Our top Digital PR content tactics to grow your brand in 2020
It’s probably fairly obvious by now but we’re big fans of Digital PR because of its ability to make a wider impact than traditional PR – particularly given the huge choice of content formats and channels it provides access to.
If you look at the definition of Communications, it really comes down to telling quality, authentic stories to your audience in different content formats, across a range of channels to build profile and protect and maintain your online reputation.
In some ways, yes. But the rise of digital and the information age has changed the game for PR pro’s in the last decade. People have never been less engaged with traditional media and they make decisions on what organisations, products, services, information and channels to engage with based on their own research.
The best authentic story wins.
Digital PR puts authentic content front and centre
One of the things we love about Digital PR is that it’s evolving our craft and has flipped communications on its head. In effect, it helps deliver more to our audience’s needs, at the same time as building reputation for our brands.
In the past, PR and Marketers used to talk at audiences – now we need to talk with them, deliver value and truly understand what they want.
A vital part of what we do at DigiPR is help PR pro’s create integrated Digital PR and communications campaigns in a range of forms, across a range of channels, to capture audiences in both ‘Browse’ and ‘Search’ mode.
Doing it this way provides so much more opportunity rather than just relying on traditional media to tell your story. Don’t get me wrong – media outreach is still an important part of the mix but it’s not as front and centre as it used to be. We then teach how to use new digital tools and data to properly measure and demonstrate your success over and above column inches.
Every Digital PR strategy we build is centred around our audience and based on the ‘W-I-I-F-M’ principle – ‘What’s in it for me?’.
All content needs to have a specific purpose, deliver what our audiences are searching for and provide value, solutions and more reasons to trust your brand or organisation.
That’s communications at its best…and Digital PR helps deliver that.
But the key is in the planning. More specifically, understanding what your audience actually wants first (by using specific Digital PR tools and data) and secondly, then delivering it in a way that provides value to them.
Once that is clear, we then get on to the fun stuff – using that data to create focused, measurable tactics and an effective channel strategy.
Digital PR creates more scope for your work
The great thing about Digital PR is that it doesn’t have to be boring either. It helps you step out of the ‘old school’ straight ‘company news’ reporting mould and create angles that are relevant and helpful to your audience around the issue instead. Traditional PR also has a tendency to restrict activity to predominantly media-based work without any visibility of the impact on your brand’s overall digital footprint.
But there are so many different forms of content and channels to use that ensure you can create an effective omnipresence that truly amplifies your message.
So don’t be boring – start moving outside of relying on traditional media releases and media telling your story and use Digital PR to tell it your way. With video exploding and around 90% of people researching online before making any kind of decision or view on almost everything, there’s a myriad of content you can create that benefits your brand and provides value to your audience at the same time.
The trick is in using data and digital tools to understand what it is they want and delivering great content that resonates in both ‘Browse’ and ‘Search’ mode. Then all you have to do is package it up.
Here’s an overview of our top 23 content formats which, if used as part of an integrated Digital PR strategy, will have your audience and media eating it up.
Our top Digital PR content formats
- Opinion pieces/Thought leadership
While op-eds and thought leadership pieces have always been traditional PR’s bread and butter, there’s more opportunity than ever now to go one step further and create more comprehensive content plans for your own channels, ‘Search’, as well as media outreach, that has purpose. This provides longevity and also more control over your message. Talking consistently about a topic also provides more reasons for Google to see you as an expert in your field and elevate you to the coveted front page of your given topic which can equate to a massive increase in eyeballs for your brand. But to be seen as an expert online and also benefit your brand’s reputation and reach, you need to be consistent with your content and plan it in a specific way…which is where Digital PR comes in.
How-to content offers step-by-step, process-driven information to help your audience do something better. It’s specific and to the point and provides real value. Posts with the words ‘How To’ in the title perform really well for evergreen content.
Lists are one of the quickest and most effective types of content you can create as they give people a taste of your expertise at the same time as helping them with fresh ideas or solutions to their problems.
Become a key source of industry research and trends. Your customers and wider audience are a perfect source for your own research. There’s also a myriad of SaaS products available that make it a relatively cheap and easy thing to do yourself. Not only does it help you understand your audience better than ever, but it also helps you become a credible expert in your industry.
Similar to Research, a good way to earn reputation is also by being a key provider of industry trends. What’s hot, what are the things to look out for this year, what are the key behaviors, views or influences for your specific audience? Your customer trends and data can provide a lot of great stories (using it ethicially of course) and, as well as your own channels, media love to eat that stuff up. Just make sure to link to more useful information on your own channels from media generated articles.
- Questions and Answers (Q&A)
Gather up your most asked questions and answer them comprehensively. If your customers are asking you these questions, it’s likely future clients will too so head it off at the pass and provide them with the answers to exactly what they want to know. Alternatively, think of the problem(s) your organisation solves and design a QA directly around how you do that.
- ‘Why’ content
‘Why’ content explains in detail how something came into existence, or more generally, why things are the way they are. It can be extremely powerful when combined with fact-driven information, or even a controversial take on an issue, if appropriate.
- Third-Party Facts and Stats
Similar to research, this is when you heavily research a topic with existing studies and reports and present the findings to your audience. This can save you a bit of time from doing the research yourself, while also helping you become the go-to source that has compiled all of the information available on a specific topic.
- Case Studies
You don’t have to tell your story all by yourself. Case studies have been an effective Marketing and Comms aide for decades and, with a bit more care, can be used in the media to tell the story of how you’ve helped your customers solve their problems which can prove to be extremely influential.
Testimonials are very similar to case studies, and equally as effective, except that the specific customer tells the story directly from their perspective.
- Repurpose old content
A lot of time and effort goes into creating speeches, presentations, papers and reports within organisations that, once done, then get left on the shelf. If they’re still relevant, dust them off and create new content from them for your channels – commentaries, blogs, thought leadership pieces for media, presentations, infographics, videos, podcasts – the list of possibilities is endless. It’s also worth looking at existing content that you have already published and update it with new material. Not only does this save time and create fresh content to use on your channels and with media, but it also helps your online authority. Facts, stats or research that is not confidential can also make great new media stories.
Think of quotes as short-form testimonials. In the past few years, social has seen the rise in reliance on endorsements as a way to earn trust for brands. If done authentically, quotes from high profile stakeholders, customers or influencers can complement your content and work particularly well in shareable graphics embedded in your content.
It goes without saying as PR is built around interviews but turn it on its head and do your own interviews with key members of your business, team, clients, influencers or stakeholders. It’s a great way to gather additional testimonials and quotes to use on your channels and also develop additional content/stories from for media. The quickest way of doing it is get the person in a room for 20 minutes and record your conversation on your phone. Then send it off to get transcribed (I use Rev) and, with a little bit of finessing, you have a great interview piece ready to go.
For product-based organisations, demos are a veritable feast of show-and-tell for your brand, and are particularly powerful when combined with user-generated content. Use the right channel i.e. video and you have the recipe for great engagement with your audience.
- Comparisons and “Versus” Content
Sometimes showing comparisons or why one option is better than another can be a really effective tactic in helping solve your audiences’ problems and why they should choose your brand. Obviously you have to be careful not to cross the line with other brands but it can be especially effective if you can apply storytelling tactics and data in different ways. Compare or contrast topics to help your audience learn the better option to pursue and it will pay dividends for your business.
- Product Reviews
Have a product you love that you think your audience will really dig? Do a review of it, telling your audience how it’s helped you solve your challenges, and how you think it’ll help them out too. Alternatively, use an appropriate influencer to review your product or service – but make sure there are key measurement metrics in place to ensure they create the right outcomes for your business.
- People News
Your company is ever-changing. Share your culture and your team’s latest adventures with your audience to show your business is made of humans who are dedicated to making their lives even better every single day. Even quirky, simple news can help your audience feel a connection with your company.
- Industry News
It goes without saying but monitor your industry and report on the biggest news that may likely impact your audience with your own insights alongside it. Your audience will notice when you are the first to market with useful news.
- Opinion pieces
Controversy is obviously one way to achieve viral content. While that won’t typically be your goal, rants have the potential to be super-interesting if done thoughtfully. Take a stance on a popular belief, and turn it on its head. But make sure it is done in a way that doesn’t offend or alienate your audience – you want to be opinionated on a topic to show expertise and get people thinking rather than do it just for the sake of it.
- Personal Stories
When you connect the dots between your personal story and what your readers really care about, that’s where the magic happens. People like human-centred stories and quickly sense authenticity and whether they can relate or not..so make it relevant with a good hint of personality.
Industry predictions are always a good way to show thought-leadership and that you have a finger on the pulse. By injecting a bit of personality and opinion into the content, it
creates a more human connection at the same time as being potentially useful to your audience.
People love good advice and tips from the road travelled which they can then take and apply to their own situation. Talking about how either you or someone you know was successful using specific tactics you recommend always invokes curiosity and engagement. People love to learn from others fortunes (or misfortunes) or knowledge and sharing insights can be even more valuable than you think. Openness creates trust and authenticity which draws people in – especially if they are backed up by data.
- Failures and ‘What Not to Do’
Just as successes are useful for your audience, outlining things that haven’t worked well can also be just as effective —particularly if your product or service solves the challenges presented from the failed techniques. There is an element of controversy to this type of content that people crave. Prove a generally-accepted-as-true idea is not necessarily the case and people will eat it up…although go easy on the controversy.
So there you have it – 23 different forms of Digital PR content that can make an impact for your brand on your channels as well as in Search and with media.
Step back and plan
Before you begin developing your next PR strategy, ask yourself the following questions:
- What exactly does my audience want? Is it the same as what you think they want?
- Are you providing value to your audience?
- Is it useful or just the same as your competitors?
- What can your audience take from it to benefit their lives?
- What else can you create (other than media releases) that inspires or earns trust from your audience and showcases your/brand’s expertise?
- What other channels can you leverage i.e. ‘Search’ that can get to your desired audience
Want to learn more about the Digital PR skills you need in 2020?
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