There’s little in our lives that the digital revolution hasn’t touched and transformed. But when it comes to running a successful business and building a credible brand, the basics of public relations (PR) strategies remain pretty much the same and just as relevant. What changes, though, is the manner in which technology can be used to build awareness, enhance engagement and drive sales. It is therefore useful to revisit the essentials of PR to see how we can better implement them in the digital age.
Here’s what the 5 PR essentials look like in the Digital Era:
Reimagining the Press Release: The Press Release will always be one of the most important PR tools for your brand, but of course the digital revolution has introduced new ways of creating a compelling press release. Using targeted keywords is a must, as is writing a captivating headline (preferably not a very long one, so that Google can crawl it easily). Apart from your own brand website, the press release must also show up on other reputed industry publications and media platforms.
Collaborating with Influencers: Influencer marketing has become an indispensable PR strategy in the recent years. In the digital age, social media influencers have replaced celebrities and movie stars when it comes to brand endorsements. The advantage that these influencers offer is that they have a niche audience with whom they share an authentic connection. So, instead of a big celebrity endorsing your brand to the world at large, this highly effective, cost-saving method of collaborating with an influencer (whose audience is likely to resonate with your brand) is a far better PR strategy. While it may take some time to identify the most suitable influencers to work with, it is always worth the effort to maintain a list of such influencers.
Nurturing a community: A loyal and engaged community can serve as the ideal sounding board and publicist for your brand. Incidentally, social media offers some of the best ways to nurture this base of trusted customers. Depending on the nature of your brand, you will first need to identify the platform on which you’re most likely to find your fan base—Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Put out enjoyable, informative and engaging content on these channels. Encourage your fans to share their stories. Not only does this keep up the engagement, but it also enhances the authenticity of your brand. Listen to what this loyal community is saying to you—read the comments, respond to the stories, and track overall social media engagement. This information can be invaluable to your brand and can help you tailor your messaging to your audience in the nicest way possible.
Mastering the Art of Pitching: Pitching isn’t as simple as reaching out to a collaborator and asking them to work with you—it’s an elaborate system in itself. To publicize your brand, you will need to pitch to a motley group of people—investors, influencers and journalists, to name a few. Pitching to each one of them will be a unique process. For instance, when pitching to an influencer, you can’t simply ask them to endorse your brand. Start credibly by engaging with them in small ways—congratulate them on their creativity, high-performing content, and accolades. Study their audience, and tell them how a collaborative effort stands to benefit their community. Analysing their content and activity patterns will help you decide how best to pitch to them—through a DM on Instagram, an email, or at an event. As far as remuneration goes, remember that it isn’t restricted to money. Sans money, collaboration can work as a mutually beneficial process for your respective brands.
Measuring and Analysing PR efforts: The digital era offers you an advantage you never had before—the ability to measure and analyse your PR work. There are numerous tools out there that can help you measure the effect of your PR campaign for clear before-and-after scenarios. However, it’s important to start the process by first defining your objectives—only when you know what you’re trying to achieve will you be able to measure it effectively. Measure the results before and after each PR campaign, analyse what may or may not be working for you, and redefine your strategy accordingly. As with all things PR, measurement and analysis should be an ongoing effort and an integral part of your public relations strategy.
The digital age calls for only one PR innovation—using technology to augment the traditional PR essentials. While the basics of PR will remain largely unchanged in the time to come, it’s important for your brand to leverage all the perks that technology has to offer to maximize the results of your efforts.