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Five danger signs that your PR agency doesn’t really get digital

14th August 2013

It is not unheard of for businesses to be unhappy with the results achieved by an agency claiming to be an expert in digital. It is a sad fact that some agencies purporting to deliver an integrated digital PR service are unable to fulfil their promises. Here are five common signs that a PR agency is lacking in the digital department:
Press releases don't make it any further than newswire services

There are still those who take a scattergun approach and send news out on any old newswire. I've heard sales pitches from newswire organisations in which they try to convince me or my clients to pay for their service, assuring us that the volume of pickups will build SEO rankings as well as brand visibility. This just isn't the case, as – aside from the fact that it's the quality of content above all else that will boost your SEO – publishing content on the same sites again and again, and duplicating it elsewhere, can in fact harm search rankings.
Copy is not keyword-optimised

Whether a media release or website and blog copy, if it's not written with relevant keywords in mind, you're missing a trick. Any digital PR agency worth its salt will familiarise itself with a client's business, research the keywords that should be targeted, and optimise copy to make sure it climbs the all-important Google search rankings.
The agency displays anti-social tendencies

When social media is seen as an optional afterthought and not an integral part of a communications campaign, that's when it's time to switch digital PR agency. Social communities like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and increasingly Google+ and others, should be used both as networks through which to engage with a client's customers and the influential figures in its industry, and as tools to boost the reach of shareable online content. It amazes me to see so-called digital PR agencies showing a total misunderstanding of social media, or distrust in its value.
Where is the blog?

One of the most effective ways of displaying expertise or building a reputation as an influencer in a particular field is to create a well-executed, well-maintained blog. It can be built into a company’s website, positioning the brand directly as the guys in the know, or it can be a separate website, building its independent standing while still acting as a lead generation tool. When prospective customers land on a business's website, they can be directed to the blog where they can learn more about the company's offering and be impressed by the wealth of knowledge its spokespeople have on the subject. Guest blogging on other relevant and influential sites is another great way of extending this network and boosting brand reach.

No video in sight

Video is seen by many as one of the most important forms online content can take. Concise and eye-catching, it can help get company messaging across to an engaged viewer with power and efficiency. If video – with its impressive click-through rates and the lead generation potential it can unlock – hasn't at least been suggested as part of an integrated digital campaign, then we can draw two conclusions. One, it's clear the comms agency simply has not fully embraced digital; and two, the brands who employ the agency in question are missing out.

Adam Ketterer, senior account executive at TopLine Communications

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