The Trends and Predictions for Digital PR in 2015

2014 has been a busy year for the Digital PR industry. While both SEOs and traditional PRs still strive to embrace the newest method of online branding, it has become even more evident that Digital PR is the future for digital marketers. Here is what you can expect to see in 2015 for Digital PR:

More content writers

Content Writer

Publishing house IPC Media, who have made their money from successful print titles such as Marie Claire, Wallpaper and Horse & Hound, were bought out in the summer by Time Inc in an effort help them focus on their digital channels. This in turn has seen the editorial dynamic change, with more team members being called ‘content writers’ rather than ‘specialist journalists’.

The pro of appointing content writers over journalists is that a content writer can also be savvy in areas such as onsite SEO and Social. A content writer will have more experience in writing across different types of sectors and can keep up with the ever-increasing demand for more content.

Content writers are generally digital natives and online writing is in their blood, whereas traditional journalists will have to adapt to the different style of reporting and writing that comes with digital.

What does this mean for the Digital PR?

Content writers will know the drill when requesting a link for a piece of client coverage. They will generally be happy to oblige (some big titles even ask what link you would prefer). On the other hand, if they know you are working for SEO purposes, they might not be so happy to accommodate – but, ask! Nothing is wrong with asking in the most professional PR way.

Content writers will also be more inclined to give client coverage if the brand has a great social following that their titles can piggy back on. This is especially true when looking to place social based competitions with an online title.

Less journalists, more titles

Multi tasking

As the number of journalists working on a single magazine decreases, the number of titles a journalist will work on will be expected to increase. Publishing houses and magazine titles will feel the budget tighten as more readers will be switching to online reading. This in turn will see publishing houses utilising their core writers to work across a number of similar titles online.

In 2015, do not be surprised when you are speaking to a journalist and then get a PR hit in a completely different site to what you were expecting.

Editorial assistants can work on fashion galleries and lifestyle editors can work on competitions. There will be no definitive line between who works on what.

What does this mean for Digital PRs?

Relationships built when selling into a title will have to be nurtured and constantly kept up to date with the developments of your client or agency’s wins. Don’t ever assume that a particular journalist or writer will only be interested in fashion or sport. PRs will have to ask more questions and be more informed on the relationships they have already built to make sure they are getting the most from their contacts. Asking questions on what they currently working on and what titles and departments they cover will have to be front of mind when selling in.

Digital PRs will have to think old school and create lists of freelance contacts that work across industries and titles to keep abreast of any PR opportunities. ‘Gold PR’ is when you can get a multitude of clients mentioned on a site through just one contact. This will happen more in 2015.

PR tools for tools

Communication

2015 will see Digital PR being embraced by more search and digital agencies; cue the patter of a sales person on your phone.  More tools to ‘make PR easy’ will be rearing their ugly heads come next year. Expect to see more tools and services that will promise to take the relations part out of public relations and offer something that is fluffy and automated.

Tools that will promise to deliver ‘warm leads’ to your inbox and create mass outreach lists with the click of a button will target newly formed Digital PR departments and digital agencies.

What does this mean for Digital PRs?

There is no shortcut to building relations and a tool that promises this should be avoided. Digital PRs who work with such tools will find themselves talking to a large pool of journalists with the majority of them being irrelevant to the client.

A good Digital PR should have a black book of contacts for each client to sell into and a great reporting system, depending what your objective in using Digital PR is.

Traditional PR agencies will embrace digital

Embracing digital

As SEOs and digital agencies see how important Digital PR is to their online marketing initiatives, the pressure for traditional PRs to fully embrace the digital side will increase. Agencies will develop digital departments where they will solely focus on blogger and e-zine outreach.

What does this mean for Digital PRs?

Digital PRs who work in a digital or an SEO agency will not have the same objective that a traditional PR would. SEOs will be looking at sites for their domain authority, page rank and referral traffic. Digital PRs can also work with SEOs to look at what links and keywords they can add in their press releases and request, if they feel they can ask.

This is a big USP and should be presented at any pitch when selling in Digital PR to a prospective client. Traditional PRs have relations but not the SEO know-how. To become a Digital PR who has all qualities, you will need to embrace both the relations side as well as the tech side.

E-zines will be the face of ‘free PR’

best-online-friend

Anyone who has tried blogger outreach this year will understand that a growing amount of bloggers are requesting commission and paid posts. As much as this is perfectly acceptable for a blogger to ask, no PR campaign can run with coverage that is completely paid for.

Magazine titles will start to invest in their digital counterparts and see more e-zines come through to sell in to.  E-zines will be the popular choice for PRs to sell into as they have a need for product information, news and imagery without the need to be paid.

What does this mean for Digital PRs? 

Digital PRs will start to move away from bloggers who request money and refine their search to e-zine titles that have a better brand fit for their client. Sell ins will become more targeted and customised to e-zines. Digital PRs will need to have a library of product imagery, sound bites from key people in the brand, and a better understanding of how far ahead e-zines plan their articles.

In 2015, as a Digital PR, you will need to refine your contacts, have clear objectives on your client’s Digital PR strategy and sift through the weak tools and the low impact hits.

The fundamentals of PR will never change, but the constant shift in the e-zine and blogger industry keeps a Digital PR on their toes! Here’s to another exciting year in digital!

Jodie Harris

About Jodie Harris

Jodie Harris heads up the Digital PR division at MediaVision. She has worked in publication relations since 2008. She specialises in bringing the rules of traditional PR to a digital platform.

  • It’s interesting that everyone is now becoming known as content writers, I tend to refer to myself as a marketer who specialises in online copywriting but I may have to review that!