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Should you try a “digital first” campaign?

January 13, 2017

The term “digital first” burst onto the communications and marketing scene in 2015 to describe the trend of readers increasingly getting their news online, rather than in newspapers. Since then, “digital first” has been broadened to refer to an overall shift in our mentality as communications professionals.

Traditionally, PR professionals have pitched stories in one way to three platforms – print, TV and radio. But in a digital-first world, communicators need to deliver content to audiences on the platform of their choice and in the quickest way possible. More and more, that means creating meaningful digital content first, and then looking for ways to leverage that content across other platforms – both traditional and social.

For some organizations, this can be a very big shift in approach. How do you know if this approach is right for you and your organization?

1. Do you have content to share? In the past, a newspaper pitch was written or delivered over the phone. In other words it was just … words. But digital-first campaigns need more than words. They need images, infographics, videos and other kinds of compelling content. If you’re not creating this kind of content as part of your campaigns, you’re not ready to try digital-first.

2. Where is your audience? – Digital-first campaigns only make sense for organizations whose audiences prefer to get their information online. If your audience skews older, is very niche, or just isn’t used to hearing from you online, again, digital-first may not be for you.

3. Do you have owned channels to amplify the content? If you have owned assets (website, newsletter, social media channels) – use them. But beware of the requirements that come with communicating online – once you start talking to your audiences online, you have to keep the conversation going. You’ll need to monitor, answer questions and engage with your audiences.

4. Do you have additional budget to help with paid spend? While content can go viral, this is rare. If you’ve invested in creating the content, consider paid options for ensuring the content is seen by the right people.