First things first, what is Digital PR? Digital PR is an evolved form of PR, instead of focusing on print, TV and radio like traditional PR, Digital PR focuses on online publications, think websites, blogs and social media pages.

Campaign approaches are really quite similar, although the lead time for digital publications tends to be much shorter than their print counterparts. But digital publicists still work with journalists, use press releases, write and send pitches and attend offline events, they’ll also work with influencers and bloggers to gain backlinks and mentions. If well executed Digital PR campaigns can be hugely beneficial on their own or can work to support traditional PR.

But how do you go about setting one up? Well, here is our advice on the best way to approach a Digital PR campaign strategy:

Define Your Goals And Objectives

Figure out what it is you’re looking to achieve with this campaign. Are you wanting to create wider brand awareness? Or perhaps, get people along to an event you’re hosting? Do you want to rise up the Google rankings? Defining your goal is the crucial first step in creating any successful campaign. Once you’ve clearly identified a key goal, or goals, you can define the actions that will get you toward that goal. So, if your goal is ‘increased brand awareness among local professionals’ an objective could be ‘run an online workshop aimed for local professionals.’

Define Your Audience

Next, decide who it is you want to reach with your campaign. What are their interests and habits? What media are they likely to consume? You want to get a clear idea as to where your target audience spends time online. So, for example, if you’re hoping to reach local professionals, are there local networking groups you can join both on and offline? Perhaps a local business group on Facebook where you can share useful and relevant content? Or local bloggers you could work with to create content on your behalf? If you’re promoting something with more universal appeal, a travel campaign video for example, then consider where travel enthusiasts might spend their time online – travel websites and blogs, holiday booking sites, travel sections of newspapers and magazines and social profiles or groups related to travel would all be good target outlets to reach your audience.

Define Your Key Message

Determine the key message of your campaign. It may be that there are several, that’s OK, your campaign could have multiple strands in order to convey these messages in slightly different ways. So, using our early examples of ‘increasing awareness among local professionals’ and ‘generating views and engagement on a travel campaign video’, the key message of these campaigns might be ‘we’ve just launched an online hub for local professionals to network and share expertise’ or ‘we’ve recently added a new cruise ship to our fleet.’ Your key messaging is essentially what you’re looking to promote and will be central to any content you create as well as your pitch to target media.

Plan Your Campaign

Plan what you need to do and when. Is there content to create and distribute that supports your campaign? Will you need to pitch your campaign under embargo to ensure coverage lands on a particular date? If you are sharing content or taking to social media as part of your strategy, plan as much as you can ahead of time, so that actioning is straight forward and doesn’t take up too much of your time once the campaign is live. Planning ahead always makes a campaign run more smoothly.

Create Content

What assets do you need to create to support your digital PR campaign? It may be videos, infographics, blog posts, a campaign specific website hub or a combination of assets. Ensure these are created to a high standard with the campaign’s key messaging at the heart. If, like our earlier example of a travel campaign video the assets are the main component of the campaign, then ensure your supporting materials, copy that accompanies the video on your website for example, make this clear. It might also be worth considering views promotion to build wider campaign awareness.

Begin Outreach

Now it’s time to let your target media know about your brilliant campaign. You’ll need to create a compelling and personalised pitch to send to journalists, bloggers, moderators and influencers which explains your campaign, it’s key messaging, why it’s relevant to their audience and why it’s in their interest to share it. And then, get mailing. If you don’t have professional PR or journalism experience, it can be difficult to get the all-important pitch stage right. We’ve been working in digital PR and content seeding for over a decade, so get in touch if you want to get the experts on board.

Monitor

Some publications may not reply to your pitch email but might write about your campaign anyway, so ensure you’re regularly monitoring for coverage. There are tools that can help you do this. Depending on the size of your media list and budget, manually checking might be an option for you and we would recommend setting up Google Alerts for keywords in your campaign, alternatively, there are tools that do the work for you, like Meltwater or Cision. If your first round of outreach has had limited results, don’t be afraid of making polite and targeted follow-ups. If your campaign isn’t particularly time sensitive, it could have been overlooked by a more pressing news story.

Analyse Results

One of the major pros of a digital PR campaign over traditional PR is the ability to measure results more accurately. Depending on the type of campaign you’re running, you can track things like click-through rate, referral traffic, social media engagement, number of inbound links created and much more. Once you’ve gathered all the data you’re looking for, you can use the results to inform your next campaign strategy.

About Viral Seeding

Viral Seeding is a specialist content seeding agency.

We offer a personal service, taking the time to understand your campaign requirements to execute a strategy that ensures that we deliver views, engagement, endorsement and sharing via social media.

Viral Seeding has worked on social good campaigns such as Testicular Cancer NZ, Greenpeace and The Syria Campaign in the past. If you think your organisation could benefit from working with us in the future please get in touch.