Digital PR

1000 666 Jane Hunt

The Ultimate Guide to Account Management for Digital PR 

There’s a lot written about account management already and this certainly isn’t an attempt to rewrite it, challenge or disprove it, BUT, I think digital PR account management commands its own personal space.

So here’s my take..

I’ve spent nearly eight years managing my own accounts, supporting others managing theirs, and mopping up the fallouts, when inevitably things go wrong.

Unfortunately, most account management (like mine) is self-taught, on the job, by making mistakes, and if you’re sensible, Googling it first.

So here goes, this is everything I’ve learnt about account management in digital PR, from communication, scheduling and pitching ideas to reporting and handling that nagging self-doubt.

Let’s start by tackling one of the most important skills required in account management and unfortunately, one of the trickiest to get right – communication.

 

DO agree a communication strategy

When you start working with a new client or team, agree what communication is expected, when and via what channel – some teams love Slack, others prefer a call or weekly email.

I’ve had clients complain in the past about lack of communication, but never about too much communication – so err on the side of caution and they’ll soon tell you if they’re hearing from you too much!

Tip – with clients (and teams) in different time zones e.g. US or Australia, agree set times of the day for communication (you can also add an additional time zone to your Google calendar to streamline scheduling).

I also love this live time zone tool, it shows you what time it is anywhere in the world in relation to you.


DO make sure you stick to your communication agreement

The moment you get sloppy with your comms, your account will start to suffer. You think I’m exaggerating? Give it a go!

What happens is you start to lose the trust you built up with your client and their team and then they start to wonder what you’re doing with your time and how committed you are to their account. Simple. The rest is downhill from there.

 

DO a thorough handover

Off on holiday? Make sure you:

  • Know who you’re handing over your accounts and work to whilst your away AND let your clients know in advance
  • Make sure that handover is like War and Peace – it covers everything your colleagues need to know about the campaigns you’re working on with attachments or links to all the documents and the status of each.

 

DO record all minutes from meetings

This might seem like a particular ball-ache (and it is) BUT it will save you on more than one occasion.

After every call or in-person meeting, make sure you follow-up with thorough notes about what was discussed and actions stating who is going to do what and by when. Then email it to everyone involved in that call/meeting and ask if there was anything missing.

This WILL save you. The next time a colleague or client says “we never agreed that” you’ll be able to prove that you did.

Tip – if it’s an important meeting invite another team member to take notes whilst you control the meeting. It’s really difficult to talk, think and take notes, so take the pressure off and let someone else do that part so you don’t miss anything important and you get all your points across properly.

There are platforms like mindup.co that connect to your calendar so you can take notes for all your meetings (we’re currently trialing this) so we’ll keep you posted on how we get on as this would save a LOT of time!

 

DO have a crisis comms strategy in place

This is a new one for us.

Following a campaign that nearly went sideways just before launch, we agreed with the client that in the future if a crisis were to arise, we would have a communication process in place so both we and the client know who is responsible for what and when.

 

DO be human

Over the years, I’ve found that being professional is good but actually in most social situations (even professional), people want to connect to you, they want to find a way to relate to you.

And when you’ve got a situation that is going wrong, one of the best ways to start to fix that situation is to be human – be open and honest.

Sometimes being honest, admitting some fault and using a little humour can take you a long way in rectifying a situation and can in the long run even improve the relationship.

When I talk about project management, I feel It should be in relation to ‘sprints’ and being ‘agile’ but I think as an agency we’ve worked on too many websites in the past. 

But there are many similarities between creating a website and creating a campaign, both require planning, scheduling, testing and much more.

 

DO use project management software

If you’ve got multiple accounts and campaigns and people working on those campaigns both internally and externally then you WILL require some form of project management support either in the form of a spreadsheet or something a little more sophisticated.

When scheduling our campaigns we use Monday, but you could use Gannt charts, Podio, or any similar project management tool. The key is to use it consistently and share your clients in IF they want.


DON’T rush ideation

When planning campaign schedules, make sure you give as much time to ideation as you do outreach, especially for a campaign / account with high KPIs.

The worst thing you can do is rush the ideation process and put a time limit on your creativity. Factor in plenty of time to revisit ideas, to check their feasibility and if need be, go back to the drawing board.

If you’re in need of some tips and inspiration watch our webinar with Mark Johnstone on the biggest ideation challenges and how to overcome them

 

DO present campaign ideas consistently

Every agency has a different way of presenting their campaign ideas to clients, some prefer a deck, some prefer a doc with tables (us) – may sound boring but we do it for good reason to make sure we’ve really thought about the idea in-depth before getting caught up in the visuals or the format.

However you choose to present your ideas, make sure it’s always consistent so the client knows what to expect and can easily review your ideas each time.

Most of us don’t have the pitching skills of Steve Jobs, even though we’re presenting ideas to teams and clients weekly!

 

DO be persuasive

One of the roles as the account manager is to pitch campaign ideas to the client, to convince the client to trust you with a particular idea or set of ideas. The riskier the idea, the more convincing and persuasive you’ll need to be. This is a skill that comes much easier to some than others, but it can be learnt and there are some great talks and books out there that can help build your confidence in this area.

But in order to really sell an idea, you need to believe in it yourself in order to get behind it, otherwise you won’t be able to talk about it with any passion.

For example, when pitching ideas, we pitch a max of five, any more is overwhelming and we only put ideas forwards if we think they have a good chance of success.

In The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar, she looks at how people make choices and why you need to offer few choices to customers and clients:

“When people are given a moderate number of options (4 to 6) rather than a large number (20 to 30), they are more likely to make a choice, are more confident in their decisions, and are happier with what they choose.”

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is also well worth a read to understand the psychology of how to relate to people to create better relationships.


DO have a newsjacking process in place

If you want to beat other agencies and brands to the post, you have to be nimble. From the start, we find out what experts our clients have internally and how quickly they can respond with comments or tips etc for newsjacking.

For example we warn clients that they may need to respond in less than thirty minutes to be successful – so a good account manager will have internal experts on speed dial (or the email / Slack equivalent).

In order to secure coverage from newsjacking, the JBH team aims to produce and get content signed off within an hour.

Below is an example of coverage gained newsjacking listicle content off the back of the Amazon’s acquisition of MGM for our client ZenBusines.

 

DON’T forget to track your links

You worked damn hard to build those links, so make sure that spreadsheet is up to date especially if you have LIVE reporting like JBH and your client could check in at any time for an update!

 

DON’T ignore the elephant in the room

So it’s time to provide an update, but you don’t have any new links or coverage to show your client.

The worst thing you can do is not send that email. Instead, think about what positives you can mention (any sniffs from journalists?) and what your strategy will be for outreach for next week – what angles will you focus on / how can you re-pitch it?

Provide a positive update and don’t give the impression you’ve already given up. Because if you’ve set your campaign up right, there’s plenty more angles to be outreached.

 

DON’T go rogue

I’ve heard this happen a few times recently (not JBH) – digital PRs sending out pitches without getting the content signed off by the client first.

This is really reckless, you may just want to get something out, but it destroys the trust you’ve built with your client AND it can land your client in trouble with their management too, especially if they operate in regulated sectors like healthcare, law, finance or education for example.

 

DON’T resort to Twitter

We’ve all been there, we’ve all had bad days with our clients, where you’re butting heads over whether you can launch a campaign or count a tier one nofollow link against your targets.

However, before you have a rant on Twitter or fire off a subtweet (they’ll know), just remember that there MAYBE things going on that you’re unaware of, other stresses on your client. So try not to take things personally and try to put yourself in their shoes for a moment.

Just step away from the keyboard..

Tip – a long time ago I was told never to reply OR send an email when angry. Go for a walk, wait a least an hour to really cool down and then come back with a clearer head.

 

DON’T wing it

As employers we might use the phrase ‘there are no silly questions’ and we mean this.

You might think your manager is sick of your questions and might not be able to handle another, but we’d much prefer you ask a question than just winging it.

Sometimes winging it can result in a methodology being torn to pieces by a journalist or a press release not being signed off which could have devastating consequences for a campaign (and account), so always ask if unsure.

 

DON’T beat yourself up

It’s very easy when things do go wrong to blame yourself and let the doubt set in, but these are always temporary situations that are always fixed and we learn and grow from each experience.

It’s important to see the big picture, that you’re doing a fantastic job overall and this is just a blip. For a reminder of what a good job you’re doing, look back at your successes.

Kirsty Hulse always has great advice on managing self doubt whilst giving us a daily boost..


DON’T overschedule your week

We’re all guilty of seeing gaps in our calendar and cramming more calls in when clients request them and then wondering why we have no time in our day to get work done, but don’t be afraid to question whether that call is actually needed, whether it can wait until your weekly catch up instead.

If in doubt, ask what is going to be discussed on the call and if it’s not urgent, could it wait? Nine times out of ten, it probably can, freeing you up to actually get some work done.

 

DO fake it until you make it

Unfortunately clients need and want to see that their account is managed by someone that knows what they’re doing.

You may have the knowledge and experience but struggle with self-confidence in certain situations like leading client calls or presenting ideas in front of a team. And when you’re presenting ideas and trying to convince a client that they should go for a particular idea, you need to appear confident.

For many years I struggled with confidence and I still struggle with confidence occasionally today in high pressure situations, so I do understand.

In order to tackle my own lack of self-confidence and fear of public speaking head-on, a few years ago I went on an intensive public speaking course which made a world of difference.

There are some really inspiring TED talks about building confidence that I really recommend, and until you’re there, I rate this talk about using power poses to fake it until you make it – they’re fun simple tips and they make you feel good.

It does get easier, it just takes time, trust me!

After writing this, I’m reminded what a difficult job it is being an account manager and how many skills are required to do this role, so hats off to all you AMs out there!

1000 666 Lauren Henley

Five backlink profile red flags you should be aware of

As digital PRs we can be guilty of logging into our link tracking platforms, scouring for the ones we’ve built and jumping straight back out. Yet a full backlink profile often ranges from the wonderful, the weird and, occasionally, toxic. 

A deep dive into the links coming into your domain is essential for a digital PR strategy. The right links in the right places can help boost referral traffic and rankings for your key terms.

No bought link can compete with the power of a successful digital PR campaign. When done right, it’s a marketing technique that can bring those all-important relevant backlinks, as well as social media shares, referral traffic, coverage and will build your brand along with your traffic.

Do you know what’s lurking in your, or your clients, backlink profiles? The chances are probably not.

 

What are toxic backlinks?

Not all backlinks are equal, and just because you didn’t build anything dodgy doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Toxic backlinks can potentially damage your SEO efforts, meaning lower rankings and less traffic.

When building links to a domain that is new to you, it’s always good to ask if any link work has been done before – and what kind. Google cracked down hard on backlinks that attempt to manipulate rankings back in 2012, so if any link work was carried out before then the chances are it could be toxic.

Way back when SEO became a popular digital marketing tool, the backlink scene was more wild west than world wide web. Link builders could build blog networks and direct thousands of backlinks to their domain within minutes, or even rent link space on high powered sites to give themselves a boost.

This worked, and it worked too well. In 2012, Google introduced their Penguin update which all but put an end to this behaviour and sought to level the playing field so more money didn’t mean high rankings. It also put their users first, ranking sites based on the quality of their backlinks rather than just the quantity.

Google Analytics for a site hit with unnatural linking penalty

As poor quality sites take longer to index, it could be weeks or even months, before harmful backlinks show up in link tracking tools.

 

Where do toxic backlinks come from?

Historic black hat link building is a big cause of low-quality links, but there are other routes for these links to come pointing to your domain. Yet toxic link building isn’t always historic, and many still rely on these techniques to boost rankings.

While the days of buying backlinks, PBNs (private blog networks), and expensive guest posts should be long gone, there are still plenty of domains reaping the benefits of bad linking. However, this is a ticking time bomb and frankly – your site deserves better.

A natural backlink profile is generally made up of three different kinds of links:

  • High authority sites
  • Hyper relevant or local publications
  • Naturally occurring backlinks which you didn’t know were coming

 

Keyword Rich Anchor Text

A high volume of keyword-rich anchor text in a backlink profile is a sure sign that a domain is trying to game the system. A simple rule is that if it’s a term you’d hope to rank for, the anchor text is considered keyword rich.

Some links with exact or partial match anchor text are to be expected. Occasionally in forum posts or comments, someone with no SEO knowledge will link to you using keywords in the anchor to recommend a product or service. These are unavoidable and no-followed, so not all keyword-rich anchor text causes alarm.

However, if your backlink profile is heavy with keywords it’s worth an investigation. If the same keywords are occurring over and over again, from low-quality sites and to the same inner pages it could be penalised. Is the risk really worth the reward?

The nature of digital PR means we often have little control over what anchor text is used to link to our campaigns, but if something doesn’t feel right don’t be afraid to ask a journalist to change it.

 

Negative SEO

While not as common as it once was, this tactic is a perfect example of why you should regularly check your backlink profile. Negative SEO is the trick where a competitor pays for hundreds of toxic backlinks or negative reviews to point to your domain, in the hope of a Google penalty against you. In more severe cases people even hack your website to fill it with terms that promote risky products.

However negative SEO isn’t always intentional and you can occasionally be unlucky enough to find yourself mixed in with others leaving your domain with thousands of links on link farms and content scraping sites.

While you can’t always prevent a negative SEO attack, keeping a close eye on your backlink profile can ensure you’re prepared for the worst. An unnatural increase in backlinks can be a sign of a link spam attack, especially if the links are coming from adult sites or pharmaceutical domains.


Bought Links

Almost ten years since Google’s Penguin update this debate still rages on. The internet is full of tips and tricks on how to ‘carefully’ buy links in 2021, even though Google themselves say that paid links ‘don’t work’.

Google has had ups and downs in its relationship with backlinks, and from its inception, links have been a core part of its algorithm.

Do links work in 2021? The short answer is: yes.

The longer answer is that now, it’s easier to rank well with good on-page content and a technically sound site alone. But when links are added to the equation, it’s like fuel on a fire.

We’ve all had the emails and LinkedIn messages from link touts flogging their wares. The problem with the domains on offer is that generally, they are low quality and low relevance.

A solid digital PR strategy can easily gain links that are more relevant and offer higher quality to a domain. In fact, Google’s John Mueller recently confirmed that one high-quality backlink from top-tier news is more powerful than thousands of lower quality backlinks.

Spotting bought links in your link profile often takes a bit of digging. If you see a new link come in and you don’t recall pitching to them, check around on the site. There are some telltale signs that the website accepts payment for content including ‘write for us’ pages or even a media kit referencing their prices.

If you can see this information, then the chances are that Google can too. Buying links may give you a boost in the short term, but as algorithms continue to get smarter the risk of negative effects increases.


Low metrics

For many digital marketers, metrics are our bread and butter and that is no different in digital PR. On their own, many metrics like DA or DR don’t mean an awful lot but when you look at a link profile as a whole it helps to create a picture of the quality of links you have.

A backlink profile will generally have a higher percentage of low metric links. This is because all sites naturally pick up several links over the years from all kinds of sources.

The nuance here is context. If a large proportion of low metric links also bring along with them exact match anchor text or are paid for, this is where it becomes a problem.

 

Duplicate content

Another fall out from the dark days of link building is duplicate content. Years ago digital marketers could write a press release, upload it to a newswire and (hey presto!) have hundreds of backlinks all using the same content.

This quick and dirty link building technique got slapped down hard in the Panda algorithm update. Guidelines meant that press releases were required to be 100% original, and publications changed their policies to only include exclusive content.

Canonicalisation now means that publications are safer to reuse content and keep themselves protected. Yet if duplicate content is showing up multiple times in your backlink tracking tools, canonicalisation may not be set up correctly on the sites linking out.

This is more of a problem for the sites linking back, but no one wants to be associated with a website that is facing a duplicate content penalty.

 

What next?

A natural backlink profile is made up of links on domains that are relevant, good quality and earned not bought.

When doing some domain digging, it’s important to stay curious and always be on the lookout for something that could be harmful, but don’t jump to conclusions.

Often there is an honest explanation for any dodgy links, the most important thing is to ensure your domain stays safe. If you can’t find the source of toxic linking, then keep checking your new links and manually remove them where possible or look to a disavow file for more severe cases.

Here we have covered off some of the main pointers that show toxic links in your backlink profile, but there is much more to these topics. Want to know more about the KPIs that can help drive digital PR return on investment or what makes a ‘good’ link? We’ve got you covered!

If you’d prefer to hear it from Google themselves, their Webmaster Guidelines are full of linking best practices.

1000 666 Chloe Maxwell

Career Confidence in PR and Where To Find It

No matter how great we are at our jobs, there will always come a time where we lack confidence in ourselves and our abilities – whether it be from a place of self-doubt, or the tiniest piece of constructive criticism on a particularly bad day.

PR is a tough world, when I started working in the industry I wasn’t prepared for just how much discourse and well, drama there would be – and I studied fashion, so I know a tough industry when I see one. 

With constant discussions on the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn – whether it be about methodologies, outreach etiquette or the ongoing Digital vs. Traditional PR debate – it’s easy to read through threads and comment sections and feel like you’re doing something, or everything wrong.

Usually, we’re not – but it doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes start to question everything we do in fear of stepping one foot wrong, resulting in needing a major career confidence boost. 

So where do we find it?

Social Media

Credit – @kirstyhulse

It might seem a bit hypocritical suggesting social media as a place to find confidence after explaining how it can destroy it – but if you look in the right places, and find the right people, it can be.

Whilst both Twitter and LinkedIn can be a hub of discourse, especially in the ‘PR World’,  there’s also plenty of people willing to offer support and advice.

Motivational speaker and founder Kirsty Hulse is well known in the Marketing and PR industry for her lighthearted, comedic keynotes, speeches and confidence training. She doesn’t keep everything behind a paywall however, and is always sharing tips on career confidence over on her Twitter account @Kirsty_Hulse.

 

Credit – @thehappynewspaper

A huge part of working in PR is spending a good chunk of your time scrolling through news articles and social media, and especially recently – when it feels like it’s nothing but bad news, you need something to break through the noise…that’s where The Happy Newspaper comes in.

The Happy Newspaper frequently shares not only good news and fun, interesting facts but also plenty of motivational messages for anyone who might be having a bit of a tough day.

 

Credit: @girlsinmarketing

Girls in Marketing isn’t just a social page, it’s a whole community – and it’s exactly what it says in the tin. In 2019 it was found that 79% of women lack confidence in the workplace, Girls In Marketing is not only an excellent educational tool, but also a great page to follow on all social platforms for well needed, motivational affirmations.

 

Film & TV

Credit – @theboldtypetv

Do you ever wonder why we find film and TV so relatable? Despite being (mostly) fictional, there’s something comforting about seeing real life situations, even if they’re not actuallyreal life’, happening right in front of our eyes. So it comes as no surprise that some of your favourite films and shows can actually be one of your main sources of inspiration.

The Bold Type on Netflix has become an instant hit, and revolves around three young women working at a hit fashion magazine, showing just how tough a career in media and digital can be.

What’s so great about it though, is that it doesn’t just show the characters achievements, but also shows their not-so-perfect moments too – where they get things wrong. It does an excellent job at normalizing that you don’t have to get it perfect, every single time.

 

Credit: @thegentlemanoftoday

Mad Men, a little different compared to The Bold Type, but still an excellent depiction of a life in media and marketing. The period drama follows the escapades of Don Draper, an advertising executive.

Don is nothing short of...shady, so maybe don’t look up to him as a role model, and instead as an example of what not to do – but the show is great for finding inspiration in the world of PR and Advertising – especially in regards to pitching. It’s perfect to watch before that big, nerve-wracking client meeting!

 

Books

Credit – @steven

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than sitting back and relaxing with a good book – whether it be fact or fiction.

If you’re in the PR/Marketing/Social World, you probably don’t need an explanation as to who Steven Bartlett is – the ‘Social Chain’ founder and entrepreneur recently released his critically acclaimed book ‘Happy Sexy Millionaire’ – and it’s the perfect sunday read if you’ve been feeling a little down on yourself. The tale of Bartlett’s successes and failures – from being a Uni drop-out to running a hugely successful agency, is definitely one for the ‘To Read’ list.

Steven also has his podcast, ‘Diary Of A CEO’ – which is perfect for if you feel as if  you don’t have the time to sit down and read.

 

Credit: @mcsnugz

Author Sarah Knight has an entire series to well, put it a little more politely…but not give a toss what other people think of who you are, what you do, and how you do it. ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F**k’ is a perfect, light and humorous read to stop you overthinking constantly and you’ll turn that last page feeling a lot more confident.

Confidence doesn’t come easily, especially in an industry as tough, challenging and ever-changing as PR – but it can be easy to find. 

1000 665 JBH - The Digital PR Agency

WATCH AGAIN: The reality of pitching to a pop culture journalist

If you work in digital PR and have pitched entertainment stories, then this is the webinar for you.

JBH invited the fabulous Yomi Adegoke, pop culture journalist for The Guardian and I newspaper to share her experiences and insight as a journalist.

Yomi shares advice for PRs to help them tailor their stories and pitches to optimise them for coverage, what she is looking for and more interestingly, what she isn’t looking for.


The webinar covers:

  • How reality TV is impacting the news and social culture
  • The types of stories Yomi wants to receive
  • The subject lines that really grab her attention and why
  • The ideal pitch length
  • Pitch FAILS

About Yomi

Yomi Adegoke is an award-winning journalist writing for The Guardian and the i newspaper and the co-author of the 2018 book Slay In Your Lane.

Yomi writes about race, feminism, popular culture and how they intersect, as well as class and politics.

1000 666 JBH - The Digital PR Agency

Good link/bad link: The KPIs you should really care about to get a return on investment

Why are we doing digital PR and outreach? What is the purpose of link building? Some in the industry would say that they do it for SEO, for link juice or to achieve a higher DA figure or increase the number of referring domains. Whilst metrics such as DA, DR or TF and the number of referring domains are a good indication, they are not all that matters. The big misunderstanding often lies in a confusion over what the goal really is. The end goal of any digital PR campaign are not the links, it is an increase in sales for your business.

What KPIs should you set for outreach and how do you measure ROI?

Rankings and organic traffic

When you do SEO for your website, what you want is an increase in rankings in the search engines and more visitors. You want your business to be seen on the internet. When doing digital PR for SEO, the goal should be the same. You want to improve ranking positions for highly relevant keywords and as a result an increased number of visitors, hence organic traffic.

The caveat though is that better rankings and higher numbers of visitors are difficult to attribute to digital PR only. Any other SEO related activity on your website could have contributed to the improvements too. What can be said with certainty is that your number should be going up over time. If they are not, you might not be doing the right things for SEO and digital PR and should dig a bit deeper into what is working for your business and what is not.

This is how steady growth looks like (screenshot taken from Ahrefs.com):

Graph in Ahrefs that shows rankings improvements over time.

Referral traffic

There is another traffic figure that you should be looking at and this one can directly by attributed to your digital PR efforts: Referral traffic. Those are the visitors that come to your site by clicking on a backlink. You can get those numbers in Google Analytics:

Screenshot of the different acquisition channels in Google Analytics

The second row in the above table shows the referral traffic your website got within the specified time period. You could drill down further and see the traffic from each backlink individually. This will help you identify which links bring visitors to your site.

The above screenshot shows some more metrics that you should be looking at when evaluating the value of a backlink: bounce rate and session duration. Those figures are a strong indicator of the relevance of a link. If a user clicks on a link, gets to your site but immediately clicks back, the content was not relevant to them. Relevance also matters to Google and has an impact on the value of a backlink for SEO. When researching websites to outreach to, keep the topic and the target audience in mind to determine how relevant a link from that site would be.

When reporting on digital PR results you probably already include the domain name and the respective DA, DR or TF. Maybe add the following KPIs: referral traffic for each link, time referral visitors spent on your site, how many pages they visit and the bounce rate. With correct goal setups in Google Analytics according to your attribution model, you could also add conversion figures.

Conversions

This brings us back to the original question: What are you doing it for? SEO and digital PR should not only result in better rankings and more traffic to your site. For a lasting impact, you want to increase sales. This means you should track conversions and attribute those accordingly to each of your marketing efforts.

What counts as a conversion depends on your business model and business goals. It can be a newsletter signup, a price enquiry, or a purchase amongst many others. If you can, include those numbers in your link building reports – for each link individually and for your overall organic traffic.

Brand awareness

There is one other KPI that often is forgotten because all we seem to care about are links, links, links. If we look back at what traditional PR aims to achieve, it seems almost obvious that we should also account for it in digital PR. That is brand awareness.

It is another goal that is difficult to measure in numbers, but there are a few indicators for increased brand awareness that you can measure: unlinked mentions of your brand, social media signs and branded searches in Google.

How to measure ROI

We have now seen a mix of link building KPIs. Some of them are easily measurable, others are harder to put into numbers. What you can put into numbers though is the cost of your digital PR efforts – no matter if you are doing it in-house or with the help an agency like JBH. You always can tell exactly how much time the team has spent on a campaign from ideation through creation and outreach to the final reporting. Those hours come with a price and the day will come where the main stakeholders in your business ask for the ROI.

The formula seems straightforward: (PR Revenue – Cost of digital PR)/Cost of digital PR.

Formula to calculate digital PR ROI

The cost of digital PR only depends on a quick look into your books. The PR Revenue however requires some thought. You should include the conversions from organic traffic and the referral traffic, but also a certain percentage of social and direct traffic could be attributed to digital PR. All you have to do is decide on an attribution model for your overall business reporting.

 

 

1000 665 JBH - The Digital PR Agency

WATCH AGAIN: The biggest ideation challenges and how to overcome them

If you missed our webinar with creative content expert Mark Johnstone of contenthubble.com, you can catch up now. Mark shares his insight into the challenges and pitfalls we all face during the ideation process, whether ideating for content or digital PR campaigns.

 

About Mark
Mark is a creative content consultant and the founder of Content Hubble helping marketing teams make better content.

In his previous role at Distilled, he transformed the agency’s content offering – setting up and growing the creative team, and creating content that received over 18 million visits and 1.4 million social shares.

He’s also spoken at Inbound by HubSpot, SearchLove by Distilled, the Content Marketing Show and Turing Festival. In his presentations, Mark aims to demystify the creative process and boil it down to concrete actionable advice. His presentation, ‘how to produce better content ideas’ has been viewed 4.1 million times.

450 300 JBH - The Digital PR Agency

Graduation day: How to land a job in Digital PR?

We’ve all been there: You got your degree and venture out to the job market to find your first role in Digital PR. Landing your first job can be an intense process, but it is worth it. (This applies to any industry, not just digital PR.) That first job will be the foundation of your whole career and we have some tips for you how to get the job you really want in an agency you really want to work for.

Do what digital PR’s do

If you want to work in digital PR, you should early on get into certain habits of digital PRs. This will enhance your cover letter, give you a lot to talk about in an interview and show that you are passionate about the job you are applying for.

Consume Media

In digital PR, journalists are your best friends, and you must understand what they are looking for in a good story and what topics they are interested in. The best way to do this is by reading news and follow the media and you keep reading, reading, reading throughout your whole career.

Pile of Newspapers

Photo by Mike van Schoonderwalt from Pexels

Use Social Media wisely

When we speak of media, we also mean social media, mainly Twitter. This is not about posting pictures on Instagram, it’s about following the right people on Twitter and LinkedIn. Find those that are already working in digital PR and follow them. See what they are talking about and you’ll always know what the industry is doing. Here are a few accounts to follow for some serious digital PR inspiration:

Follow blogs and webinars

Agencies and digital PR do not only talk about their industry on social media. Most of them have their own blogs and run regular webinars or expert roundups. These sources will also tell you what the industry is currently talking about, plus you will find tips that will help you master digital PR better than any textbook could, because the information in webinars is based on real case-studies and experience always trumps theoretical knowledge. The JBH Missing Link Webinar features talks from industry experts and journalists. For example, we have talked about pitching to personal finance journalists and newsjacking, and you can view all of the previous webinars here.

Read inspiring books

When we say that you can put the textbooks aside, we do not mean that you should stop reading. What we are saying is that you should read books that are based on real job experience and are written by people doing the job you dream of. The probably most-read marketing library is by Seth Godin, but there is a whole list of marketing books to indulge in.

Pile of books. The book on top folds up in a circle.

Photo from Pexels

Get experience

In certain ways, digital PR is no different than other industries: experience is what makes you better at the job and as a recent graduate, experience is what makes you stick out. Not only will your CV get attention, but you will also have more things to talk about during the interview.

If you cannot find any internship opportunities in digital PR, have a look at the wider digital marketing space or journalism. If you widen the scope in your search for practical experience, there will be more opportunities to go after and any digital marketing experience will be beneficial for your career in digital PR. Practical experience in journalism will give you insights into the industry you will be mostly working with. Knowing how journalists think will be your secret weapon.

Hands-on

If you still cannot find opportunities to get work experience, why not make your own opportunities? Starting an own blog has never been easier than it is today. Write about a topic you are passionate about and see how it unfolds. Learn how to create engaging content, how to promote it and how to grow your readership. Your own blog will not only be a learning resource, it can also become your portfolio. Do something you are proud of and show it to the world.

Hands reaching a document to each other

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Keep on applying

The same applies to your job application for digital PR roles: Do something you are proud of. Creativity is key in this profession and a creative cover letter will certainly get attention and make you stand out.

All of the above does not only apply to recent PR graduates, but it is also for everybody else who wants to land a job in digital PR. What that means is that a PR degree is not an entry requirement, it gives an advantage, but there are other things that hold more weight in your CV and your portfolio. We have seen successful digital PRs with degrees in psychology, history, art or languages. Let not let a degree stop you from going after the things you want. What is more important is passion and experience. If you love what you do, you will become great at it.

That being said, do not let a failed job application weigh you down. We have all been rejected and redirected towards something that was more meant for us. Keep on applying, keep on going for what you want, and you will get it. Head over to our careers page to see the latest roles we have available at JBH.

1000 666 Robyn Munro

My First Two Months As A Junior Digital PR Executive

If you told me six months ago that I would be learning a new job role from home, during a global pandemic, I would have thought you were bonkers. Less than two weeks into my journey here at JBH, Boris put the UK on lockdown and like many others it was time to adapt to the WFH lifestyle and learn the ropes at the same time.

It will be coming up to five months since I started working at JBH, so I thought I would share you into some tips and insight into starting your first job in Digital PR.

1. Don’t be scared to ask questions – ask away

If it’s your first graduate role, then everything is pretty much new to you! From the clients to jargon, you won’t be familiar with it, and your agency won’t expect you to know it all! It’s really important to not be afraid to ask questions, plus the more questions you ask the more comfortable you’ll become. I must have asked our Senior Digital PR Executive Sophie hundreds of questions, and I always apologised and thought I was incredibly annoying in the process but she always reassured me to ask away and no question is a stupid question.

Top Tip: Ask other members of your team questions (rather than just one person) and you will get a wealth of information and knowledge.

 

2. Absorb everything – be a sponge

There are some amazing blogs, webinars, and newsletters out there that you can read for inspiration and help you understand Digital PR. I have explored different blogs since I started at JBH, particularly Jessica Pardoe’s blog, The Weekly PR Newsletter, and our amazing JBH Jane Hunt’s webinars that include incredible guests from across the industry.

Top Tip: Check out some free courses you can complete, Google Analytics have some good ones

 

3. Adapt quickly – lockdown loomed

I never anticipated that after a week and a half of being in the office, we would go into another lockdown due to coronavirus, which led to us all working from home. Since graduating from university, I completely lost my confidence so the idea of being on my own devices at home after only dipping into a few training sessions dawned on me. But life is all about adapting and I’ve adapted to change my entire life! Our daily meetings have resulted in being on g-meet, to stay socialising with the team we have a fortnightly win and games session, and we have members of our team we are yet to meet, but we are like a little work family (I say little but we are expanding quick!..)

Top Tip: Drop in on other members of your team and check up on them, see how they are! I’m sure they would love to chat about their day. They might even give your work a once over and a fresh pair of eyes.

 

4. Networking is important

The Digital PR industry is really rewarding and everyone is lovely – get yourself a professional Twitter account and build your network on there. Yes, LinkedIn is great for networking, but Twitter is where the fun is! You can follow others and get inspiration from accounts like @DigitalPRInspo and @DigitalPREx. Share your campaigns, praise others, get involved in conversations, and brag about your links!

Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to get involved in conversations, even if you don’t know them


5. Be patient with yourself

Everyone learns differently, some people might get things quicker than others but if you don’t get it straight away then don’t be hard on yourself – hard work takes time and it does pay off eventually! Remember that you’re learning and you are fresh in PR!

Top Tip: Sometimes campaigns don’t land, but don’t stress about it – this is a massive learning curve for future campaigns and you can learn from this.

 

6. Think like a journalist

I’ve figured since starting at JBH that sometimes, despite being in PR, you have to think like a journalist and think what would they want to read? You might think your campaign is amazing and you want to tell the world but be concise and straight to the point especially when you’re outreaching, as you want to draw the journalist in straight away!

Top Tip: When you’re outreaching, draw the journalist in within the first two sentences.

 

7. Practice makes perfect

You might feel like Bart Simpson writing the same thing over and over, and it might become mundane but practice makes perfect! You will eventually nail it and do it without thinking about it when you’re confident in what you’re doing. When you start seeing your work online or journalists email you, it is so satisfying.

Top Tip: Look at previous campaigns for your client and how the tone of voice changes from each client. Some clients you need to read so much information on them to make sure you know them inside and out.

digital pr beyond the backlink
1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Digital PR beyond the backlink: Reaching a wider audience on radio and TV

We often hear that the purpose of digital PR is attracting backlinks to a website to improve SEO rankings. But is it really? Maybe we should start looking at the bigger picture.

A good digital PR campaign does not only attract links but increases brand awareness and mostly draws attention. When we speak of media coverage, we look beyond the backlink. Google and Bing have said in the past, that mentions and citations on the web hold value, even if unlinked.

In that sense, digital PR makes a move to get a bit closer to traditional PR. Websites are not the only media that matters; Radio, TV and even print media play a key role in raising brand awareness and in spreading the word to reach a wider audience.

A study by Ofcom confirms that TV is still the most-used platform for news in 2020. The average adult watched 98 hours of TV news in 2019 and more than 80% of UK TV News viewers use BBC TV channels, more than 30% refer to Sky news. Even more interesting is the discovery that the number of UK adults using Social Media for news has dropped from 49% in 2019 to 45% in 2020. It seems that fake news has caused a decrease in trust in social media. BBC One and ITV are the most referred to news sources. Imagine how many people your campaign could reach if it appeared on those channels? And that on the other hand can lead to even more media coverage and links.

Before we go into some case studies, we should mention a few things to keep in mind in the early stages of a backlink campaign.

Considerations in the early stages of a campaign

One of the key elements of any successful marketing campaign is planning. Before even starting, there should not be any doubt about the target audience, the campaign idea and how to promote the content. Already at this stage, it should be considered whether this campaign would be suitable for media channels like TV or radio. With that comes the question whether you want to promote your brand in these channels. If yes, do you have an expert available that could speak for your brand and will not be shy to stand in front of a camera or a microphone? This is a question you should be ready to answer at any stage of the campaign because if a media outlet is interested in an interview, they usually want it quickly. If you start looking for an expert then, you might lose valuable time and risk losing the opportunity.

Tips to pitch a campaign for TV or radio

If the answer to all previous questions is “yes”: The campaign is suitable for TV or radio, the brand should be promoted on those channels and you have an expert at hand that is available for interviews, it is important to include that information in your outreach emails, especially when pitching to broadcast journalists. They will only know that you have an expert at hand if you tell them!

Other markets provide additional opportunity. If a campaign has broad appeal in different markets, even foreign news channels can cover it. Your pitch should be geared to journalists in that market. Especially in TV, foreign media is not shy to draw upon foreign news stories or interview in English because they are already doing that anyways. We will see an example further below in our case studies.

Case Studies

At JBH, we have run many successful digital PR campaigns and some of our highlights include coverage on TV and radio for some of our clients. That is what we focus on in the following examples. If you are interested in full case studies about campaigns, please refer to our comprehensive JBH case studies.

A dog sitting on a table with a cocktail in front.

Tails.com

In August 2020 shortly after the UK government had released the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Together with tails.com, we created a list of 14 dog-friendly restaurants in Battersea. The pictures of dogs sipping on cocktails or tasting on a pile of pancakes have brought a lot of media coverage. Mid-August 2020, the Head Veterinarian of Tails.com Sean McCormack appeared on BCC radio to talk about the dog-friendly approach to Eat Out to Help Out:

LuggageHero

LuggageHero published a campaign in October 2020 that focused on leaf foliage in London’s parks. Not only was the campaign picked up by BBC radio with an interview with Simon Sunderbeck, but it also set the trend of leaf peeping. The interview even sparked the idea of a leaf peeping festival that could be spread across 250 London parks in the next year, given that the pandemic will lay behind us by then.

Hero image of the listicle about leaf peeping in London.

Emoov.co.uk

This campaign by emoov.co.uk required some creativity and we came up with an imaginary property listing. What if the queen decided to sell Buckingham Palace? The energy rating came out as quite poor, but what can you expect with 240 bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, a swimming pool and an on-site post office?

We didn’t hide the fact that this is an imaginary listing and turned it into a competition. Readers could guess the price of the property and win a royal hamper.

The campaign brought more than 20 links and was covered by global news sites such as sputniknews.com and German news sites such as merkur.de. We are particularly proud that this PR stunt had been picked up by the French TV station France Télévisions:

1024 681 JBH - The Digital PR Agency

WATCH AGAIN: How to pitch to personal finance journalists

If you missed our webinar with personal finance journalists Tara Evans from The Sun and Adam Williams from the Telegraph you can catch up now. They share insight into how the pandemic has affected their roles, the types of pitches they want to receive and the opportunities for brands. Plus, they also provide tips to help you secure coverage.

 

The webinar covers:

  • How their roles have changed
  • How the pandemic and economic climate has impacted the news desk
  • What type of stories should PRs be pitching?
  • What stories get the best engagement from your readers?
  • Pitch fails
  • How to optimise stories for coverage

Tara Evans | https://twitter.com/taraevans
Digital Consumer Editor at The Sun Online. In the past Tara’s stories have been turned into Dispatches documentaries, informed BBC Watchdog and led investigations for The Guardian. Tara has a special interest in growing online and social audiences, investigative journalism and developing new formats.

Adam Williams | https://twitter.com/adamfrwilliams
Adam Williams is an award-winning financial journalist working for the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph. He predominantly covers mortgages, property, investments and banking. He has previously written for publications including the Guardian, the Mirror and Moneywise. Adam was awarded both Mortgage Journalist of the Year and Investment Journalist of the year at the prestigious Headlinemoney Awards in 2020.


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