Since its inception, the internet has gone on to transform the way we live, communicate, and do business. Online presence ceased to be complementary and brands that stayed offline quickly learned a hard lesson, especially once the pandemic hit. Internet penetration and digital transformation rates reflected this new reality, forming a solid foundation for a new era for public relations. Welcome to PR 2.0.
For decades, the success of a PR campaign was centrally controlled by traditional media channels, and whilst tactics used by traditional public relations may still help you secure sufficient brand coverage in an industry magazine or on a TV channel, this can have little to no impact over the digital world.
By contrast, digital PR gives you access, and sometimes control, over much more: digital marketing, reputable backlinking, social media, earned media, influencers, and the list goes on. So, is this PR 2.0? The answer is no. Acorn Strategy describes Public Relations 2.0 as the best of two worlds – a hybrid of both traditional PR and digital PR – for maximum integration, reach, exposure and organisational impact.
Ok, great. So, what does this mean?
The simple answer to this question is this: no longer should organisations be limited by just traditional media channels to convey a brand’s messages effectively. Rather, they must put their efforts into ensuring a brand is present and presented positively on the traditional and digital media channels its target audience uses. For example, by using a hybrid, traditional + digital approach to public relations, you don’t have to just rely on whether a journalist will or will not choose to publish your press release in order to share valuable information about your brand.
Don’t get me wrong, the tactics of PR 2.0 still include networking with journalists, sending out press releases, and generating buzz via media coverage (offline and online), but all of these tactics and assets are given a new, digital dimension that also facilitates two-way communication between your brand and your audience.
The following are some example tactics of digital PR that integrate with your traditional PR within PR 2.0 to take your brand where it belongs.
Earning reputable SEO backlinks that boost your website traffic
Gaining backlinks to your website from high-traffic and authority websites will boost your website traffic and bring you a qualified audience. One of the main ways to achieve backlinks is by giving your audience a good reason to click on a link that directs them back to your website. Hosting high-quality content such as industry articles, citing a source of facts and figures, downloadable whitepapers and/or infographics via your website will help secure the backlinks to boost your search engine rank for your website; a gamechanger for a brand by any standard.
Content marketing that can drive online engagement and reach
This is a key difference between digital and traditional PR, and a pivotal part of any high performing PR campaign. Today’s savvy consumers won’t be won over with a nicely placed advertisement or a good design. They want to connect with your brand in a meaningful way and be assured of your values and integrity before making a choice, and content marketing is one way you can deliver on this front. Strong content is also your vehicle to earning your SEO backlinks and tells the world what your brand represents and why they should choose you and trust you over your competitors.
Social media that sparks conversation
Social media and online communications platforms have made and unmade brands, and ignoring their function and influence can be a very expensive mistake. Your brand’s PR consultants should be working with your social media team to harness the power of these platforms to connect with your audience and build interest in your brand. From adding social media media sharing options to blogs to reaching our to reporters over Twitter and everything in between – social media can make it easier to get audiences engaged you’re your branded content.
An expert PR practitioner, however, won’t just use social media to target customers, but will also use these platforms to listen to your target audience. By studying the comments and tracking engagement, you will be able to probe reactions to your products, understand what works and what doesn’t, and tailor your campaigns and planning accordingly.
Our hybrid PR approach
At Acorn Strategy, we pride ourselves on our presence at the forefront of Public Relations 2.0. Depending on what our clients objectives are, we determine the best hybrid mix of traditional and digital PR tactics to maximise audience reach, and we have mastered this combination to the point of fine delivery having won various PR industry awards.
Indeed, the differences between traditional and digital PR are many, but the integration between them is rewarding enough to inspire your brand with the confidence to make the leap. If you’re eager to learn more on how PR 2.0 could help your business then reach out to us and we would be glad to help.
Annabel Amann is Global Head of Client Experience of Acorn Strategy Australia and loves to help small-to-large organisations identify the best path forward to achieve their marketing, communication and most importantly their international business objectives as they expand into the complex markets of the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.