by William Nestor
There is a new generation of consumers who look firstly, and often solely, to the internet as the primary source for their news and information. To reach these consumers a company has to have a digital PR strategy which utilises a combination of a website presence together with linked social media channels to reach out to a wider audience.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation is at the heart of a digital media strategy. 93% of all online experiences start with search engines such as Google and Bing, therefore it is vital to ensure that your website is easy to find and appears within the first few organic (non paid for) results returned by search engines. According to ImFORZA.com 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. There are many techniques to help ensure good ranking results and the use of such techniques is referred to as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO increases your websites visibility on the web and increases the search 'hits' you get. SEO techniques include:
Search Engine Optimisation isn't a one off exercise. Once a SEO strategy is put in place it has to be regularly reviewed and modified due to the fact that competitors may also take action to improve their own search ranking. Another reason it is important to frequently check a SEO strategy is that Google and other search engines release updated regulations and algorithms that can require changes to be made.
As well as being a mechanism to engage with clients, a social media presence is rapidly becoming a 'must have' with many younger customers. These customers look for an active and relevant social media presence to prove that they are dealing with a 'real' and 'substantial' company - as exemplified by this quote from Bridget Greenwood, president of The Financial Social Media UK
"I am used to going on Twitter and finding out more about someone. I am used to Googling a product, a holiday or a service and then finding out what other people say about it and what they say about themselves across social media channels. I am used to communicating that way. If I can’t find someone who does, I discount them.”
Social Media Channels
There are many different competing social platforms and individual customers will have their own preferences as to which of these channels they wish to use, with some utilising multiple channels for different purposes or to communicate with different groups of friends and colleagues.
A company needs to decide how many, and which social media platforms they wish to utilise, and conduct market research of their existing and target client base in order to determine the best mix of platforms to invest in.
Social media can play an important role in creating digital content to appeal very specifically to a target market. Social data allows digital marketers to understand the demographics and interests of target audiences, which can be used to tailor content. There has been an increase in the use of YouTube by businesses in recent years, which is most likely down to the fact that it has been stated that posts with links to YouTube videos have a 75% higher share rate (LI Marketing Solutions).
Measuring the effectiveness of Digital PR
An advantage of Digital PR is that its success and progress can be easily measured and tracked using a variety of tools, these tools include:
Formulating and implementing an effective Digital PR strategy requires top-down commitment and dedication of adequate resources to carry it through. If done well, it can be time and money very well spent - for example, according to imFORZA.com, SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while 'traditionally generated' leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) only have a 1.7% close rate. This shows why it is so important for companies to provide the necessary resources for establishing and improving their website's SEO and Social Media strategy.