3 Effective Digital PR Strategies for 2017
By Dave Clough
July 18, 2017
“Digital PR” is the combination of traditional Public Relations and SEO marketing activity.
It’s a very effective way of maximising media coverage to work for your business as a lead generator, reputation builder and a technical link builder simultaneously.
Increasingly, agencies and big corporations with dedicated digital teams are leveraging their digital efforts in this way, from hosting infographics on their websites to outreaching for guest content on popular blogs and following up media coverage online to get inbound links.
But there are some other creative tactics within Digital PR that are proving particularly lucrative for Irish businesses online.
Here, Belfast agency Glaze Digital share three prime examples to inspire your project planning:
UGC and Creative Competitions
User Generated Content (UGC) is a tried and tested method of influencing consumers and engaging larger audiences with brand content.
In recent research, 86% of millennials state that UGC is a good indicator of brand quality and reported that this type of content was 20% more influential in their purchase decisions than other types of media.
However, UGC has traditionally been associated with social media photo contests and it took a lot of effort – and budget – to get the traction needed to kick start the content generation. But UGC can be more strategic than that and work doubly hard for your business.
A creative campaign for content on a larger scale offers the opportunity for more online coverage, more social media conversation and more technical backlinks, all working together to achieve the greater Digital PR good.
Belfast-based trade printing company quinnstheprinters.com launched their national student billboard design competition last month. Unlike the usual brand giveaways, this campaign was designed specifically to cultivate content, with a social responsibility twist at its heart.
Ever since the EmployAdam campaign went viral a few years ago (when Adam Pacitti spent £500 on a billboard to try to land himself a job), desperate job seekers in an ever-competitive marketplace have sought creative ways to get employed.
Quinnstheprinters knew this was a particular issue for young creative professionals, working as they do with so many graphic designers. Their competition offered graduates the chance to win billboard space anywhere they wanted in the UK or Ireland, by submitting their “hire me” designs to the competition (although the competition is open to students from any industry).
This kind of concept has huge shareability on social and has also been featured on trusted media sources for students from Unified to Student Times. And of course, by engaging with a younger audience, the business is setting themselves up as a trusted brand for the next generation of both marketers and business owners.
Surveys to Generate Unique Data to Share
Survey results have always been a popular tool in PR. Interesting statistics into public attitudes and behaviours across any industry can be newsworthy.
Thanks to modern online survey systems it’s never been easier for businesses and agencies to run their own surveys and build insightful pieces of content for companies.
They key with any content project in Digital PR is to ensure you maximise it to get the most out of it. Think of it like wringing a wet towel to squeeze every last drop out. That means looking at the information from all angles as well as considering all the different target audiences (and their favoured online media channels) that it would benefit the business to reach.
For example, take the Recruitment Survey recently conducted for Dublin-based HRIT company Forde HR Cloud. An initial survey among CEOs and Managers looked to find the different challenges they face when hiring depending on whether they were big businesses or SMEs.
The surprising results showed similar levels of difficulty in recruiting, but differing challenges and, interestingly, creative solutions to get around them. One of which being the fact that small businesses couldn’t compete on impressive salaries to lure talent so instead focus on offering training and development.
Not only did this provide newsworthy information to include in recruitment and business industry media, but there were also angles to be found on issues such as graduate recruitment. The fact that SMEs cited lack of applications as an issue in recruiting suggested graduates could be more successful in their job hunts by sending their CVs to smaller rather than big brand companies.
New Angles on Thought Leadership
Thought leadership has been a tool of the content marketing strategy since blogging entered the business world.
From CEOs writing about their business mentors to entrepreneurs producing eBook guides to companies offering white papers on global issues; thought leadership is everywhere.
However, it’s traditionally been viewed too linear – as a way for businesses to stoke their own reputation fires among other business people, or worse still, to bore existing and potential customers with content that is far from what the users actually want to know (e.g. when your broadband network serves you an article on their deep thinking of 4G cities when you really want to know how to better manage your family’s internet speeds).
That means that it can actually damage your PR efforts, if done badly. According to a thought leadership marketing study by the Association of Management Consulting Firms (AMCF), 94% of respondents said poor thought leadership content lowers their opinion of a firm.
So finding new angles on thought leadership is a better way to position a brand these days, leveraging their experience to join in and lead conversations that customers really care about.
A good example of this is the Digital PR strategy executed by Lisburn-based company Olympic Stairlifts. Instead of executives talking about engineering and their industry, they have a team dedicated to speaking on the challenges that face elderly people with mobility issues, from physical advice, to mental health, to family support and carers.
And instead of solely “business blogging” on their website, they reach out to place this expert content where it will best serve the audience, on the websites they already turn to for help.
Dave Clough heads up the Digital PR and SEO team at Belfast-based consultancy Glaze Digital. Dave’s background includes SEO Management at Argos and senior positions for numerous leading digital agencies in London.