Group 4

How to get a job in digital PR

The five things you need to remember when applying for digital PR jobs.
Joseph Fitzpatrick
16 Apr 2018

Whether this is your first job out of university or you are looking to make the jump from ‘traditional’ PR these five recommendations will help you land your first job in digital PR.

1. What is digital PR?

Being able to confidently and accurately provide an answer to this question is the first – and arguably the most important – step to securing a job in the industry. While it may seem simplistic, it never ceased to amaze me how many experienced PR practitioners all the way up to Heads-of-Department positions couldn’t answer this question. Common misconceptions include that digital PR is either just social media or getting coverage on newspaper websites rather than print.

Unfortunately reader there is no one-size-fits-all, copy-and-paste-into-interview-notes answer for this question. As, without sounding contrite, digital PR can mean different things to different people. It can also be given several different labels, including online PR and content marketing. Its most common meaning is the use of PR tactics to acquire high authority backlinks for the purpose of improving a website’s SEO. But it can also include online content promotion, digital communications, video promotion, and influencer marketing.

My advice is to develop a solid understanding of all of the above and adapt your answer to whom your applying for.

2. Know and understand the terminology

The key word here is ‘understand’. Memorising and then reciting digital terms absent understanding them is a quick way to give the interviewer the complete opposite impression of that which you are aiming for. If you say you enjoy working with influencers, be sure you a) can explain what an influencer is and b) are able to give examples.

3. Online versus offline

In traditional PR, print coverage in The Times or the client’s preferred trade publication represented a good day’s work. Advertising Value Equivalent and print circulation figures dictated whether a campaign had gone well or not. Digital PR is focused on a different set of metrics. There are some basic metrics that you should be able to demonstrate an understanding of to your prospective employer, including:

  • Domain Authority
    • The measurement system used to rank a website’s quality in the eyes of Google. Understanding this will allow you to show that you grasp that getting the client a link from Mashable is worth more than from a traditional national newspaper such as the Daily Express
  • Referrals
    • How many people have arrived at a website from a third-party site or social media platform
  • Engagement
    • We’re not talking just shares and likes here, instead this can be measured by time on site in Google Analytics. The longer the time on site then in theory the greater the engagement

For entry level or executive positions you will typically only need to know these metrics – not know how to report on them. Whereas for more senior positions you will be expected to be able to use programmes such as Google Analytics to source them.

4. What are your favourite digital PR campaigns?

This was a question that we find is almost always met by ponderous silence when asked in interviews, yet it’s probably the easiest to prepare for and therefore answer. It also gives you the opportunity to commentate on someone else’s successful work to demonstrate your understanding of digital PR. Head to sites such as PR Examples for inspiration if you’re struggling.

5. Basic PR skills

The vast majority of a digital PR role requires the fundamental attributes any PR practitioner should possess. Writing, communication, knowing what is and isn’t a story and account management are all vital skills. Given the choice of a candidate who succeeds at points 1-4 and one that only does so on point 5, it would typically be the latter who would get the job. Be careful not to be blinkered on the ‘digital’ and forget about the ‘PR’.

For more information on any of the recommendations in this blog post or to learn more about our digital marketing training please get in touch here.