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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Digital disruption has in more ways than one interrupted traditional ways of communication and social interactions. Digital is starting to find its way into every industry and to stay relevant into today’s digitally-focused world, Communication and PR professionals must make sure clients know they, too, are evolving with the times. Social Media has drastically changed the role of PR and it is no longer sufficient to rely on your ability to issue a great press release.

As the world becomes increasingly digitalised, the audience has become ubiquitous and their expectations is evolving accordingly. It has become a threat to traditional organisations in an industry ripe for transformation and yet it presents golden opportunities for aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs that are leveraging technology to create and build businesses that challenge the status quo and present opportunities to reach and engage more audience, to gain the better voice share, positive sentiments and influence at rates never seen before.

What are the implications of this disruption to the traditional communication or public relations professional; in a digital world that has redefined all we used to know as communication and public relations? PR goes beyond media relations and coverage; it has evolved to include so much more – from curated content to syndication, amplification and influence marketing that can make all the difference in winning the attention of the desired audience.

There is no doubt about it, the organisations that sit by idly hoping that digital disruption will not come knocking will be in for a rude awakening. It is important to understand that most digital disruptions don’t happen suddenly: they take place over time.

Presented in this content are a few of what the PR professional of the future must have. To learn more and get a hands-on-knowledge of the right skills and techniques, I recommend that you join us in the Digital PR and Social Medis Communication Masterclass coming up in October 14 to 16, 2015 to have a critical understanding of the basic Digital PR skills and tools you need to master fast, for the sake of your clients, employers and your career. 

Here are just nine basic tips to help give your information a winning chance in a content-saturated world and also help you remain relevant in the future and get the attention of your intended audience.

Be Digital PR Savvy: Digital PR provides the means to reach target audiences directly, with or without participation of the news media. It also provides great analytical insights and metrics. No PR professional can afford to ignore Digital PR or outsource it to specialists; it is an essential part of the skill set all PR professionals must have. It’s as fundamental as writing, pitching and building relationships. So, what must you know to thrive in this ever-changing online environment? If you’re like most public relations pros, you need a broader knowledgebase, greater online skills – and perhaps, a new mindset. PR pros are doing a better job with social media than keyword research and SEO, which much change. To define Digital PR simply as social media is short-sighted and will lead PR pros astray.

Master Keywords: Google has become a reputation engine and one of the most powerful tool in a PR professional’s arsenal. In order to keep up in today’s fast-paced PR landscape you must be able to find the information you need and insights on new trends, you must learn to master the right use of keywords. The key is that you have to understand how keywords work, where and how to optimize your content to be findable and shareable.

Be the Media: A big part of a PR professional’s job is pitching bloggers and other online media. The only way you can truly understand how to drive traffic to your campaigns, how to make content go viral or what pitches you should prioritize is by managing your own blog. Managing a blog is the only way you can really understand the process of writing a blog post, how bloggers organize their editorial calendars, and what you can include in your pitch that will make them want to write about you. Every time a new social network launches or Google changes their algorithm the way that traffic works changes and your PR strategy could shift.

Own your client’s messaging: PR pros must own the client’s messaging so it works well with marketing materials, ads, social media, press outreach, website development, etc. Messaging should stay consistent across all areas of an organization.

When there are too many people owning too many messages for an organization it creates confusion. Evolving as a PR pro means you know how to set the tone for an entire company, across the board. Not all pros can take on this task, but we should start.

Know where your customers are: Find out what online publications and bulletins they read, which social networks they're on, and which influencers they follow. Coverage in the right places is the first step toward getting your content curated and shared elsewhere. Finding the top sharers and curators can be helpful info when crafting a communications strategy.

Prioritize media targets and relations techniques: Where do the sites that your customers read get their news and info? Be sure to include content curators, syndicators, social influencers and bloggers Yes, you can—i.e., pitch curators. First take the time to read and better understand the outlet. Then, contact the editors to learn about their criteria and pitch your news if appropriate.

Tap social sharing: Make your information easy to share: for example, can your press release headline easily fit in a tweet? Does your blog have social sharing buttons? Sharing is another form of curation.

Think like a curator: The top curators have their own formula and approach. They often look for stories trending on social, and pick news from reputable outlets. Connect your content or news with causes and timely topics.

Write for people, not algorithms: The top curators also often rely on algorithms, and you may be tempted to crack the code and optimize content accordingly. That's a mistake. If you live by the algorithm, you can die by the algorithm. In the world of SEO, for example, we've all heard the stories about Web traffic fails following changes in Google algorithms.

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