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Verses From Edith






Sunday, March 9, 2014

Social Media as we know it today is gradually moving beyond growth to saturation. This also means that the practice and strategic communication of public relations is changing quickly.

Last week, I was honoured to be a featured speaker at the PRCAN MASTERCALSS SERIES9 where I had an opportunity to speak about Digital Public Relations and Online Reputation Management. Here's a quick look at what I think about digital public relations and how it will generally impact on PR professionals in the coming days, months and years.

Over the past five years the media landscape has altered dramatically. PR has evolved into digital communications. And for the PR Pro and chief marketing officer, that means big changes in how to engage the target public most of which are now online.

Everyone is becoming a media outlet with the power to break news, find news, share news and information online and, as a result, traditional PR and the traditional media companies are feeling the pinch. The Public Relations Professionals and Journalists are under pressure and newsrooms no longer have the resources to dig deep and cover all the stories they’d like to. This opens to the door to some amazing Digital PR opportunities. Having a working and strategic understanding of digital pr can help you take advantage of these new avenues of content and earned media.

The PR Professional no longer need to solely pitch the media but can now become a media creator through strategic content marketing, content amplification and search: Static news as it were are now been transformed into conversations and bypassing the ‘gatekeepers’ to speak directly to the online target audience has become the trend.
News can be spread further, faster, and more directly to a specific target audience than ever before in history. It allows us to maximize news like never before. Instead of being satisfied with a single placement, your news can be shared exponentially.

1.       Integrate Social
Everyone knows that social media has evolved into a network of connected platforms that are increasingly influencing perception and creating relationships with the public which is in tandem with one of the two core purpose of public relations – to create awareness, credibility and goodwill. Social media is presently on the cusp of becoming the dominant form of online content and researches have shown that it is expected to surpass portals as the most engaging online activity.

Leveraging on social can indeed and will always impact on brand visibility with the force of a tsunami. A well thought out Social amplification can only lead to an influence path for a brand.

2.       Be Media Creators and incorporate content marketing into your mix
Optimize and Repurpose your content (press releases & bylines). A single press release can be re-purposed into a Slideshare presentation, a blog post, a guest blog post, infographic, a LinkedIn news update, a call to action to Share on the social network and a piece of content can flow out to multiple sources.

The target public has become an ardent consumer of online media PR professionals are not solely pitching the media, but they too are media creators.

3.       Turn Your Content to an Engaging Viewpoint
Instead of simply putting your press release on the wire, turn it into a blog post that connects the news to an engaging viewpoint; use it as the Launchpad to discuss a related issue, educate, or dive into a juicy Q&A. Find ways to take an offline PR campaign to social… and vice versa. The key is to provide value.

4.       Content Integration and Optimization
Today’s PR doesn’t allow for silos. Content marketing, search engine optimization, social media, customer service – all of these things are blended into the total solution that we are responsible for. If you don’t know the basics, there is no time like the present to dive in.

Once you have your content underway – take it even further with the second major piece of digital PR: SEO. This particular function should not belong to the IT silo, or the web programmer silo – it’s a marketing function that should cross into all PR activity. Even if it isn’t yet deliberate, it’s having an impact by virtue of what you are publishing online – and you can boost your impact by taking a mindful approach, instead of accidental. CONTENT has become KING. Purposefully develop content that is findable and shareable and that can be optimized.

5.       Search Integration
Every piece of content has to be optimized for search. Content has to be discoverable. Search is how people find content online. If your content is never found, it won’t be seen and shared. Learn to integrate search keywords to expose your news to those who are searching for similar content.

You have to be able to find content before one can share content and amplify them on social media. For the PR Professional, you need to learn how to build Twitter lists so you can monitor journalists on Twitter. Building twitter list has become a “must know” skill for the PR professional.
6.       Digital Media Relations & Outreach

PR professionals need get on board with the people who are most passionate about what you're doing and with the many faces of Influence ranging from the Celebrity, the Connector, the Authority, the Agitator, the Activist, the Analyst, the Insider, the Expert, the bloggers and journalist. Learn what the media and the different kinds of online influencers need and want. Use social media to find and engage with the right influencers and provide them content and the tools that help them do their job.

Every segment of your stakeholders has people with influence. Finding these folk and building a relationship with them is essential. Part of Digital PR is finding the true evangelists and turning them into Brand Ambassadors.

7.       Monitoring
There are millions of conversations happening online. Across the blogosphere, In wikis; in online videos; in forums and social networks; on microblogs like Twitter and throughout the social media universe. Understanding and responding to these conversations about brands, reputation and end-user opinion in Social Media is a critical element for the PR professional if he/she must tap into the right conversations to find gaps, opportunities, threats and possible flaks in the making. Once you have the raw data from a monitoring tool like Sendible which is more robust and can further make you understand the implications of the given results or actionable insights that will drive your goals and content campaigns.

8.       Reputation Management 
When was the last time you checked your digital footprint? Consumers have discovered the power of their voice online and the implication of this development to the PR Professional is that prospects, competitors and customers are all online.

If and when a situation arises where a customer, patient, policy holder, constituent or employee feels slighted or badly treated, you can be certain it will be shared on social media channels. What happens online stays online. Worst if it is negative and better if it is positive. Controlling negative and damaging messaging and reputation of the company with robust online reputation management tools and content is one of the two functions of PR Professionals

9.       Measurement

Every action online can be tracked. Analytics has become an integral part of Digital PR. Your team has to understand how to track and analyze where the content goes, where it gets picked up and republished, who tweets it, who responds. It is possible to measure outcomes rather than outputs in Digital PR. Google Analytics now has a PR Dashboard – we can install it for you and show you how to set PR goals that can be tracked to show ROI.

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