There’s a good post in Business 2 Community about the challenges of starting out in Digital PR. If you’ve been trained in traditional PR and technology is fairly new to you, it will seem overwhelming at first. Believe me, there is a lot to learn. And while some of it is tactical, if it’s done in a vacuum it’s likely to fail.

Learning how to devise and implement a strategy in a logical sequence makes this new discipline much easier.

Digital PR Strategy

The activity you see in Digital PR is like the tip of an iceberg. There is a wealth of activity that takes place below the surface to make the visible actions successful.

Research

As with any other strategy, it pays to “know before you go.” Digital PR gives you access to information sources and data that was not available before. However, you have to learn how to use the tools and the technology.

  • Identifying audiences
  • Mapping the social graph
  • Monitoring online conversations
  • Data mining
  • Keyword Research
  • Analyzing the data
  • What content gets a response
  • Finding sentiment, intent, and other actionable insights

Collaboration

Digital PR practitioners must share data and work with other teams in the organization. The insights you discover can be useful to the SEO, SEM, social media and marketing teams. You can benefit from their data too. You also need to know what the overall business goals are so that you can align your Digital PR efforts to those outcomes.

  • Use digital dashboards
  • Share data and insights
  • Set goals based on your research findings
  • Use the SMART formula for your goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound)

Influencers

Working with influencers is a big part of Digital PR. In Traditional PR, we’re conditioned to view the media and academics and authors as thought-leaders. Digital PR opens up a much broader pool of influencers to work with. There are influencers on Twitter, Vine, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. Many bloggers have huge audiences and can sway their readers. You need to learn how to find, identify and build relationships with the right influencers for your business. You have to understand and use scores like Klout and Kred and know that they are only a starting point. You’ll only know who the real influencers for a particular campaign are once you start to work with them.

Content Development

Only once you have this data should you start on content development. The first action is to do a content audit and discover what content you already have that can be re-purposed for Digital PR use.

Then look over your research and see what type of content your audience responds to and what information they’re looking for. Anything else is reactive – it’s “spaghetti against the wall.” If you want to be truly successful in Digital PR you have to create content that is targeted, relevant, and engages your audience.

Keep an eye on the trends and statistics. Your research should have let you know what kind of content your audience prefers and responds to. Is it text posts or images? Do they prefer video? Find out what content works and what doesn’t. That means you have to be able to use analytics or your website, newsroom, blog, and the various online platforms you use for content.

  • Messaging
  • Write web content
  • Digital news releases
  • Articles
  • Blog Posts
  • Original images
  • Photography – smartphone and DSLR
  • Infographics
  • Video
  • Manage an online newsroom
  • Analytics

Content Distribution

Once you have the content you have get it out there so that it reaches the right audience. Some content will do better on Twitter, other piece might do better on LinkedIn. Use your influencers to help spread the word. There are many ways to distribute and amplify your content:

  • Social advertising
  • RSS feeds
  • SEO visibility
  • Paid influence campaigns
  • News wires
  • Pitch bloggers
  • Pitch reporters
  • Post on your blog
  • Guest posts on influencer blogs
  • Contribute to relevant industry news sites
  • Remarketing

Measurement

One of the big advantages of Digital PR is that we can measure pretty much every action we take. And now that we can, we should. Actions that are measurable have more perceived value to the C-suite and when your efforts are seen to be aiding the bottom line, that’s a good place to be. Here’s what you need to know:

  • How to set a measurable goal
  • How to make a tracking link
  • How to use Google Analytics (or whatever program your company uses)
  • How to use the analysis or insights tools of social platforms

So it’s no big surprise that Alice felt overwhelmed in her first 30 days on the Digital PR post. Places to learn Digitl aR are few and far between right now. An easy way to start is with the free email course on the 15 Digital Skills PR and marketing pros need right now.