Digital PR trends in 2014

Digital PR trends in 2014

Digital PR is not new. But like all other aspects of our industry, it is constantly evolving. Yesterday, Sherrilynne Starkie wrote about the future of the press release. Today, we’ll take a closer look at digital PR in 2014.

For those who may be wary of digital PR, it’s important to remember that Canadians are leaders in the online space. Data from ComScore shows that Internet users in Canada spend more than 41 hours per month online on their desktop computers, which is the second highest figure across all countries studied. A report commissioned by the IAB shows that Canadians are now spending the same amount of time on the Internet as they do watching TV. This industry research is essential to communications planning and communicators must give serious consideration to digital strategies.

How well are PR practitioners, and other communication professionals, at integrating digital? Last month, the CMO Network (via Forbes) published the results of a survey that asked questions about agencies and how well they were incorporating digital into their practices. Gini Dietrich wrote about this survey on Spin Sucks and said that “agencies must either evolve or die.” Digital communications aren’t going anywhere and online platforms must be integrated into communications campaigns. Rather than being scared by this, PR practitioners should see this as an opportunity. Digital PR provides an opportunity for practitioners to provide tangible program results.

When thinking about the future of digital PR, we think it’s important to keep these things in mind: 

  1. Be agile in your approach: I recently co-authored a paper for the Journal of Professional Communication that discusses an agile and iterative approach to communications planning. Digital PR is not a linear process and it requires a new way of thinking. You can read the paper here.
  2. Measure what matters: Measurement has always been important, but digital platforms make measurement so much more precise. While determining reach as a result of traditional media relations is great, we need to measure online behaviours as well. Using an online platform like Google Analytics can help to clearly define how your audience is interacting with content on your site.
  3. Tell your story visually: In the past, we’ve written about trends in visual storytelling. Research suggests that 79 per cent of PR pros believe they are not using enough video in their communications materials, and 76 per cent of practitioners believe they will increase their visual storytelling efforts this year. Using digital PR to tell your story means that you can get a greater return on your investment in visual assets. A short video can be shared through a digital news release as well as in a blog post and across social media platforms.
  4. Understand your audience: Digital PR requires a lot of research. We’re always reviewing the latest in demographics of various online platforms. This matrix, for example, illustrates user overlap on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.

What do you think of digital PR? How are you incorporating digital elements into your PR campaigns?

Tell us in the comments below.

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