The digital world has completely changed the rules of PR. Who to talk to? What story to tell? What is now newsworthy? We explain it here.
In the digital era, the meaning of the word ‘newsworthy’ has changed. Traditional media are no longer the only information providers on the market.
With the internet came blogs, social media, apps, forums, review websites and others, completely changing the way people look for information, build their opinion, and purchase products and services. Consequently, PR should be thought of completely differently. What we call ‘news’ is different online than on a traditional broadsheet.
How then should you adapt your PR strategy to this digital world?
At first sight, the definition of newsworthy is pretty simple: it designates anything that can make the news. But when it comes to PR, the meaning of ‘news’ is vast, especially now as there are so many types of content produced by many different players (bloggers, journalists, influencers…).
Most businesses only understand ‘news’ in the sense of a ‘sensational story’, so they automatically think: ‘PR is not for my business'. Yet, there are so many different options, not only through journalists, to get your brand talked about.
Innovation is a buzzword. Being disruptive, building a product or service that will change the world, or at least your industry sector, should easily catch people’s attention.
Journalists are always looking for these kinds of stories, and more and more blogs now focus on new technologies, sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation. Recently, podcasts have also become very popular, and a lot of them put the spotlight on entrepreneurs, disruptive products, and new ideas. As a small business or startup, getting interviewed by a podcaster can seriously boost the profile of your business and even your sales. Is it something that you have been looking at?
For a small business, a newsworthy story can simply be a story that explains what your business is doing, what difference it makes in your sector, what solution it provides or what gap it fills. By answering these questions you should already have a good idea of what to send to journalists, bloggers and podcasters.
Inspirational is another buzzword that’s become popular over recent years. You may have noticed that many different media websites and blogs now have an ‘inspirational stories’ or a ‘business of the week’ section. Why? Because people want to know the ‘human story’ behind the business.
Remember that journalists and bloggers write for their readers, so lots of them are looking for businesses to share their experience, successes and challenges. This presents a great opportunity for you.
When sending a press release or an email-pitch, think about it. They don’t only want to know about your business and what it does because the chances are that another company is doing something very similar. They want to understand the why. What did motivate you to start your business? That’s how you make the news.
You can also adopt a direct approach by asking if your personal story could be of interest for a specific section of the website. Sometimes asking clearly what you want is the best way to get it.
To share your story and more generally your experience, think about Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Twitter chats or online forums like Reddit. They all offer great opportunities to get your brand out there. The way people interact with each other has changed so seize the opportunity. Digital PR requires creativity.
Trends can obviously make the news. That was already true 20 years ago of course, but it’s even truer nowadays as everything goes faster and the competition online is fierce.
To position your business, service or product as trendy, online media, blogs and social media can be really helpful.
For example, journalists are always looking for products to feature in their product listing for special occasions, such as summer holidays or Christmas. Blogs, whether personal or corporate, also create listings or product reviews for their readers. ‘The best moisturisers for summer’ or ‘Top 10 best marketing analytics tools of 2017’. Sometimes it can even be more efficient to target a blogger as opposed to a journalist as some of them have a genuine faithful community. They’ve got the attention.
On social media, just using the right hashtags can put your brand in the spotlight. Check the ‘Trends’ section on Twitter regularly, you could find that one topic related to your business or sector is trending.
Finally, in the digital era, newsworthy can be a synonym of sharable. The battle for shares and likes is intense online so you need to think about strategies to be visible on social media. Targeting influencers like Instagramers or Youtubers or even investing in video marketing are two good ways, among others, to increase your visibility and your shareability. If you’re sharable, you’re definitely newsworthy.
As you will have realised, digital PR gathers a very large number of disciplines that you should consider to grow your business. You now have so many ways to be newsworthy.
Some techniques might work better than others, but one thing is for sure: PR is more important than ever.
If new ways of doing PR exist, don’t forget that traditional PR has also an inestimable value. You have been shortlisted or won an award? You’ve just raised funding? These are great occasions to get journalists mentioning your brand as well.
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