In our previous blog, ‘A beginners guide to digital PR’, we looked at what digital PR is, discussed its benefits and how to measure its success, and touched upon what to include in a digital PR strategy. In this blog, we’ll share our tips for building an effective digital PR strategy.
Always start with the objectives
It may sound obvious, but you can’t build a strategy without knowing what you’re trying to achieve. If you’ve already decided that you need to build a digital PR strategy, chances are you have already considered your objectives carefully. It’s likely you’ll be trying to achieve one of, or a combination of, the following:
- Increased brand awareness
- Improved SEO
- Increased lead generation (in this case, digital PR will likely be part of a wider marketing strategy)
Let’s say your objective is increasing brand awareness, for example. What does success look like to you? There are a number of ways you can measure increased brand awareness, such as:
- An increase in direct traffic to your website. Set a percentage increase you would like to have achieved by a certain point and use Google Analytics to track this.
- An increase in search volume. Again, set a percentage increase you would like to have achieved by a certain point. You can track search volume using tools such as SEMRush.
Social media engagement. The more aware people are of your brand, the more likely they are to be talking about you and engaging with you on social media. Measure increases in how many times your brand name is mentioned on social media channels, and analyse metrics such as reach, engagement, followers and impressions.
Understand your audience
Do you know where your audience are getting their information online? If you’re a B2B business, is it online trade press? If you’re a B2C business, are they more interested in less traditional media, such as blogs and vlogs? Before you kick off any digital PR activity, you need to understand not only where your audience are, but what they’re engaging with.
If you haven’t done so already, create audience personas. What are your customer’s demographics? What problems can your business solve for them? Therefore, what are the key messages you need to be projecting?
You can back up your audience personas by using the data that’s available to you. Google Analytics and social media analytics can tell you a lot about who your audience are and what they’re most interested in. What pages are they visiting on your website? What types of posts get the most engagement on social media?
Understand your target media
Now you hopefully know your target audience inside out, you’ll need to create a target media list. This could range from online publications to bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers. Whatever type of digital media you’re targeting, consider who you need to get in touch with. If you’re targeting an online magazine, for example is there an editor or writer who specialises in your particular topic or sector?
If digital PR is a key element of your marketing and communications strategy, consider investing in a tool such as Vuelio. A media database such as this will give you access to a wide range of journalists and influencers, and also allow you to search for relevant topics that you could contribute to.
Get your pitch right
An effective digital PR strategy should be proactive and reactive. Build an editorial calendar consisting of topics that your audience are interested in. Use these topics to proactively pitch to your target media. Let’s look at an example. For one of our clients in the photography industry, we have the following topics on our editorial calendar:
- Top 5 tips for perfecting your editing process
- 5 reasons you should be shooting in RAW
- Top 5 editing tips for black and white
Through understanding our audience, we know that ‘top tips’ features are popular, so we proactively pitch this type of content to our target media. For other businesses, thought leadership pieces may be more appropriate.
In addition to this proactive pitching, look for opportunities to provide reactive content and comments. Get into the habit of reading the key publications you want to be seen in daily. Another method is setting up Google Alerts for your chosen topics so you’re always aware of where and when they’re being talked about.
Test and measure
It’s crucial that you constantly evaluate your strategy against your objectives and adjust where necessary. Each quarter, reflect on the results and get your team together to brainstorm what you’re going to do next. What’s worked? What hasn’t worked? What are you doing to do more of?