Winning PR in the Digital Age

Public relations is shifting. While, in many ways, the fundamentals are the same as they always were, PR is experiencing a Renaissance in the digital age. As traditional media outlets are tightening their belts, because of falling advertising revenue, other forms of media communication are offering brands a direct link to their customer base, creating relationship dynamics and communication opportunities that have never been possible before.

To win in the PR business today, brands and PR pros must be more proactive, they need to update their approach to PR and take advantage of new opportunities for brand placement and expanded venues for stories and customer connection points. And, along with these new options and opportunities, there are a host of new metrics and data points marketers can use to hone their PR efforts to make their campaigns more effective. 

Much of this shift begins with thinking differently about the internet. It is not only a place where you put things and people find them, as it once was. Now, the internet is all about interaction, about people and brands sharing, connecting, continuing a conversation in order to build a relationship. Though you still need to get the attention of the market. And that’s one of the key ways digital PR differs from traditional PR.

With traditional PR, success could often be measured in circulation numbers, viewership, listeners, and demographic reach. All of those metrics are still important today, but online, they may go by different names and include additional metrics. Viewers, for example, may become “unique visitors,” and their “time on site” is just as important as their raw numbers.

Web analytics can also tell marketers what their visitors are looking at, for how long, and where they came from. Measuring each of these metrics is a key step in crafting consistent, winning digital PR. Sometimes, these metrics are surprising. People have a tendency to assume it is the bigger media engines that are driving the traffic to their site, but digging into the analytics reveal that it is perhaps a niche blog or social media page that is channeling most of the traffic.

Something else to consider is what people are responding to and what people are talking about when they respond. Which keywords and titles are getting the most traction, and which content keeps people coming back for more and staying longer when they do.

Timing is another important digital PR factor to consider. While there are still roughly defined news cycles online, these are more fluid than in traditional media, with ongoing stories continuing to develop even as new headlines emerge in a constant stream. And, since social media can keep content alive for weeks, months, even years, some element of the content should be evergreen, painting a piece of an overall picture the visitors and fans will recognize and telling the bigger story about the brand.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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