Why news is your brand’s missing link

PR professionals have been debating the true value of digital PR since well before I joined the industry.

It’s not uncommon then, for a piece of thought leadership to light the digital fuse – as happened last week when several notable names in the industry took to social media, claiming that the golden age of Digital PR was well and truly dead.

In no time at all, brands, agencies, and industry leaders chipped in with their thoughts on the wider PR landscape, with many leaping to the defence of digital PR and SEO driven campaigns.

What’s the BEEF?

To sum up a week of debate, the main issues many agencies face in digital is the ever-shifting virtual goalposts, combined with a seriously alarming amount of cost cutting from clients, both big and small. 

It’s not uncommon in digital PR to be pitted against other agency partners in a fight for the same subject matter – even the same basket of media targets in some cases. 

As well as causing your PR team to well, mentally combust – as they come up with a fantastic angle for a story only to find it’s been vetoed for falling under a partner agency’s remit – forcing an agency to stick to one specific lane means you’re just going to get more of the same stories (and the same results), day in, day out.

What’s more, digital and SEO teams are at the mercy of ever changing algorithms, with weekly changes from the likes of Google and other SERPs.

Given the speed at which change happens in the industry, how do you ensure your approach to digital PR stays relevant and ultimately successful?

In a word: News

In a world where the rules change almost weekly, the best way to increase your brand’s chances of success is to capitalise on their potential for news generation. 

Having a good old-fashioned instinct for a headline will allow you to cut through the churn of everyday digital PR campaigns.

As well as being the quickest and easiest way to build brand fame, it’s also a route to links from both heavyweight news outlets, and niche industry publications.

Enter Brazen’s (f*cking incredible) Newsroom…

Filled with ex fleet street journalists and news driven PRs, Newsroom specialises in unlocking a brand’s news potential across both traditional and digital PR

As well as punchy national news stories to secure coverage across big name outlets, we’ll leverage a client’s credentials to position them as the go to expert in their relevant field, winning coverage in sector specific press with high SEO value.

The Formula for Success?

As any PR will tell you, there isn’t one.

Sometimes you can come up with the best campaign, the snappiest pitch, the savviest subject line, and it’ll fall flat on its face on day one.

As one of our Associate Directors, Rachael Milligan, is fond of saying to her clients: the formula for a PR campaign is x/y = maybe.

You can make your best guess based on years of experience and council from every corner of your agency, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work.

Bringing NEWS back into the equation

So often, Digital PR teams are tasked with leaving no stone unturned when selling in a story, chasing and chasing until the story is well and truly exhausted, and your best journalist contacts want to throttle you through the screen.

Don’t get me wrong, determination and resilience are both vital in PR. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But given the ever-mounting pressure to succeed, you need to make sure your team isn’t flogging a dead horse.

Take a news led approach. As well as the usual questions you ask your team (are the assets right, is the research strong enough, are the media targets right), you need to ask a simpler question: is it newsworthy?

It doesn’t matter if you’re pitching to the Financial Times or Fishing Today – PR stories, digital or otherwise, must be newsworthy.

If you’ve got to a place where your story isn’t news, it’s time to change it – fast.

It takes a lot of guts to stand up to your client and say, “this hasn’t worked”.

It takes even more guts to tell your client, “No, we’re not going to keep trying, we’re going to try something new”

The truth is, while there’s no way to guarantee a story lands, it’s only with a sh*t hot news team at your disposal that you can turn a dud story into a success.

It takes skill to pivot in the space of a few hours, to find one single line from your original pitch that can be extrapolated into a completely new narrative.

To cut a long story short, it takes Brazen’s Newsroom

Want to find out how to unlock your brand’s story potential?

Email harry@wearebrazenpr.com

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About the Author

Rebecca Cohen