I Love Working in PR.
Ever since graduating I’ve known that it’s the right job for me.
There are so many benefits that make me enjoy coming into work every day. I’m never bored as no two days are ever the same, and I never stop learning new things. And that’s to say nothing of the satisfaction that comes from seeing the results of all my hard work in generating great coverage for my clients. On a more practical level, time management and efficiency are now second nature, which are great life skills that can be transferred almost everywhere. I do more than just sit on Twitter and drink coffee all day, honestly!
Why am I telling you this? Well, having spent the last two years working for a traditional PR consultancy, I recently made the jump in the world of digital marketing, and more specifically, digital PR!
I was immediately thrown into a world of domain authority, key words, MOZ toolbars, PPC, SEO (on and off page), Google ranking, alt texts, and most importantly, link building.
I’m very excited that I’ve moved into Digital PR, but I won’t lie, it did seem overwhelming at first. While a lot of my traditional PR skills are transferable into the digital world, there is still a huge amount to take on board and learn.
Having been at Hallam for over two months now, I have a greater understanding and experience of both the traditional and digital PR worlds. I thought it would be interesting to take a slightly closer look and offer a few tips.
I used to support and deliver results for a range of local, national, and international clients, whether that be via online, print or broadcast. So, as you’d expect, traditional PR, often news-led, consists mainly of media relations. It involves writing blogs and press releases while approaching journalists in the hope of generating coverage. I also used to look after clients’ social media accounts while doing a bit of email marketing.
Digital PR is a tactic used by businesses to increase their online visibility through building relationships with websites, aiming to get quality backlinks. It’s about combining traditional PR with online marketing and SEO to maximise the audience.
This can be done through various different means, such as social media, websites, blogs, and online media coverage. I now know it’s not as simple as putting a press release out there! Engaging and relevant content can now come in many forms. Visual content, images, and infographics are now a necessary part of every PR’s locker.
What I’ve Learnt
The most important lesson I’ve learnt so far at Hallam is that understanding SEO is an absolutely vital skill for any PR practitioner. It changes the way you think and write, and can have a huge impact upon the way you approach your outreach.
Most traditional agencies now have a much better understanding of the digital world and use this as a channel of communication, some better than others. We can’t run away from it: PR and SEO are merging, and communicating now is not as simple as first seems.
In its simplest terms, PR is about protecting and enhancing a business’s reputation. So whether that’s through a newspaper or a blog, digital and traditional PR have similar aims. The difference is only the way in which we communicate and reach our target audience.
Traditional PRs are great at their job, but digital marketers and SEOs attempting to be excellent digital PRs might find it difficult. They’ll need to take what they know about digital marketing and try and get into the mindset of a PR. Understanding this and adapting is vital for digital marketers to embrace going forward.
I’ve had to change my mindset towards PR, before I used client news to outreach to my target media, usually in the form of a press release. Now, I research and target certain online media, and then see how I can generate engaging content for the client.
But essentially, the fundamental skills, tactics and strategy which are used in digital PR are not all that different to those used in more traditional PR. They both involve creative, interesting content that communicates key messaging to their target audience.
The main difference is that in digital PR, it’s likely that you can reach a larger, relevant audience for a longer period of time.
My Top Tips
Here are my tops tips to be successful in digital PR:
- Identify the online media outlets and social media platforms your customer’s/target audience read.
- Download the MozBar to help identify which online sites are worth pursuing.
- Find out who’s influential online in your client’s industry – bloggers, journalists or simply other professionals active on social media. Connect with them and get to know them. Why not favourite their tweets? Get on their radar!
- Get active online, be it blogging (like this), joining in LinkedIn group discussions, or sharing interesting content on Twitter. Not only will your audience inevitably grow, but your PR activity may then be more effective, mainly because you’ll have authority, or at least known as someone who is engaging online.
- Make all your copy work harder by repurposing or changing your work to create additional online content. Make life easier for yourself!
- Don’t write 1,000 words when 300 will do. What is the message? Who is reading it?
- Finally, don’t be put off. There is a LOT of rejection in both digital and traditional PR. You need thick skin to work in PR.
I hope this has given you an insight into my experience and knowledge moving from traditional to digital PR.
One thing I definitely know is that, whether you’re practising digital or traditional PR, coffee remains absolutely essential.
It would be great to hear your thoughts on working in PR. Seeing as today’s landscape is digitally dominated, I ask you – is there still a place for traditional PR?
— Alex (@alexjonespr) January 26, 2016