Public relations, as we know it, continues to evolve, adapting to a world where people trust influencers on social media just as much as their friends and family. Enter a new era of digital public relations (PR). This meld of traditional and digital strategies and tactics provides excellent opportunities, but it can also often be misunderstood and underutilized as PR and communications pros get acquainted with the possibilities – and best practices.
Stern Strategy Group recently held one of our SHINE (Stern Helping Inspire and Nurture Excellence) Academy sessions on just this subject. We kicked off the workshop with a discussion of what digital and PR – and digital PR – mean, how they are measured, how the individual sectors have transformed and become intertwined, and perhaps most importantly, why it all matters.
My colleagues discovered new insights about how digital tools aren’t as unfamiliar and overwhelming as we might think. Here are the top five:
- The role of the PR practitioner is evolving. Not an entirely new concept, per se, but one of growing urgency. We must stay in tune with emerging digital trends to make sure we consistently bring new value to our clients in creative and strategic ways. This is particularly important considering the evolution of digital trends (e.g. SEO, user experience) will create never-before-seen challenges for our clients – and we need to know how to address them.
- Learn to read between the lines and ask the right questions. By digging into clients’ experiences, roadblocks and goals, we often uncover and recommend digital tactics to infuse into and layer upon current (and often more traditional) PR programs. This helps us move their audiences beyond awareness, and create tangible interest and, ultimately, demand for their product, service or thought leadership.
- Increasing awareness is a large part of the digital PR campaign, and there are many different ways to track and measure how well we’re increasing that awareness – from Google Analytics to analytics on social media.
- It’s important to take a holistic view of digital PR. As digital tools and techniques emerge, many might view them as separate endeavors to be managed by separate teams (and experts – internally or externally). But in most cases, there’s more value to be gained in integrated efforts and expertise. For example, clients don’t need to hire an SEO consultant; SEO is a built-in component of our digital PR work, tied to the many other capabilities (digital and otherwise) offered by our agency.
- Establish access to digital metrics as soon as possible. It’s become increasingly difficult to map both traditional PR strategies like earned media and contemporary strategies like social media directly to clients’ overarching goals, such as increased sales and lead generation. By gaining access to clients’ Google Analytics and social media metrics early on, we can proactively and continuously showcase how various activities contribute to website traffic and increased interest in their products or services.
Sure, the world of digital and PR is constantly changing. But these changes are beneficial to all of us – practitioners, our clients and their customers. Though there are more voices and more content out there than ever before, new digital strategies are working together to bring added awareness and value to brands. Our goals are still the same, but advances in digital PR help get us there in new and even more effective ways.
To learn more about Stern Strategy Group’s digital capabilities, explore our case studies.