The key skills needed to become successful in Digital PR
Digital Public Relations (PR) is a digital marketing service used to increase the online authority of a brand by gaining high-quality backlinks from relevant online sites and publications through a variety of tactics. As a rapidly expanding, ever-changing industry, Digital PR can feel overwhelming to new starters. To help with this, we’ve outlined the key skills needed to ensure your success in your digital PR role.
Effective Written Communication:
Strong written communication is hugely important within digital PR. A large part of the role is to write press releases, blog posts, and thought leadership articles. They must convey key information concisely and in an engaging manner, tailored to their target audience. If you’re writing onsite copy for SEO purposes, make sure to have clear and specific CTAs that engage your readers.
A digital PR professional must have good attention to detail to pick up on and correct any grammar and spelling errors. There are lots of tools that can be used to help support this. For example, Grammarly and Hemmingway can be useful to check for spelling mistakes and to make written work more concise.
Communication is key in digital PR. Communication with your team should be consistent and you should update relevant team members who work on the same projects as you regularly. This ensures smooth account management.
If working in an agency, you will likely be working with a range of clients and they will all have different preferred ways of communicating. As a digital PR professional, you need to be able to adjust your communication style to each client. This may mean updating one client daily via Slack or Teams, and having a detailed, monthly call with another.
Digital PR involves working closely with colleagues, clients, and journalists. Strong interpersonal skills are needed to build good working relationships. Developing rapport with journalists can help you get coverage for clients in the long-term as journalists often come back to the same contact when they need coverage for a story.
Active listening during client meetings is important. Clients can see that you value their perspective, and remembering previously discussed topics can help to strengthen relationships and avoid irritation. Actively asking for feedback, even when things are going well, is a great way to build trust with your clients and potentially even gain new business.
Adaptability and Initiative:
Digital PR is fast-paced and can be competitive. When you respond to a journalist’s request, many other people could be responding at the same time. You must be quick in responding, but also avoid investing loads of time into one opportunity before it is certain. Otherwise, you may miss out on other opportunities for a journalist who doesn’t end up using your content. Make sure to have your clients/teams interests and capabilities in mind when responding to opportunities.
You will be working to tight deadlines and have shifting priorities. This may be due to breaking relevant news stories or events, clients needing more time to sign off on work and changes within your team or client’s organisation. Although good planning is important, you must be able to adapt to suit changing circumstances.
You may also need to adapt a campaign if this isn’t working. This can feel disheartening if you have invested time and effort, but from the very beginning, you should be ready to think of new angles if needed. Asking your team for fresh perspectives is a great way to get started.
Time Management and Organisation:
Digital PR professionals often work on multiple clients at a time if they are agency side, especially when they are more junior. They must be capable of keeping track of all the tasks required in a given month so that they don’t end up underservicing one client in favour of another. It is key to be able to proactively manage their own time so that clients and the team are happy. Getting in the habit of using Google Sheets, Trello or other project management system to keep track of tasks and clients can be really useful for this.
When coming up with campaign ideas, creativity is key. These tasks may feel tricky at first, especially if you’re new to digital PR. It can also be difficult to have the confidence to share any creative ideas that you do come up with out of fear that it’s ‘right’. The more you do share your ideas, the more confident you will be to keep doing this. Take any feedback on board and overtime you will develop a better understanding of what does and doesn’t fit with a client. Remember – there is no such thing as a bad idea, any idea can be built upon and discussed and may spark further ideas for your colleagues.
Reading up on other campaigns is a great way to help inspire ideas of your own. Learn the different methodologies used and think how you can apply them to your client. Stay informed about current news and events, as this can also help spark campaign ideas. This can be anything from football, to Love Island, to more serious news stories. Having your ear to the ground can help give your campaign a purpose and make it easier to pitch to journalists further down the line.
Adjusting to a new role can be difficult. Building relationships with clients and journalists and finding your own creative process will take time. These skills take practice and you will strengthen in these areas over time. By prioritising time management, active listening and consistent communication, you will be able to build good working relationships with clients and journalists, helping you achieve the results you need.
Find out more about our digital PR offering here at Distinctly, or get in touch for digital PR training for yourself or your team.