage and deliverable results come from a successful, well-crafted campaign paired with the right website structure and engaging social media elements. Together, these components make the “perfect storm” for your target market.

    So, you think you’re ready to digital PR? Reach out to our team to get started.
    About the author::Caroline Melloh is a PR and Digital Marketing Coordinator who prioritizes, organizes and executes at thunder::tech. When she's not crafting unique content, she's jamming out alone in her car, over-caffeinated and thinking about her future husky puppy.
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