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Three Must-Dos for Your Year-End Digital PR Checklist

December 5, 2011-Drillbits Blog0

According to the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer®, consumers this year have continued to shift their attention and trust away from traditional media and toward expert opinions they find online (blogs, news websites, etc.). With Thanksgiving break behind us and the Christmas holidays still a few weeks away, now is the perfect time for PR professionals to do some digital soul-searching about what this trend means for our profession and how we want to do business in 2012.

Below are three key items for your year-end checklist – some of which will carry over into our New Year’s resolutions:

Year-End Analytics

How did your digital public relations strategy pan out this year? Did you get covered on Mashable, Gizmodo, TechCrunch or other top outlets?  Did your video go viral? Were you able to move the conversation about your brand?

If you didn’t budget for an ongoing assessment of your online results, it’s not too late to do a little (free) quantitative analysis. Begin with something as simple as counting the number of online stories you were able to generate per campaign, pitch or press release this year.  You can conduct this type of research retroactively with a simple Google News search constrained to the time frame of your news announcement.

Once you have your list of coverage, determine which approach generated the best stories.  Try to uncover which angle, content type or writing style might have made the difference in earning that incremental online coverage. For example, we find that pitch emails with bulleted data points generate more media interest (and subsequent coverage) than paragraphs of text.

Lessons Learned

As much as you might want to focus on the campaigns that went right during the past year, you can often learn more from the campaigns that weren’t as successful.. Which pitches or other communications to bloggers/influencers fell flat? Who has been consistently ignoring your outreach? As you would with any traditional media outreach, check to see if there were common elements in your communications that didn’t receive responses.  What, if anything, did you learn about factors that motivate online media vs. print or broadcast journalists?

The most compelling online coverage we’ve generated for our clients has been tied to events/experiences we designed specifically for bloggers. In this case, one size doesn’t fit all – bloggers need PR contacts that will spend the time crafting a story WITH them rather than FOR them. It also helps to plan. Soliciting advice from bloggers prior to scheduling an event helps you create an experience that they will be able to write about more effectively.

Additionally, be sure to provide access to rich media including unique photos and videos.  Spending time to create online libraries and access points for bloggers can increase not only the diversity but also the quantity of coverage from online outlets.

Make a Plan and Get it Funded

Take some time to think about where you want your digital operation to be one year from today. Make a list of the key opportunities you see for conducting more advanced digital outreach; including connecting with new online media and influencer targets, developing blog-worthy story ideas and creating professional-quality digital assets like infographics or videos.

Pictures and visuals really are worth a thousand words today – don’t forget to budget for them.

Why not make the best of the holiday season by understanding how the changing digital landscape has affected your PR outreach, and brainstorming ways you can make it more effective next year?

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