tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/online-pr Latest Online PR content from Econsultancy 2018-03-08T16:05:33+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3522 2018-03-08T16:05:33+00:00 2018-03-08T16:05:33+00:00 Social Media & Online PR <p>This one-day course is the UK’s most popular introduction to online PR and social media marketing.</p> <p>You'll be able to plan and implement your ideal strategy using user-generated content, including monitoring positive and negative brand perception through tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and increasing brand engagement.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3503 2018-03-08T15:45:58+00:00 2018-03-08T15:45:58+00:00 Online Community Management <p>With so many free and low cost tools and channels it's never been easier to create online communities. But do you have a strategy and a thorough understanding of the dynamics of communities at the different stages of a community lifecycle?</p> <p>Are you comfortable with aligning your community to business and departmental objectives and do you have solid cross-departmental processes in place? Have you chosen appropriate tools and can your content and community engagement be described as best practice?</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3502 2018-03-08T15:45:21+00:00 2018-03-08T15:45:21+00:00 Online Community Management <p>With so many free and low cost tools and channels it's never been easier to create online communities. But do you have a strategy and a thorough understanding of the dynamics of communities at the different stages of a community lifecycle?</p> <p>Are you comfortable with aligning your community to business and departmental objectives and do you have solid cross-departmental processes in place? Have you chosen appropriate tools and can your content and community engagement be described as best practice?</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3477 2018-03-08T13:23:34+00:00 2018-03-08T13:23:34+00:00 Getting to grips with Paid Social <p>Need help with your social media advertising?</p> <p>We're a long way away from the heady days when social media was 'free' (well, if significant resource and time was ever free….)</p> <p>As social media platforms evolve and 'organic' visibility decreases in our social media feeds, brands and organisations must consider ways to increase their presence and optimise goal conversions through social advertising. Fail to put an effective strategy in place and you can end up simply throwing your money away.</p> <p>This course covers the essentials of creative, successful social media advertising campaigns. We'll explore best-practice campaigns and tools and techniques for writing copy, bidding strategy, and aligning your paid, owned and earned social activity.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69854 2018-03-08T12:30:00+00:00 2018-03-08T12:30:00+00:00 How to choose a B2B PR agency Matthew Davis <p>I spoke to some trusted industry figures and put together some tips for choosing a B2B PR agency.</p> <h3>Understand how you’ll reach your audience (before you engage PRs)</h3> <p>You should be thinking about the channels that are important to your customers well before you meet face-to-face with an agency. This will help you shortlist PRs with the right experience and it will vastly speed up your selection process.</p> <p>Chris Hides, Global Managing Director of M&amp;C Saatchi PR, says: “Think carefully about how your target audiences consume media – are they reading print titles, watching videos, or engaging with physical events? Once you’ve identified the best way to reach your audience then you can develop and refine your message to suit that channel.” </p> <p>Hides continues, “If you have a clear understanding of the channels you want to use, then finding an agency that can support these activities becomes a much simpler prospect.”</p> <h3>Choose local PR for local audiences</h3> <p>Many B2B marketers target very specific geographic markets. If that’s you, it pays to look for and invest in local PR expertise. You should ask for evidence of well-developed regional media contacts and an agency’s ability to pitch something nuanced and newsworthy at a local level.</p> <p>Pete Davies, managing director of Sugar PR in Manchester, recently worked on a local campaign with PayByPhone, the car parking app: "I'm a big believer in using regional PR agencies if you are a marketer for a brand with international reach. PayByPhone is a global business but it makes use, sensibly, of regional and local agencies who have a better understanding of local media agendas and also better contacts on the ground to make things happen in a country or region.“</p> <p>If you’re thinking about expanding to new territories in future, ask if your agency can link you up with a local partner to help deliver. </p> <p>Louisa Papachristou, Director of London-based Halo PR, says: “PR is about building and maintaining relationships and nothing beats being in situ, understanding a market and getting to know its media. While I’m happy to help get clients up and running in other territories with a PR strategy for example, I would always recommend they find a local partner for ongoing support.”</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2799/map.jpg" alt="map" width="615"></p> <h3>Don’t say no to social</h3> <p>For some B2B organisations with a small or non-existent social presence, it’s easy to be cynical about agency promises to build influence and reach. But social can provide a direct route to customers and influencers, to share the content generated by your campaigns at low cost. </p> <p>Chris Hides, again: “Allowing your organisation to carefully control its message while targeting the audiences that will be most receptive to it, [social] offers a hugely effective avenue for business development support and pipeline generation.” </p> <p>Success comes down to two factors, Hides says, "firstly, choosing the social channels that will best engage your audience, and secondly, having a clear view on your organisation’s desired outcomes."</p> <p>Be focused and use some simple, low volume metrics to track success; conversations started and lead generation, for example.</p> <h3>Expect your agency to be a customer</h3> <p>Ready to invite a handful of the right agencies to pitch? You should expect all of them to appear in your sales pipeline before they turn up with their presentations. Every agency should be trying to understand your customer journey by getting involved themselves and even purchasing your product.</p> <p>Chris Hides makes it clear what you should expect from any agency worth their salt: “When it comes to ‘understanding’ your business – the first clear indicator is the involvement and effort an agency has gone to during the pitch. Have they spoken to customers? Gone through the user journey themselves?” </p> <p>“From a B2B perspective, PR often represents a support arm to the sales function. Therefore, any prospective agency must have a clear understanding of how your organisation makes money – what are the revenue streams, what are the sales channels and where are your present and future opportunities?”</p> <h3>Get the strategy right…</h3> <p>You’re calling in an agency because you need advice on comms strategy, but you should be ready to check that their advice aligns with the wider business need. What are the key outcomes you need to see, and how will you report on them as part of your wider marketing mix?</p> <p>For a handy marketing model to think about your strategy, see <a href="https://m3.econsultancy.com/">Ashley Friedlein’s Modern Marketing Model</a> (M3).</p> <p>You’re likely to be committing a sizeable chunk of your annual budget so it’s important you don’t get carried away with creative ideas during the pitch. Many forget to think about this beforehand and that can slow progress or, worse, catch you out if you don’t see the results you expect.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2801/m3.jpg" alt="m3 model" width="400"></p> <h3>…then you can trust your gut</h3> <p>“Spotting good creativity is an entirely subjective exercise,” says Chris Hides. But if you’ve done your homework and you’re sat in a boardroom watching a pitch for your investment, it helps to have some framework to make a judgment.</p> <p>Hides adds: ”The best way to test a creative strategy is by its power to persuade you – is it able to tackle your organisation’s problem? Does it convince you that it’s the right approach to address a new opportunity in the market? Does it make you look at your organisation in a different light? And when it comes to creative tactics, it goes even deeper – you must trust your gut.”</p> <p>Don’t be afraid to ask in detail about comms tactics. Pete Davies weighs in: "Plenty is waffled by agencies about great work they've done for other clients. What you really want to know is what great work they will do for you. It's easy to do PR for famous brands with unlimited budgets. It's a lot trickier with challenger brands in the B2B marketplace in 2018 with a more limited budget.”</p> <p>“You want your PR agency to acknowledge that and explain how they are going to get a decent share of voice where larger, bigger budget competitors may be drowning them out.“</p> <h3>Look beyond the pitch team to your day-to-day</h3> <p>It's really important that there is good natural chemistry between you as the client and the people who will be actually handling your account. Not just the senior partners that turn up to the initial pitch.</p> <p>Ask who will be working on your campaigns (not just the account manager) and if possible meet them face-to-face. </p> <p>Pete Davies says the wider team’s understanding of your business is crucial, as well as the chemistry you share: "The most important question to consider is: "can I actually sit in a closed room with these people again, for two hours, and talk about my business?"</p> <h3>Ask for transparency</h3> <p>If you haven’t worked with a PR agency before, it can feel like a black box of processes and a potential black hole for your marketing budget.</p> <p>Don’t be afraid to ask for complete clarity on an agency’s rates and other costs, and what this gets you. Even if you’re clear on day rates, do you know how much work is needed to achieve the results you want? </p> <p>And if you’re not ready to commit to a long term working relationship, ask if you can try an agency on a short campaign first.</p> <p>Louise Papachristou says: “I generally work with all clients on a trial basis to start with. A short project gives both parties the opportunity to work together and see what the dynamic is. During this period, I’ll spend time getting to know a client’s business, its people and its culture. If the chemistry is right for both client and agency, and the relationship is working, this will often progress to a longer-term partnership.”</p> <p><em><strong>Related resources:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69791-three-pr-campaigns-that-missed-out-on-link-building-opportunities">Three PR campaigns that missed out on link building opportunities</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69492-how-to-engineer-your-definitive-digital-pr-campaign">How to engineer your definitive digital PR campaign</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-and-online-pr">Social Media &amp; Online PR Training</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69856 2018-03-08T09:18:00+00:00 2018-03-08T09:18:00+00:00 Overcoming bias in the SEO & PR industries Lexi Mills <p>It took a lot of hard work to develop a skill set to design and execute on integrated PR SEO campaigns and data-driven PR reporting and strategies. Once I had worked this out I could show others how to do it. This is when I experienced the greatest conflict and biases.   </p> <p>The challenges I had to overcome may have looked gender based on the outside, due to the gender split between the industries. However, in my view, the conflict is more a consequence of misunderstanding and mistrust between each discipline.</p> <p>Historically, the differences between SEO and PR and the personalities they attracted were at odds with each other. When SEOs and PRs came into contact with each other, both groups had adverse experiences interacting with each other.  </p> <p>The discrimination on both sides was often unconscious and largely underpinned by alternative backgrounds, jargon, etiquettes, cultures and behaviours. They were both territorial, fearful that one industry would swallow up the other.</p> <p>The PR industry has grown <a href="https://www.holmesreport.com/long-reads/article/global-pr-industry-now-worth-%2415bn-as-growth-rebounds-to-7-in-2016">to $15bn</a>. Spending on digital communications has grown as well – in-house communications leaders' digital budgets are rising. Some figures have the global SEO industry worth <a href="https://searchengineland.com/seo-industry-worth-65-billion-will-ever-stop-growing-248559">as much as $65bn</a>. These are large sums to win—or lose. </p> <p>The relationship building between these two industries is on-going. Many agencies in both the PR and SEO fields have made leaps and bounds in hiring and developing specialists from both sectors and combining these two skillsets. Having helped agencies in both sectors and in-house teams do this, I have found a few common approaches that have been effective in achieving smooth and impactful integrations and reducing bias.</p> <h3>Humour over anger with unconscious bias</h3> <p>Now of course, there are some circumstances where you need to address an issue with seriousness. But, let’s only do that when absolutely necessary.</p> <p>The language and manner we use to challenge bias is important. Our brains do not function well when we are in heightened states of emotion. Getting angry is simply less likely to bring about reasonable discussions with others.  </p> <p>Humour can be far more productive, the moment the PR and SEO teams start laughing together I know we are on track to getting some great results, because I have noticed a correlation between the ability to do this and the ability to have tough conversations. </p> <p>It is important to recognise someone’s intent, separate that from their actions, and react accordingly. We need to find ways to communicate against unconscious biases through channels that can be heard, humour is one of the best I discovered. </p> <p>Let me explain.</p> <p>Early in my career, I was often mistaken for the office assistant when clients met me for the first time. They would ask me to get the tea, for example. Now I could have reacted with anger, but I didn’t, much to the amusement of my team, I would smile, get the tea and say, “I hope you like it. My speciality is integrated comms; but, I did my best.”  </p> <p>I enjoyed this game for many years, largely because these were not people operating a conscious gender bias. I looked at it this way: most SEO specialists at the time were male. Their expectation for me to be male was statistically correct, not necessarily conscious bias. Making them feel terrible was not the objective; working with them and helping to adjust their perceptions was.  </p> <p>Mary Poppins has given me some great life philosophies, and in this instance I saw making the tea as the spoonful of sugar that helped the medicine go down.</p> <p>I also decided early on to address the rooms I stand in. Instead of trying to change the minds of the people who think I don’t belong in the same room as them, I sometimes chose to work hard and make another room more successful and more fun. With client work this meant picking the clients most ready for integration initially and then moving onto the ones who were more hesitant.</p> <h3>Allies and advocates</h3> <p>I have to acknowledge that much of my career success was due to the support from people in the industry. Many of these were silent champions giving me feedback, putting me forward for conference speaking slots and shielding me against some of the gender and sector biases. </p> <p>Getting publishers to talk openly about their linking policies, challenges and objectives has been key to me developing campaigns that were successful for them and clients. It helped me learn how to build pages that help journalists with their stories and thus build natural links.</p> <p>Most of the people who helped me were male, as that was the dominant gender of the internet marketing industry. There were also women, some of which had had a much harder time than I did, being part of the industry way before I joined.</p> <p>Some of the women have undoubtedly stood in my shoes (or me in theirs), which helped them recognise when support was needed. That may have made it easier for them to support me, in a way, than it was for some of the men. The men had to rely on keen observation rather than experience to determine how and when to offer advice or help.</p> <p>But I don’t really distinguish whether these people were male or female. I notice more that they have congruent values including proactivity and the courage to stand up for someone both publically and privately. Something we should all foster irrespective of industry sector or gender.</p> <h3>Gratitude</h3> <p>We live in a world that puts immense emphasis on the ‘hero’, but it seems to me that many of the people working to change the fabric of society largely do so silently. It is therefore no wonder that it is only with hindsight you notice how much insight, shielding or advocacy someone has given you. It is never too late to say thank you.</p> <p>You don’t need to send expensive gift baskets; but, you do need to be genuine in your gratitude. With media I have gone out of my way to give journalists exclusives, access to interviews or help them on stories that were sometimes unrelated to my work objectives. Thanking someone is not just an expression of appreciation. It also communicates the value of their efforts. This undoubtedly fuels them to carry out similar actions in the future, and this is part of the two-way street of creating change. </p> <h3>Take stock of achievements and log the funny data points</h3> <p>I sometimes see people get more upset about a lack of gluten-free muffins at tech events than about accessibility and equality. This is in fact a good thing. These more minor complaints mean a lot of the bigger changes have begun. How fantastic it is for me to see this as a data point for success. So, bring on dietary complaints as a metric of progress!  Of course, taking stock of how far we have come does not mean we can slack off, and it should not stop us helping others who are walking a hard path.</p> <p>Finally, revolutions don’t go off without a hitch we need to be reasonable in our expectations of what the path ahead looks like.  It does exist and will take time to change. Despite the fact that a vast amount of our communications are governed by mechanical systems, tools, processes and technology, we are human.  We cannot just recode ourselves or our societies. It takes time, humour gentleness and, most of all, perseverance and bravery.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69791 2018-02-09T09:30:00+00:00 2018-02-09T09:30:00+00:00 Three PR campaigns that missed out on link building opportunities Jessica Maccio <p>I’ll explore three examples of PR tactics that tend to miss a key element to drive SEO benefit.</p> <p>You’d be right in thinking it’s very easy for me to sit here and suggest how PR campaigns could be improved, when I’m not the one working to the client deadlines and budgets. Which is why my examples include genuinely interesting PR stories and the suggestions are the kind of tactics that would not have cost anything other than further time from a creative or developer. And a heavy dose of hindsight.</p> <h3>1. PR stunts (Greggs)</h3> <p>Stunts have always been the best way to generate lots of noise, the recent Greggs Valentine’s Day story is a great example. Widespread national media coverage was generated by the news that the public can now book a romantic table for two at selected Greggs outlets.</p> <p>The campaign is genius in its approach, playing on the image of Greggs being the absolute opposite of a romantic night out, and equally impressive when an agency persuades its client to take the piss out of themselves in this way. I’ve also no doubt there will be bookings! But the real winner in this campaign? OpenTable.com. </p> <p>Every piece of coverage on the first page of a ‘Greggs Valentine’s Day’ Google search contains a link to the OpenTable website, or no link at all. Not one piece of coverage is directing people to the Greggs website. Granted they don’t sell sausage rolls on there, but it would be an opportune moment to generate traffic that can be marketed to. </p> <p>I’ve no doubt Greggs aimed to drive people to their website. They created <a href="https://www.greggs.co.uk/valentines">a landing page</a> all about the campaign with a full menu and link to book a table on the OpenTable website. But for whatever reason, it’s been left out of the coverage. It’s natural, as a PR representative, to give the journalist the URL for OpenTable.com, but I believe you should give every reason to the journalist to link to the brand’s website instead. </p> <p>If you fancy running a similar campaign for your own brand or client, I’d recommend embedding the OpenTable widget on to your landing page. This will give the journalist no other option than to use that URL instead, and you’ll get the chance to market to those new visitors once they are on your site. You could also host video content on there instead of giving it directly to the publications, so you benefit from those links too. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2184/econsultancy-greggs.PNG" alt="greggs valentines landing" width="615"> </p> <h3>2. Survey stories (American Express)</h3> <p>I love a good survey story as much as 90% of PR professionals, and they are prime for generating links if you use them as the reason for doing something/launching something/saying something of value. But often they are generating coverage and bypassing SEO benefit.</p> <p>Surveys are certainly not cheap to do either, you’re talking thousands of pounds spent with research companies to ask a large sample of people the questions you need to generate headlines. So, there is a huge opportunity to get your money’s worth from the data.</p> <p>American Express released <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/2191391/the-average-british-pet-owner-splashes-out-over-1200-on-their-pampered-pooch-every-year/">a survey story</a> in 2016, claiming British pet owners spend thousands on their beloved animals each year. What was missing from the press release and resulting coverage, was any link back to the American Express website relating to the data.</p> <p>The AmEx site doesn’t appear to contain any content that isn’t directly talking about financial products, so it’s not a huge surprise they didn’t achieve any links. But, like the cruel segment of a gameshow for the empty-handed contestant, here’s what they could have won… Coverage on the Guardian, Mirror, The Sun and Retail Times could all have linked back to the launch of lots of content about how pet owners can save cash and have more to spend on the luxuries they enjoy. </p> <p>This all becomes the solution to the problem your survey data revealed and offers potential new customers something of value to them, helps capture long tail searches, as well as those lovely links. You could keep people clicking through your site by creating lots of lovely content around pet ownership, widgets to find out how much they can expect to pay out for certain things and how about a map of the most stylish dog-friendly hotels? Ideal for American Express customers who apparently like to spend lots of money on their pets, or so a survey told me.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2183/econsultancy-thesun-pets.jpg" alt="the sun amex survey" width="500"> </p> <h3>3. Corporate PR (Lloyds Bank)</h3> <p>This is a sector of PR whose stakeholders are least likely to consider SEO a serious side of managing the reputation of a brand. Corporate PR is often seen as less creative and driven more towards getting the right message in front of the right people, at the right time. Building links, content and influencing web traffic as well as all that? Yes, it’s possible. Granted you can’t really be using cute puppy videos for this sector, but that doesn’t mean your creative and SEO juices can’t flow.</p> <p>You might have an important message from your business, a new direction or a stance on an issue, that needs to be communicated in the right way. Take Lloyds Bank and their recent <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/05/lloyds-bank-bans-buying-bitcoins-credit-cards">announcement</a> banning their credit card users from purchasing Bitcoin. Virgin Money soon followed suit, but Lloyds have claimed the news agenda on the issue using a statement issued from their spokesperson.</p> <p>Lloyds claim, ‘customers will be contacted digitally or by post’ but the only mention of Bitcoin on their website is <a href="https://www.lloydsbank.com/private-banking/insights/investment-views/investors-face-risks-from-currencies.asp?srnum=1">an opinion piece</a> from last October.</p> <p>Perhaps they could have used a simple landing page all about why they have made the announcement. Answering FAQs from customers on the matter, supported by vox-pop video from the spokesperson and a call-to-action encouraging customers, old and new, to click through to further content that is of value to them.</p> <p>The landing page link could be given to each journalist and it adds to their reporting, without a strong commercial message. Lloyds would simply be providing more information for anyone interested. They not only get links on high authority media sites but also the warm and fuzzy feeling of having educated their customers on their values. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2182/econsultancy-lloyds.jpg" alt="lloyds bitcoin story" width="400"></p> <h3>Remember this</h3> <p>Consider your campaign or business objective, take a step back to decide how and where that message could be seen and shared, but also how much harder it could work for you displayed on your own website.</p> <p>Put your brand first and don’t be afraid to ask for those links. If you’ve nailed the added value, there’s no reason why your next PR campaign won’t earn you and the SEO team the results you deserve.</p> <p><em><strong>If you're looking for further advice, Econsultancy offers a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-and-online-pr">social media and online PR training course</a>.</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>You can also check out these other Econsultancy blog articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69156-14-brand-pr-stunts-that-successfully-created-a-splash">14 brand PR stunts that successfully created a splash</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69492-how-to-engineer-your-definitive-digital-pr-campaign">How to engineer your definitive digital PR campaign</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3385 2017-12-07T10:34:23+00:00 2017-12-07T10:34:23+00:00 Getting to grips with Paid Social <p>Need help with your social media advertising?</p> <p>We're a long way away from the heady days when social media was 'free' (well, if significant resource and time was ever free….)</p> <p>As social media platforms evolve and 'organic' visibility decreases in our social media feeds, brands and organisations must consider ways to increase their presence and optimise goal conversions through social advertising. Fail to put an effective strategy in place and you can end up simply throwing your money away.</p> <p>This course covers the essentials of creative, successful social media advertising campaigns. We'll explore best-practice campaigns and tools and techniques for writing copy, bidding strategy, and aligning your paid, owned and earned social activity.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3332 2017-10-26T18:21:35+01:00 2017-10-26T18:21:35+01:00 Social Media & Online PR <p>This one-day course is the UK’s most popular introduction to online PR and social media marketing.</p> <p>You'll be able to plan and implement your ideal strategy using user-generated content, including monitoring positive and negative brand perception through tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and increasing brand engagement.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69492 2017-10-11T13:30:00+01:00 2017-10-11T13:30:00+01:00 How to engineer your definitive digital PR campaign Alex Jones <p>This poses a challenge. How do you get the press to notice your brand in 2017, when jobs at news desks have been slashed and those that remain are flooded with pitches from rivals? </p> <p>It’s a problem PR professionals face every day, but luckily for you dear reader, we here at Zazzle Media have got a few tricks up our sleeves to help you navigate the choppy waters of PR.</p> <p>So let’s start from the beginning.</p> <h3>Your goals</h3> <p>Digital PR can be useful for many reasons, but to get the best out of a campaign you need to be sure about exactly what you want to get out this activity. The devil is in the details, and approaching a campaign with the ideology of “I want it to do a bit of everything” will get you nowhere in terms of being able to accurately judge the overall effectiveness of a campaign.</p> <p>So what objectives can we achieve with digital PR and how can we measure ROI? Here are a couple of examples...</p> <h4>1. Brand awareness</h4> <p>This is the most commonly associated objective with PR. </p> <ul> <li>“Get us out there”</li> <li>“Let people know we exist” </li> <li>“Get people talking about us!” </li> </ul> <p>Phrases I’m sure many of you will be familiar with. For this objective to be achieved, it’s all about getting column inches in big time/relevant media outlets. The wider the coverage, the better you’ve done. </p> <p>Alongside the sheer amount of articles shared by different outlets, what other ways can we measure the success of this campaign? Here at Zazzle, we use Experian’s Hitwise data to accurately measure the estimated traffic of websites.</p> <h4>Example KPIs </h4> <ul> <li>Two national pieces of coverage (Daily Mail, Huff Post etc)</li> <li>Eight regional pieces of coverage (Sheffield Star, Sunderland Echo etc)</li> <li>Five trade/industry pieces of coverage</li> <li>Minimum Hitwise total – 20 million</li> </ul> <h4>2. Link building </h4> <p>One of the fastest ways of generating high quality, relevant links for your website is through a well constructed digital PR campaign.</p> <p>The trick to this approach is to not get hung up about the lack of mainstream coverage that may not be achieved through a link capturing orientated campaign. This is because the vast majority of national newspapers now <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63955-what-are-nofollow-tags-and-when-should-they-be-used-in-seo/">'nofollow'</a> their external links. A few may creep through from time to time, but they will be discovered sooner rather than later.</p> <p>The real worth from this method comes from targeting trade/industry media who still have enviable link metrics and a relevant audience, whilst also being nice enough as to allow follow links in their copy. </p> <p>Not only are you much more likely to be able to achieve placements in these publications, but those sweet follow links will have your SEO team purring.</p> <p>Measuring the ROI for this campaign is relatively straightforward; we want a number of placements with high quality link metrics. Our personal favourite link vetting tools are Majestic’s TF/CF system coupled with SEMrush’s search visibility tool.</p> <h4>Example KPIs</h4> <ul> <li>15x placements </li> <li>TF/CF 25/25</li> <li>SEM UK Vis – 500+</li> </ul> <h3>The idea</h3> <p>Now that we’ve worked out exactly what we want from our campaign, it’s time to come up with an idea that will play to these strengths.</p> <p>For my money, this is the most important part of any campaign. The difference between a good idea and a bad idea is vast, and spending extra time ensuring that your idea stands up to scrutiny can be the difference in achieving a dossier full of placements and none at all.</p> <p>Unfortunately, great ideas don’t just fall into your lap, but the good news is, anybody can come up with one.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9508/ideas.png" alt="" width="600"> </p> <p>Whilst the volume and methodology of marketing messages has altered over the years due to the evolution of tastes and technology, the fundamental laws of marketing have remained. </p> <p>You need a strong core concept with a clear message and a unique hook. While other internal variables such as spend, resource and time may factor into decision-making, without the fundamentals your idea is doomed to fall into mediocrity.</p> <p>Here are a few things to think about that might help jump-start those creative juices. </p> <h4>Brainstorm </h4> <p>Who doesn’t love a brainstorm? A meeting of minds, a thought shower... whatever you want to call them, these sessions form the basis for the majority of the ideas we have in house. We think about the following six factors when coming up with an idea. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9509/brainstorm.png" alt="" width="700" height="260"></p> <p>If an idea lends itself to one or two of these things, and is popular in the room, it’s a good signal that we could be onto something.</p> <h4>The share-ability factor</h4> <p>If something gets shared a lot organically, marketers will often regard that as good content. So what do we need to create that will get people sharing? </p> <p>Research from the New York Times’s consumer insight group concluded that there were five key reasons for why we share content amongst our friends. </p> <ul> <li>To bring valuable and entertaining content to others. </li> <li>To define ourselves to others. </li> <li>To grow and nourish our relationships. </li> <li>Self-fulfilment (to feel more involved in the world).</li> <li>To get the word out about causes or brands. </li> </ul> <p>Working backwards and thinking about what content you would share for each of these reasons is a great alternative way of coming up with ideas.</p> <h4>Capitalise on a trend</h4> <p>I’ve <a href="https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/trending-content-guide">written at length</a> about the opportunities of creating a campaign around a trending topic or date. Getting your brand associated with a popular recurring trend can be a gold mine, and one that returns annually! However, associate yourself with the wrong trend, and you might find out that nobody cares after a week, you miss the boat completely, or worse it negatively affects your brand's image.</p> <p>Here are a few top-line questions to ask in order to help you work out whether a trend is a flash in the pan or here to stay.</p> <h4>1. Is this trend worthwhile? </h4> <p>Is the trend coming to the end of its shelf life? Is it already saturated? Is it something your brand can easily associate itself with?</p> <h4>2. What is the sentiment? </h4> <p>Are people talking about this trend in a positive or negative light? Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean we want to be associated with it. Analytics company Brandwatch has extensive monitoring tools in this area and can accurately interpret whether interactions are positive or negative towards a trend.</p> <h4>3. Is there demand for content surrounding this trend?</h4> <p>Is there room for a new piece of content to add something to the story? Or has the market become saturated about the trend? Using Content Explorer, we can find the best performing pieces of content for this trend, as well as the sheer amount of content concerning the topic.</p> <p>If there is opportunity to build on content for this trend, it’s time to see how we can create something better than everything else out there. </p> <h3>Prospecting</h3> <p>Nobody knows the tastes of the news media better than journalists. Getting in touch with your contacts and putting potential content on their radar can give you invaluable insight into how well this will be received.</p> <p>If a journo's eyes light up and they ask when they can see the finished piece, you know you’re onto something good. Alternatively, if you get a negative reaction you now have a chance to ask if there is anything you could change to make it more desirable. </p> <h3>Previous Examples  </h3> <p>There’s no better inspiration than looking at other ideas that have gone down a storm. One thing to keep in mind is that because the media landscape moves so quickly, ideas that worked last year may not have had the same success in the next. That’s why I like to keep my research to ideas from the last 12 months.</p> <p>Here are three of my favourites.</p> <h4>Nike: The Sub 2-hour Marathon</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9510/nike_marathon.png" alt="" width="700" height="394"> </p> <h4>What is it?</h4> <p>Nike announced that it was launching a new campaign aiming to get three of the world's most elite runners to complete a marathon in less than two hours. This was potentially a historic event in the world of athletics and had fans of the sport captivated for its entirety.</p> <h4>What was Nike promoting?</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9511/nike_shoes.png" alt="" width="600" height="326"></p> <p>I actually think the primary motive of this project was to do exactly what Nike said it was. However, Nike also got a lot of time to showcase how great its running shoes are, especially the custom-made “Zoom VaporFly Elite” trainers that the runners wore on the day. </p> <h4>The results </h4> <p>According to media monitoring tool Meltwater, between May 6-8 the campaign generated 84,459 mentions on social media. And since the #Breaking2 attempt was first announced on December 1, 2016, it has been mentioned 140,029 times across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. </p> <p>Unfortunately, the runners fell just short of their goal by an agonising 25 seconds, but that didn’t stop the project getting an enormous amount of publicity. This wasn’t your standard marketing fare, this was a must-watch history making event. They managed to launch a new shoe to a captivated and targeted audience. </p> <h4>Victoria Transport Accident Commission: Meet Graham</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9514/meet_graham.png" alt="" width="600" height="315"> </p> <h4>What is it?</h4> <p>The Transport Accident Commission of Victoria created a sculpture showcasing what a human body would need to look like in order to withstand high-speed collisions. The result was Graham.</p> <p>“As much as we like to think we’re invincible, we’re not. But what if we were to change? What if our bodies were built to survive a low impact crash? What might we look like? The result of these questions is Graham, a reminder of just how vulnerable our bodies really are.”</p> <h4>What was it promoting?</h4> <p>The message was simple, speed kills and we are not built to withstand high-impact collisions, so slow down!</p> <h4>The results</h4> <p>The striking image of Graham was plastered across news outlets worldwide, and the campaign page – <a href="http://www.meetgraham.com.au/">meetgraham.com.au</a> – received over a 1,000 links from unique domains. In this case Graham managed to achieve the digital PR double, in generating mass amounts of awareness whilst also delivering a shed load of links.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9515/Graham_links.png" alt="" width="600" height="424"></p> <p>Meet Graham is regarded by many as one of the finest PR/marketing campaigns of the year and it will no doubt be featuring in many end-of-year lists, generating yet more coverage and links!</p> <h4>Heineken: Worlds Apart</h4> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9516/heineken_worlds_apart.png" alt="" width="600" height="273"></p> <h4>What is it?</h4> <p>“Worlds Apart” was a social experiment which placed two people with opposing political and cultural views in the same room, and tasked them with a number of team building exercises. </p> <p>Once they finished, their political viewpoints were revealed to one another and they had the choice of whether to walk away or have a drink and talk it out. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8wYXw4K0A3g?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h4>What was it promoting?</h4> <p>The stunt was set up by Heineken and the sentiment of the piece was that when we sit down together and talk out our differences, we usually find a lot more common ground than we expect. </p> <h4>The results </h4> <p>By latching onto the sense of political divide felt in many different counties recently, Heineken managed to craft an advert which cut right through the “us vs them” political rhetoric of today, and left many feeling positive and inspired.</p> <p>It also generated a lot of views, with over 14 million people watching the video on YouTube to date!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9517/14m_views.png" alt="" width="229" height="98"></p> <p>We’ve seen how great ideas can go supernova in the press, however a great idea is nothing if nobody knows it exists. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for the distribution of your idea and how to maximise your chances of success. </p> <h3>The distribution plan</h3> <p>Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. It’s a cliché, but it’s absolutely true in terms of Digital PR.</p> <p>Pushing out content on a large scale can get confusing and overwhelming. Ensuring that you cover every opportunity and don’t overlap or make mistakes in the process is vital for the credibility and overall success of a campaign, and the best way to ensure everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet is via a distribution plan.</p> <p>First, what channels are we going to target. Yes, there is the press, but what else can we capitalise on? The internet is a massive place, so exploring other avenues can open up a whole world of other possibilities.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9518/distribution.png" alt="" width="382" height="282"></p> <h4>Audience niches</h4> <p>Now that we have our channels, it’s time to identify the three core niches we think the content might be relevant to. This allows us to maximise the amount of sites we can go out to, whilst keeping the target audience relevant to the content. </p> <h4>Exclusives</h4> <p>Editors are always looking for exclusives to give themselves an edge over their publishing competitors. Whether it’s exclusive statistics, a one-to-one interview with a decision maker or even some supporting content that none of their competitors have access to, it’s worth making this a focal point of your approach.</p> <p>Make sure you have a number of added bonuses in your back pocket ready for when a journalist gets back to you and asks if there’s anything else you can send across to make the story extra special. </p> <h4>Other distribution methods</h4> <p>Whilst PR, or earned media, is what we will be focusing on for this blog, it’s important to consider what other distribution methods should come in to play when pushing out content.</p> <p>Ideally we’re after a mixed approach of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65560-what-s-the-difference-between-paid-owned-and-earned-media">earned, owned and paid media</a>. This will give us the maximum reach for our campaign.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9520/owned_earned_paid.png" alt="" width="650" height="287"></p> <p>Julia Ogden has put together a presentation entitled “The 10-step checklist to creating a show stopping distribution plan” which goes into more detail on how to ensure you dot every I and cross every T. You can take a look at the presentation below!</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/key/gQBQCySMc6FB1t" width="595" height="485"></iframe></p> <p>Now that we have our good idea, we’ve created a plan of attack and worked on some unique angles to work with, it’s time to launch our PR offensive.</p> <h3>The PR Approach </h3> <p>First things first...</p> <h3>Finding outlets</h3> <p>The first thing to work out about any PR campaign is where, in an idea world, we would like our content featured. It’s a good idea to get a list of around 20 publications/websites/blogs you would be happy for your content to appear on. </p> <p>To find these websites, we use several tools that are at our disposal. </p> <p><strong>1. Gorkana:</strong> This is our primary tool for researching contacts. It’s a database of fully vetted contacts who have all agreed to be included so won’t be annoyed at receiving your email. Simply search for the niche you’re targeting and a list of sites will pop up along with relevant contacts. It also includes article topics publications are interesting in hosting, so we can tailor some content specifically for them. </p> <p><strong>2. Followerwonk:</strong> A great tool for finding contacts who are active on Twitter. Followerwonk allows you to search for keywords that are included in a person’s Twitter bio. This can also be useful for finding out more about an individual’s likes and dislikes.</p> <p><strong>3. Majestic SEO:</strong> Enter a competitor’s web address into the search bar, click on backlinks and have a look and see who has linked to them previously. We can then take this data, and with the knowledge that they are not averse to linking to these type of sites, pitch them our content.</p> <p><strong>4. Freshweb Explorer:</strong> A handy tool from the team over at Moz. Search for the client’s name or web address and it will bring up any mentions of them on the web over the last 7-28 days. If there is an unlinked mention, we can approach these sites and ask for a link. Once we have established a contact who is helpful, we can then pitch them some more of our content!</p> <p><strong>5. #JournoRequest:</strong> The easiest way of getting content placed. This hashtag lists requests from journalists that require the help of the public or PR. Sending a useful email in response to a request will grant you an immediate relationship with that journalist as a provider of helpful information! </p> <h3>Journalist identification </h3> <p>We have our publications, now we need to identify the specific individual we want to get in touch with. This requires some research, which can be time consuming, but it pays dividends. </p> <h4>Job Title </h4> <p>Let’s start off easy. If you’re promoting a startup working in the finance market, you don’t want to be talking to a fashion journalist. Unfortunately this happens all the time (checkout <a href="https://twitter.com/smugjourno?lang=en">@smugjourno</a> for proof). The moral of the story? Make sure you’re speaking to a journalist working in the right department.</p> <h4>Previous articles/likes &amp; dislikes</h4> <p>Once we have a few journalists working in the correct department, it’s time to have a quick look through their previous output. Personally, I like to go back and look through at least a couple months’ worth of articles.</p> <p>Depending on the outlet size this can mean anywhere from 30–100 articles. This gives us a substantial amount of data to work with and can paint an accurate picture of what they will and will not accept from a PR perspective.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9521/journalists.png" alt="" width="600" height="325"></p> <h4>Common sense factors </h4> <p>Once you have a shortlist put together, have one last look at them and ask a series of common sense questions.</p> <ul> <li>Is this content in keeping with their previous output?</li> <li>Will this be offensive to them?</li> <li>Will it be boring to them?</li> </ul> <p>If they pass the test, it’s time to get in touch!</p> <h3>The initial email</h3> <p>First impressions are always important. It’s well documented that cold calling immediately is more likely to damage relationships, so we tend to email a contact first. This not only gives us something to discuss on the call, but also gives them the chance to actually look at what we are pitching them.</p> <h4>Headline</h4> <p>One of the most important parts of any pitch is the headline. It needs to be clear, concise and interesting. Posing questions is one technique, and using the title of your content as the title of an email is another. Short and sweet is the rule to follow, but more importantly it needs to catch the reader’s attention.</p> <p>Here’s a few we’ve used in the past...</p> <ul> <li>“More than one in ten UK holidaymakers stopped at airports because of misplaced tech” </li> <li>“Ladies First: Almost a third of UK drivers are more courteous to female motorists”</li> <li>“New research reveals most UK consumers don't understand their credit card” </li> </ul> <h4>The pitch</h4> <p>Editors are extremely busy so the first email needs to get their attention. The initial pitch email should include as much detail on the content as possible, while still being fairly succinct.</p> <p>Pitches feature a run-down of the main points involved in the piece, a few choice statistics and if possible a personalised edge to ensure the journalist knows this isn’t a run of the mill round robin email. Here is an example of a pitch that led to a placement on The Express:</p> <p>***</p> <p>Hi (Name),</p> <p>I hope you're well, </p> <p>I'm writing to you with new research that I hope you'll be interested in featuring in the travel section? </p> <p>I noticed you ran a story documenting the large security queues at many UK airport airports this summer, and I wanted to share with you some new data which could have added to this chaos! </p> <p>A new survey from online retailer, AO.com has revealed that more than one in ten (11.4%) UK holidaymakers have been stopped at airport security because of a misplaced piece of tech.</p> <p>The survey asked UK holidaymakers about their habits when it came to taking tech abroad, and revealed wait times at airports are being extended further because of careless packing!</p> <p>The survey also found,</p> <ul> <li>More than a quarter (28.7%) of UK holidaymakers think it’s ok to take a TASER in their hand luggage onto a plane.</li> <li>27.8% have forgotten to put a device on airplane mode during a flight </li> <li>21.7% of 16-24 year olds have damaged an electronic device whilst abroad  </li> </ul> <p>The information has been released in support of a new interactive guide for holidaymakers entitled Sun. Sea. Tech. Easy! which you can take a look at here - http://ao.com/life/sun-sea-tech/ </p> <p>I've included more information about the results below and exclusive stats are available on request.</p> <p>Kind regards</p> <p>***</p> <h4>The call</h4> <p>Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as sending an email and getting a placement. Phoning journalists is a great method of getting their attention, but if used incorrectly is a way to fast track yourself on to a blacklist.</p> <p>Here are a few key things to remember...</p> <p><strong>1. Deadlines:</strong> It is always worth asking if a journalist is on deadline. If they are, arrange a call back for a time which is more convenient.</p> <p><strong>2. Script:</strong> We all get tongue tied sometimes, so jot down a short script before a call to ensure if the worst does happen, you’re not left up the creek without a paddle.</p> <p><strong>3. Follow up with an email:</strong> It’s always worth sending across a summary email to a journalist thanking them for their time and recapping what has been talked about. </p> <h3>Getting the most out of your initial PR push </h3> <p>The fun doesn’t stop once the initial round of PR has finished. There are several other things we can do to help amplify existing coverage and ensure it gets in front of as many people as possible. I’ve written about this <a href="https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/pr-campaign-tips">in depth for Hubspot</a>, but here are a few brief points to get you on your way. </p> <p><strong>Add extra SEO value to organic coverage:</strong> Send a quick email to any writers who have written about the campaign organically and ask if they could include a citation link back to the source. If you don’t ask you don’t get!</p> <p><strong>Ask the media outlet for a social share:</strong> Media outlets can sometimes have millions of followers, so a quick nudge to journalists about a possible social share might increase the visibility of your campaign 100 times!</p> <p><strong>Share a PR success story through your company blog:</strong> This is a key example of owned exposure and lets your existing user base know that your content is worthy enough to be placed in the national media.</p> <p><strong>Experiment with Facebook Ads:</strong> An example of paid exposure. Facebook Ads are a sure fire way of getting eyeballs on your content and are relatively inexpensive to carry out.</p> <p><strong>Explore Reddit and other related forums:</strong> This is featured on our distribution plan as an alternative channel to consider, but should also be revisited towards the end of a campaign. Sharing news of your content featured on a third party site rather than the direct URL can still get eyes on your content, but in a purely editorial nature.</p> <h3>And that's it...</h3> <p>Follow this guide to the letter, and I have no doubt you will curate a successful digital PR campaign which will generate placements and/or links as far as the eye can see.</p> <p>Have I missed anything? Comment below with your top tips and share your knowledge with the world.</p> <p><strong><em>For more on this topic download <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-and-online-pr-digital-marketing-template-files/">Econsultancy’s Online PR template files</a> or book a place on our upcoming <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-and-online-pr/">Social Media &amp; Online PR training course</a>.</em></strong></p>