why Digital PR
needs to be fundamental to
your work in a
By Charlene White, DigiPR Founder, trainer and strategist
The world has changed thanks to COVID-19 in 2020…and so has PR and Communications.
1. People's reliance on digital has exploded
Let’s face it – digital has changed the way we now largely live, work, communicate, make decisions and buy almost anything.
2. Media are in trouble
Unless you’ve been living in complete isolation over the last few months, you will have seen that our beloved media are in a desperate fight for survival right now.
3. People are choosing other channels
A recent Forbes survey found that:
“50% of internet users surveyed said that they heard about the latest news via social media before ever hearing about it on a news station.
Many internet users said they will see the breaking stories on their feed and then go to the news sites to learn more.
The survey also found a 57 percent increase in traffic to news sites referred from social media.”
Again, people’s behaviors and preferences for where they get their information from are changing and the thing is, all of this is now directly measurable thanks to digital.
As a consequence, the Australian Government recently moved to ensure media were compensated by the likes of Google and Facebook when using stories on their channels sourced from mainstream media.
While it’s a good move, it will be interesting to see if the online juggernauts will now change their algorithms to exclude direct feeds from news media now they have to pay for it. Maybe they will start their own…who knows.
What I found interesting is, at the same time as the Australian Government’s announcement, our beloved NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was questioned on the demise of the media. She was asked why her Government was spending money to promote COVID-19 lock-down measures on Facebook and Google instead of mainstream media.
Her answer: “Because that’s where the people are.”
And she is right.
4. The demise of the media industry directly impacts the PR/Comms industry
Forgive me if this sounds insensitive but the public commentary around the current state and survival of our media industry also has a direct impact on our industry.
5. Marketers and SEO’s are becoming story-tellers and have been smarter at embracing new digital channels and techniques than us
It’s an exciting time for PR pro’s as there are so many new digital tools, techniques and processes we can now incorporate into our work that makes us better as practitioners and achieves more measurable results.
ANSWER: By developing a more sophisticated communications
proposition using Digital PR.
The Digital PR solution
The beauty of Digital PR is that it takes the guesswork out of our work, allows us to better target our audiences and puts an end to random acts of content that have typically gone nowhere in the past.
Digital PR also lets us take control of our story-telling and who gets to see it.
Traditionally PR professionals have only ever played in the media and (most likely organic) social media space. But this is what I call short-term ‘Browse’ mode.
It’s basically operating on a ‘hope’ strategy. What we have been doing for years is pitching unique angles to editors in the hope that they like it, which sometimes never ends up the story you hoped for.
Then you’re relying on someone within your target market to be on the right media channel at the right time to see your story or social post and, most importantly, stop their scroll. They’re not expecting you in their feeds or looking for what you have to offer or say, yet we’re ‘hoping’ they will see us.
Then, we typically don’t even properly measure what they do with your content beyond “impressions” afterwards.
To me – that’s a crazy strategy in today’s busy world when so much information is coming at people at any one time.
What we now need to do is also take our work wider and use data and new digital tools (a lot of them are for free) to firstly understand our audiences, what they want and where they are hanging out before even starting to develop our PR plans.
Secondly, we must also stretch ourselves to go wider and tap into a massive media channel that most comms people have never worked with before – ‘Search’.
Why 'Search' is fundamental to Digital PR
Because over 80% of people turn to ‘Search’ to research almost anything related to people, products, brands, services, places – you name it and people have searched for it.
Want to learn DIGITAL PR?
Our Digital PR online course, which is endorsed by the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) and the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), provides you with the complete blueprint on how to research, design and activate an effective Digital PR strategy.
Learn Digital PR in your own time, at your own pace. It will change the way you see and do PR/Communications forever!