This week we have seen a significant milestone in the digital world. With the universal switchover from analogue to digital TV, we have said goodbye to good old Ceefax and Teletext, our trusty information services that have faded into dust with the tyrannical rise of the internet.
It’s funny to think that the service that was there for us to use everyday for the past 38 years has become obsolete and disappeared within the blink of an eye.
The news of the final ‘switch-off’ of these “primitive precursors of the internet”, as the BBC put it, clarified an undeniable time of change: the future is digital.
For PRs, the advent of digital media has fundamentally changed the role; it is going to be engrained into everything, with automatic sharing, social-reading tools allowing you to link your Facebook account to everything: your music on Spotify, the articles you read on news channels. In 12 months time this will be even more prevalent.
Rather than have an allocated digital team, each PR should integrate social media into everything they do. This will stand them above the competition, giving their clients confidence in the work they are doing.
With digital media, PRs have a greater ability to analyse data and measure the success and effectiveness of PR campaigns. A huge number of opportunities have been opened up, enabling PRs to continually alter and refine campaigns based on what they find out, on a real-time basis.
There is masses of free data which provides an insight into what PRs could be doing to perfect campaigns: Google Trends, for example, allows you to chart trends and competitor activity over time. The tool highlights the key words and areas people are searching. Other tools include Google Analytics, Google Ad Planner, Facebook Insights, and LinkedIn, which provide key information on who is visiting your site.
The most crucial factor when analysing the data supplied by these digital tools is making sure that it is actionable. Does it pass the ‘So What’ test? Were those 100 new twitter followers directed to your website? Did they become customers?
Don’t be a victim to the ‘Last Touch’ concept. If someone comes to your website and makes a purchase, you could just assume it is due to the recent newsletter you sent. However it could be that they followed you on Twitter a week ago, read an article about your work in the Guardian a month ago. The final way the customer comes to your brand is not the only PR contact. The PR done before the ‘last touch’ was equally if not more effective.
As a PR you need to give an indication on how your target audience is being filtered ‘down the funnel’ throughout the campaign. With these new digital tools, you can look at the navigation route customers have taken through the website as they go from visitors to ‘conversions’ upon buying our product, perfecting the campaign along the way.