Digital PR is a powerful tool to have in your marketing mix, with it embracing all of the core fundamentals and brand-building benefits of traditional PR, it leverages output to drive impact to your website.
But, it isn’t a direct revenue driver, as we see in paid channels and it is a long-term commitment. Being a necessary cog in a holistic organic strategy, it makes vital contributions to organic search performance alongside supporting on-page tech and content work – all in harmony to produce your organic ROI, it’s here where the pound-for-pound return of Digital PR can be attributed.
It can also be a challenge to measure, as has been the case for PR generally speaking for years gone by – measurement here is a very different conversation to ROI. Measures of success in PR strategies can differ across the board, with some chosen methods not so conducive to search and business impact or brand.
But with so much disparity here and with the channel being a vital element of a successful organic and brand strategy, how do marketing teams sell it into the wider business to drive engagement?
To shed some light, we spoke to Digital PR professionals leading the strategies internally as part of broader marketing teams to get their take, often reporting directly to the C-suite and having to engage internal teams to feed into activity. What is their advice for engaging your wider business in a PR investment?
Engaging stakeholders in PR activity
Understanding what good looks like to stakeholders is a good place to start, explains Rachel Fernie, Digital PR Manager at Hillarys…
“In an ever-evolving and fast-moving landscape where consumers want to validate their purchase decision-making more than ever, PR is going to make all the difference. It’s one of the most flexible and responsive channels within a business and a PR strategy can adapt according to key business needs and objectives, but understandably it can sometimes be tricky to get the rest of the business engaged in your activity.
One of the ways to gain wider buy-in is to present PR differently to your key stakeholders or senior management with a focus on tangible results rather than tactics. Getting stakeholders engaged early in your planning process by asking for their input and listening to any concerns will make them feel heard and ultimately increase their support for any initiatives.”
The sentiment of understanding your stakeholders, such as what they care about and feeding this into how work is reported is echoed by Emma Lumley, PR Manager at TrustedHousesitters…
“If the wider business goals are communicated effectively to all channels, then ideation which aligns to these should come naturally. In my case, this includes knowing the customer personas inside out, any geographical specifics and what internal resource is required for support.
Regular team catch-ups and company-wide updates enable the PR team to share the progress of new initiatives and celebrate successes to the global team, with freedom to explain why certain results may mean so much, in that we tie coverage and activity into updates the whole company cares about. For example, positive revenue updates, other teams surpassing quarterly targets and new, customer-facing launches. This rightly credits PR with feeding into those successes, but allows others to make that connection as well, including those in the c-suite, further supporting the value the channel brings.”
Involving the wider business in the strategy
It’s important to establish the best way of working with and including all parties outside of marketing, early on in a PR strategy, explains Emma…
“When working with other teams, we need to outline exactly why we’re leaning on them from the start, not just putting in a request without any context, and then confirming the granular details such as timelines and deadlines, as well as respecting each others’ workloads and priorities.
If appropriate, it’s also a nice consideration to share the ‘end product’ of what they assisted with, if this is something that they may not be naturally exposed to. Whether that’s some newly-sourced data which has led to a story achieving amazing coverage or a landing page for PR outreach being turned around quickly. Celebrating the wins from wider team buy-in will contribute to improving the understanding and communication of PR within an organisation.”
Rachel explains that you can involve your wider business by celebrating stakeholders’ expertise…
“A way to get other colleagues excited about PR is to involve them! There will be experts in every corner of your business and PR provides a platform for their expertise to be heard in a range of high-calibre media outlets.”
Digital PR is a vital component and if worked correctly as part of an all-encompassing marketing strategy, we see that it can be the lynchpin between multiple services and can show real value throughout your business.
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