Tarunjeet Rattan speaks with Digital experts Karthik Srinivasan and Valerie Pinto on PRPOI Live, to understand the essence of Digital PR and how it is changing marketing axioms in the new normal.
The bone of contention between many a PR and Digital Agency. We have all been in THAT meeting where both sides of the table are up in arms about how a particular challenge should be handled, who should be taking it up, and who will get credit for it.
PR professionals have often been accused of being the old guard who does not understand the new-age digital medium and many a digital professional accused of being the cheeky upstart who does not understand the finer nuances of PR. If you are from either side, you would be nodding your head at one statement or the other.
I am sure we could all write pages and pages about the arguments we have had berating one another. But what if we took the time to really understand Digital PR? And maybe find a way to work together? What does it entail? Where can you get started? To answer this, we had with us Karthik Srinivasan and Valerie Pinto who joined us on PRPOI 31’st Facebook Live Session who helped us demystify and understand more about Digital PR. Our media partner – Media Samosa and Industry Partner – One Source Forum supported us in the endeavor. We list for you in this cheat sheet the key pointers.
What is Digital PR?
Everyone has a different version of the definition but both our panelists stripped down all the complexities around Digital PR and defined it simply as-
If it is advertising you need to pay a media channel to put up a story. If it is PR, you need to earn the attention of the audience by creating a compelling story.
If it is Digital PR – you merge the massiveness of the online medium with storytelling skills to create powerful narratives of your story for a much larger audience and earn their attention.
Digital PR includes earned editorial coverage online and also encompasses many more ways to reach the end consumer directly opening up space for much larger challenges. PR professionals need to look at this from a larger perspective.
Why is it Essential?
It’s a medium you can no longer ignore if you want to survive in the industry. This year has been a game-changer for the PR industry. Everyone has been forced to evolve. Sitting on the fence is no longer acceptable.
Who Should Be Handling it?
Typically, PR agencies are great at storytelling because they have been doing this for a very long time and have been creating viral stories for clients long before online came along. They have excelled at creating viral stories with discerning media professionals. Imagine what they could achieve if they applied their minds to creating such campaigns with normal consumers.
Digital agencies are usually great at using the medium and have mastered the nuances of the tools for the medium. With a firm grasp on what paid options to use they can connect a brand with newer and more relevant audiences with laser-sharp focus. This is equally essential and can be the ace that gives you the winning edge.
But segregation of scope of work between a PR and digital agency is blurred. It depends on the client mostly. Whoever understands the brand best and has a better grasp of both the mediums and the brand narrative should be running Digital PR. In the absence of this, find a balance and leverage each other’s strengths to get the message out.
The ‘Must-know’ Nuances:
- Change Your Orientation: Traditionally PR agencies have only defined their target audience as ‘Media’ who would then take the word of the client to the larger audience. All energies are put into influencing the media. We need to move me beyond just earned media and look for interesting ways of reaching the direct consumer. Media is just one of the audiences albeit a very important one. Change your orientation beyond just media.
- Owned Media Opportunities: Owned media has the potential to change the dynamics completely. PR professionals are great at storytelling. Create these unique stories for your clients and take them to the end audience directly via the largest possible medium.
- Define Metrics: Define the target audience before planning for it. Do not adapt AVE to online. You will kill it. Define the objective and a measurement metric for influence before starting a campaign.
- Keep Creativity Alive: For most PR professionals the challenge will be to think digital while retaining a strong grasp on creative storytelling. Keep the creativity alive. Find a mentor who will help you re-train your brain to think digitally.
When should you start?
How can you upskill to include Digital PR in your skillset?
Degrees help get the basics right. But nothing works like hands-on experience. Roll up your sleeves and just dive in.
You can watch the complete video interaction here.
The above article is by special arrangement via a collaboration with PRPOI.