3 digital PR sins: Are you guilty?

By: Brian Pittman
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015

PR pros will go all out for a “like” or share, but is your quest for social media nirvana leading you astray?

Here are three common digital PR sins—and salvations:

1. Hashtag jacking. Hashtags help drive content engagement, but practice due diligence before using a new hashtag.

Piggybacking a hashtag that’s aggregating questionable content can damage your brand, says Josh Dahmes, chief digital officer at Risdall Marketing.

For example, Entenmann used #notguilty to promote low-calorie edibles around the time of the Casey Anthony murder acquittal. The timing was unfortunate, and the campaign got lost in the larger story.

Visit www.hashtags.org for free resources on trending hashtags to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to you.

Watch the PR University webinar “The New 10-Step PR Crisis Plan: How to Integrate Digital Thinking into Your Response” to protect your career and company in the era of social media and cyber attacks.

2. Solo SEO. Many PR pros think SEO is in their domain, but SEO falls under the following three key areas—and only two directly involve PR, says Dahmes:

    • In-site (technical SEO): The technical/code/development platform, which ensures that search engines can read and interpret a site’s content.
    • On-site (content SEO): This ensures the visible unique content on your site is optimized for proper keyword topics in various locations across each page.
  • Off-site (external/linking SEO): The optimization of off-site content and establishment of a linking portfolio to ensure search engines detect high-quality links.

PR comes into play in off-site and some on-site SEO, Dahmes says. Upshot: PR pros must work with a good SEO team that understands the technical base (in-site SEO) so the work they put into creating great content pays off.

Enlist the help of SEO experts to ensure any content you post to your site can be found,” he advises. “That means not just putting keywords into the content you create, but also making sure the site is mobile friendly, loads quickly and has relevant, quality links pointing to it.”

3. Publisher pride. Many communicators believe that reposting outside content somehow diminishes their own expertise. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Social media’s longstanding “Rule of Thirds” states that:

    • A third of your content should promote your business.
    • A third of your content should be based on your personal interests and interactions, while focusing on building your personal brand.
  • A third of your content should share updates and insights from your industry.

The last of these epitomizes content curation, the practice of sifting through relevant content and presenting what you find to your audience.

Embrace content curation—and be liberal in sourcing, attribution and link sharing, advises Dahmes. “It’s a great way to stay active without all the hand-wringing about finding new and interesting things to post every day.”

The benefits include becoming a trusted filter of valuable information and filling your content calendar without draining resources.

Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Jim Lukaszewski shares more crisis tips in the PR University webinar, The New 10-Step PR Crisis Plan: How to Integrate Digital Thinking into Your Response.

3 digital PR sins: Are you guilty?

By: Brian Pittman
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015