Coming up with effective and creative PR ideas for ecommerce brands can be a tougher challenge than you might at first think. Whilst retail PR might seem to have more obvious creative scope than perhaps some B2B sectors do, achieving the right online coverage as well as hitting your KPIs and business objectives as a result isn’t always as straightforward as you might wish.
With digital PR, it isn’t just about getting online titles to pick up your story (although don’t get me wrong – that’s great too), there is also the opportunity with every campaign to maximise the benefit for your retail brand and get more bang for your buck by considering other digital channels too.
With the right approach, an ecommerce PR campaign can not only get coverage and increase brand awareness, it can also benefit your website’s SEO strategy, ramp up social media engagement, drive product sales, improve your brand reputation and achieve results that last; the PR gift that keeps on giving!
This blog takes a look at how to not only generate ideas that will help you stand out from a PR perspective, but also how to get the most out of your digital PR activity on all fronts.
1) Multi-discipline team sessions – brainstorming ideas for an integrated digital PR campaign
Everyone in PR and marketing understands the benefits of a group session to come up with ideas. The key to making the most of digital PR ideation sessions is to get input from marketers in other areas too, to make sure that all channels are considered when coming up with ideas. This can make a big difference when it comes to getting buy-in for your ideas, as you can show that the campaign will contribute towards the business in several different ways at once.
For example, the crux of your idea might be around a quirky product launch. Making sure that SEO, social media, paid media, influencer marketing and the user journey towards conversion once someone lands on your site are also taken into account, as well as the digital PR and outreach elements, will maximise the potential impact of the campaign on the business as a whole.
This approach doesn’t necessarily mean that you need loads of people in a room all at once shouting out ideas (although that can sometimes work too) but ensuring you consult channel specialists early-on can make a huge difference to the short and longer-term brand impact of digital PR activity.
2) Incorporating and leveraging seasonality or trending topics
Using a seasonal or trending hook in PR is of course nothing new, but this approach often needs a quick turnaround, especially if reacting to current events, and this can mean that the other potential channels that could be involved in amplifying the impact of the campaign are not considered.
In SEO, content that is ‘evergreen’ (i.e. people are searching for content on this topic all year round and there is no expiry date on the subject) is ideal, but that doesn’t mean that seasonal or trending topics are not worth getting involved in to try and maximise the benefit of the digital PR activity for the business.
Ensuring there is a well-optimised landing page on the website to support the story can help not only to draw organic traffic whilst the topic is being searched for but can also attract links from other authoritative sites that will benefit the whole retail website for months or even years to come.
Utilising both organic and paid social media can be a great way to take advantage of topics that are in the news to extend the reach of your PR story, but by focusing this on a promotion that runs alongside the story (if appropriate), it can also drive direct sales and generate revenue too. This can be amplified even more if you can get the right influencers involved and creating content around your campaign too.
3) Useful and beautiful data visualisation
Data can be beautiful – and this isn’t just my inner geek speaking! If you can utilise some data as part of your digital PR idea, and find a clever and effective was to visualise it, then it can add a whole new dimension to your PR story and the potential results achieved.
Whether you’re using a fresh take on data that is already in the public domain or are utilising your own unique data, a clever and appealing visualisation gives website owners a reason to link to your site to benefit your SEO, gives people a great visual to share on social media to boost brand awareness and gives journalists and editors an easy way to include attractive and meaningful visuals in their coverage.
There are degrees to data visualisation. You don’t need to spend weeks or even months doing research and design in order to come up with a nice way of visualising some data to help support a PR story. Well thought-out charts and simple graphics can still get great results.
A great example includes this interactive infographic by sustainable fashion-championing brand Celtic & Co, where elements on the page move when you scroll.
Take a look at Information is Beautiful for some more visual data inspiration.
4) Creating unique assets
Whether you’re visualising data or providing further evidence or information for your PR story, creating an asset or set of assets to support your PR story gives you an opportunity to host this unique content on an optimised page on your website. This encourages link earning, referral traffic from your coverage, organic traffic from people searching around this topic and helps make your website more useful to visitors, all of which can benefit your business.
Whether it’s a video, infographic, eBook, white paper, research/survey data, checklist, interactive tool or even a case study that adds depth to the PR story, it can play a great role in delivering additional benefits to your digital PR activity.
5. Including promotions for bigger impact
We’ve already briefly touched on the idea of brands combining a PR story with an appropriate promotion to piggyback on the story to drive direct sales, and this can also be a great way to drive new email-signups to grow your email marketing list.
Of course, the nature of the promotion or hook will need to relate to the story and this will depend on your business and the specifics of the PR campaign, but creating an incentive for people to buy or sign up for emails can sometimes also provide part of the story itself. For example, in a digital PR story where your brand is partnering with a charity, you can also run a promotional period where a percentage of sale profits will go to the charity – this way everyone wins with an increase in sales.
Promising email subscribers exclusive access to discounts, secret sales or first option to buy high-demand products can be highly effective in driving sign-ups, and you may also be able to incorporate these benefits into your digital PR story, depending on the circumstances.
With email usually being a highly converting channel for most ecommerce brands, any opportunity to increase this audience could be very profitable and encourage not only new customers, but also repeat purchases.
What are good promotional ideas?
There are many possibilities when it comes to promotional ideas to try and tie in with your digital PR activity, including things like:
- Competitions or giveaways
- Discounts or discounted bundles
- Upcoming secret sale for email subscribers-only
- Charity partnership/donation scheme
- “Money can’t buy” prizes/experiences
Evaluate the potential benefits of your creative PR campaign ideas
When weighing up which idea to push forward with, if you have several competing for campaign space, it can be helpful to look at which idea gives opportunity for the biggest benefits to the business as a whole, by providing scope for utilising other channels and marketing disciplines as we’ve covered in this blog.
Not every digital PR campaign needs to be all singing and dancing, but by evaluating any additional benefits that could be generated by thinking outside of the PR-only box, you can potentially get a much better return for the business over a sustained period of time.