Digital PR Strategies For A Memorable Personal Brand

Chapter 9

Brands that don’t embrace digital PR strategies lose ground on their competitors. Not only do they struggle to compete, but they may threaten their very existence. Done right, digital PR can set your brand on fire in people’s hearts and minds. 

Move aside traditional PR, digital PR is here now.

And it’s here to stay. Jump onto the trend or your brand will be a relic soon.

In the past, companies relied on traditional Public Relations strategies like press release distribution and press conferences to increase brand awareness or manage their brand reputations.

But fast-moving digital media platforms and strategies have overtaken orthodox tactics. Smart brands have taken up digital PR and are reaping the rewards. Digital PR has leveled the ground. Small brands can now compete with mega brands and topple them. Even Google’s John Mueller praises digital PR and thinks it isn’t getting the plaudits it deserves.

Source: Twitter

In this section, we will look at how personal brands can level up their marketing using digital PR strategies.

We’ve already covered a few of them, but there are many more to explore.

Let’s begin.

4 Benefits Of Digital PR

Digital PR has many advantages over conventional strategies. Here are some of them.

1. More channels than traditional PR

Conservative PR depends on a handful of strategies. 

But rapid technological advancements have led to the explosion of online avenues to promote businesses. Single Grain listed a whopping 54 advertising platforms modern brands can milk. From self-service mobile advertising platforms to media buying networks, from cloud-based platforms to display ads, from pay-per-view solutions to social networks, the list is endless. 

This long list excludes organic marketing channels.

2. A wider reach so more people get to know your brand

According to Statista, as of October 2020, there were 4,66 billion active internet users.

Source: Statista

That’s almost 60% of the world’s population connected and ready to do business with your brand online. Past marketers could only dream of reaching such numbers through their marketing campaigns. 

Not only can you reach large numbers of people, but you can get in touch with them faster anywhere anytime because they are always online through their mobile devices. 

3. Cost-effective

Compared to traditional tactics, digital PR is cheaper.

For instance, direct mail costs around $3,000 for 10,000 brochures. If you run a clever, well-targeted guest posting campaign focusing on popular sites, you can reach 20 times more people for far less. You better embrace digital PR because it’s pocket-friendly.

4. Higher Chances Of Going Viral

Messages spread super fast online.

Because the internet moves at a supersonic speed, marketing messages can catch on at the click of a button and reach thousands of people in no time. Should one of your campaigns take explode online, you:

The Dollar Shave Club exploded into the limelight through their hilarious, goofy video.

The video has racked up a jaw dropping 27 million views since it was posted 8 years ago. That’s brand awareness on steroids.

Now that you’ve seen the benefits of digital PR, let’s dig deeper into the various strategies you can use to promote your brand.

How To Get Featured On Forbes (And Other Top Sites)

Many personal brands regard being featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Mashable, TechCrunch, Fast Company, and other A-list business sites as the pinnacle of online exposure for impactful brands.

Why get featured on Forbes?

Forbes is a popular, prestigious site known the world over. Getting a mention there will grow your reputation and perceived value.

Haggling over price can be a big issue for emerging brands. But if someone quotes on Forbes, potential customers are more likely to accept your prices without trying to low-ball you.

Who reads the Forbes Magazine? World-famous influencers, C-level executives, investors, entrepreneurs. These powerful decision-makers can open monumental doors for you, e.g. job opportunities, big contracts, guest posts on top sites, collaborations, etc.

Here’s how to cap your online personal branding efforts by getting a mention on Forbes and other top-drawer sites.

1. Slide into contributors’ DMs on social media

Writers like to show off bylines from distinguished publications. Scour Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for Forbes contributors. Use the native search feature and a simple search string ‘Forbes contributor’ to do your search.

Once you’ve found the contributors, read their Forbes article to see if they’d be a good fit for your idea. Thereafter, send a short 2-3 sentence DM selling your story idea.

2. Answer questions on Quora

Approaching Forbes contributors directly is going for the jugular, but there’s a subtle strategy. Scattering content baits by answering questions on Quora. Focus on questions you know you will ace because of your background and expertise.

Give insightful, actionable answers to people’s questions. Rinse and repeat. 

Many seasoned writers and journalists use Quora as a fishing pond for fascinating quotes and relevant tidbits they can use to spice up their Forbes articles. So if your Quora responses are excellent, they will quote one of them in their next Forces article.

3. Through a reputable PR agency

If your budget allows, you can let a reliable PR agency do the heavy lifting for you.

An experienced agency saves you time and the hassles of searching, connecting, DMing, and other activities associated with doing online outreach. But the agencies don’t come cheap.

Budget $5k+ for good agencies that can get you a mention.

4. Get in through HARO

We’ve already talked about HARO elsewhere, so there’s no need to rehash ourselves.

5. Play the influencer trump card

Don’t have the clout to get featured directly on Forbes?

No problem

Get in through the back door. Piggyback on the popularity of influencers to sneak in. Come up with a humdinger of an expert roundup post. Because clueless people have overdone expert roundup posts, your article must be superb to get accepted. 

For your post to come up tops:

6. Hire A Topnotch Freelance Writer

You can always pitch Forbes an article idea.

If they accept it, then hire an A-grade writer to write the article for you. But the best in the business charge premium prices. You must be willing to spend $500+ for a 1000-word article. An excellent writer will make your brand sparkle on the biggest stage.

Still, having your pitch accepted doesn’t guarantee acceptance.

Online Press Releases

Online press releases use new technologies to communicate brand messages powerfully through the internet. 

Benefits of online press releases include:

Keeping marketing and advertising costs low is crucial for businesses, especially for new business owners. Press releases are cheap. Prices range from $100 to $500 for digital distribution to thousands of outlets.

With online press releases, you submit to thousands of websites, influencers, and media outlets at the press of a button.

Not only can you get your name out there fast, but you can also reach millions of people.

A flurry of mentions on major websites and online news channels increases visibility across all major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Baidu, and Bing.

When your brand name pops up all over social media channels and major niche websites, you generate buzz around your brand.

Press releases can also drive your traffic to your company website. That traffic can turn into sales.

Press releases are best for new brands that want to announce their arrival on the market with a bang. Or, if you are an established brand that’s launching a new product or service.

Leverage Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has gone mainstream.

Expert Voice contends that 92% of consumers trust recommendations of trusted people they follow on social media.

As a personal brand, you can team up with influencers to augment your marketing campaigns and improve brand visibility. But to get results, you must be smart with your influencer marketing campaigns.

Ask yourself these 5 foundational questions:

There are 5 levels of influencers.

Source: Orbit Media

As a personal brand, your biggest opportunity lies in teaming up with nano influencers, micro influencers, and professionals. While they have smaller audiences, they have highly engaged audiences who hang on to every word they say because they respect as subject experts.

Produce Thought Leadership Content

Brands that command respect online often do it through thought leadership content.

Thought leadership content showcases your expertise in your niche and puts you on a pedestal as a thought leader and the go-to brand for products/services related to what you sell. 

Brand thought leadership gets you more credibility and drives more income and impact.

Three proven strategies can help you establish authority and credibility fast.

1. Produce in-depth long-form content

A simple way to set yourself apart from the rest of the contenders in space is by publishing exhaustive content.

Whenever users do a Google search, they have many questions on their hands. If your site answers most of them, they will value you and always come back for more. Plus, they enjoy the convenience of not opening ten tabs researching the topic.

Brain Dean built Backlinko by publishing monster posts like this 6k guide on Google ranking factors.

Source: Backlinko

To see the impact of the post on his audience, let’s also look at the post’s figures on Ahrefs.

The numbers are staggering:

If this isn’t brand thought leadership, then I don’t know what is. The post dominates discussions on ranking factors. Brian Dean’s name has become synonymous with SEO.

2. Publish A Book

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: he/she wrote a book on it, you know.

It comes up when someone wants to settle an argument or bring conclusive evidence about the validity or strength of an opinion. When they play that card, that’s the end of the discussion. That’s how powerful writing a book is. 

Write a book to uplift your authority in your field and scale your business faster today.

Publishing a book isn’t as tough as it used to be. Through self-publishing, you can move from a blank page to a published author in 3 months or fewer. 

Chandler Bolt, founder and CEO of Self-Publishing School, grew his authority and business from $0–$16+M in 5 years on the back of 6 best-selling books.

Source: Amazon

Writing a book isn’t such a bad idea, huh?

3. Speak Publicly About Your Topic

Speaking on subjects related to your product is another thought leadership building pillar.

Speakers speak from on a stage. Because they are on a raised platform, listeners look up to them. They ooze wisdom and knowledge. Listeners hold them in awe and regard them as masters of their subjects.

Speak in virtual and face-to-face meetings when the COVID-19 situation is behind us:

Bit by bit, stage by stage, you will grow your influence. Tony Robbins built his multi-million dollar empire through speaking and books. Look where he is today.


Stand up. Raise your voice. Be seen and heard.

Brand yourself as an unmistakable thought leader.

Network With Journalists On HARO And Other Platforms

Another way to win the war for brand recognition is through partnering with journalists.

Journalists need expert opinions and comments to back up their claims when producing stories and news clips for their online publications, radio, and TV. 

If you can get handy info onto platforms like Help A Reporter Out (HARO) where journalists hunt for reliable information, you will get free media exposure on mainstream media channels.

7 Tips For A Successful HARO Pitch

Here’s how to make content-hungry journalists say yes to your pitch:

1. Understand the query

Make sure you understand the query.

Fight the instinct to fire off a pitch just because it sounds nice. Examine it line by line. Do you:

If not, leave it.     

Don’t waste pitching for something you aren’t a perfect pitch for because your pitch will go straight to the virtual wastebasket.

2. Move swiftly

Journos are uber-busy.

Their careers hinge on beating deadlines every day. Every second counts. When they request info, they want it fast. The sooner they get the info, the faster they can wrap up their news pieces and get exacting editors off their backs.

So in most cases whoever pitches faster wins.

3. Keep your pitch short

Swarmed journos have no time to read winding pitches. Imagine the amount of reading they have to do to sift through hundreds of pitches if they are long.

Keep. It. Brief.

Make every word count.

4. Make it snackable

Journalists live for deadlines, remember?

Therefore, they quote straight from your response to meet a tight deadline. Tasty bite-sized content lends itself well to quotes because it’s rich, short, and memorable.

5. Lace your pitch with social proof

Journalists lean towards authoritative sources.

Trustworthy sources give greater weight to their pieces than contributions from sources with a few credentials.

Prove your authority through your:

6. Have a distinctive idea

Why would a journalist pick your contribution if it’s the same as everyone else’s?

Don’t pitch the first idea that comes off the top of your head otherwise you will give them dandruff, ha-ha.

Take your time. Brainstorm. Reflect. Sift.

You’ll eventually discover a gold nugget.

7. Follow the instructions

Sounds simple enough, but you’ll be surprised how many people disobey plain instructions.

If they ask for one sentence, give them that. Don’t write a page and disqualify yourself. Give them exactly what they want, no more, no less.

Know How To Deal With Negative Mentions

Nobody likes it, but it happens all the time.

A customer or prospect isn’t happy about your product or service. Perhaps you mishandled their query or delayed shipping their order. Or one of your new workers fluffs their lines and disappoints a finicky regular customer. Whatever it is, you offended the customer and they take the issue into the public domain.

Here’s why customer service must concern you.

Source: Bright Local

Since 94% of respondents say positive reviews make them more likely to use a business, it shows negative impressions about your brand can hurt your earnings. Worse, 92% of consumers in 2020 say they are less likely to use a brand with negative reviews.

Mishandling negative mentions can soil your brand’s reputation fast. However, with a bit of tact and patience, you can turn things around and help your brand to emerge stronger from a dicey situation.

Below are nine guidelines on how to deal with a negative review and emerge from the episode without an egg on your face.

1. Apologize and own the problem

It’s a human tendency to fight back when you feel threatened.

Curb those insects when dealing with disgruntled customers. 

Instead, apologize quickly and take responsibility.

No excuses. No buts. No ducking.

Just a straight-up genuine apology that comes from the heart.

You’d be surprised how even the most irate customer tones down in the face of an authentic apology. An apology allows you to establish rapport with the discontented customer and start the discussion on a positive note.

2. Respond fast

First, realize that you must respond to customers who have had a negative experience with your brand. It inspires confidence and trust in your company.

Dissatisfied customers aren’t the problem… ignoring them is.

Delayed or no response makes people angrier.

They feel you don’t give a damn. 

And when people feel provoked, they do crazy things, the first of which is trashing your brand every opportunity they get. Research shows bad news travels faster than good news. According to Customer Thermometer, a happy customer tells 3 people, an unhappy one tells up to 20. Imagine the impact such negativity can have on your brand.

These days, social media complainers expect businesses to respond within an hour of receiving a complaint. So the faster you move to solve the matter, the more likely you will be to meet or exceed customer expectations. 

3. Stay calm in the face of vitriol

When dealing with an irked customer who is spitting venom, the last thing you want to do is to be emotional and end up hitting back.

Keep your cool.

Take a deep breath. Stay level-headed in the face of it all, no matter how much the customer fumes. Do that, and the customer will end up calming down and focus on the issue, not just expressing their hurt emotions.

As a result, you will solve the issue amicably.

4. Focus on the issue, not the person

Be professional throughout the criticism.

Don’t raise your defenses and take things personally. Remember, it’s about a business event, not you as a person.

Center your attention on the matter raised by the customer. Don’t let their frayed emotions sidetrack you. Sometimes customers raise many issues at once. 

Help them identify the root of the problem. 

5. Take the issue to a private channel

If you can’t solve the problem immediately, take the issue to a private channel until it’s resolved. 

Taking the issue to a private channel:

Pushing the matter to a private channel has benefits on many levels.

6. Ask the person to write a follow-up review

After you resolve the matter and are sure the customer is happy, ask them for a favor.

Request that they write a follow-up statement clarifying you’ve sorted out the matter. They should publish the comment on the channel on which they made it.

This ensures everyone who reads about the matter leaves with a positive impression of your brand.

7. Make a public statement

Depending on the severity of the incident you might have to make a public statement to clear the air.

A formal statement shows you care enough to comment. Plus, it clarifies misconceptions doing rounds on social media corridors.

If you want to make a statement, do it fast before the issue turns into a blazing bonfire on social media.

8. Map the way forward

Identified the problem and clearly articulated it?


Spell out what happens next to fix the problem.

Follow through on your plan of action until you resolve the matter.

9. Follow to see if the customer is happy with the resolution

It pays to follow up with the customer to hear if things went as expected.

Follow up shows the customer you are a caring brand. You didn’t have a quick chat with them just to get them off your back. In your follow up communication, ask if they are happy with the redress.

If not, ask what else they want you to do to close the matter.

There’s no set time lapse for follow-up. 

Any reasonable time after you’ve addressed the matter. However, if you err, err on the side of over-communication. Customers will appreciate your concern. Not communicating enough makes you look like an aloof, uncaring brand.

Because today’s customers have exacting demands and lofty expectations, you must attend to all complaints with the utmost care. Not only that. Remember also that the universe watches closely as you deal with each negative customer experience—customer service is now a spectator sport since the whole globe is connected via social media.

Slip up and the entire world slams you. Shine and many people will applaud you. You will gain new adoring fans.

Let’s wrap up this section with a revealing quotation from Jay Baer’s book, Hug Your Haters:

“Business is more competitive than it’s ever been, at every turn and in every way, and differentiation is tough as competitors can and will eventually mimic your products and ape your pricing. But customer experience and customer service remain fertile opportunities for standing above the mass of competitors.”

Customer Service = Competitive Edge

End of story.

Sow Viral Seeds Everywhere You Go

Maybe this is the best thing about online PR and marketing.

Everything you do has viral potential. A blog post you wrote, a catchy line you said, or even a comment you made can blow up any second.

I mean, blow up in a good way. Any of your marketing initiatives can catch on and become widely popular overnight. 

Nothing you do online dies.

Every action is pregnant with unimaginable possibilities. So turn up and do your best work always. Every moment is a branding opportunity that can explode your brand in ways you never thought possible.

Obey The PR Golden Rule: ABR

At its heart, Public Relations is about building and managing relationships.

Follow the ABR rule for successful PR:

Start and strengthen relationships with customers, peers, influencers, or journalists, always. You won’t go wrong if you build relationships everywhere, with everyone, every time.

Powerful relationships with all stakeholders make it easier for you to shape public perceptions about your brand.

Think about this for a moment.

Good relationships are the linchpin of positive perspectives about your brand. It’s never too late or too early to build relationships with all stakeholders who are key to the growth of your brand.

So build relationships—now and forever. 

Your brand will be better for it.



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