Digital PR strategy starts with understanding where your business is and where it needs to be. Do you need to raise awareness to help your sales team close more deals? Do you need visibility within a specific community to support you with fundraising? Do you need more inbound leads? Do you need to increase trust in your brand with potential customers?
Once you work out the business driver, you can formulate a strategy, as well as the metrics you’ll use to measure success.
Your digital PR strategy is a roadmap for achieving your communications objectives. At TopLine, we formulate PR strategies that:
Are based on insights drawn from rigorous audience research and competitor and environmental analyses.
Outline which tactics and channels will be used.
Specify the metrics against which they will be judged.
It’s worth putting some time into setting objectives because objectives keep you focussed – they prevent you from going off on tangent; help you communicate the purpose of your PR strategy to stakeholders and give you something to measure success against. (Read our blog on PR objectives and how to measure them)
Having an audience profile in place will help you understand your customers better, which will help you plan a strategy that will really impact your target audience in the desired manner. You might already know who your customers or target customers are, but do you know what their specific needs, interests, and pain points are? Knowing this will enable you to target your campaigns at the right people or toward certain segments of your audience.
If you want to build a successful, measurable digital PR strategy that really generates results, you have to understand the context in which you are operating. The best way to do this is to conduct a traditional SWOT analysis, which outlines what your company’s strengths and weaknesses are while identifying market opportunities and threats from competitors.
Positioning and messaging
Your key messages will be at the heart of the business, affecting other areas of marketing such as your branding and advertising strategies as well as your approach to human resources and supplier relations. We’ll start by asking what story do you tell? How does this relate to the target audience? What gives you the right to tell this story?
Your business might already have a great story to tell, but a successful digital PR strategy is a long-term endeavour that will require your company to remain newsworthy. When we talk about ‘newsworthiness’, we are not just talking about stories that will make the front pages in the traditional sense. We are looking for anything that will capture the attention of your audience, generating social engagement, getting journalists writing or encouraging people to attend an event.
Every campaign is centred on content – whether that’s a simple opinion article or blog or a full-blown integrated approach including videos, events, social media, infographics, surveys and photographs. We have all the resources in-house to create incredible content that will really capture your audience’s imagination.
Digital PR is about much more than online media relations. It’s about using social media, influencers, events, video, apps, microsites and more to ensure your content has the maximum chance of reaching your target audience. We design and implement paid and organic distribution strategies based on clear audience insights.
Measurement should be one of the first steps of digital PR strategy design – it’s an integral part of objective-setting. We make sure we set measurable objectives and define success at the start of your digital PR strategy. Then we use a combination of digital tools (e.g. Google Analytics, Google Search Console, BuzzSumo, Followerwonk, Moz) to measure against KPIs.
Digital PR strategy v campaigns and tactics
Lots of people (including those who work in digital PR) get these concepts confused. Your digital PR strategy is a high-level plan or roadmap for how you are going to achieve your PR objectives. It is usually long term and ongoing. A PR campaign is a smaller activity that will contribute to your strategy. Most PR strategies are made up of several campaigns that help you achieve specific goals.
And campaigns usually consist of one or more tactics. These could include securing online reviews; swaying opinion with high-profile blogging; increasing awareness with stakeholders via carefully placed online editorial; paid and organic posts on social channels; launching a microsite; aggregator listings; online award wins; building YouTube channels – the list is long and varied.