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Thirty years ago, if you were a fly in a traditional PR agency back in the ’90s, you would see marketers shipping copies to television outlets, radio stations, magazines and newspapers to build their client’s brand. Back then, brand awareness was measured by the number of audiences these traditional publications and media outlets have, satisfying clients and providing PR agencies with solid industry authority for delivering the work.
The ultimate goal was to be on The New York Times to get maximum brand awareness. It was the titan of all publications that put companies on the map. If they feature you, you’ve made it. Your startup has officially skyrocketed.
Along came social media, and nothing was ever the same again. As the age of digitalization advances, modern PR emerges as the next best thing for companies to get brand recognition. From social media, blogs, email marketing, SEO to PPC, the list of platforms that companies target is now immeasurable, and the opportunities presented in these touchpoints are massive.
Forward-thinking PR agencies understand the importance of dominating digital press with media coverage and not just solely focusing on one particular giant. And as digital PR continues to evolve, infinite opportunities are constantly presented for marketers to seize and take advantage of. To put it into perspective, here are the two fundamental bases of modern PR:
Covering all touchpoints
In today’s digital media landscape, CEOs, leaders and marketers understand that quantity is just as important as perceived quality. Hence, the number of press mentions you get is just as significant, if not more, than just getting one feature in a leading publication. Simply put, modern PR’s digital-first approach leaves no stone unturned, treating each opportunity as vital.
The art of engagement is the main difference between traditional and modern PR. It completely revolutionized the communication game between brands and publications. From just a handful of distribution outlets, companies today face a multitude of channels where opportunities for brand awareness are rich. While some touchpoints are more valuable than others, each plays an integral role in building and positioning a brand. Hence, it is no longer enough to get one article a month, regardless of how influential the publication is. The more touchpoints covered, the more effective the brand awareness strategy is.
It all starts with solid, relevant and insightful content. In publishing an article, every PR’s main goal is to hit the right audience and influence them to take action. This includes:
Clicking on the digital content
Entering the conversion funnel
Watching the brand’s video content
Clicking on a relevant link via organic SEO
Social media engagement
Clicking on an affiliate link
Providing value through benefit-driven content
Make no mistake: Just because modern PR recognizes the equality of quantity and quality doesn’t mean a company can get away with poorly-executed content. At the end of the day, it’s about how good your content is. Keep in mind that the avalanche of information that’s being fed to consumers from a wide range of channels can be overwhelming. Therefore, it makes them filter these articles based on what’s important to them. And during this process, you do not want to be the noise that consumers cancel out.
Think of it as if you’re looking for a new smart TV. You search on Google for the latest product, and you’re presented with a variety of choices. Consumers who don’t have the time of the day will most likely stick to page 1 of the search results and only click a few links that they think provide the most valuable information based on the title and the meta description. Cut to reading the actual article — they will only select one or two pieces of content that they think informs them the best. From product specs to desired benefits, they immediately zone into the ones that offer them what they search for. It’s a constant process of elimination until they bump into the best one.
It’s the same with delivering valuable content to build a brand. You use the right keywords for an optimal SEO; you ensure that the title leads them to the solution they need; you deliver the content that promotes the benefits they can get; and most importantly, you answer their implied question of “why do I need this?”
Keep in mind to always focus on the consumers. Let them know what benefits they can reap from these products or services. Give them the value they need, and when in doubt, put yourself in their shoes and think about the kind of information that helps you the most. Ultimately, modern PR is a high-wire act of finding the right balance between hitting as many touchpoints as you can and providing valuable content. If you nail these two bases, your brand will thrive in today’s digital landscape.