The Rise Of Online PR


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A presentation about Online PR given to members of MIPAA: at the London Transport museum.

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  • I’m here to talk to you about Online PR and whether the rise in digital communications spells the end of PR as we know it... Before I start - How may people in the room are on Facebook? Twitter? Anyone write a blog? flickr? Anyone here do none of the above?
  • Me - background in traditional PR, but always been an advocate of the social web, from e-newsletters to early social media outlets like Yahoo groups and forums! The company was founded last year and is growing fast. We work with all kinds of clients, from tech to clothing.
  • Here are some of the clients we’re currently working with. You might recognise some of them!
  • Online PR = getting a message out via online channels = Creating a buzz for brand or campaign = spreading the word via online ‘influencers’ = driving traffic to a site, form or other web asset
  • Analyse the web to find opportunities for engagement Identify potential outlets - people, communities etc Actively engage
  • Coverage could mean a blog post or a positive Tweet about the brand
  • PR is changing because the way we get our information is changing... For instance, look at this screengrab from a global web-ranking list - note that social media sites feature prominently, whereas Traditional news sites (BBC, CNN etc.) are way down the list BBC comes up at #43, behind Flickr and Twitter
  • This chart shows how traffic to social networks has risen steadily over the past few years.
  • People no longer rely on newspapers or even news websites for their information We are more likely to follow links sent by friends or found on social bookmarking sites like Digg or Delicious Social Media makes the sharing of information easy Twitter - the latest social media phenomenon to highlight the benefits of online sharing A story sent by a friend or contact carries more weight So what does this mean for companies on the web today...?
  • Once upon a time, it was considered enough to think up a clever idea and throw it out to the media, or slap it on a website and hope that people would come and find it.
  • This philosophy doesn’t work anymore. Online PR is a new way to reach your audience directly.
  • It’s not just about building ‘clever’ websites and promoting them through traditional channels first step is making your content findable, sharable, interactive, sociable All these things also contribute to SEO
  • A current C&M campaign which pulls content from the social web Running as a competition with the idea of getting people to engage with the brand via the channels they are already using and are familiar with
  • People may be talking about you and hearing about you, but probably not via your website and not just through ads and press coverage The way we use the web is changing, and so is the way we promote stuff on it.
  • Traditional PR is really just Press relations, not public relations. New online tools make it easy to communicate with the public directly this is what we call ‘online PR’
  • We no longer just publish press releases and wait for stuff to happen We don’t rely on a third party (i.e. the media) to put the message out there for us we use online tools to identify and target a direct audience - blogs, twitter, flickr, forums etc. These make it easier to target the right people and get the message in their face
  • It’s more than just getting stories in online places It’s reactive as well as proactive ...But how do we penetrate these social media environments and find the right people??
  • We don’t rely on media databases, because the information is out there, and (mostly free) online tools let us find actual people and relevant communities e.g. for a recent photography competition with Plain Lazy, I tracked down UK people who had listed ‘photography’ in their Twitter bios
  • find people and conversations using tools rate their influence - based on site backlinks and level of engagement with online communities
  • This is a standard Twitter search, which can be used to find conversations based on keywords and by location - e.g: for a current campaign with Expedia, we’re tracking tweets about ‘minibreaks’
  • The dashboard is our primary listening and monitoring tool it’s basically a series of live aggregated feeds that give us a window on the web We make one for every campaign - it’s based on the research that we do for clients, to fid the communities and influencers relevant to their brand or campaign. It tells us where and when to participate It also helps us monitor campaign activity once a project is live
  • Once we have all the information, we: Join communities, build followings Build and optimise content (e.g. homepage/competition page) Distrubute Most of this has a life beyond a specific campaign, and is an asset for the future
  • The key to good social media and online PR engagement is to offer something useful and interesting, participation rather than self-promotion OK, so this all sounds very exciting, but how do we know it’s working??
  • In the old days of PR, there was no way of proving a link between press coverage and sales Now technology makes measurement of online campaigns not only possible but relatively easy So you have a direct link between online PR activity and on-site acquisitions Companies like this!
  • The measurement matrix is the basis for every campaign It breaks down what we do into: Actions - Social media interactions, actual tangible results (e.g. sign ups, sales) Awareness - supporting activity that spreads awareness and drives traffic towards the Action It is also a basis for the way we measure campaign success.
  • we use tools like Brandwatch to provide campaign analysis and give clients a report of all the relevant info They get a picture of where their brand or campaign is being seen and how it is driving conversions This in conjunction with site stats (e.g. Google analytics) gives us a view on campaign success
  • The process for Online PR is different to traditional media relations It’s all about listening and interacting Listening is key - public opinion should drive campaigns If you do it right, online PR campaigns will take on a life of its own
  • where can we see this stuff working? who is doing it right? A recent story in New Media Knowledge reported that Volvo is embarking on a digital strategy, embracing a more forward-thinking approach to its PR
  • Another company who is getting it right is Ford... Great example of personal interaction - a real face rather than a faceless brand Head of social media at Ford - 23k+ followers and reciprocating talking, interacting, contributing - not just self promotion There is no way that traditional media relations can achieve this kind of intimate reach and personal connection
  • Just as video killed the radio star, so Online PR will be the death of traditional media relations... But can Online PR be absorbed into traditional agencies, or does it need a special place of its own?
  • As I already mentioned, most PR agencies just do press relations. They’re not Public Relations firms at all, they’re Media Relations outfits. Media relations is a well established, well recognised field. It works on an indirect, synchronous, command and control basis. Ideally this means: media > relationships > clients > stories > and hey presto some media coverage. So the frame of the debate isn’t about whether or not PR agencies can lead clients in the Online World, but whether Media Relations agencies can do it….
  • The skills required in the Online world are very different to those practised in Media Relations. clients need a set of direct service offerings - direct management of reputations amongst communities and forums. direct, bottom line sales, bookings and conversions, and other direct, tangible outcomes e.g. traffic acquisition. This involves a specific set of direct Online skills: Online people talking directly to lots of other Online people (customers, partners, influencers, stakeholders, etc), not people talking through people (the media). These aren’t Media Relations activities and I don’t think that a traditional Media Relations agency can carry them with any level of assurance. More to the point, most traditional PR firms aren’t comfortable with this kind of work. This is most evident in the language they use to describe their services. Traditional PR’s talk about ‘blogger outreach’ programmes and the like. These terms betray a lack of conviction and confidence. Clients don’t need speculative ‘outreach,’ they need direct conversations and conversions.
  • In order to influence conversations directly, drive conversions and acquire web traffic you need a dedicated Online tool kit: SEO smarts, network analysis, project and campaign management, measurement and analysis. Strong technology (your own tools or expert use of somebody else’s), strong commercial insight, strong processes and strong reporting …all the things that digital agencies have been busy developing over the past ten years.
  • Social Media hobbyists don’t deliver a robust service model for Onlineworld of difference between Tweeting and delivering a robust Online service offering. One is a hobby, the other is a business model.Most agencies believe that Online is simply a bolt on activity to their normal PR business: they’re just doing Media Relations via a different channel.
  • The Rise Of Online PR

    1. 1. The Rise of Online PR... ...Strategic Opportunity or the Death of Traditional PR? Rowan Stanfield, C&M* 18.06.2009 Thursday 18th June, 2009 1
    2. 2. About C&M* • Me Me Me • C&M*: Online PR Consultancy Heritage = PR + Creative + Web + SEO + Social • Founded 2008 • Based in Lewes, East Sussex • Bringing Social/SEO smarts to Online PR and Web Marketing Thursday 18th June, 2009 2
    3. 3. Who We Work With… Thursday 18th June, 2009 3
    4. 4. What We Do… • Digital (Online), not traditional PR • Buzz creation • Influencer engagement • Content optimisation • Traffic acquisition Thursday 18th June, 2009 4
    5. 5. How We Do It... • Digital planning, execution and measurement • Analyse & identify • Online PR Implementation • Monitor, measure, learn and adapt • Supported by processes, project management and tools Thursday 18th June, 2009 5 5
    6. 6. What This Means for Clients... • Positive ‘coverage’ outcomes • Positive ‘acquisition’ and ‘conversion’ outcomes • Enhanced Google rankings Thursday 18th June, 2009 6 6
    7. 7. The Social Media Revolution From Wikipedia: “ At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content... transforming people from content readers into publishers.” Thursday 18th June, 2009 7 7
    8. 8. How We Use the Web Today Alexa Global Top 500 Thursday 18th June, 2009 8
    9. 9. How We Use the Web Today #2 Thursday 18th June, 2009 9
    10. 10. Browsing is DEAD! • Question: what has the most influence on your web browsing habits? • People (friends, family, colleagues)?? • Advertising (TV, radio, banners)?? • Editorial (magazines, online, blogs)?? Thursday 18th June, 2009 10
    11. 11. Browsing is DEAD! • We use filters and tools • We do searches and we get alerts • Bookmarking: Delicious • Microblogging: Twitter • Social Networking: LinkedIn/Facebook • Blogging: Wordpress • Social Media: YouTube • Social Sharing: Stumbleupon Thursday 18th June, 2009 11
    12. 12. Build it and They Will Come? Thursday 18th June, 2009 12
    13. 13. Will People Come? • There is no Ray Liotta • There is no magic • There are no voices • This isn’t Hollywood • You may believe in magic but it may not happen • It’s just you and your team and 50 zillion other web sites Thursday 18th June, 2009 13
    14. 14. Build it and be Social • Social = make good, shareable content • Good content = good SEO • Good content and SEO = good usability • Goal = good distribution • Not a new thought • Just new tools and techniques Thursday 18th June, 2009 14
    15. 15. The User-Generated Theory Thursday 18th June, 2009 15
    16. 16. Social Theory of the Interweb • Most web interactions with your brand aren’t on your website and they’re not driven by traditional media • ‘Build it and they will come’ is a flawed theory (So is advertising, so is traditional PR) Thursday 18th June, 2009 16
    17. 17. New Social Rules of PR • You don’t host the parties • You need to go find them • You need to make nice • You need to invite people back to yours Thursday 18th June, 2009 17 19
    18. 18. Putting the ‘Public’ Back Into PR • New online habits = new opportunities • New tools = different approach to PR • Direct contact with target audience • Join in existing conversations • Build a social web presence Thursday 18th June, 2009 18 20
    19. 19. Listen, Learn, Participate • Forget press releases • Forget media schmoozing • Listen to your audience • Learn what they want • Participate in Conversations • Don’t panic! Thursday 18th June, 2009 19 21
    20. 20. A Finger in Every Pie • Online PR is: ...and not just: Thursday 18th June, 2009 20 22
    21. 21. Finding People Thursday 18th June, 2009 21 23
    22. 22. Finding Conversations Thursday 18th June, 2009 22 24
    23. 23. Finding Conversations Thursday 18th June, 2009 23
    24. 24. Monitoring Tools C&M Online PR Dashboard (AKA ‘CrackBoard’) Thursday 18th June, 2009 24
    25. 25. Implementation… Thursday 18th June, 2009 25
    26. 26. Rules of Engagement • Find your communities • Participate productively • Give them something useful • Give them something shareable • Give them something for free • i.e, become more sociable and interesting • White Papers >> Videos • FAQs >> Blogs • Reports >> Widgets Thursday 18th June, 2009 26
    27. 27. Measurement = Happy Clients • PR is directly measurable for the first time • Google smarts and online tools give us quantifiable data • Link between interactions and acquisitions is now visible • Companies love this! Thursday 18th June, 2009 27 29
    28. 28. Thursday 18th June, 2009 28
    29. 29. Gratuitous Consultancy Diagram Alert... Thursday 18th June, 2009 28
    30. 30. Aims and Measurement… Thursday 18th June, 2009 29
    31. 31. Reporting… Thursday 18th June, 2009 30
    32. 32. Shut Up, Listen and Spin • Shut up and listen • Monitor & target • Spin • Create (optimised) • Seed & engage • Measure • Repeat! Thursday 18th June, 2009 31
    33. 33. Volvo Gets It! • From New Media Knowledge, 5th May 09: “Volvo’s new digital strategy will focus on listening to, and engaging with, online audiences, as well as the optimisation of digital PR and social media for search engine optimisation (SEO) as part of a “natural and 100 per cent ethical” link building campaign. This will also include blogger outreach, event and community management and buzz tracking.” Thursday 18th June, 2009 32 36
    34. 34. Ford Gets It... Thursday 18th June, 2009 33 37
    35. 35. Video Killed the Radio Star... Thursday 18th June, 2009 34
    36. 36. Will Online Kill Trad PR? vs Thursday 18th June, 2009 35 39
    37. 37. Beyond Press Relations • Most PR departments just do press relations • The whole premise of media relations is different to Online PR • So can ‘media relations’ teams lead the way in Online PR? Thursday 18th June, 2009 36 41
    38. 38. A New Approach Is Required • Online PR requires a different approach • Clients need conversions not outreach • Can traditional Media Relations adapt? Thursday 18th June, 2009 37 42
    39. 39. A New Skill Set Is Needed • Online requires a dedicated Online toolset • Digital agencies have already been developing these • Can traditional PR keep up? Thursday 18th June, 2009 38 43
    40. 40. But I Know How to Tweet! • Some PR pros are dipping their toes into the digital arena • But Social Media hobbyists don’t cut it when it comes to Online PR Thursday 18th June, 2009 39 44
    41. 41. To summarise... Thursday 18th June, 2009 40
    42. 42. Social Media is growing... Thursday 18th June, 2009 41
    43. 43. the way we use the web is changing... 42
    44. 44. companies are catching on... Thursday 18th June, 2009 43
    45. 45. and web content is evolving... Thursday 18th June, 2009 44
    46. 46. Online PR is direct and measurable... Thursday 18th June, 2009 45
    47. 47. and requires a different skillset to ‘traditional’ PR... Thursday 18th June, 2009 46
    48. 48. SO.. Thursday 18th June, 2009 47
    49. 49. ADAPT OR DIE! Thursday 18th June, 2009 48
    50. 50. Don’t Panic!! Get in Touch… Rowan Stanfield, C&M* Thursday 18th June, 2009 49