Back to basics: why digital PR should focus on the end user

No matter what your brand is, or what it does, in today’s digital world it’s essential to have a solid digital PR strategy to grow and maintain your brand’s online presence. In the past, digital PR has been chucked in the same box as link building, but its scope is actually much wider. Sure, a good digital PR strategy will aim to grow and maintain your search engine visibility; but it won’t stop there. A great PR strategy will go further, and position your brand as an authority in your industry, and make sure your audience sees your brand as trustworthy. But in order to do all of this – your brand needs to go back to the basics of PR.

So what are these basics you speak of?

The first thing to determine when defining your PR strategy are your goals. It sounds obvious, but if you try and do too much at once without clear direction you might be in for a nasty shock, so take some time to have a little think. Do you want more engagement on social media? Do you want media coverage – and if so, in what type of publications: national papers or microinfluencers? Maybe you want more email signups to your newsletter, or you’re pushing a competition on your brand’s site? No matter your goal, be sure you’ve clearly defined it before going in – and make sure it’s realistic.

Knowing your goals, and truly understanding your audience are essential to making your strategy successful. To do this, you’ve got to do your research to get a clear idea of who your end user is and what they want. With this information you can then create a digital PR strategy that focuses entirely on them – and not just on promoting your brand and products.

So how do I find my end user?

The term ‘end user’, in marketing lingo, refers to the individual who uses the product after it has been developed and marketed. Every single part of a digital marketing strategy will be structured to target a specific audience. That’s why it’s so important to correctly identify your product or service’s end user.

So how do you actually research your audience? Start with the basics, of course: their age, gender, profession, and location. But don’t stop there: successful audience research needs to go a lot further than that. Look at what media your audience reads, what kind of content they engage with, what they’re searching for and the keywords they use to search for this. This will help you figure out what your end user likes to read, and how you can get your brand in front of them. Another part of targeting your audience is figuring out what language works with them. Look at what language your competitors are using to address the end user, and whether it’s working or not. From this you can develop your brand’s own tone of voice and find a way of talking to your target audience that they’ll engage with. Luckily for you, this type of audience research is adaptable to a wide range of sectors: so don’t be afraid to give it a go!

A recurring mistake in digital PR is to become too preoccupied with rankings and focus solely on getting links back to your website. A successful digital PR strategy, however, isn’t about building random links in publications with little connection to the end user. Instead, PR professionals should focus on getting quality coverage in publications and blogs that their audience engage with. A good quality link in a well-written and informative blog post will lead more users to your brand’s site than a random link in an irrelevant publication.

Now you’ve got them sussed, how do you make them invest in your brand?

To get your audience interested in your brand, you first need to figure out what it is about your product or service that sets you apart. Chances are, your brand has a lot of competitors offering similar products; the trick is to find what makes your brand different from others, and how you can use this in your digital PR strategy. It’s always worth listing a few competitors who are targeting the same audience as your brand. Look at their digital PR strategy and determine what works, as well as what doesn’t. Once again this intel can be used to benefit your brand: avoiding the mistakes of your competitors and helping to forge your own brand presence.

A big part of what your users read will also be influenced by trends. If a trend emerges that’s relevant to your brand’s field, it’s important that your brand reacts to it and produces relevant, and timely content around it. Our method of trend research is to comb through news and information outlets relevant to your industry; you can also monitor news daily and weekly for anything relevant to your brand. Producing reactive PR pieces won’t necessarily help your brand’s rankings, but it will increase brand awareness: reaching new audiences and becoming central to conversations in your industry. What’s more writing a cracking informative piece based on a trend, or dispelling myths surrounding it, will also position your brand as an authority in the space.

What next?

Now you’ve set your PR goals, researched your end user, and looked at how to get your audience to engage with your brand, it’s time to implement your digital PR strategy! Based on your research and your goals, your brand needs to decide whether you will work with influencers, publications, or will work to place content on external social media sites. Maybe you’ll be doing all three! Make a list of the publications and influencers you want to target, and work through them methodically, personalising each pitch.

Lastly, make sure that your goals are in tune with your wider strategy. Start to set targets for how many links back to your brand’s site you want. Make sure these targets are realistic, and within your budget of course.

Think digital PR is the next step for your brand, but not sure how to set up your own strategy? Drop us a line so we can help you.

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