DigitalNews Today: Exploiting DigitalPR: The Need for PR to Embrace Social

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Exploiting DigitalPR: The Need for PR to Embrace Social

Sunday, April 17, 2016

As digital disruption continues to evolve, the rules of engagement continue to change. For any communication, marketing and PR agency trying to promote a brand online and amplify their message across a range of platforms, embracing and understanding how to optimize social becomes a step in the right direction to becoming the PR Agency of tomorrow.

Embracing and understanding social also implies that you need to have a basic knowledge of what happens online every sixty seconds in terms of the amount of data created across the social enterprise. Let us check out some of the facts as captured by DOMO 

A quote from William Gibson adds clarity to this post: 
One of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish the digital from the real… In the future, that will become literally impossible

When I came across a piece of amazing content from Lee Odden of toprank, it centred around my personal opinion and I thought it wise to share some of the key highlights to my audience hoping that these will make PR professionals to begin to Rethink Public Relations.

1. Have a Central Digital Hub: Resonating what Lee mentioned, the “social web is far more than just Twitter, and if Twitter is the extent of your participation you’re missing out”. Your central digital hub, be it a blog, landing page or a website should be the centerpiece of your content distribution network. It must essentially be a digital asset that you have total control on as against an external social network. It is really pointless building the value of a digital asset that isn’t really yours (no analytics, no control, no SEO benefit and if that network falls out of favor all your hard work is devalued). Additionally, while today we speak about channel-specific PR or marketing, the future will be different. Traditional and digital PR will merge and it will just be seen as PR.

2. Segmentation will end when the digital divide is bridged. In the meantime, the idea of digital PR continues to proliferate while we see a decline in traditional.

3. A recent digital readiness report states 18% of marketing decision makers have no interest whatsoever in traditional marketing. This shows a good percentage is already embracing digital fully and is a potential harbinger of the future. Other data in that survey adds to this: a majority agree that knowledge of social networks (80%), blogging, podcasting and RSS (87%), and micro-blogging (72%) is either important or very important when it comes to PR and marking hiring.

Why Should PR/marketing Professionals Embrace Social: Below is a compilation of the reasons as listed by Lee Odden.

Authenticity/personality – the world and web crave it:

- Digital channels reward authenticity/personality higher than traditional.

- Unlike the traditional, the truth is the web is not meant to be a finished product; it is merely an avenue to express ourselves.

- Digital enables you to talk with consumers and prospects, not at them.

- Embrace PR with the mindset of interacting rather than transacting. Don’t just treat it like a broadcast tool.

It scales – popular brands just get more popular

- When social is rightly deployed, brands can gain greater share of voice daily especially when stacked against competitors.

- Social media applied strategically for PR helps make a brand referential which makes it keep growing.

- Digital media – due to links, sourcing and aggregation potentiates anything which is referential. Staking a claim sooner rather than later is how you can do this and begin to grow organically.

Long-term storytelling – build a permission asset

- Permission marketing is a core skill for digital PR and marketing professionals to embrace.

- By growing a community and getting people to say “yes, I want to hear from you,” you’ll earn the permission to share your messages with them long term.

- And overtime you will develop influence, trust and eventually be seen as an authority on a subject. And as Brian Clarke sagely advises: authority rules.

Leverage – digital PR is your social proofing

- If you acquire digital PR and never do anything with it, you’re not optimizing your social proofing.

- If you’re gaining endorsements from credible industry professionals or generating tons of buzz and links about your product and not showcasing that, it is a missed opportunity.

- While many will have seen the buzz initially, what about those who have not? Aggregate mentions of your brand in a digital marketing newsroom.

- Put your digital PR to work instead of letting it accumulate digital dust. Even consider taking it offline to win new business: comments, endorsements, interviews and feedback from trusted externalities can be a persuasive force.

Intersection with SEO – links are by-product

- Have a symbiotic relationship. And digital marketers who go a step further find there is a nexus between SEO, social media and PR.

- Uncover this and you will discover the three play off each other for even greater results.

- Your keyword glossary should not be used merely for SEO – rather, use it across all marketing channels, including in PR programs. After all, generating more search demand for keywords you are optimized for is only going to help you long term.

PR has changed – pull is now more effective

- Inbound marketing or Pull PR is superior to push, there is no escaping this.

- A (not so) secret part of media is this: media report on media. It’s so simple, yet so overlooked. By becoming media you embrace a pull strategy naturally and will attract attention from all other types of media – both professional and amateur.


- DigitalPR consulting is a dynamic, constant process, and not all companies will be agile enough to embrace it.

- But it allows truly passionate and authentic brands to stand out, build a tribe and become referential.

- The few brands and professionals that get it right are memorable because there are so many who get it wrong.
Do add to the comment page if there are more reasons why PR Professional should embrace social. This will help us in improving on this post.

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