Taking a Quantum Leap across the Digital PR Divide
Experience, knowledge, understanding and enthusiasm are the keys for clients to get the best results from Digital PR
By Larry Butchins
(c) May 2009
“We will not be participating in the current recession, thank you – we’re far too busy....”
This is the sort of response you can expect from a growing group of Internet marketing an PR agencies who have embraced the Internet – and are convincing their clients that the intelligent use of Web 2.0 technology (social networking), is the way to get your message out there.
Years ago, when PR was mainly focused on getting print media coverage of your client’s face, name and business, having a mass medium at your fingertips would have seemed like a PR man’s fantasy.
As TV news and business coverage grew, that became the Brass Ring to grab for – getting TV coverage was the BIG prize. But now that Web 2.0 is ubiquitous and everybody can connect with anybody, ensuring wide-spread coverage for your message is that much simpler...as long as you know what you’re doing.
The rapid growth of Digital PR and marketing is testimony to the myriad uses and applications we have available: Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, on and on. But a word of warning: at the heart of every successful PR campaign lies a single entity – a good story. So while it is tempting to run your fingers over your computer keys and send out information on your company, product, service or whatever, be sure that you are doing it right.
There is still a need to target your audience – know who you are talking to; you still have to have a sound message, a “reason-why”, to know what you are saying to them; and you still have to know what you want your audience to do when they read the posting in question. But, above all, you still have to know where and how to place your PR piece – and all of the above become the job of the PR professional... who knows his way around the web.
Another word of warning: while using the web is very tempting, because of its sheer size and coverage, therein lies the trap. Your message is useless if it’s not read: you have to be sure that it is going to reach the target concerned. And amidst such a welter of material, if it comes up 950,000th in a list of more than 3,000,000 results, all your efforts will be in vain .
So SEO – Search Engine Optimization – becomes a key strategy in any Web PR campaign. Savvy web PR people know how to prepare material which will attract the attention of search engines, and which will increase its hits, which increases its place on the lists, which delivers more readers, and increases its chances of being seen, read, understood and acted upon.
Again, at the heart of it – a damned good story: something well-prepared, attention grabbing, interesting, something which creates a desire to learn more and prompts action. Very often that action results in a sale. And that’s what it’s all about.
Digital communications and new media have opened up new distribution channels for PR and require a new set of skills from smart PR people. Clients are beginning to realize the powerful ROI possible through creative online communication programs which are redefining the PR industry. Traditionalists, bigger agencies still umbilically tied to old methods and operations, will suffer greater during a recession. Fast-moving, Internet PR people, particularly those with many years experience in the more traditional media who have successfully made the quantum leap across the digital divide, will be the ones to control the industry as it grows and grows and grows....