If Traditional PR is “Earned Media”, I define Digital PR as “Earned Social Media”! – II

Hope the Diwali break was awesome for all of you!

In part 1 of this column we discussed the first two mantras of setting up a robust Digital PR vertical in your organisations. 

  • Establish a realistic vision 
  • Identify the Landscape – The playground, the players (read influencers)

These two steps will help create a base. I call it laying of the digital pipeline. What flows through this pipeline is a no brainer. It is data or content – the new oil! Data in this century is similar to Oil in the past centuries. Content driven by data and backed by research is seen as authentic. And authenticity is one of the key pillars for digital PR. Now let’s see the next steps.

  • Establish a Content Strategy

Since the landscape is huge and data consumption points for the diverse stakeholders differs basis their demography, the ability of a brand to reach multiple audiences through their preferred platforms is crucial.  Digital PR opens up new vistas of content packaging. Videos, inforgraphics, text, images, Gifs etc., can be effectively used to make an impact. The key is repurposing. It is such a beautiful concept. A uniform message manifested through different formats and modes is much more effective to establish a narrative. We have set up a central hub that constantly curates brand or corporate specific content on a regular basis. For example, a story can be told using a video, Inforgraphics or a plain post with text. It can be posted on Instagram, FB, LinkedIn or the same links can be posted on Twitter handles by the relevant influencers. The biggest advantage of a content hub is that one can create content that suits the needs of traditional, hybrid and digital media. Hybrid media is the “new shining thing” everyone is talking about and we’ll have a separate post on that subject. Of course all this proactive content is for flooding the social space with an aim of creating a positive digital safety net which also increases your SEO outcomes. 

  • Establish a standard format of a Digital PR press release

To bring in some sanity in which news releases are disseminated in a Digital PR era, we experimented with a completely new format of a digital press release. It has worked wonders! Headlines are “Hashtags”, the copy is crisp, videos, pictures and gifs are embedded in the format itself. All this with shareable links that directly go on to the social media handles. Makes lives so simple! Looks great as well and in one look all data is available for the influencers to link it to their own platforms. This also gives them the flexibility to pick pics and content relevant to their stories. Try it. Mail me if you like to have the format. The results are quite gratifying! 

  •  Online laced with offline rocks!

Digital PR outcomes can be heightened with experiential engagements. End of the day, authentic content can be generated by the influencers when they actually experience the brands. The purpose comes to the fore, the stories are meatier and the engagement is far superior to a general press conference. We realised this a few years back and took steps to launch the Godrej owned media platforms. Today, Vikhroli Cucina (Food space), L’Affaire (Lifestyle space) and Design Dekko (Architects and designers) have traversed multiple seasons and engaged with thousands of influencers in their respective spaces. L’Affaire alone with an experiential engagement with over 700 influencers generated over 35 Million impressions, 40 videos and over 100 testimonials for Godrej. This has also helped multiple businesses within Godrej engage meaningfully and in an immersive manner with influencers and key opinion leaders like Chefs, designers, lifestyle experts and generate content that is authentic and impactful. Experiential owned media events / properties are the best platforms to mobilise key influencers who are then able to churn out authentic content around your offerings as they have experienced your brand and understood its purpose better. Vikhroli Cucina, Godrej groups platform for the food community has been running for 4 years now and experientially engages with thousands of food influencer’s (chefs, bloggers, chroniclers, etc.) every year bringing them closer to over six of Godrej businesses in the food space. The online content created during these offline engagements is humongous! Will have a separate column on owned media properties soon!

Well, the 6th mantra is all about institutionalising this process in your organisation, the mind-set change required, and the new competencies that are required by a PR professional to run a digital PR cannonade. The 7th mantra is most important as social media is unpredictable. While you set compelling narratives through digital PR, you are sometime vulnerable to them getting awry. Social listening in that case, becomes necessary and we shall discuss online reputation management in much detail. 

Stay tuned to the Vox Essence 16 as I elaborate on the 6th and the 7th mantra. Coming up exactly in a weeks’ time. Until then, start sowing the seeds of your own digital PR! 

Sujit M Patil, ABC on FacebookSujit M Patil, ABC on LinkedinSujit M Patil, ABC on Twitter
Sujit M Patil, ABC
Sujit Patil is Vice President and Head Corporate Brand & Communications, Godrej Industries Limited and Associate Companies

As a part of the Godrej Leadership Forum, Sujit is responsible for managing and building Godrej reputation across diverse stakeholders.

Listed as India’s top ten men in corporate communications by Reputation Today, he was featured on the PR Week Global Power Book, the definitive guide to PR industry’s most influential operators around the world. In 2018, 2019, 2020, and most recently in 2021 Sujit was listed fourth time in a row on the Holmes Report’s Influence 100 research and listing of the world’s most influential in-house marketing and communications professionals. In 2020 he was recognized as the Corporate Communications professional of the year at IPRCCA. He has been featured among top 25 on Reputation Today’s list of 100 most important professionals in Indian PR and corporate communications, Exchange4media’s Top 100 Influential Game Changers list and Adgully powerful influencers list for 2020 and 2021.

Apart from being a speaker and jury at various national and international bodies such as the World Communication Forum, Davos, AMEC, ICCO, PR Newsweek Asia, Public Affairs Asia, etc., Sujit is a part of the prestigious Arthur W Page Society. He volunteers as a guest faculty at various B-Schools, is a weekend farmer, loves travelling, understanding cultures and experimenting with new cuisines.

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