8 Tangible Tips Digital PRs Can Learn from Traditional PRs
If you want to watch this, you can find a recording of my talk here.
Having worked in Traditional PR for nearly 18 months before entering the Digital PR world here at Kaizen, there is a lot I can draw from my experience into my current role as a Digital PR Manager.
To understand what we can learn from Traditional PR, we need to look at the differences between the two strands of PR:
Traditional PR describes strategies that gain brand coverage in print, including newspapers and industry-specific magazines, as well as on traditional broadcasting channels such as TV and radio. – The Drum
When I was working in Traditional PR, top-tier coverage would be landing clients on the likes of BBC and Sky News or getting a spokesperson on a regional radio station and seeing products in magazines and newspapers.
Digital PR, by contrast, encompasses online marketing strategies to boost a brand’s presence and visibility. – The Drum
We also know that Digital PR is becoming increasingly linked to SEO. Top-tier coverage comes in the form of follow links on highly relevant websites with high DR’s.
I have identified eight key takeaways that Digital PRs can action from Traditional PR, split into four key areas; Relationships, Product PR, Spokespeople and Formats.
Traditional PRs tend to work with local companies who want local coverage in local newspapers. This means they need to have good relationships with key journalists as they only have a limited pool of people to reach out to.
1. Prospecting is key
We’ve all seen the tweets of journo’s sharing their inboxes and seeing the hundreds of unopened press releases. This means that every email you send must stand out and must be relevant to the journalist. It all starts with prospecting. Making sure you are reaching out to relevant journalists helps save your time and theirs, as you know that every email can land coverage.
2. Contact your dream journalists
When you sign a new client, build a list of key journalists who are hyper-relevant to the brand. Drop them an email sharing key details of your client and any spokespeople they may have and topics they will be willing to talk about. This is a great way to start a relationship and hopefully means journalists will come to you if they need anything to help with one of their stories.
We’re all used to seeing the “what we love this week” product pages and gift guides in magazines and newspapers. These are also available on digital outlets and tend to be centred around key dates, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas. There are also many focussed on key themes such as sustainability.
3. Know your products
It’s important to know exactly what products your client has and what they’re willing to push. If you’ve been asked to focus on specific keywords and target pages, look on the client’s website and see if they sell any products you can tie into the keywords. Once you know what you’re targeting and which products you want to push, it means that you can respond to any relevant requests you may see.
4. Research product guides
Once you have your products, you should also see if any relevant product guides are already live. Follow up with the journalist who wrote it and see if they’re planning on updating it in the future – it’s surprising how often they do this.
For Traditional PRs, having spokespeople for their clients and knowing what they’re comfortable talking about is key to them gaining coverage on radio and tv. In the last year, when so much has changed, and there has been a significant increase in reactive Digital PR, this is a tactic we should also be using.
5. Find your spokespeople
When you onboard clients, find out who on their team is willing to provide commentary to the press and what topics are they willing to talk about.
6. Create a quote bank
You can pre-empt breaking news by preparing a pre-approved quote bank. This means as soon as anything breaks you can send out the quote quickly without waiting for client approval and rounds of amends which can delay the process.
7. Make a press pack
Once you have your spokespeople, prepare a press pack for each individual, including headshots and a short bio, this again helps speed up the process and ensures you are ready for any reactive opportunities that may come your way.
Traditional PRs have always had to think about format. When they have a campaign, they need to consider whether it would be better suited to tv, radio or print and whether they have the assets to accompany each of them. They may also consider if there is a way to adapt the story slightly to reach each medium.
8. The ideas should fit the format
As Digital PRs we should be using this train of thought and consider which format each of our ideas is best suited to. Would it be better as a quick reactive quote or listicle? Or does it have the strength to be built into a full blog piece along with designs and data cards? Make sure you use the data and concept to decide the format and not the other way around.
Do you want to see how applying these tactics has enabled us to land top tier coverage? Take a look at our work here.
By Charlotte Crowther - 20/10/2021