Now PR is even more in tune with digital marketing it’s important to make sure your in-house teams or external agencies are also closely aligned to get maximum value from your investment. 

 
 

Telling your story in a digital world

Earlier this month our Karen Tinkler was invited to speak at the York Professionals Digital Marketing Tips and Trends event alongside insurance firm Hiscox, SEO specialists Edge 45 and digital marketing apprenticeships provider Luv 4 Marketing. 
 
Our ten-minute slot was a whistle stop tour of telling your story in a digital world. So hang onto your hats…here’s an overview of what we shared.
 
It’s all about EAT
 
Now we love our food as much as the next person, but the EAT we’re talking about here is not food-related. Last August, while the UK was basking in one of the hottest summers on record, Google was busy implementing one of its infamous updates. You know the ones. They send site rankings plummeting while us mere mortals scramble around trying to figure out what we did wrong.
 
This update put the spotlight firmly on credibility. Google is now placing more importance on Expertise, Authority and Trust (E.A.T.) when it comes to ranking websites, and what gets us really interested in this is that it brings digital marketing and PR into even closer alignment. In trying to serve up the most reliable information to users, Google is increasingly looking at reputation, credibility, thought leadership, third party endorsement – all of the things PR has focused on for decades. 
 
Everything changes and nothing changes
 
So what does this mean? It means that reputation, expertise and credibility are more important than ever, and taking steps to build them will not only help your business in the real world, it will help in the digital world, too. 
 
For many businesses, this will come as no surprise. But it’s a timely reminder of some of the key principles of successful PR and the opportunities that digital storytelling opens up. 
 
What’s your story?
 
The starting point is to be clear about what your business does, what it stands for, why you do what you do and what sets you apart from the competition. Then you need to start telling that story.
 
But remember, the story of your business isn’t all about the MD or the CEO. Demonstrating expertise and building trust means highlighting the strength in depth within your team, so bring your experts forward. And your team. On a lot of B2B websites, the ‘team’ page is the most visited – particularly for service businesses.
 
People want to deal with people and bringing your team and their specialist expertise and knowledge to the fore will not only impress Google, it will impress the people visiting your site, too. Having your technical and subject specialists authoring stories, articles and blog posts on their areas of expertise will help demonstrate your business as an authority in your field – both to Google and to the people reading those stories. 
 
Be authentic and consistent
 
Telling your story is one thing. Living and breathing it - and making sure everyone in your business does the same - is another. Case studies, testimonials and reviews from happy customers are key components of your PR campaign but, to be effective, they must stand up to scrutiny. 
 
News of poor service travels fast, and in the digital world it travels even faster. If you’re saying positive things on your website for Google’s benefit but they aren’t backed up by real world experiences of working with your business, you will lose trust, customers, and your reputation will suffer - online and offline.
  
Forget FOMO
 
The digital world has given us a far wider choice of communication channels and tools, and so many ways of telling stories. We can bring a story to life with video, vlogs, images, infographics, podcasts, AR, VR…the list goes on. But just because we can, it doesn’t mean we should.   
 
You might be vlogging to your heart’s content, but if there’s nobody watching, what’s the point? Remember it’s not about you: it’s about understanding the people who matter to your business, getting to know them well and focusing your PR and digital marketing accordingly.
 
So many people get swept away with the latest shiny new thing, often through Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). But don’t try to be all things to all people. Taking time to make sure that your PR and digital marketing campaigns are well through-through and targeting the right people on the channels they use most is an investment that pays dividends.
 
Good news travels fast these days…
 
Content has never had the chance to work harder for your business. A news story is no longer something that only goes out to the media. Read our the press release is dead, long live the press release blog to see just how hard a story can work for you in the digital world. 
 
 …but bad news travels fast, too
 
Of course, there’s a flip side. The devastating Notre Dame fire started at around 4.30pm. How long was it before you heard about it? Not long, I’m sure. And I’m also sure you will have seen a business crisis making headlines and plastered all over social media very quickly. 
 
It’s all very well thinking ‘it’ll never happen to me’, but every business has its horse meat scandal equivalent and it’s well worth spending time preparing in case the worst should ever happen. Our advice? Read our recommendations for surviving a crisis in the digital world and find out how best to prepare and communicate.
 
Quantifiable results
 
But let’s not end on a crisis. We'll end on a high. The digital revolution has brought with it some fantastic measurement and evaluation tools that will help you quantify the impact of PR and marketing.
 
If stats and trends are your thing you can lose hours in Google Analytics, and the insights you can gain are incredible. From a PR perspective, you can see which content is most popular and engaging, what happens over on your website when a news story appears elsewhere, which content is driving people to your website and what they’re doing when they get there. 
 
And that's just the beginning. PR has never been so readily measurable, and now that it’s even more in tune with digital marketing it’s important to make sure that your in-house teams or external agencies are also closely aligned to get maximum value from your investment. 
 
 
We’ve had some great feedback on the York Professionals talk, and if you’re looking for help to give your story real impact in the digital world then we’d be very happy to help. Give us a call – we’d love to chat. 
 
    
 
The Partners Group

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