The growth of online has changed the world of Public Relations dramatically. Online has given PR a number of opportunities – engaged and larger audiences, groupings online of like-minded people. But it has also created its fair share of head-aches – people criticising the company on the company’s own media and a fast-moving world which requires resource to keep track.
So, is digital PR really so different from traditional PR methods? Well, yes and no! The principles of PR still remain, with reputation management, stakeholder strategies and managing the spread of information all being crucial in digital PR. But the methods by which these are achieved are different in digital. I think that there are three pillars of Digital PR:
The days of faxing black and white A4 press releases to media organisations have passed – well, they should have passed! The scramble for attention on the internet has challenged people to create more and more compelling content. Information in the format of an infographic, slide share or blog with opinion will get more attention than a typed page of words alone.
It could also be argued that digital content lasts longer than printed content – for example, if you place an article in a newspaper, once the following day’s newspaper is published, the article is ‘dead’, but if it is online, it may stay on a website for a long time, and be shared and commented on which will extend it’s ‘life’.
So, while compelling content has always been a principle of good PR, being able to share the content online means that you should explore your creative side.
If your content is very compelling, then there is a chance that people will actually want to share your content. But this relies on a number of factors:
- You have a social media presence – if this is not the case, start with this as this can be used as a content aggregator
- You have provided enough high-quality content to build credibility and an audience
- The content that you have produced helps, entertains or engages people – if it just talks about how great your company is, it will not be shared
- You know where your target audience spend their time online
It is no shock that millions of people use Google to start their internet browsing. So, imagine that when you search for your company name, an internet page criticising your company ranks highly. A similar sense of panic will occur if this happens on your social media pages, although with social at least the conversation can take place – with a web page, there is little chance to debate their points. And what about if you receive negative reviews on a review website?
The difficulty of rectifying this can range from fairly easy to incredibly difficult. The processes tend to be different depending on where the offending content is. Start by searching on Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to see where your challenges lie – and even if you get a clean bill of health today, keep checking back as it may change in the future.Image via piercemattie.com