Compiling a Digital PR strategy can be a tricky task. The usual elements of planning, research and execution need to be combined with the typical Digital PR qualities. PR is unpredictable and a strategy needs space to breathe and travel within the online world as well as relate to the brands and audience.
When planning your next Digital PR campaign strategy, try to include the following aspects:
Analysis and Research
Research always creates a great foundation for planning the perfect strategy. A competitor analysis gives you insight into how your brands’ competitors have been executing their digital PR. It also reveals their approach to different types of press and unveils their successes. A competitor analysis shouldn’t serve as a means for replicating work. However, it should aid in identifying key opportunities and highlight how to improve your current ideas to create ones that surpass your competitors.
When analysing a brand’s competitors, look out for the following:
Titles: The site a brand is featured on can tell you a lot about their PR strategy. It often showcases the consumer that they are reaching out to, the aspect of the business they are choosing to lay focus on, and the way in which they would like to be perceived.
Content: These can be from handy ‘How to’s ’, expert commentary, interview opportunities and seasonal product look books. Looking at the type of content that has been featured from the brand can tell you what has been the most successful and what particular angle did well online.
Timing: Analysing a competitor’s PR at different times of the year will give you a better idea of their PR activity. Look back three months, and you will see their recent campaigns and outreach. Look back 12 months, and you will see PR trends and the evolution of their PR activity.
In PR, timing is key. With traditional PR, long leads typically work 3 months ahead and short leads 6 weeks. Digital is different. A press release with imagery can be uploaded in the same day, whereas a product review can take more than a month to publish. Interviews can vary as it is dependent on the style and format of the piece.
It is important that when implementing your PR campaign strategy, you are aware of how long the process of your Digital PR will take, from press release creation to sample send outs and exclusive deals with influential titles.
A well-planned PR campaign should roll out over numerous titles and outlets at the same time and feel effortless.
Admit it. Some clients are more interested in the SEO benefits of Digital PR than the actual brand presence that they will achieve. For this reason, identify what your client wants from you and how can your campaign will reflect that.
There is no point in devising an ambitious strategy if the client will not be willing to participate in the activity or wouldn’t appreciate the effort. Timing needs to be key; if the strategy feels tight, then most likely it will be.
Keep the campaign simple and effective, yet straightforward, and allow time for client feedback and sign off. Campaign strategies can be challenging, but do not set yourself up for an awkward evaluation report.
Do not forget to look at how your Digital PR could be replicated over into different services. Using blogger relations or celebrity gifting as a part of your strategy? Look at other areas where this could be replicated or worked on. Celebrity gifting could spread into photographs fed through social and a shout out from the celebrity themselves. Bloggers could work as a guest blogger on the client’s site during the campaign. Reviews and interviews can be created on the featured onsite blogger, and so forth.
It is important to be aware of how your Digital PR strategy could affect the rest of the client’s online portals, as well as the overall digital presence of your client.
Before you even put finger to keyboard, make sure you have the following to plan:
- Goals and objectives: Make sure you have a clear understanding of your client’s objectives for the next year and what budget they are setting aside for this.
- Marketing calendar: This should be a vital piece to your campaign. A good marketing calendar will include product launches, notable dates that relate to the client, new campaigns and an overview of events that the client will be attending throughout that particular time period. A marketing calendar should be the basis of any marketing strategy.
- Collateral: From campaign imagery to product cut-outs and quotes from key people from the brand. It is important that before executing your campaign, you have the right tools to execute your strategy in a time frame that is signed off by the client.
A Digital PR campaign strategy should have a mixture of tactics and complement what other digital activities will be happening. The PR strategy should work in unison with the traditional PR plans, and not as an aftermath. When pitching a strategy to a client, this is the perfect time to suggest new ideas, outlets and directions to pursue, as well as give them examples of what other names in their industry are up to.