Getting a job in digital PR, or in a digital PR company, for the first time can seem daunting, particularly owing to the fast-paced, target-driven nature of the field. With plenty of candidates with a wide range of different experience all competing for similar roles, it’s hard to know what will set you apart, or even where to begin. To help you gain your footing in digital PR, we have compiled a guide about the nature of digital PR, the responsibilities involved and how to set yourself apart as a strong candidate in the industry.
Explained simply, Digital PR is a digital marketing strategy used by businesses and agencies to improve on and increase their online presence and visibility, typically across search engines. In doing so, digital PR improves the reputation and identity of businesses, introducing them as an authoritative voice in publications with vast readership. However, above all else, the client’s website will gain backlinks, enabling it to perform better and demonstrate its relevance and trustworthiness to Google, who in turn ranks it accordingly on search result pages, increasing website traffic as a result. This is a sustained and long-term progress, but with the right Digital PR skills and expertise, it is something that businesses are growing increasingly eager to invest in.
Depending on whether you work in house or as part of an agency and what level you work at, the exact responsibilities of a digital PR may vary slightly. However, as a whole, the following responsibilities are commonplace in all digital PR jobs:
Ideation which involves brainstorming original, topical and industry-specific ideas for client campaigns.
Writing Press Releases that are engaging, captivating and carry value for those you outreach them to.
Liaising With Clients on campaign ideas, the progress of creative assets to supplement digital PR campaigns and the traction gained by individual campaigns.
Outreaching Content to networks of journalists, bloggers and influencers so that you can gain high-quality backlinks for clients if publications choose to use your content.
Digital PR is an exciting role and one which also comes with a wide range of benefits, such as:
A creative, dynamic and varied workload
First-hand experience working with different clients and industries
The opportunity to develop lasting relationships with journalists, colleagues and clients
A collaborative, sociable and friendly working environment (at the right agencies!)
Plenty of opportunities for career development and progression
One major misconception about working in digital PR is that you must have either a relevant degree or masses of experience to get one. Whilst degrees are a good indication of your ability to conduct research and written communication, they are not the be-all and end-all, since many of the skills required to be a successful digital PR are derived from elsewhere, like through further reading, online courses or gaining relevant work experience.
In particular, digital PR hiring managers are looking to see that you have certain skills and attributes that make you a good fit for the job, such as:
Creative, conscientious thinkers
Tech-savvy and interested in digital media
Clear and effective communication skills
Strong networking abilities
Writing and editing skills
A keen eye for detail
Analytical mindset and the ability to work with data
Sociable and able to work collaboratively with others
Strong time management and organisation skills
So, if you have the skills required for a successful role in digital PR, how can you improve your chances of getting the perfect job? To set yourself apart from other candidates, you may benefit from doing the following things:
By keeping up to date with everything that goes on in the world of digital PR, you will be able to gain invaluable insight into the kind of ideas that are doing well, the tools that are being used and the processes that are working best. You can do this by signing up to established newsletters, reading blogs and following industry leaders on social media platforms. Some great accounts for inspiration include:
Just Digital PR
Digital PR Examples
Digital PR Inspiration
Whilst it may sound strange at first, making a separate account or list specifically for digital PR news, followers and updates is a fantastic way to not only engage with different agencies’ work and campaigns but also to open a conversation with them. Unlike many other fields of work, digital marketing agencies are far easier to connect and network with online, meaning that you can gain a better understanding of what they are looking for, how they work and whether any opportunities are arising there.
Arguably the most important thing to do when applying for roles is to showcase all of this passion and research through your cover letter and resume. For help with this, check out our detailed guides on how to write the perfect cover letter and CV.
As someone who is entering the field of digital PR for the first time and without any experience, you should be open to accepting roles at all levels, so long as the salary enables you to do so.
Whilst internships are often perceived as temporary, or limited in what you can learn, the reality is completely different. In fact, many agencies will be keen to immerse interns in the day to day work of a digital PR, hoping to train you up so that you can progress quickly within their company to more advanced roles. Instead, they can prove highly valuable and give you the evidence required for certain other roles.
If you are hoping to go into digital PR, there are two good reasons why you need to consume media, and often. Firstly, given the relationship between digital PR and journalists, it is important to consume as much media as you can to truly understand what it is that journalists write about and why. Not only that, but vast amounts of the content used by journalists include or cover content from agencies, so you can see first-hand what kind of content gets picked up without even working in the industry. Secondly, many agencies use newsjacking or reactive ideas within their campaigns since this makes the content topical and of interest to readers. Therefore, keeping up to date with the news and media from various outlets is a fantastic habit to get into, even before landing a role in digital PR.
Look into what digital PR entails, which you can do by looking at job descriptions by different agencies and checking their social media content, which typically gives you a preview into how they work and the kind of stuff they do.
Seek entry-level or internship roles in digital PR or similar fields, as the skills you gain, can prove invaluable.
Work on developing your relevant skills and knowledge, either through online courses, further reading or hands-on practice, such as writing and brainstorming potential campaign ideas.
Work on developing strong connections within the industry. Ask questions to those who inspire you and see what you can learn from those already in the industry.
Work on building a strong CV and cover letter to supplement your applications.
Seek out some agencies that you think would suit you in terms of work, location, environment and culture.
Be proactive and regularly look on job websites for specific digital PR roles.