Tips

1024 682 Meg Granville

My experience moving from traditional PR to digital PR, and why it doesn’t have to be scary

There’s a lot to be said about the differences between digital and traditional PR, but what if you’re thinking of making the switch to digital after a long stint at the other end? The truth is, there isn’t a whole lot to worry about.

When I finished university, I fell in love with PR after being given the opportunity to attend a graduate day at one of Manchester’s biggest firms. The idea of getting to work at events and write content that could end up printed in UK national newspapers excited me, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

After landing my first job in traditional PR, I soon learnt all the ins and outs of what my new job role meant and how to achieve the best coverage for clients. I immediately knew that this was where I wanted to take my career — without ever really thinking about what working in digital PR could mean. 

When the pandemic hit, I started to consider some new options, and what aspects of PR I was really interested in, by taking part in online courses like Google’s Fundamentals of Digital Marketing. I soon came to realise that something was missing for me when it came to traditional PR. 

Fast forward to November 2020 — when I was offered a job at JBH. The idea of going from being someone who understood the traditional PR industry very well to traversing entirely new terrain in digital PR was quite a daunting prospect. Would I fit in with the digital PR world? What if this was a massive career mistake?

Truthfully — there was absolutely no reason to worry. I had plenty of skills built up from my university degree and experience from working in traditional PR — which made the process of transitioning to digital a lot smoother than I originally anticipated.

 

How I used my skills from traditional PR in my current role

I started out as a Junior Digital PR Executive at JBH, learning new skills as I went along. Nonetheless, the more I asked questions, the quicker I realised I already had valuable experience that would help me excel in my new role.


Writing Copy
Having done a degree in sociology, I was already familiar with writing long pieces of content in tight deadlines, while paying strict attention to detail. This meant that when faced with large amounts of copy and landing pages, I was able to quickly adapt my skills to new challenges.

A hugely valuable skill I’d already learned from working in traditional PR was knowing how to pitch email to journalists in a way that makes them want to cover your story. This is a tactic that can constantly be improved upon, but knowing the right buzzwords and angles to employ works just the same in digital PR.


Building relationships with journalists
Whether you’ve been working in PR for years, or you’re completely new to the field, we all know that a core aspect of PR is building relationships with journalists so you can get coverage for your clients. Time and again since working in the industry, I’ve proved to myself just how crucial this is.

In terms of how to build these connections, the playing field may have changed somewhat over the past few years — but nurturing these relationships remains just as important. When I began my career, creating connections often involved calling the publication or journalist to speak with them directly, and pitching over the phone. But a few years and a global pandemic down the line, journalists now prefer to be contacted via email — which can make developing a rapport that little bit more tricky.

I’ve found that the best way to tackle this issue is to be as direct as possible and take the plunge. Put simply — in the PR world, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Telling a journalist what clients you work on, and asking if they’re interested in that type of content, will often go a long way — and might even lead to them coming to you directly next time they need a comment on a specific topic.


Perseverance and determination
If working in PR has taught me anything, it’s that not all of your ideas and campaigns will land the way you want them to. Try not to get disheartened by this fact, because there’ll always be a new idea you can try, and the one thing that has produced the most results for me across both traditional and digital media is perseverance.

I actually experienced this fairly recently with our study that looked at the ‘broadband issues we find the most annoying’ — a campaign we did for UK-based price comparison platform, Uswitch. A design-led campaign, we pitched this around Halloween in the hope that the graphics would lead the coverage — but despite Vuelio (a commonly used digital PR media database) showing over 25% email open rates when pitching, the lack of data to back up the designs made it hard to tell a story.

This is where determination and a little perseverance came into play. When Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp had a 24-hour outage, I saw a great way to drive some links to our campaign. Using data from Down Detector, we quickly calculated how many times some of the world’s biggest sites had experienced outages, and pitched it out to journalists — linking back to our campaign. Within days, we managed to achieve coverage in publications like ZDNET, The Register, and B&T magazine. 


What are the challenges of moving to digital PR?

While my previous job in traditional PR did help facilitate a much smoother transition into digital PR, making the switch wasn’t without its challenges, and I found that I still had a lot to learn to truly settle into my role.

Understanding SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) helps increase your company’s exposure on search engines — and it’s one of the main ways digital PR differs from traditional PR when it comes to strategy.

Traditional PR operates a more direct approach when generating brand awareness — by getting the customer to buy into the brand with things like promotional products and events.

In digital PR, the approach is a lot more subtle — and often, it doesn’t matter if you don’t reach the customer base. Instead, SEO works by impressing Google with high-ranking keywords and follow links that go back to the brand you’re representing.

When I moved to digital PR, the SEO aspect was something I had to quickly get my head around in order to understand the point of the campaigns we were executing and why they mattered. That’s just a small part of the power of SEO, too — there’s plenty more that I’m looking forward to learning as I progress my career in digital PR.


Working with big datasets
One major challenge as I transitioned from traditional to digital PR was working with the large data sets that often form the basis of our campaigns. While digital campaigns take on many forms, using data to create a story works really well, and can generate some amazing results for your clients.

Although I had managed large datasets before — having worked for a short time in admin — using numbers to generate coverage for journalists was an entirely new concept for me, and to begin with, I found it quite overwhelming.

However, the more I spent time working on and processing my own sets of data, the easier it became for me to see where the stories were, along with the angles I wanted to pursue and could achieve. If, like me, you’re better with words when it comes to your career, I really recommend spending time with the data specialists on your team, so you can pick their brains about anything you might be unsure about. 


Having confidence
Whether you’re great at your job, or have recently made a big career change, there comes a point in everyone’s careers where they lack confidence in their own abilities — whether it comes from a place of self-doubt, or criticism you may have received in the past.

Making the switch to digital PR is not without its challenges — but while these may make you doubt your own abilities, there are plenty of ways to find your feet and self belief again.

One of the biggest factors that helped reignite my confidence while working in digital PR was seeing the results of my hard work. There’s nothing better than the excitement you feel when the ‘ping!’ from a high domain authority link for your client comes through. There are plenty of other ways to gain a little bit  more confidence while adapting to the digital PR industry, too — including social media, books, and more.

 

The benefits of working in digital PR

While I enjoyed my time in traditional PR, there are plenty of benefits that come with working in digital that make the day-to-day just that little bit more exciting. 

It’s easier to see the results of hard work
One of the biggest benefits of working in digital PR is seeing the results of your hard work paying off — whether that’s reaching a KPI link target, or scoring high domain authority links.

Traditional PR is a bit more tricky when it comes to tracking the success of your campaign and what effect it’s had on your client’s brand. For example — 100,000 listeners might have tuned in to a news broadcast or radio segment for your brand, but it’s difficult to know how many of those people were paying attention, and whether they will want to buy into your client’s products.

You can reach audiences on a global scale
One part of my role that I love is being able to outreach my campaigns on a global scale, and access audiences I never have before.

In traditional PR, it can be harder to have the same kind of impact on global audiences, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t hit the right demographics. In fact, when it comes to strategy, depending on who you want to target might influence whether you opt for a traditional or digital PR strategy. For example, if you wanted to target older generations, you might opt for worldwide print coverage, as this is a demographic that tends to be less tech-savvy.

More breathing room for creativity
A big reason I fell in love with digital PR was the fact that it gave me the opportunity to tap into my creativity on a completely new level. Every day, brands produce similar content depending on the news cycle, so cutting through the noise can be challenging at times. This has meant that I’ve had to think outside of the box a little bit more — allowing me to develop stories or campaigns that are unique to our clients, so journalists will want to write about them.

 


While making the switch to digital PR is never easy, there are plenty of benefits that will push you further in your career if you’re looking for a new challenge. 


What our team had to say about making the switch:

Tom O’Rourke, Senior Digital PR Executive at JBH:
“Coming from a traditional PR background meant that when I made the switch into digital PR, I already had the outreaching skills needed for link building. I also had relationships with journalists from national titles which was a huge benefit.

“One of the biggest challenges was creating content specifically for online media and data-driven stories. SEO was something completely new to me, and at first, it was a little overwhelming. However, I quickly realised that my skills make me better suited for a role in digital PR rather than traditional.”

Kal Withana, Digital PR Executive at JBH:

“Both traditional and digital PR are quite similar in the sense that the end goal is to build great media relations and secure top-notch coverage for clients. Because of this, I found the transition quite easy. However, there were aspects such as data extraction and hero campaign generation that were all new to me when I began to immerse myself in the digital PR world.

“On the whole, I definitely find working in digital PR more rewarding. This is because you have so much freedom when it comes to campaign ideation and content creation. Also, from newsjacking to proactive content planning, I find that digital PR tactics are a more effective way of getting your client on the media landscape.”

1024 682 Sophie Howarth

Keeping digital PR campaigns evergreen

Digital PR agency Christmas do’s and don’ts

The John Lewis advert has finally made it onto our screens, Michael Bublé has been dusted off, and the gingerbread lattes are flowing. And while any digital PR agency worth their salt knows planning a successful Christmas campaign is a job for July, SEO experts also know that a successful marketing strategy is supported by evergreen content.

As a digital PR agency that operates our very own newsroom, the JBH finger is always on the pulse. London’s Ultra Low Emission Zones? A chance for our client, Confused.com, to share their motoring expertise. Aussie post delays? Yet another opportunity for a client of ours — this time, WeThrift — to offer their own exclusive. It’s this intuitive, dedicated approach to digital PR that keeps our clients’ campaigns evergreen — and just like it’s important to recycle your Christmas tree each year, ensuring your Christmas content stands the test of time will pay off again — and again. With this in mind, the JBH team thought it only right to put our heads together to create a handy guide to stop you from falling into the trap of seasonal, never-to-be-seen-again content.

Consider your client

In digital PR, the most productive ideation always begins with your client — what can they talk about with authority? What subjects have been successful for their competitors? Which ones have been unsuccessful? Could you do any better? You’ll find digital PR at Christmastime is no different — for instance, whether down to cultural beliefs, geographical location, or simply personal preference, Christmas may not even be on your client’s radar. Or the opposite could be true, and they might want Christmas content at the forefront of all of their campaigns. Either way, don’t let the season make you lose sight of your clients’ campaign objectives.

Cater to journalists

Think about it… if you’re pitching Christmas content to journalists, then just how many other digital PRs are doing the very same thing? Don’t bother doing the maths… instead, start thinking about those unique hooks and angles. What story or subject line will set your digital PR agency apart from all the rest? Pitching a recipe for basting a turkey two days before the big knees-up? The timing’s all wrong! Make sure your outreach email is watertight — be personal, persuasive, and punctual. 

Repurpose existing content

Rather than crafting brand new seasonal content, don’t be afraid to revisit and reshape old content. We’re all familiar with the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and an experienced digital PR agency knows a non-stop news cycle isn’t something to be afraid of — but rather, an opportunity for you to use new tools for updated content. And if it is broken — for instance, if a campaign didn’t land the way you hoped it would — how can you fix it for the festive season? Fresh formats help your client access new audiences, and reinforcing their message adds to their authority. 

Content calendar

From bank holidays and national days… to the Queen’s birthday, and every Hallmark card in-between, a digital PR agency’s calendar is filled with significant dates that can shape content — and often, data or listicles used for one special occasion can be repurposed for another. So, similarly to the above, consider how your Christmas campaign could be repackaged for future holidays — think of it as regifting! 

Ready, steady, react!

A digital PR agency is always ready to react… react… and then react some more. In fact, being on the ball on behalf of your client is one of the most important roles of a digital PR agency. When it comes to your Christmas content, keep one eye on the campaigns you’ve already created, and another one on the news cycle. Does your client have something to say? As a digital PR agency that specialises in reactive content, we’re already planning the Christmas shopping themes we can frame using our client, WeThift’s Inclusive Index.

Red and green should never be seen

Did you know the phrase “Red and green should never be seen” was actually coined in reference to a digital PR campaign? Okay… we might be stretching the truth a little here… but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable advice. When your digital PR agency is getting into the festive spirit, it can be all too easy for your design team to reach for the red, green, and gold, but to guarantee your images don’t go out of date within the month, we suggest supplementing content with broader imagery that can be reused. Then, if you really want to add some festive cheer, use an easy design tool like Canva for easily removable additions.  

(Image source: instagram.com/p/CW3MBz0M5D_/)

1024 682 Sam Wright

Tight Briefs – How to get a content brief right for Digital PR!

Every copywriter has experienced a bad brief in their time but when it comes to Digital PR, there’s no time for a bad brief, especially if you’re working on a reactive or newsjacking piece.  

PR copy needs to be so much more than just a catchy headline. Your copywriter will need to deliver on-topic, quality copy that not only gains the interest of journalists but also engages readers once it’s published.

So, before you get started on briefing your copywriter, here are 6 top tips for creating a tight brief so good that not only will your copywriter thank you for it, but you’ll get the very best content delivered in return.

1. List of assets 

Make it clear the type of content you require your copywriter to create for you, whether it’s a newsjacking piece, reactive piece, copy for a landing page or a pitch.

A digital PR copywriter will need to understand the format and writing style of the copy you want them to deliver before they get started crafting your copy.

2. Tone of voice 

Who are you? Providing your copywriter with a tone of voice document (or TOV as they’ll probably refer to it) can help your copywriter understand how to produce content that truly represents your brand.

A tone of voice document should include a description of how your brand’s voice should sound –  is it serious, fun, informative, formal or casual? It should also give your copywriter guidance on the types of language they can use, from contractions and colloquialisms to the use of adjectives.

3. Purpose of the piece 

Give your copywriter an insight into what the copy is supposed to achieve? What is the angle or the purpose of the piece that you’re briefing them on? It’s also important that your copywriter understands how you, as the client, should tie into the content piece and the subject you’re briefing them on.

4. Set a clear word limit 

Setting a clear word limit is a great way to help your copywriter gauge the writing approach they should take to your brief. For example, if you’re briefing your copywriter to write content for a pitch with a low word count, your copywriter will know to write short, snappy and to the point copy. Alternatively, a brief for a landing page that has a higher word count, will allow your copywriter to generate content that has more detail and explores more angles.

5. Audience 

Who is your audience? You’ll get the best content out of your copywriter if they have a good understanding of who they are writing for and can have the audience in mind when creating your copy. Helpful indicators to include on who your audience is are the age group, sex, socio-economic profile, occupation and interests of the people you want to target.

Brand immersion sessions and onboarding sessions are also great ways to help your copywriter really understand your brand. Inviting your copywriter along gives them the opportunity to get a feel for who you are and it gives them a chance to ask questions too.

6. Clear deadlines 

Digital PR is known for its short turnaround times, but it’s important to set clear deadlines for you and your copywriter that are mindful of how long the full copywriting process takes.

What do we mean by this? Once your copywriter receives their brief, they will need to spend time researching the piece before they can even begin to start working their magic with words, and then there’s the proofreading and editing process to take into account too.

Top tips for writing content in digital PR

  • Know your brief – From the tone of voice of your client and the purpose of the piece to the audience you’re targeting, you need to have a good understanding of these elements before creating any content.
  • Don’t skimp on the research – Knowledge is power and the more insight and understanding you have around the topic you’re writing about, will really come across in your work.
  • Make your writing newsworthy – When writing for digital PR, you need to create interesting angles in the content you write and ensure it’s both engaging and attention-grabbing. That’s because, not only does your content need to encourage journalists to snap it up, but it also needs to serve its purpose of interesting the audience it was originally created for.
  • Remember you’re writing as the client When copywriting, it can sometimes be tempting to let your creativity run away with you, but if the content you’re creating is starting to sound more like you and less like your client, you need to reign those creative juices back in!
1024 682 Jane Hunt

Digital PR dry spell? Five ways you can make news out of nothing

Most (if not all) brands and agencies will experience the frustration of having a digital PR dry spell. A period of time (which feels like forever) when there’s no PR coverage or backlinks on the horizon.

And this is really common. You might be waiting for a hero campaign to go live or there might not be any relevant stories to newsjack.

But don’t despair, because there are ways that you can make news, literally out of nothing and this strategy works for brands and digital PR agencies. And they’re simple approaches that don’t require that much time or many resources.

We’ve been producing content like this for all of our clients, and we’ve noticed that the links we’re building are much more consistent, more relevant (and they point to the right pages!)

It doesn’t get any better. So, let’s dive right in.

There are five ways you can create a proactive PR story out of nothing:

1. Create a listicle featuring expert advice and tips 

Every brand has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to draw from. Pick a trending or unique topic and offer tips, or bust some myths using internal experts.

To give the journalist an extra reason to cover it, make it timely and hook it to an event, season or person!

Top tip: Supply imagery that is high-res and free to use as it will save the journalist time when bringing the story to life. They will thank you for it.

 

2. Repurpose existing blog content

It’s often easy to overlook a brand’s blog content because you’ve seen it before and maybe it’s not fresh or unique, but it may still be evergreen.

Sometimes they have content that might surprise you. Did you know dogs can get hayfever? Neither did I! But it’s something that all dog owners need to be aware of and one we can relate to!

Top Tip: Make sure your content is up to date. If there are any statistics that need updating, make sure you do so before pitching the story.

 

3. Look at what online tools the brand already has

You might be sick of seeing that mortgage calculator on your client’s site, but have you thought about using it as the basis for a creative pitch?

Using your client’s mortgage calculator, could you work out how much the monthly mortgage payment would be on a heritage home? We did this earlier in the year when Bridgerton was released.

If you want to do something a bit more serious, then you could use the calculator as the basis for a guide to finding the best mortgage deals or even applying for a mortgage in the first place.

Top Tip: Include a link to the calculator in your methodology for the calculations you’ve made. It can be a great way to get links, even if the journalist doesn’t initially include one.

 

4. Review old hero campaigns to see what can be re-pitched

A while ago, we produced a hero campaign about how fast fleas can multiply in your home for a dog food brand, and it didn’t perform as we expected. However, upon reviewing it, we realised we could reuse much of the advice for a proactive pitch on how dog and cat owners can keep their houses clean and free of pests.

Super simple and quick to do with product page links!

Top tip: Try and do a campaign review every quarter – look back  over your larger campaigns and see if there are any improvements that can be made or an angle that was missed the first time round. You might be surprised at what’s lurking in the pitch pile.

 

5. Look for new data that can spark ideas

Sometimes a new study can spark ideas super relevant to your brand and its expertise. You can use that data as a hook to create a story like the surge in online car insurance scams, then offer tips on how consumers can protect themselves.

Top tip – To make it even more relevant, what data can the brand add to make more of a story? What case studies can you add to bring the story to live, as we know journalists love a case study!

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

Brighton SEO 2021: Turn spreadsheets into stories with the JBH digital PR framework

For the Online PR Show at Brighton SEO 2021, I presented my framework, which allows digital PR teams to turn datasets (of any size) into newsworthy and campaignable stories. 

Following the framework, digital PR teams will spot the stories hidden within a spreadsheet packed full of data without needing a degree in data analysis. 

The framework was designed for teams who: 

  • Already run data-led digital PR campaigns but want to squeeze more out of them
  • Would like to produce data-led campaigns but don’t know where to start
  • Want to target journalists and audiences in different sectors

This talk will reveal how we explore every avenue when putting our digital PR campaigns together without a computer science degree. 

 

Turning spreadsheets into stories: a framework for interpreting large datasets into campaign-able stories

Data-led digital PR campaigns are my comfort zone. I default to this campaign style when I know I need the campaign to land lots of very high quality or niche links. By no means are they the only type of campaigns we run here at JBH, but I know we can build more links with campaigns backed by data than we can without it. 

But, I am not a data scientist or a maths expert, in fact, I barely passed my maths GCSE, so I needed to create a framework that would help me (and now you) uncover the magic that lies between the spreadsheets. 

By following my three-step framework you’ll be able to: 

  1. Extract newsworthy stories from any data set
  2. Get more stories out of every campaign that you run (and pitch more journalists)
  3. Present your data-led campaigns in a much more compelling way

So why did I develop this framework?

I see so many campaigns being shared with impressive data behind them (shoutout to the PR data analysts in the room). Still, when I check the coverage, maybe one or two generic angles landed coverage. But what we don’t hear as much is what we do with that data once we have it.

Why are we exhausting ourselves and not our datasets?

Earlier this year, the JBH team had a creativity masterclass with Mark Johnstone, and he said something that stuck with me, and I asked him if I could share this with everyone. 

Data is only as good as the questions we ask it

And that resonated with me. 

The data already holds all of the stories. We just need to use our storytelling skills to figure them out. In the same way that a journalist will use specific lines of questioning to get the scoop. 

We must interrogate our datasets to get our own scoop. And you can start with these three questions: 

  • What stories do you care about the most?

If you were only able to get one story out of this dataset, what should it be? What do you care the most about? 

  • What are the secondary stories?

What are the second, third and fourth stories you hope to get from this dataset? Write them down and go looking for them. 

  • What is the juiciest story? 

What is the key nugget of information that is going to get those journalists clicking on your email

Here’s how you can turn spreadsheets into stories with JBHs digital PR framework

Onto the framework and starting with the techniques I repeatedly use to make sure I am getting as many stories as possible out of every campaign we launch. 

Rescue a dead dataset with the multiplier technique

You’ll see journalists use this technique all of the time, and it’s something we can use too! Multipliers help audiences make sense of statistics. 

Per Capita is probably the most common multiplier and it’s really just a fancy way of saying per person

So let’s say you are working on a campaign looking to discover which city in Europe has the greenest space for residents to enjoy. Even without looking at the data, we can probably guess that London would be ranked the top city. 

But that’s not very interesting. Would you talk about that with your mates down the pub? It doesn’t pass the ‘so what test’…yet. 

You can get a brand new story by using the multiplier technique:  

Divide the total amount of green space by the number of people who would have to share that space (population), putting Paris at the top of the table. 

 

There are many other ways you can use multipliers, and all can help rescue a dead or disappointing dataset.

This year, we launched a campaign that looked at the best countries worldwide for startups based on the availability of government grants and support. I hoped that somewhere really quirky and unexpected would come out on top.

But it was the USA. I didn’t pass the ‘so what’ test. I needed to make this campaign more compelling.

So I went back into the raw dataset and asked it some more questions.

via GIPHY

We divided the number of start-up businesses by the number of established businesses to find out which country had the highest ratio of start-ups.

Canada topped the ranking, along with a whole new pool of journalists to pitch.

Make data more digestible with the comparisons and groupings technique

Comparisons and groupings are another technique we use to make big stats feel and sound more digestible.

Can you visualise what 429,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas looks like? I don’t think I could.

So let’s compare that figure to something we can all relate to.

We ran a campaign last November that predicted the amount of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere due to our love for online shopping.

Great data, timely, shocking, newsworthy – all the things we love in a digital PR campaign – but we needed to get the messaging right.

We did that using the comparison technique – we worked out what 429,000 tonnes of carbon would be in return flights between London and New York and the same weight in Elephants.

Use spin to make your data sound more impressive

Spin is the third and final part of the framework and quite possibly the most fun. Spin doesn’t have to be negative. You are using your skills to communicate the story most effectively.

Let’s take this market research data for tails.com, revealing the UK’s most pampered pooches. If we take the data at face value, these are the stories we have:

  • Dogs owned by women get 41% of the treats in a household
  • Dogs owned by men get 44% of the treats in the household
  • Men more generous with treats than women

On the surface, this data doesn’t contain much of a story – the percentages between men and women are too close together to be a story on their own.

Let’s take another look and see how else we can slice and dice this data.

The angle I was looking for was ‘it’s me or the dog’ – tapping into the well-known rivalry between couples and their pets.

So, how often do women treat their dogs vs treating their partners?

 

Here, we can see that women are three times more likely to buy treats for their dogs than their partners.

This is more compelling, and I can already see the headlines this story will generate:

Using my framework, you’ll now be able to squeeze more out of every single campaign you launch

  • You’ll pitch more stories and broaden that pool of prospects
  • You’ll save yourself time and headaches
  • You’ll exhaust your datasets and not yourself
1000 666 Lauren Wilden

The benefits of newsjacking in digital PR

When it comes to the daily tasks of a typical digital PR strategist, there is a never-ending list of plates to spin, and jobs to keep on top of. 

Making sure clients KPI’s are being met, that multiple campaigns are on track, and that high-quality and relevant links are being built are all vitally important, of course. But the truth is, we can sometimes get so caught up with data, design and outreach planning, that we miss some golden opportunities to build instant links with nothing more than some well-timed expert-led commentary and insight.

So, if newsjacking isn’t already a part of that plate-spinning process when it comes to your link-building strategy, then I’m here today to explain to you why it absolutely needs to be.

What is newsjacking?

First of all, let’s determine what exactly constitutes newsjacking, understand how it differs from reactive PR efforts, and look into why it should be a vital component offered to your digital PR clients, no matter what sector they operate within.

A quick Google search will give you the following definition of newsjacking:

“The practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote or advertise one’s product or brand.” 

Sounds pretty straightforward doesn’t it? Simply take the biggest news headlines or trending topics on social media, and find a way for your client to piggyback on the discussion with their own knowledge.

Oh, if only it were as simple as that…

The trouble with newsjacking is that pretty much EVERY PR person with clients in a similar field – regardless of whether they work on the digital or traditional side – will be consuming the same news outlets as you, and waiting to strike as soon as a relevant opportunity arises.

The sheer amount of competition from other PR’s with the same overall goal therefore means that your own efforts need to be as interesting, newsworthy and relevant as possible, in order to cut through the noise and grab the attention of the journalists on your newsjacking media lists. Because trust me, if your subject link and opening sentence doesn’t immediately grab them, those links aren’t coming your way.

 

Importance of newsjacking in the current climate

Whilst newsjacking has always been a vital component of any digital PR strategy, the circumstances of the past year and half surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have only served to emphasise its importance even more.

With the world put on hold, and the majority of us forced to stay indoors during lockdown, a huge number of carefully planned PR campaigns and stunts were thrown into total disarray.

On a more positive note, the ever-changing and unpredictable nature of the media landscape during the height of lockdown also meant that there were daily opportunities for us PR’s to find various ways for our clients to become part of the dialogue, and comment on a range of important matters relating to the pandemic.

Normally, there are very few scenarios where a tragedy resulting in such global devastation would justify a newsjacking opportunity, but COVID has been a notable exception as an ongoing topic that impacts almost every individual, company and industry around the globe.

In recent months, as the travel industry has been preparing to allow passengers to start enjoying international travel once again, there has been no shortage of opportunities for digital PR’s to offer up advice and bring awareness to a client brand.

Below is just a small selection of the links we’ve built for our client money.co.uk in recent weeks reacting instantly to breaking news within the UK travel sector:

How can you use newsjacking to stand out from the crowd?

As briefly touched upon above, the level of competition we face from our digital PR and wider marketing industry peers when it comes to newsjacking content is fierce; and with a number of larger agencies now employing specific individuals and teams with the sole purpose of gaining coverage and links through the tactic, it’s getting increasingly tougher.

That being said, there are a number of different techniques you can implement and improve upon over time to ensure your clients newsjacking efforts generate coverage and links:

1. Know your clients industry inside out 

In order to keep abreast of the trends, breaking stories and topics that your clients that realistically offer newsworthy and insightful commentary on, you need to have a firm grasp on what their experts are qualified to speak with authority on.

Familiarise yourself with any previous newsjacking or reactive material they may have previously outreached in order to understand the correct tone of voice. It’s also worth swotting up on their website and blog content in depth as there is every chance you’ll be able to take inspiration from this when drafting up a comment for sign off, and for knowing if a story is worth them commenting on in the first place.

You can never have too much information on your clients or the industries they operate within. For planned newsjacking opportunities, where you can easily predict what the media will be focusing on (a global sporting or political event for example), give yourself a head start by setting up google alerts relating to the topic you want to newsjack, consume what’s already been written, and try to offer something different or unique to what’s previously gained traction.

2. Update media lists regularly 

It’s all well and good constructing a fantastic comment then having it signed off by a client in record time, but if you’re not sending it to the right contacts at your target publications, then honestly what’s the point in all your hard work and efforts?

Relying on media lists crafted more than a month or two ago is arguably going to have a detrimental effect on the chances of you landing coverage. Not only do online journalists regularly move publications, roles and shifts, but there will also be key contacts that will fail to receive your newsjacking comment if you don’t keep your eye on who is writing about what, where and when.

3. Be smart with your subject line

A well-crafted and enticing subject line is fundamental to ensuring that a busy journalist dealing with literally HUNDREDS of PR emails each day bothers to open your email, so you need to make sure it’s as powerful as possible and that your client can add some real value to an ongoing conversation.

Don’t bother trying to come up with any clever alliteration or puns to try and make a newsjacking email stand-out – the chances are they won’t be appreciated. Instead, simply state exactly what it is you’re sending and by whom, for example:

National rail introduces season tickets for part-time commuters: money.co.uk offers insight on cost-effectiveness for consumers

Or…

“Greece & Spain give green light on foreign travel: money.co.uk tips on securing best exchange rates this Summer”

4. Be tactful

A risk with newsjacking, due to how fast-paced PR’s need to be, is that comments circulated are deemed reckless or off-brand. As PR strategists, it’s our responsibility to only suggest newsjacking opportunities to clients where they can genuinely offer an authoratative and trusted reaction or insight to a news story or trending topic.

All too often PR’s fall into the trap of encouraging their clients to react to everything and anything, even when it barely relates to their industry, sector or product offering. Personally, I believe this is nothing but a waste of time when it comes to building valuable links, time that could be spent wisely elsewhere generating relevant links and increasing brand awareness.

This JBH webinar  featuring Amie Sparrow, Head of Digital PR at Blue Array, covers what journalists are looking to be sent in a post-lockdown climate, and could very well offer you some great tips when it comes to your newsjacking efforts.

 

SEO benefits of newsjacking 

We wouldn’t be doing our job as digital PR’s if we didn’t strive to ensure our newsjacking efforts were geared towards the online publications and blogs most likely to include links back to our clients websites for positive SEO purposes.

In fact, some of the highest DA links to one client’s specific category pages we’ve generated in recent months have been thanks to newsjacking and giving journalists a reason to alert their audience to specific advice or content on a site.

SEO is essentially focused on making a website rank as high as possible in organic search rankings on Google and other search engines. Breaking stories that are dominating the news agenda will give certain keywords importance on Google due to how many people are already searching for it, and discussing it on their social media platforms.

By including these keywords and phrases in your newsjacking outreach and clients onsite content, this will hopefully, over time, help to give their pages the same level of importance and ultimately increase search result rankings.

 

Timing is everything when it comes to newsjacking

Newsjacking is a wonderfully simple and effective theory for a digital PR, and until you begin implementing it as part of your ongoing client strategy, it’s hard to fully comprehend just how tricky it can be to start generating results and links.

One of the the most challenging barriers I’ve personally encountered with newsjacking centres around timing, and being able to outreach comments and insight as quickly as possible after spotting a relevant opportunity.

In a perfect world, a client would be available via email, Slack, or Skype at all times to proof and sign off a newsjacking pitch or comment. Sadly, this is often not the case due to heavy workloads and meetings, and PR’s subsequently lose their small window of opportunity to successfully outreach.

Each breaking news alert is obviously unique depending on what it’s relating to and how many industries and demographics it impacts, but as a rule of thumb it’s wise to try and send out a newsjacking pitch no later than 90 minutes after a story breaks for the biggest chance of coverage.

For those wary of being able to persuade clients to sign off newsjacking comments quick enough to have an impact, here are a few tried and tested ways that could help to speed up the process:

1. Check in with your client immediately 

It can be tempting to begin drafting up a comment on behalf of a client as soon as you see a story break or a google alert come through, but in order to avoid any wasted time, I’d always recommend running your idea past a client first.

Not only does this give them the heads up that you’re working on something they will need to keep an eye on to look over ASAP, there is always a chance the hypothetical topic is something they want to refrain from commenting on, meaning none of your time will be wasted drafting anything up that doesn’t even get circulated.

2. Recycle previous content 

As much as I wish I could sit here and type that every single newsjacking opportunity I’ve worked on during my career so far has resulted in copious amounts of links and worldie coverage for clients past and present, that would, quite frankly, be a huge lie.

Fortunately, one thing I have learnt from the many times a comment I’ve worked on has failed to deliver any coverage, is that there is a very strong chance that the messages, tips or advice at the centre of the insight can be reworked at a later date for my clients benefit.

It may well need some edits or additions further down the line, but the advantage of having a base to start with next time should give you a head start in beating all the other PR’s to journalists inboxes.It’s therefore ALWAYS worth keeping any and all newsjacking pitches for future reference.

Similarly, if a newsjack that you work on performs particularly well, be sure to try and understand what it was about your pitch that helped it to land, and try to replicate in your future opportunities.

3. Assign newsjacking sign-off elsewhere 

When working on digital PR for a client on the smaller side, regular communication is often only with one or two individuals from the business. If these contacts hold senior or managerial positions, it can be somewhat of a struggle to get hold of them for a quick newsjacking sign off.

Being able to liaise with a more junior employee that has the authority to ok an idea and then push a comment for sign off is therefore an effective way to speed up the sign off process between agency and client.

4. Set up a separate comms chat 

Here at JBH, we’ve noticed the huge benefit of setting up dedicated slack chats that are used exclusively for newsjacking purposes and separate to any of the wider campaigns we’re concurrently working on.

Whilst certain conversations may contain messages that aren’t as urgent or pressing, clients have come to realise how advantageous a fast response on the chat is for link-building efforts.

For more advice on account management, be sure to check out this recent blog from JBH co-founder Jane Hunt. 

 

Best newsjacking sources

As much as we all need a well-deserved break now and again, the unfortunate truth is that news never sleeps, and therefore opportunities to newsjack can (and often do) occur at the most unlikely and unsociable of times.

Unsurprisingly, the best way to ensure you’re among the first to see breaking news relating to your client’s industry is to religiously follow the news on a regional, national and global level. The nature of the 24 hour news cycle means that the lifespan of a story is limited, so waiting until the next day or Monday morning in order to react to a perfect opportunity is a risky move, especially when there is a greater chance of your email being seen by journalists working during the evenings and weekends.

Here are some of the ways we monitor the news here to make sure we can react as quickly as possible when it comes to newsjacking opportunities:

BBC websiteThe holy grail as far as breaking news you can trust upon is concerned. The business live blog on the website is great to bookmark and check regularly throughout the day for any commentary opportunities that could relate to your clients sector.

24 hour news channelsWith so many of us digital PR’s continuing to work from home for the foreseeable future, having a news channel or radio station such as BBC News, Sky News or Times Radio on in the background can help to keep you up to date with any breaking stories throughout the day.

Google Alerts and Talkwalker AlertsNot just useful for tracking existing client coverage and brand mentions, setting up keywords or terms that relate to existing campaigns that you want to newsjack can be a fantastic way to make sure you’re one of the first to jump on an opportunity when it arises.

Newsletter subscriptions  Signing yourself up to receive weekly newsletters is a great tactic for spotting who is writing about what topics when it comes to the big ticket publications you want to land client links on.

There are a huge amount of sector specific newsletters depending on the industries your clients are operating in, but some of our favourite and most insightful national examples include Metro Lifestyle | Huffington Post UK | Reuters Morning Digest | The Daily News In Brief (Sheerluxe) | Stylist | The Telegraph Breaking News and lots more!

#journorequest on Twitter a personal favourite of mine when it comes to spotting reactive PR opportunities to newsjack is to keep on top of the hashtag #journorequest over on Twitter.

Here, you will find an array of UK and international journalists seeking specific comments, experts or data that you may be able to match your own client or campaigns with. As well as being a great way to build up a relationship with journalists, this is also a really fast way to build up some extra links to a campaign that hasn’t right reached KPI, and the journalists who use this method are normally on fairly quick deadlines, so you can often see successfully pitched content translate into links and coverage within a matter of hours!

Key takeaways:

  • Always be aware of the current climate and ask yourself if a newsjacking opportunity is really going to add value to your client before getting carried away
  • Timing is of the essence with a good newsjack, those other jobs can wait!
  • Don’t just rely on one source of media for hearing breaking news to react to, get to know your clients inside out and keep on top of the outlets most likely to be reporting on the topics affecting their industries

If you’d like to know more about newsjacking using your existing digital PR campaigns, click here.

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 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.

 

 

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 JBH - The Digital PR Agency

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.