Digital PR is an invaluable tool that can help you promote and monetize your likability.
Digital PR is the tool that creates a story for your brand and then reinforces it again and again. Unlike traditional PR, digital PR leverages more tactics than media relations. Today, digital PR includes search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing and social media. Here is how digital PR can help you get the most out of being liked:
Learn Your Organization’s 5 SEO Words
Research tells us that when people type their problems in a search box they use five words or less. So, what are those five words that will help your prospects find your solutions? To be clear, you will probably need hundreds of keywords to build out your marketing program, but you should start with the shortlist. Let me show you an example.
Paramont EO, an IMARK Electrical member, is a full-service supply and logistics problem-solver that helps commercial contractors maximize profit by creating custom solutions to meet their needs for every job. For more than 50 years, the family-owned electrical distributor has built its business to better serve contractors with a 125,000-square-foot, fully stocked and loaded warehouse to boast one of the largest electrical supply inventories in the state.
The Chicago, Illinois electrical distributor also offers more than 50 time-saving services that range from kitting and staging to onsite job trailers, around-the-clock on-time deliveries to repair services and project management to reduce contractors’ expenses. But when the company wanted more online traffic to stand out from its competitors, they called CMA for a digital PR campaign. As a result, we developed a 12-month program that highlighted the company’s value-added services that differentiates its brand in the crowded marketplace.
We delivered one SEO-optimized blog every month, which quickly generated results. The first blog, Cable Solutions: 4 Ways Electrical Contractors Grow Margins, allowed us to rank after the first month for the following optimized keywords—electrical contractors and electrical contractor solutions—which we used in the H1 tag (i.e., the main headline), H2 tags (i.e., subheads) and the body of the text.
We continued this strategy throughout the campaign. After eight months, we started to show up on the first two pages of Google search results for six different keywords, which generates additional individuals visiting Paramont EO’s website every month.
Content Plays a Larger Role
The internet has opened an entirely new dimension for digital PR. It’s called owned media. For the longest time, PR professionals focused solely on earned media, which is a phenomenon where a third-party publication publishes your brand name and story—for free. With a world gone digital, we now have new fertile ground that we can leverage to tell our brand story. In other words, we have our own assets, such as social media channels, our website, blogs and emails. Hence the name “owned media.”
The good news about owned media is that you can control it. You determine how many web pages are added or updated. You decide when to publish a blog on your website. You approve what to post on your social media channels.
Owned media separates your brand from the competition—and that is huge because if every brand is the same, then you will only be able to compete on price.
So, what’s the easiest way to increase your margins? Be different. Tell your story through owned media to underscore what makes your brand unique.
The economy does not run on money; it runs on confidence.
In one way or the other, your content should be framed to answer any questions and reinforce your brand story in a manner that sells confidence to your prospects. Remember, the economy does not run on money; it runs on confidence. Without it, no one would build or buy a thing.
In 2015, Google announced the findings of a watershed research report that outlined the new buy cycle. Here’s the hook: 90% of a prospect’s mind is made up before he/she contacts your company. So, if they haven’t reached out to my sales team, where are they getting this information that is fueling their purchase decision. Well, they are getting it online through searches. Many of your customers and prospects now spend a great portion of their lives online.
This is a big change from the way we did business before the internet. Back then, a prospect would scroll through the Yellow Pages and identify three possible vendors. Then, the prospect would call the vendors and request information. At this point, your sales team knows who is interested and how they can influence them until they make a final decision.
Nowadays, conversations are happening about your brand online, as well as topics and keywords that surround your brand. So, who are these people showing interest? How can your sales team get in front of them?
Social Media Can Set You Apart
You can become part of the conversation with continued social media efforts. With social media, in fact, you can interact directly with customers and clients. Knowing what they like to talk about tells you how you should frame your messages to them. Before social media, that type of intelligence was near impossible to gather. Today, an online, ad hoc focus group is much easier to put together than a formal, in-person one.
Providing crisis communications is another important task made easier with social media. It takes two hours to confirm an online rumor about your company, but it takes 14 hours to debunk a false one, so you will need a medium that will allow for quick and frequent responses to keep your brand in front of the evolving story.
There are several reasons why traditional PR has morphed into digital PR, but brand management and crisis communications top the list. The internet is getting faster and more pervasive. And if you don’t take care of your brand, someone else will.