Digital public relations is vastly different from traditional public relations. While the fundamental principles are the same, trends and technology give us new methodologies. If you think you can use tired old strategies to get results, you may need to think again.
In the past, publicists used rolodexes to keep track of their media contacts, however, now there are databases that can create living lists that are never out of date. PR professionals are no longer limited to just connecting with journalists and media. With today’s digital landscape, there are social media influencers to connect with as well. Brand evangelists—those who can speak about products and give peer-like reviews—can help push a brand’s message unlike traditional PR ever could.
Here’s a list of the digital PR trends and practices you can use to keep your business’ strategies up to date:
- Building Your Media and Influencer List Whether you’ve hired a public relations firm, a publicist, or have in-house public relations personnel, list-building is the cornerstone to your online PR strategies. Curating lists of influencers, journalists, product reviewers and producers is the essential first step in launching your online public relations campaigns. You can develop lists manually, by searching the influencers you want to target, or use online databases to do the heavy-lifting. Services like Meltwater and Cision give you access to media contact information. They allow you to search based on industry, region and publication.
- Use Social Media to Attract High-Profile Influencers
A PR list will not only include media outlets and reviewers, but also influencers with large followings on social media. With everything happening online, there’s a convergence of the social media and PR worlds. It is now the norm to find influencers on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or other platforms your brand is targets.
To capture the attention of influencers, remember that engagement is important. Retweeting their tweets, liking their updates, and re-blogging their posts all help. This is your team, you need to support and nurture those relationships in order for them to be effective.
- Maximizing Your Digital Press Room
Traditionally, when you hold a press conference, everyone gathers in the pressroom to eagerly await your announcement. Similarly, when you have big news to report today, you can shout it out on your website first, and then through social media, to increase your impact.
Be sure to make your influencers and media people feel welcome when they visit your online press room; it is like inviting them to a press conference. If they are able to easily get the information they need, they can use it when writing stories, articles and blogs. Information should be organized so that those who need to find it can do so quickly.
- Use a Reputable Wire Service for Your Press Releases
If your company has a major announcement that you want to get picked up by media publications and on news feeds, then you need to use an online wire service in addition to sending news to your media lists. Using a wire service will also help you earn backlinks and boost your SEO.
There are a lot of Digital PR distribution services you can use. Be cautious not to be tempted by the allure of discount services. Most media professionals and publications use trusted wire services such as Business Wire and PR Newswire.
Also, keep in mind that wire services use RSS feeds—Real Simple Syndication—as a method of distributing content across a variety of aggregate sites in order to create backlinks. Google (GOOG) and other search engines don’t rate these aggregators as highly as they used to, so the SEO benefits aren’t as high as one might imagine. More reputable wire services will produce more respectable backlinks for your SEO strategies.
- Using Social Media to Target the Media
You can target media and influencers by using social media. Use custom audiences and look-alike audiences to send laser-focused messages to the media and influencers you want to impact.
Look at it this way, the media you want to spread messages to are just like any other audience. You can craft specific messages to them and reach them in creative ways.
Remember to Measure
In print or broadcast media, the value of the platform is measured in viewership, listeners, readership, or circulation. Online, success is measured in traffic in the form of likes, fans, followers, impressions, engagement, and page views. Measure your PR campaigns with these metrics to determine your reach. Keep track on a weekly or monthly basis and look for patterns and trends. Use what works and re-strategize what doesn’t.
What It All Means
By using modern digital PR techniques, you can watch your brand’s reputation grow in today’s brave, new digital age. Now more than in the past, you need to keep your PR strategies contemporary to be competitive.