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Reactive Digital PR: What Is It And How To Do It

Reactive digital PR, or newsjacking, can be a simple, effective and low budget way to generate high quality coverage and backlinks for your brand. Done correctly, it can help boost your SEO performance, as well as impacting brand awareness and allowing you to ‘own’ your chosen space within the media. 

It’s all about capitalising on trending topics and news cycles to land valuable backlinks and media coverage. Unlike the larger, meticulously planned “hero” PR campaigns, reactive PR allows you to create quick, impactful content that resonates with journalists and your target audience. While long-term strategic PR remains crucial, incorporating reactive campaigns helps you secure consistent coverage throughout the year, keeping your brand relevant by ensuring you’re always a part of the conversation.

This post will explain what reactive digital PR is and the benefits it offers, as well as helpful tips on how to successfully introduce it to your marketing strategy. We’ll also look at proactive digital PR, how it differs, and what it can offer for your strategy.

What is Reactive Digital PR: 

Put simply, reactive digital pr involves reacting to current events with either expert comments or useful data. With reactive, you’re keeping a close eye on news, waiting for the moment where a story relevant to your brand’s niche breaks. It relies on identifying the perfect moments to interject with valuable commentary. The key lies in expertise: if your client has unique data or in-house specialists, their insights can be valuable contributions to the conversation sparked by the news story. 

Reactive PR plays a crucial role in steadily building your online presence over time and bridging the gaps between larger, planned campaigns. 

Let’s illustrate this with a real-world scenario. We recently executed a successful reactive campaign for our client specialising in medical negligence. When news emerged about Chas Dingle’s breast cancer diagnosis in Emmerdale, we saw a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection. We promptly secured expert commentary from one of our client’s internal healthcare professionals on the topic of recognisable symptoms. This resulted in valuable coverage from various publications, positioning our client as a trusted source of information.

What about Proactive Digital PR:

While very similar, the key difference between reactive and proactive digital PR is in the name. Reactive digital PR is unplanned, reacting to the latest news, while proactive digital PR can be planned in advance. Admittedly, predicting the exact news cycle is impossible – however, we can anticipate potential areas of interest. An effective strategy is to analyse the previous year’s news headlines to identify recurring themes and events.

This would usually be based around key dates coming up in the calendar, for example:

  • Holidays: Easter, Valentine’s, Christmas etc.
  • Seasonality: Daylight savings, extreme weather, spring/summer etc.
  • Financial: Government budget, inflation rates, tax returns etc.
  • Pop Culture: Awards season, TV & movie release dates etc.
  • Sport: Olympics, World Cup, Superbowl, Premier League season etc.

That being said, jumping on every fleeting trend isn’t the answer. The key is to strategically select opportunities that align with your brand and resonate with their target audience.

What are the benefits of Reactive Digital PR:

Reactive digital PR offers unique advantages and should certainly be a significant part of your overall strategy. Here’s why: 

  • Low-cost

Reactive digital PR leverages existing news stories, minimising the need to put substantial resources towards your own data collection or content creation. This makes it much more cost-effective than some other approaches to digital PR.

  • Quick turnaround

The beauty of reactive digital PR is that, by capitalising on current events, you can secure links in a quick time frame. Due to the time-sensitive nature of newsjacking, you can receive media placements more immediately than in a longer-term campaign where results often require patience.

  • Boost SEO performance

Links earned through reactive PR placements in high-authority publications send strong signals to search engines about your website’s experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). This can significantly boost your website’s ranking in search results, leading to increased organic traffic and brand visibility.

  • Amplified brand awareness 

Reactive digital PR ensures your brand is consistently appearing in the media. This exposure significantly increases brand awareness and recognition, keeping your company at the forefront of your target audience’s mind.

  • Builds your reputation as experts 

When you frequently provide valuable commentary or data tied to trending news stories, you establish your brand as a trusted authority within your niche. Journalists take notice, and this can lead to a snowball effect. They’re more likely to reach out directly in the future for your expert opinions for upcoming stories, further solidifying your reputation as a thought-leader in your field.

How to spot opportunities for Reactive Digital PR

Wondering how to spot those golden opportunities for reactive digital PR? Here are our secrets:

  • Monitor the news

Develop a habit of consuming news content regularly, both within your specific industry and across broader topics. Subscribe to industry-specific publications and follow relevant journalists on social media. The more content you consume, the more chance you have of spotting opportunities

  • Set up alerts

Use tools like Google Alerts and Talkwalker Alerts to stay on top of keywords and topics relevant to your brand. You’ll receive real-time notifications whenever these keywords appear online, allowing you to react quickly to breaking news and trending stories.

  • Sign up to journo request services 

Platforms like ResponseSource & HARO connect journalists with PRs; by actively monitoring these platforms, you can identify opportunities to provide insightful commentary and secure media placements.

  • Keep an eye on relevant hashtags 

Twitter is a goldmine for journalists seeking expert opinions. Monitor hashtags like #journorequest and you’ll be able to seize prime opportunities for reactive PR.

Our top tips:

We’ll finish by doing you a favour and giving you our ultimate top tips for a successful reactive PR campaign.

  1. Remember, speed is key

Competition is fiercer than ever and journalists’ inboxes overflow with pitches on the same trending topics. Ensure you have a streamlined sign-off process in place which allows you to respond as quickly as possible to opportunities; if you take too long someone will beat you to it, or the story will become old and irrelevant.

  1. Make use of internal spokespeople

Your expertise is your biggest strength and the key to a winning story may be right under your nose! If possible, build a bank of usable quotes in advance for speedy responses. Secure commentary from key spokespeople on a variety of topics commonly covered in the news. Then, when a reactive opportunity strikes, you can quickly tailor these existing quotes to fit the specific story, saving valuable time.

  1. Utilise existing content where possible 

Mine your blog and other on-site resources for material that could be repurposed for reactive PR opportunities. Even just slightly revamping existing content can significantly improve its chances. Reactive campaigns offer a chance to revisit and potentially breathe new life into past content and this has the plus of saving you time and effort down the line.

  1. Build detailed data hubs on your site

Data hubs can house industry reports and stats relevant to your niche – becoming your go-to resource for reactive stories. These hubs, when optimised with relevant keywords, also have the potential to rank organically in search results. This will attract qualified traffic to your website, further establishing you as a thought leader.

  1. Pick your battles

You want to make sure that the stories you’re reacting to are relevant for your brand. Don’t try to shoehorn your way into every story you see – you need to make sure you’re actually adding value to the story. It’s also a good idea to discuss brand-sensitive topics with your client beforehand to avoid potential missteps.

  1. It’s not for everyone

Reactive PR needs speed. If you lack the internal resources to quickly generate responses and secure approvals, or aren’t willing to have an opinion on trending topics, this might not be the strategy for you.

A winning digital PR Strategy from Cedarwood Digital

At Cedarwood Digital, we’ve got years of experience utilising reactive digital PR strategies to get our clients in front of their audience. We have access to advanced tools, allowing us to identify upcoming trends and put a brand at the centre of the conversation.

If you’d like to find out more about how our digital PR team can drive coverage for your business, please get in touch today.

Blog Picture - How To Use Data Driven Campaigns In Your Digital PR Strategy

How To Use Data Driven Campaigns In Your Digital PR Strategy

With business after business churning out impressive PR stories, how can you make yours stand out?

The answer is data. Incorporating data-driven campaigns into your strategy can be the key to attracting readers and journalists, and gaining substantial coverage.

This guide is going to look at what data-driven PR is, how it can elevate your marketing game, and give you some advice on how to create, present and pitch your campaigns.

What is data-driven Digital PR?

Data-driven Digital PR is the process of using data as a basis for your PR stories. These stories are then pushed out to relevant publications and journalists in order to achieve coverage. It brings reliability to a piece of PR and can be visually presented in a way to attract attention.

Let’s discuss the benefits

  1. Journalists love data 

Using unique data in your press releases really makes your stories stand out to journalists. It makes the piece valuable and more likely to be respected. Without the use of numbers, there’s a risk of your narrative coming across vague and indirect – data provides precision. It also helps you to position yourself as a source of innovative, fresh information that the journalists can only get from you. But more on expertise and authority later….

  1. Data is great for SEO

People love stats so search engines love stats. They signal to Google that you are an authoritative source, improving your domain authority, and as a result, your ranking. This should make more sense if we are to talk about E-E-A-T. 

Part of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, E-E-A-T means that you need to demonstrate Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness to be deemed a useful site. And what plays into this? You guessed it… good data. Include relevant and reliable data in your content, in accordance with meeting the other guidelines, and Google will be evaluating your domain favourably in no time.

  1. Backlinks

A main benefit of using data in your Digital PR is its potential to earn you backlinks. Stories involving statistics, particularly unique statistics, tend to earn a greater number of links. People researching a topic related to your data will come across your information and credit you as a source. 

You’ll then secure backlinks from authoritative domains like online newspapers. These links will help drive traffic to your website, especially if you make sure to upload a more in-depth piece on your dataset to the landing page of your website. Also, each backlink will act as a trust signal to Google that your domain is a worthwhile and quality source of information.

  1. Make readers act 

Data usage can get you your desired outcome from the reader. It helps fuel your audience’s desire to act – whether that be clicking a link, making a purchase or sharing the piece. It acts as a bit of a guiding star: fine-tuning your message and making it relatable and tangible to the reader.

Data also builds credibility with your audience. This will support your brand image and give customers more confidence to buy into the services you’re offering. Today, misinformation is rife in the online world and audiences are more sceptical than ever. Figures and evidence bring much needed reliability to your digital PR.

  1. Potential for several angles 

Data-led PR tends to have a higher success rate as it can result in multiple, alternate angles. A good example of our Digital PR team using this approach was a campaign for a client in which we ran a survey looking into what Brits get up to while working from home. Through keeping a close eye on online discussion surrounding the data, we noticed a lot of conversation on Twitter surrounding statistics about people having sex whilst working from home! To capitalise on this, the team sent out a new angle focusing on this data specifically, which led to more and more backlinks from authoritative outlets.

Always remember to rework and remix your data campaigns. One set of data could have endless potential lines of narrative. Keep track on which aspects of the story are being frequently picked up and linked to, and hone in on them specifically.

Our tips for data-driven Digital PR

The value of Digital PR has never been more important, but how exactly do you pull off a brilliant data-led campaign? Stay tuned, we’re going to take you through all our top tips for everything from developing initial ideas, through to constructing a visualised piece that journalists will love.

Gathering data 

Perhaps you’re an ideas person who decides on the topic of a story, then generates data to support it. Or, maybe your style is forming ideas through analysis of data. Both methods can bring about equally successful campaigns, the key lies in the numbers being used. Let’s begin by looking at where to find this crucial data.

There are a few effective kinds of data you can make use of:

📍Internal customer data

If you own a website then I have good news for you, you’ll have a wealth of data there at your fingertips (visitor data, purchase data, interactions, location, products bought etc.). Anonymised data about your customers can sometimes reveal interesting insights, perfect for shaping a Digital PR story. Analyse your customer demographics and internal data and you might find some surprising findings and changes over time.

The good thing about leveraging your own data is that it will be one of a kind information that your competitors don’t have access to. Your story should be entirely unique because you have conducted this research yourself. So, when searching for the numerical backing for your next PR story, bear in mind that it might well be right under your nose.

If not quite what you’re after, another idea is to run a customer survey with your own customers – this can help you get more specific insights. But, as this sample size will likely be on the smaller side, we’d recommend finding other third-party data to support your research and increase credibility.

📍Public data

Third-party data can be retrieved from a whole range of online sources, and the great thing is that many of them are free! You can check out our in-depth guide here to the best free data sources. Whether getting your numbers from YouGov surveys, SEMrush Keyword Research, or even the NHS website, there’s heaps of useful data in the public domain which can be utilised for a good story. Just remember to credit your source and ensure you’re doing something new and different with the data.

Another great source of information is of course social media. Things like the TikTok Creative Centre hold data on hashtags and trends which can be used to get figures for a campaign on ‘the most popular..’ or ‘most hashtaggable…’. 

However, you really can get the data for an effective story anywhere. At Cedarwood, we like to think outside the box, like in this campaign on roast dinners that we put together for a client. The Digital PR team pulled off a hugely successful campaign, simply from analysing ingredient prices on supermarket websites!

📍Generating new data

Another technique we’ve used for many of our most successful PR campaigns is to produce our own new data through commissioning surveys. It’s a good idea to use a third party agency, like One Poll or Toluna which can provide a good sample size. Take a look at this survey we generated for a client, discovering how much pet owners know about the impact of smoking on their pets.

It is worth noting that running your own survey does not mean it will definitely come up with the results you’d like! Also, this technique often requires payment and a good portion of time. However, as you can see, these sacrifices can pay off in an impressive campaign.

Displaying your data

Once you’ve secured your facts and figures, the next important step is working out how to display it to the readers. Data visualisation is a big thing these days. Plain bar charts are being replaced with research formatted in more beautiful displays than ever before. 

Don’t neglect a good bit of brainstorming when it comes to visualising your data. Data is useless when not portrayed in an effective way, formatting really can be the make or break of your campaign. Graphs, charts, maps, animations and infographics can all be equally effective ways to display your data. We’d recommend following a few data visualisation blogs which can be great for inspiration. For example, Information is Beautiful presents bespoke projects where big portions of information are conveyed accessible and creatively.

Consider the website it is going to be displayed on and the audience you’re targeting. Another tip is to have a look at the data stories published recently by your media targets. Learn from how they presented their statistics to get some ideas for your own visualisation.

Pitching the story

So, you’ve gathered your data, and presented it stylishly. Now it’s time for the crucial pitch. Here are our do’s and don’ts to get your story sought after by every journalist:

>Keep your headline short and punchy, no more than 10 words ideally

>Determine why a journalist should want this story, and how it’s new or different and get that across from the beginning

>Don’t overdo it with the statistics. Pick a few key points from your data that are most relevant for your audience. Too many stats and there’s danger of your pitch becoming confusing.

>Remember to include a link to your website, where people can find the full set of data

Final takeaways 

We’ll end by reminding you that a data-led campaign may not always land immediately but that doesn’t necessarily mean your research is futile. Have a re-think and try a different angle – you may just get the results you’re hoping for.

To sum up, journalists and readers love data and in Digital PR we need to use this to our advantage. It brings context and credibility to a narrative. When illustrated in an effective way it’s the key to a world of increased backlinks, coverage and conversions.

Why not get in touch with one of our experts at Cedarwood today to discuss how we could help you utilise data for your SEO strategy. Fill in our 2-minute form here, it couldn’t be easier!