The Force (and digital PR) was with us

Our latest BDW meetup on Star Wars Day saw our biggest turn out yet. It was pleasing to see everyone making new chums and amazing how the community is growing each month.

Despite the number of people, the vibe is still relaxed and friendly. Not a stuffy networking event – just a bunch of people getting together in one place to share ideas. And drink a few bevvies.

Chat in The Mesmerist

Because there were so many of us, we’d booked a big room upstairs at The Mesmerist (courtesy of Unramble :))).

We’re working on getting a new venue for next month to keep things fresh. Not as fresh as that ruddy air conditioning though…ice cold.

How digital has changed PR

Lana Burgess led discussions this time, giving an insightful talk covering how the move to digital has changed PR. She covered:

  • What digital PR is
  • How it evolved: the merging of disciplines
  • Best practice
  • Reporting
  • Challenges and tips

Traditional PR is print focused – mainly about mentions in magazines and newspapers. It’s pretty difficult to measure the impact of these traditional PR efforts.

Digital PR is about getting your content in front of relevant audiences and there are lots of ways to measure its impact.

Lana discussing digital PR

Lana described how digital PR is done in practice: by getting coverage for your brand and getting your content featured off-site. This should be on contextually relevant, influential sites that share an audience with your brand.

Digital PR best practice

With recent updates to Google’s algorithms, older link building methods are now becoming a bit defunct. But good quality content marketing allows links to be earned more naturally.

Lana says content needs to offer something of value to your audience, it should be timely and it should fit with your brand. It’s often best to avoid anything too heavily branded or product focused, unless people are especially keen to be associated with your brand.

It’s pretty rare that just producing a piece of great content will be enough though. So an important part of digital PR is to give your content a bit of a helping hand. You need to get it in front of the right audience and encourage it to be shared. This is where social media, personalised emails and even picking up a phone (yes, really!) come in handy.

Measuring impact

We had an interesting discussion about the different ways people report on their PR campaigns. We also chatted about the increasing importance of brand awareness on social media.

Everyone agreed there’s no single best way to measure everything at the moment. We’re all keen to see new extra clever tools in future (new business idea there, folks).

Some of the ways Lana measures impact are:

  • Links/citations earned
  • Organic visibility – not rankings but rather the average position of a group of pages
  • Organic impressions
  • Referral traffic from links/citations
  • Organic/direct traffic – based on an increase in URL inputs or brand searches
  • Conversions

And finally, Lana raised something interesting to think about: if you truly are producing outstanding content, should you need to conduct digital PR activity? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Listening to digital PR talk

It was great to see many familiar faces again and to meet lots of new people. If you’d like to contribute to this blog, to lead the discussion at a future meetup, or have any suggestions, get in touch. We’d love you to get involved.

Oooh and I can’t help myself: I’m sneaking in one final plug for WordCamp Brighton speakers before the closing date on the 9th May. You can find out more about the event here. Come along – it’s going to be fab.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you again at our next meetup on Wednesday 1st June 2016. As I mentioned, we’re hoping to move to an exciting new venue, so we’ll keep you posted about where we’ll be meeting.

Co-founder of Brighton Digital Women and founder of Unramble. I like words and equality.


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