In the second and final part of of our digital PR series Zazzle’s Jessie Rasmussen looks at how traditional PR differs from digital and how it has to evolve in order to stay relevant in the digital era. You can read part one here…
The evolution of the Internet has seen Digital PR become fiercely relied upon by consumers, businesses, brands and organisations. It is the perfect way to raise profiles and to distribute messages to a wider audience, something that offline media tools are simply unable to do due to the lack of reach and availability and now, interest.
The challenge is that the model for distributing information has changed for good and I want to dig into that a little more in this post.
PR has evolved
PR has been forced to adapt in its attitude, opinion and actions to fulfill the needs of the online market, to reach an increased audience and boost the online presence of an organisation. Search engines, blogs, forums and online communication tools are now deemed of greater importance than the traditional offline media forms such as print, radio, television and events.
The similarities between press releases and blog posts are easily identified and it is clear to see why both methods are ideal within a digital marketing strategy. Both elements are…
PR strategists now need to ensure they not only understand how to craft the right message to resonate with an increasingly empowered audience but they must also have the skillset to leverage the distribution channel and understand how best to reach the RIGHT audience effectively.
From press releases to blog posts
The press release was the traditional PR’s weapon of choice and the distribution channel was simply a phone call, meet or email to a list of press and broadcast contacts in the majority of cases. It is a model that is now all but dead in the water. In its place is a multi-faceted smorgasbord of content types and distribution paths that can combine to create the perfect recipe for the audience you want to engage with.
Such overwhelming choice can cause problems of course and so one of the easiest ways to ease into the ‘new world’ is via blog post led communication.
The benefit of blogs as opposed to press releases is that the topic of the post, although it has be in some way relevant, can be on anything that may excite and engage the reader and ultimately result in some form of interaction and increased brand recognition.
Online communities including forums and genre specific blogs are powerful tools in the plight for message distribution and brand identification. They require snippets of stories and news up dates to encourage the audience to regularly read and interact with their blog and forums.
Press releases are not considered to be the most ideal form of post as they are too factual based and formal which readers may find intimidating where as a blog can informal, fun, engaging and exciting and ultimately, any length required to relay the general message. Blog posts are a natural way to promote and brand and to generate interest without being considered a ‘sales pitch’.
PR is evolving at a fast rate of knots and it is essential to be up to date with the changes and ensure that you are still able to utilise PR as a beneficial tool within any digital marketing strategy.
Previous online marketing strategies have relied heavily on the technical knowledge of SEOs, with only a small level of input from creative minds yet with the evolution of PR and the need for good quality relevant content, creativity now plays a more vital role.
The combination of technical and creative has emerged and has encouraged a wider thought process to ultimately result in a digital SEO strategy that benefits the client, is appropriate to the audience and fits in perfectly with the expectations of search engines.
Creative minds are able to perfectly create and develop unique content that entices the audience and grows and develops the awareness, which surrounds a particular brand or organisation. That, combined with the technical knowledge of SEO brings the content strategy full circle. Content creation is simply half the battle.
It is pointless creating good quality content if the audience and the online market cannot find it amongst the ‘noise’, And that is where the technical skill sets play a pivotal role; able to cleverly and appropriately ensure the content is reached and seen by the relevant niches through the specific sites it is distributed to and the way in which it would be presented across the Internet.
The key pillars to any good strategy
We have established and understood the reasoning and the ways in which PR has developed in the online world. There is, however, still a lot that the online world can learn from the offline PR world and none is more important than how traditional PR breaks a ‘problem’ down strategically to ensure it meets the needs of the business and consumer:
What can old PR teach new PR?
It is this strategic level of thinking that we must now work hard on from a digital PR perspective to ensure we leave no stone unturned in our quest to provide a world class service to clients. And on that basis what better way to sign off than with my top five tips from traditional PR…