When people think of PR, it conjures up images of having to phone a journalist and pitch a story down the line. Scary for some of you, I know!
But the reality is, PR is so much more than that – especially with all the digital PR opportunities available to entrepreneurs like us.
Like traditional PR, it’s still about influencing, building community, storytelling and reputation management – without having to spend a cent on advertising.
During the launch of your signature program or the building of your social media sales funnel, digital PR can play a key role in ensuring each is a success.
I know this because it’s how I fill my sales funnels and launch my programs. It's a key part of the campaign around my 2017 PR and Marketing News Calendar right now.
There are really THREE main areas – content marketing, social media and online search. I’ve identified 15 digital PR tips within those you can use to supercharge your DIY PR toolbox and, in turn, supercharge your next launch or fill that soulful sales funnel yourself.
This goes beyond traditional media, where coverage is often fleeting, and instead looks at multi-channels that create longevity and leverage. The real benefit in digital PR is that your message can spread faster and further than ever before, allowing you to build relationships (the REAL key to PR) more easily.
Take just one of these 15 tips and start implementing and then come back and let me know how it worked for you.
EXCLUSIVE Blog Bonus: Click the button below to access each of these 15 tools inside a handy checklist you can revisit each time you’re looking to create a digital PR campaign.
Use this handy menu to jump to the section most relevant to you:
Let’s start, shall we.
Become your own news agency
Now, entrepreneurs have the ability to become their own news agency, publishing the content that matters to them without the need to get passed a gatekeeper – ie a journalist!
I’ve always said that no one can tell your story better than you can. And I mean it. Why not tell your own story on your own blog in your own way.
In the corporate world it’s been taken a step further with "brand journalism", which is essentially corporates hiring journalists to work in-house publishing content for that brand.
David Meerman Scott, the author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR said:
For almost a decade, I've recommended that companies of all kinds model their sites not on their peers' boring old brochure-like approach but rather aspire to becoming like a media site such as Forbes, the BBC, or The New York Times and that they actually hire reporters and editors, not marketers and copywriters, to produce the content.
Become your own media site. Try the brand journalism approach from @dmscottClick To Tweet
So what’s the difference between a brand journalist and a content marketer? For me, it boils down to the fact the brand journalist will dig a little deeper into the brand to find a good story, they will sub-edit the copy to make sure it’s highly newsworthy (the `so what?’ factor) and they will scrutinise their sources.
Now, while many of you are likely entrepreneurs without the budget to hire a journalist on your team, you can still take the same approach to your blog content.
If you want to see a brand that has not only done this brand journalism approach well, but given it wings, look at RedBull.com (sorry, bad pun!).
The front page of its website is designed like a news site. The articles read like news stories. There is multi-media content.
However, it took it one step further again by sponsoring Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of space in 2012 to prove man can survive the speed of sound in freefall. There was a blog with up-to-the-minute updates, a documentary (we’ll explore more on video soon) and, of course, plenty of images.
Here’s a bit of a break down of what they’ve used:
- Live stream
- Fact file
- Interactive infographics
- Image gallery
- TV documentary
Here are some other forms of content you can be thinking about for your blog to become your own news agency:
- Industry and business news updates
- Keynote speeches
- List posts and tips
- Case studies
- Video tutorials
- Behind the Scenes
But it goes beyond just becoming your own news agency. There’s another benefit to all this content. It’s searchable – and by journalists! But more on SEO soon…
Choose at least one of the above styles of content for your site and as you’re producing the piece, look at it from a journalist’s point of view – is it newsworthy (the `so what?’ factor) and can you dig a little deeper on the topic to provide your readers with even greater value?
SEO your strategy for greater perceived status
We have this ridiculous notion that when we Google ``ice cream cones’’ and Altimate Foods’ ice cream cones is the first item in Google search results, that Altimate must be the most credible ice cream cone maker there is (sorry, random example there!).
It’s ridiculous, really. But it’s how many of our minds work (I’m sure they’re great, by the way).
Even I’m guilty of falling for this – and I should know better!
So I want to take this a step further for you.
What happens when a journalist searches "ice cream cones"? If they’re searching for someone to quote about ice cream cones and want an expert, they’re going to go with one of the first "recommendations" on Google.
Again, it’s a tad ridiculous, but it’s how this whole thing works.
Which is why it’s important for you to focus on continually improving your SEO skills
SEO goes beyond your website though. You need to use targeted keywords in that press release you’re uploading to PR distribution sites (or your own site, which in many cases can be a better strategy), Pinterest image titles and board descriptions you’re creating, or your LinkedIn profile. There’s no better way to leverage those efforts than by using search engine optimization.
But when it comes to ranking in Google, things have become a little tougher – but not impossible.
When it comes to creating content on your own blog, here's what content marketing expert Shae Baxter shared with me
If I were starting all over again I would be writing one in-depth, high-quality long-form post per month. With every client I work with, my intention is to always blow all the existing content on a topic out of the water and to produce something that will be the best search result/answer on that topic. If I believe that cannot be achieved, then I don’t pursue it – I’m not ever going to create something that’s only going to be a second best version of something else.
Some specific things I focus on are:
- Make it specific as possible. Cover a specific sliver of a larger discussion/topic and go deep on that. For example, don’t write about: “How To Build A Lifestyle Business” – that’s an entire blog. Instead take a specific sliver of that topic, for example, the starting phase, and talk about: “From Corporate Drone To Coffee Snob: How One Entrepreneur Quit Her Job And Made $3000 In 4 Weeks By Selling Coffee.” Hopefully, you get the drift.
- Don’t create content around topics that are too broad or high-level because you will just end up creating generic, boring content. That’s what most people do and you can’t afford to do that in 2016 and beyond. Come up with specific ideas that resonate with your audience and even focus on writing case studies.
- Feed into Google’s Hummingbird. Hummingbird loves content. Type in some keywords into Keyword.io and AnswerThePublic.com to find the top questions being asked by people across your niche and create content based on the answers to these questions. (Credit to Jerry West for this fab tip that I now religiously use.) You will literally be giving Google and your readers what they want to know.
- Don’t ignore basic SEO. Keywords and on page optimisation are still important. You want to make sure your content is findable and you can reach new audiences. So pay attention to choosing the right keywords, and crafting a compelling title and description tags. If you focus on these things, you will get more clicks, and without clicks, you don’t get traffic.
Starting over, I would write one in-depth, high-quality long-form post per month @shaecbaxterClick To Tweet
Determine which keywords are best to attract your ideal client and then look at the content that’s out there already to see how you can improve on it.
Leverage your work through repurposing your content
When you’ve created your piece of content, that’s not where it ends. You need to leverage it.
I’m a big proponent of creating one piece of content and spreading as far and wide as you can. Why spend all that time creating a new piece of content for every platform? When you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you don’t have time for that. So adapt it for each new platform and get more out of it.
The reality is, not everyone follows all your platforms OR views all your content on a given platform. Come on, be honest, you didn’t see that fabulously written tweet I just posted, did you?
You could write your thoughts on a newsworthy topic, tweet it using a highly engaged hashtag, and @ a journalist with the link who’s open to receiving pitches via Twitter. The possibilities are endless.
PR Warrior, author and speaker Trevor Young feels the same. He shared this with me recently:
One thing I like about creating and publishing your own content is you have the flexibility to 'slice and dice' it in many, varying ways.
You might explore a meaty theme on your blog - rather than write one major post, maybe turn it into a series of smaller posts and then repurpose into a free downloadable PDF ebook.
I produce a podcast called Reputation Revolution - firstly it goes up on iTunes, and then SoundCloud; I write an article (show notes) for each episode and publish on my PR Warrior blog along with the SoundCloud audio player;
occasionally I will rewrite the article and publish as a blog post on another website or social channel (in this example, by cross-posting to LinkedIn I ended up with over 1600 more views and some great commentary from people who read it). And of course, I have multiple tweets and Facebook updates for each episode that go out. So think of re-using your content across different channels, each time you're amplifying and reinforcing your story, message and brand.
Best-selling author Jay Baer explains how he makes eight pieces of content from one piece of content
Re-use your content across different channels to amplify and reinforce your story, message and brand @TrevorYoungClick To Tweet
Create a plan for your next piece of content. Where will you share it and how will you share it? I challenge you to find at least FOUR ways to leverage that one piece of content.
Ride a media wave with hashtags and trending topics
So how do you know exactly what’s a trending topic and where do you find these highly engaged hashtags I’m talking about?
There are a few ways for you to find trending topics, some of which are linked directly to a highly engaged hashtag. This is a way to gain some big attention quickly.
Firstly, take a look at these places:
- Twitter has a trending section that allows you to see what people are talking about around the world. Checking in at any given time will come up with a myriad of topics for you to tap into – and use the hashtag for.
- Facebook followed Twitter with its own ``Trending’’ product that does exactly as Twitter does – giving you the topics that are being most talked about on Facebook. In both cases, it’s an excellent way to jump on the back of hot news AND use a hashtag to get your news out there.
- Google Trends is a fantastic tool to see what’s trending around the world. As well as a list on your dashboard, you can also look at the year in search, trending searches and trending on Youtube.
- As Shae suggested earlier, you can find out what the hot questions are for your specific niche or keyword by visiting AnswerThePublic.com. As the site says, it's "an aggregated view of the questions and therefore a hint of the motivations and emotions of the people behind each search query". It's an easy way to find the trending questions for your niche or topic.
- You can get ahead of the pack by preparing for evergreen topics that become hot at certain times of the year. The 2017 PR and Marketing News Calendar sets out evergreen events into a calendar to allow you to tap into events journalists have to cover anyway, from World Entrepreneurs' Day to Valentine's Day.
Just be mindful of what you’re linking to. There have, of course, been some shocking examples of businesses riding on the coattails of bad news to leverage their brand and that’s just not on. It’s a surefire way to get yourself needing a crisis management plan – quick smart.
Another way to use hashtags for PR is live tweeting at networking events, conferences and speaking opportunities.
At a speaking event I was doing on social media in conjunction with a university, people were tweeting and using a dedicated hashtag for the event. The beauty of that was someone in Melbourne (which is quite a swim from Tasmania!), was able to take part in the event by adding value and posting questions without even having to be in the room.
This was attracting my ideal client and allowing me to build a relationship with that person without meeting them face to face.
Take some time to explore Twitter, Facebook, Google Trends, Google+, AnswerThePublic and upcoming evergreen events to determine a topic that’s in alignment with your business. Create a piece of content that adds value and then use the trending hashtag to bring some instant exposure to your brand.
Build relationships with journalists via social media
I think back to a time in the newsroom when the fax used to crank out pages constantly with press releases. Then email came along and we couldn’t wait for a pitch to arrive in our inbox.
Slowly, the fax churned out maybe one fax a day – usually from the bowls club. And usually handwritten! So now our inboxes were overflowing.
It meant, for businesses, getting your pitch noticed in email became harder. Now, some journalists prefer Twitter and LinkedIn as methods to contact them. Not all, I’ll add. There are certain journalists who actually hate that.
But some are actively encouraging a tweet here with a link to something worth chasing. Find those journalists and become a source for them. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your own content either. Sharing other people’s content makes you a great source to them.
Then, guess what happens? Next time they want to do a story in YOUR niche, you’re the first person they contact. And hey, they already have your Twitter handle, right?
It’s a great idea to put these media contacts into a Twitter media list.
By building a media Twitter list you can also keep abreast of what journalists are looking for. Many will do media callouts via these platforms looking for talent for their stories. It’s also a chance for you to learn a bit about them, what they like reporting on and what stories they’re currently working on.
As Aaron Lee from Post Planner said of Twitter Lists in this post:
Listing influencers helps block out the noise that distracts from you seeing important tweets from them -- and interacting with them at the most opportune times.”
I’ve also shared my love of leveraging content, but there’s another little zone of genius I want to share. That is: systems.
I can’t see the point in doing everything the hard way when there’s an easy way to do it.
There are so many tech tools available now to make much of the above tips a walk in the park. Here are some favourites tools:
- Bufferapp to schedule your content to go out at the times your audience and journalists are online and through analytics determine which pieces of content are getting the most amount of engagement
- Hootsuite to allow you to easily monitor conversations and the media lists you create.
- Google Analytics to set goals to enable you to find what areas bring the greatest return on investment. Not everything in PR can be measured with sales, but online gives you a greater chance at doing this now.
And just a side note: You can go straight to your ideal client by joining communities where your peers and/or target market are hanging out with Facebook groups, Google+ and LinkedIn communities without the need to go through a journalist. This is the real power of social media.
Create a media list on Twitter and when you come across a great industry tip or bit of news you think would be of interest to the journalist, @ them in a tweet with a link to the tip or news.
Embrace social relations for mass exposure
When public relations is all about ``relations’’ and communicating with your target market, it means social media is a hard one to beat.
It’s a wide topic and one I could dedicate an entire blog post to, but I want to keep this simple for you.
When you have news to share, write it as a conversational piece, preferably within 107 characters (you’ll need the rest of the characters for your link to your ``newsy’’ blog post) and share it out to Twitter.
Rewrite a press release and lose the jargon and hyperbole (sorry, but you’re product isn’t ``groundbreaking’’) and write a short status for Facebook as if you’re writing to a friend.
Take this for example:
The key to doing social media well is listening and engaging – rather than broadcasting.
One way to create conversation is to actually ask a question at the end of your status.
Eye-catching images do well to draw the eye in the first place too, but more on that later.
When it comes to getting the right message out in the right way on social media sites like Twitter where 140 characters is your limit, media coach, marketing strategist and author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul Susan Harrow is a master.
She knows only too well the importance of speaking succinctly to capture attention while delivering your message. As she shared with me:
In today’s hurry-scurry world, where people’s attention spans are the size of a tweet, sound bites can make or break a deal, a sale, or even a casual encounter. In order to be on the cutting edge, or even just competitive, entrepreneurs need to be at the sound bite ready for every opportunity. Once they are prepared they can make a connection anywhere with anyone at any time that could result in a life-changing shift. Whether you have a business, book, product, service or cause, sound bites are the key to making a quick connection.
Soundbites are the key to making a quick connection @SoundbitesirenClick To Tweet
Rewrite your latest press release or news announcement to become more social and share it to Facebook or Twitter. Ensure you use relevant hashtags on Twitter to garner the right kind of attention.
Use visual storytelling to capture attention
Again, this is a wide topic, but let’s keep it simple here. One of the great ways to tell your story to your target market is through visual storytelling.
Brand storytelling strategist and graphic designer Darla Kirchner told me that visual content is 40% more likely to get shared on social media.
Like you, when marketing online each platform has a different personality. You need to create different types of images for the different social platforms to maximize your time on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Visual content is 40% more likely to get shared on social media @DarlaKirchnerClick To Tweet
There are so many ideas you can tap into here, like:
- Take an image at your book launch and upload to Instagram
- Create a behind-the-scenes image related to your news to share on your blog and then pin it to Pinterest
- Look at photos that either educate, entertain or inspire – these often have an element of shareability
- Traditional and online media love action shots rather than ``head shots’’, so think about how you can get creative with the images you create for social media.
- Design an infographic that tells your new statistics, facts and data in a more visually pleasing, easily scanned and SEO-friendly way.
Here’s an infographic I created for my old brand that was picked up by blogs and news organisations for the Australian Women and Social Media Survey.
It was also easy for journalists to mine information for stories from the infographic and complemented the press releases beautifully. It also had the added benefit of increasing the traffic to my website.
When I created this, there were few tools to create good-looking infographics. But today they’re much easier to create.
Use a free tool like Canva.com to create an infographic to display your news in an easy to digest form. Then share the infographic to your blog, send it to journalists, and take elements of the image and add to social media with teasers back to your blog.
Give the media what they want through media callout services
In the age of online, it’s become easier for journalists to seek out talent to interview. The big shift was in Sourcebottle and Help A Reporter Out, where journalists and bloggers post call outs to find talent to interview for their stories.
When I was in newspapers, it was a matter of ringing around your contacts and hoping someone would have just the right contact for you.
Make sure to sign up to these call out services. Sourcebottle in Australia, for example, sends emails out at 10.30am and 2.30pm every weekday.
Here’s what the founder of Sourcebottle, Bec Derrington, shared with me about the service:
So, if a journalist is seeking a comment from an expert for a story they’re working on, they can post what’s referred to as a ‘call out’ on the website and, within a short period of time, they’re likely to receive many emails from interested sources with the relevant expertise to interview for their stories.
In terms of how to get the most out of the service, I would recommend signing up to receive the free publicity tips, selecting the topics of interest to you, and then following these three tips:
- Respond within the first hour (if possible) of receiving SourceBottle’s ‘Drink Up!’ email alert. Your alert will contain call outs on the topics you’ve indicated you’re interested in. It’s formatted in such a way so it’s easy to skim, so whenever possible, cast your eye over it for relevant media leads as soon as it hits your inbox. Why? Because even if the deadline is a few days away, the journalist will ‘pull’ the call out as soon as a suitable source gets in touch.
- Ensure that your contact details are accurate. If not, the effort you’ve made to respond to the journalist or blogger is likely to be in vain. Why? Because if your email address bounces or the telephone number you’ve provided isn’t correct, they may not take the time to work out what it might be. Not only that, it can create doubt about your credibility as a source, since they can’t verify the details you’ve provided. (As a side note, SourceBottle provides you with a confirmation email that outlines your response. If you don’t receive this response as soon as you’ve submitted your response, it’s likely that you’ve entered an incorrect email address.)
- ‘Show your hand.’ If you’re responding to a call out for ‘dieticians with 5+ years’ experience to discuss the impact of dairy foods on the diet’, it’s always best to clarify that you satisfy the journalist’s pre-requisites, and to then highlight your opinion with respect to dairy foods in the diet. For example, “I am a dietician with 10 years’ experience based in Melbourne. I have strong views on the inflammatory nature of dairy foods and their impact on the diet, particularly on women approaching menopause… I have written a number of articles on dairy products in the common Western diet here [insert hyperlink]. I’m happy to talk with you any time this week. My number is…” Stating your opinion makes you ‘sexy’ talent. Simple.
Respond within the first hour of receiving @Sourcebottle's email alert @BecDerringtonClick To Tweet
Sign up to the callout service in your country and actively monitor it each day for callouts suited to your niche and expertise. When you see something that fits, respond promptly.
Collaborate your way to a new audience with blogger outreach
The reality of the digital landscape is you don’t need journalists anymore to collaborate. There are a whole new breed of online journalists out there – they’re called bloggers.
Many social media and blogging influencers in your industry are open to the idea of collaborating – as long as it’s a win for you, a win for them and a win for their readers.
The biggest issue with blogger outreach right now is that many PR people are sending bad blog pitches that turn bloggers off. I know, because I still receive them today.
Launch Grow Joy founder Andreea Ayers gave me some tips on doing your own blogger outreach – and better than the PRs are doing it!
When you are thinking about working with bloggers, it's important to become really familiar with the blog's content and make a connection with the blogger BEFORE you reach out to pitch yourself or your company. Read their blog, leave comments, share on social media and let them know how much you appreciate their content.
That way, when you are ready to let them know about your products or services, they will already know who you are.
Become familiar with the blog's content and make a connection with the blogger BEFORE you pitch @AndreeaAyersClick To Tweet
Start following a few bloggers who are beautifully aligned with your business and begin to interact with them NOW – long before you want to pitch them. Then, when you feel a rapport has been built, put together a personalised pitch that shows the value to them in the two of you collaborating.
Video storytelling for TV fame
According to an infographic on video and buying decisions by James Wedmore, 90% of users say “SEEING A VIDEO” about a product is helpful in the decision process
after a Video is Viewed 64% of online viewers are more likely to go ahead and PURCHASE that product!
This is why you need to be moving into video and not just any old video, but mobile video.
You can become a video storyteller through simple production techniques using your phone and a good video app. You can even simply use Facebook Live now.
People don’t want highly polished productions anymore. Even the media are open to homemade videos now, because they’re more authentic.
Here are some creative ideas for video storytelling:
- Post videos on Twitter from customers about their experience with your product, program or service
- Do a short how-to video and share to Instagram
- Capture motivational personal stories, business lessons and behind-the-scenes through Facebook Live video.
- Interview experts and upload to Youtube, before embedding in your blog.
- Use Powtoon, or a similar animation creation tool, to develop an animated story of your business or product and place on a sales page.
A little tip with Facebook Live video is embed the video into your blog to further increase your page’s reach. Facebook loves video right now.
Get creative – that is the key to a good video.
Gary Vaynerchuk began making videos in 2006 for Wine Library TV, where he tasted and discussed wines through a video series. He has continued with video, including the #AskGaryVee Show and a myriad of video styles - from rants to keynote speeches - as seen here on his Facebook Video tab.
One of his strengths is his ability to share personal stories that are wrapped around business lessons we can all gain from.
Come up with 3 points you want to get across in a video, grab your phone, turn on the video camera and start talking. Don’t put pressure on yourself to produce the next Steven Spielberg clip, but instead explore and experiment with locations, sound and how you present on camera. The more you do it, the easier it gets! Then, embed that video into your blog. Even Facebook Live videos can be added into your blog for increased engagement for your Facebook page.
Podcasting with impact
Just as blogs are the newspaper equivalent and Youtube the TV equivalent, podcasting is the alternative to radio.
The ease at which you can start a podcast means anyone can do it.
And the power of being the person in the seat interviewing others can have the "Oprah Effect" on you and your business – that is, you borrow others’ credibility and status by interviewing them.
The real beauty of podcasting is that, unlike blogging and video, you don’t require people’s 100% attention.
Your fans and followers will fit listening to your podcast around their life – rather than the other way around. Often, that means during a morning run, while folding the washing, driving in the car or even during their most private task of taking a shower. They take YOU with them (which kind of makes that last comment sound a little creepy now).
I think John Lee Dumas, from EOFire, who has built up an incredibly successful podcast from nothing, really summed up how far podcasting has come and how much it’s integrated into our life now:
In early 2014, Apple announced the release of Apple Car Play; Google introduced Android Auto; and Stitcher radio introduced Stitcher Dash, meaning every car rolling off the lot in 2015 and beyond will have one – or all three – of these Podcasting directories in the dashboard.
With the car dashboard upgrade, the last tech barrier to listening to Podcasts is GONE.
From Tim Ferriss, to Suze Orman, to Adam Carolla; and from CNBC, to NPR, to TED, the world is sitting up and taking notice of the power of Podcasting.
The way content is being delivered and consumed will never be the same.
These individuals and multi-million dollar companies have all decided podcasting is was worth learning about, maybe you should too?
From Tim Ferriss, to TED, the world is sitting up and taking notice of the power of Podcasting. @eofireClick To Tweet
Now, of course, not all of us have the space in our marketing strategy to add podcasting. But there is another way to look at it. That is, many podcasters are looking for great talent to interview. So pitch yourself as a podcast guest and get in front of a podcaster’s audience which is aligned with your ideal client.
Being a guest on others’ podcasts is how I’ve used podcasting so far, which means the possibility of being discovered in iTunes and on a podcaster’s blog.
Take a look at your ideal client and see whether podcasting is a good fit for your business and marketing strategy. Or, alternatively, pitch yourself as a guest. Ensure first that you listen to the podcast, find where the synergies between what they share and what you offer match and then email through a tailored pitch unique to them.
Creating online content for the media
This one really crosses over into everything we’ve been talking about, but you can create content FOR the media. Where once we wrote a press release and hoped and prayed a journalist would pick it up, today we can create videos, images and eye witness accounts the media will publish on their own digital platforms.
Some media are trying to create double the content for in-paper and online with half the staff. Journalists will love that you’ve created the content for them. It’s also a great way to leverage your content.
There’s that word again!
For example, I was working with an organisation on their major annual event. They wanted media coverage from a particular publication. Instead of the usual press release, I sent them a draft version of the blog post I was writing for the organisation’s own website PLUS a video we’d produced – again, for the organisation’s website.
Similarly, last year when I was launching a master plan for a government organisation, we sent out the launch videos (which were basically high-end flythrough videos of what the city will look like in five years) to the media and all media outlets that we pitched posted that video to their websites and it even appeared on 3 nightly TV news programs. This was masses of exposure for the project.
So instead of pitching a dry old press release, I want you to put some more effort into creating a piece of content you can use for yourself but also deliver to the media to use on their online platforms. While for many media outlets their traditional audiences are decreasing in numbers, their online audiences are actually growing significantly. So make the most of that.
Make your next piece of content something the media can use on their online platforms. Revisit one of the above tips and then turn it into something you can use in your next pitch to a journalist.
Embrace user-generated content for viral effect
What better way to up the ``relations’’ part of digital PR than to foster user-generated content.
It can really increase the relationship with customers and build that loyalty, not to mention creating great word of mouth marketing.
There are many creative ideas, like:
- Ask for product, style and flavour ideas. Chip companies do this one particularly well.
- Republish customer images of them using your product in real life. Instagram is a place where brands do this well.
- Bringing together a collage of images or selection of tweets from participants at a live event who have used a specific hashtag
- With permission, use it in advertising. Think of Apple and its billboards showing images taken with Apple phones.
Getting people involved in a campaign has proven time and again how valuable that can be for a brand. As Jeff Bullas says here:
With the rise of Instagram celebrities, and the tremendous popularity of selfies, user generated content has made a huge explosion in the digital marketing scene. Why? Because it helps you get noticed.
@JeffBullas says user generated content has exploded because it helps you get noticedClick To Tweet
I think a company that does user-generated content particularly well is Bufferapp on Instagram. They’re always reposting customer and fans’ images – with permission, of course.
Here’s a great example of both repurposing others’ content but also encouraging others to share:
Next time you hold a live event or need feedback on how you should develop your new product, ask your fanbase for feedback to help them get involved in the process of creating the experience. Use a unique hashtag to 1. Allow people to get involved easily and 2. Track, monitor and share content that’s part of the campaign.
Inside your own media page
With so many pitches arriving in journalists’ inboxes now, rather than fax or carrier pigeon(!), journalists have become more suspicious of attachments in fear of someday opening one with a virus.
So if you don’t have a relationship already with a journalist, how do you get your different types of media content across to them?
One of the best ways to do this is through creating a media page or media room. In my old business I had a whole media website, but have stripped everything back for this brand to this media page.
What should you include on your media page?
- Downloadable high res images
- Latest press releases and fact sheets
- Past media appearances
Here’s an example of mine:
One of the benefits of a media page is that when a journalist is trying to determine if they want to interview you or not, you have everything there to prove you’re media worthy.
As I’ve done, you can also provide topics you’re happy to talk about to help them determine if you’re the right fit for them or to provide inspiration for them.
As Rachel MacDonald describes it, “your media page is essentially your highlight reel”.
Your media page is essentially your highlight reel @RachelMacDonaldClick To Tweet
Create a media page for your website and add to either your header or footer navigation. It can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. Essentially, you want bio information, images they can download and any previous media coverage you’ve gained.
Reputation management tools to avoid a crisis
The importance and value of a crisis policy and plan was highlighted not too long ago when working on a social media strategy with a childcare centre client was about to launch their Facebook page. Just prior to launching and only two weeks after we’d created their crisis policy and plan, they were faced with a crisis.
This childcare centre had an incident that caused major problems with the building and required all children to leave the centre. A bit of a problem, as you can imagine.
By following their crisis plan and using this time to launch their Facebook page, they were able to stay in constant contact with families to keep them updated, easily find alternative care for the children and allow parents to really get to know how much the people behind the business cared.
The comments they received from parents were heartwarming.
And look at the reach on this post which, at the time, was for a page of 100+ because it was their first post:
What the situation proved for them was that having a holistic crisis plan, that covered crisis management and had an action plan, allowed them to respond quickly and, as the director of the business said, "paradoxically became the best week in their business".
So what tools can you use for crisis management:
- Google Alerts to get notified when someone on the web mentions your business name, your name or another keyword related to you and your business
- Hootsuite allows you to monitor social media at the basic level. The beauty of this tool is the ability to use it on desktop or mobile devices.
- Hootsuite Pro will give you a little more grunt than the free version by allowing more profiles to be set up and reports.
- Sprout Social is a little more expensive but allows for social monitoring and analytics.
- Radian6 is not for everyone due to the cost. But if you’re needing some serious social and online monitoring, this is a more powerful tool.
Start with one of the free tools to monitor you business name and your name. See what others are saying about you online and think about creating a plan for how you might respond if the content isn’t favourable.
And that’s it – 15 digital PR tools you can use in your PR and marketing campaigns. You don’t need to use them all, but pick the ones that align with your goals and your ideal client.
Let me know in the comments which you're using in your business right now.
EXCLUSIVE Blog Bonus: Click the button below to access each of these 15 tools inside a handy checklist you can revisit each time you’re looking to create a digital PR campaign.