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12 Rookie Questions When Starting a Career in Digital PR

Chloe Charalambous from NovosChloe Charalambous in Digital PR

7th July, 2021

When starting a new role, there can be many new processes, terminology and best practices to learn, which can be overwhelming, especially if you neglect to ask them early on. Digital PR is a relatively new career path and the more technical SEO aspects of the role mean that there is often a lot of jargon and new acronyms to get to grips with.

Here are 12 of the top ‘rookie’ questions the digital PR team at NOVOS had when starting their careers in SEO.

1) What is SEO?

This is the big one. For people moving into Digital PR from traditional PR, or simply people starting their career in the world of tech, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The website Moz defines SEO as ‘the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.’

Search engines use site crawlers that scan websites to gather information about the site content. This information is used to categorise your site within a wider index. The search engine then uses algorithms to match websites with user queries, pushing the most appropriate and highly regarded sources to the top of the results page. 

What does this have to do with digital PR? To put it simply: the role of a digital PR strategist is to build the credibility of your site through backlinks from other credible sites. This helps it to score higher on Google’s algorithm, helping your site to appear higher up in the search results which means your site reaches more users and consequently, generates more revenue.

2) What Do You Do In An Ideation Session?

To be honest, the first time I was invited to an ideation session, I had no clue what to expect. Ideation sessions are essentially creative and collaborative hours dedicated to coming up with new campaign ideas for clients. In an ideation session, you will discuss any ideas you or your team have for campaigns or mailers and try to develop them together.

To prepare for ideation, make sure you have researched the client well, including taking a look at their onsite content, competitors and industry news.

3) Can You Just “Pay To Be First In Google”?

No. Not really.

To appear first on Google organically, websites must have a high domain authority and high relevance to the search query. However, websites can pay for their adverts to appear at the top of a search – but these are labelled as sponsored ads. Some of these ads can resemble organic search results, but most users will be able to identify the differences. Like search results, these ads are related to the keywords and terms searched by users. Paid ads come at a cost though, and 53% of website traffic comes from organic search.

4) What Is The Difference Between Digital And Traditional PR?

If we had a pound for everytime someone asked this…

Digital PR is focused on building links. This means that as a digital PR strategist, you are focused on targeting digital channels such as online publications, a variety of different specialist websites, blogs, online news and even social media.

Traditional PR mainly targets the general press, print publications, TV and radio. 

This means that traditional and digital PR campaigns work differently, and PR specialists from each field are required to consider how the audiences consume digital and other forms of media differently.

5) What Does CTR Stand For?

CTR stands for ‘click-through rate’.

CTR refers to the number of users who click on a link compared to the number of users who see it. It is used as a measure of success for digital media and can be used in digital PR to calculate referral traffic.

6) What Does CTA Stand For?

CTA stands for ‘call to action’.

CTA is a term more commonly used in marketing and sales jobs and refers to straight directions given to users/buyers to encourage sales. In terms of digital PR, CTAs can be used when pitching to journalists or to encourage referral traffic.

7) How Do Affiliate Networks And Content Syndications Work?

Affiliate networks enable elected affiliates (independent websites, blogs etc) to earn commission for marketing or sharing links to another company’s website or products. This allows them to take profit whenever the product/website they are promoting makes a sale or generates a lead. This is tracked through websites using special affiliate links which notify the owner of the linked site where their traffic is coming from.

Syndication networks can publish and promote articles and media from other websites as if it is their own content. These posts also give the original author or creator credit and link back to the original post. Content syndication drives traffic and results and can help to encourage further backlinking.

8) What Is The Difference Between Agency And In-house PR?

In-house PR departments are teams that work within an individual company, e.g. Disney. This means that for in-house PR teams, their sole focus is to take care of the PR needs of that organisation. In-house PR teams are often smaller than agencies and usually work alongside external agencies, especially in the case of larger companies.

A PR agency or agency that offers digital PR services (like NOVOS) is an independent body hired to provide PR services by other independent companies. Agency PR is usually of a much faster pace, and teams will be working towards set goals and targets (i.e. backlink number/DA targets). Agencies will work on multiple clients in larger teams and these teams will often include subject specialists and a wider range of experience levels.

9) What Does SERP Stand For? 

SERPs stands for Search Engine Results Pages. 

SERPs are the pages returned by any search engine after the user submits a search query. These pages will consist of organic results, paid ads and rich results. 

Rich results are results that stand out from the usual search results page including carousels, images, or any other non-textual elements. Did you know that more than 90% of consumer traffic goes to websites that rank on the first page of Google search results?

10) What Is The Difference Between No Follow And Follow Links?

Nofollow is used in the HTML of your source code. This piece of code tells search engines not to follow a tagged link and essentially, means that the link is not endorsed by the website it is being tagged by.

Follow links are a vote of confidence from the sites which use them. Search engines see follow links as SEO points which can help to improve the page ranking of the linked-to site. 

Here is what a follow link looks like:

<a href=”https://example.com”>Anchor Text Goes Here</a>

Here is what a nofollow link looks like: 

<a href=”https://example.com” rel=”nofollow”>Anchor Text</a>

However, no-follow links shouldn’t be considered inferior to follow links. Read this article written by my colleague and digital PR manager at NOVOS, Hannah, that tells you why no-follow links can actually be great!

11) How Do You Find Similar Journalists/Publications If You Don’t Know Any?

When looking to identify the right journalists to pitch your campaign to, there are a few things you can do to aid your search.

First of all, if you are trying to find similar publications to a page you see as a good fit, you can use Google Chrome extensions like SimilarSites. This will show you publications with similar content/audiences to the one you currently have open. 

If you are trying to find similar journalists, your best way to do this is by looking at that journalist’s articles, and finding more articles with similar content/headlines – and finding out who has written them!

Another way to find journalists who will be interested in your content is by checking for journalist requests (#journorequests) on Twitter, Haro and Response Source. These requests come straight from the journalists and align with the content they are actually producing, so if you find that your client’s campaign or content can fulfil one of these requests, this can be one of the easiest ways to guarantee coverage.

You can find more tools that can help you outreach better in this article authored by NOVOS’ digital PR strategist, Georgia. She has put together just the right list of tools that you need to use for effective digital PR outreach. 

12) What’s The Difference Between A Mailer And A Campaign?

The terms ‘mailer’ and ‘campaign’ can vary between organisations, however, most PR teams will create both types of content for their clients.

A mailer is a smaller content piece that takes less time to produce than full-fledged campaigns. These are useful for newsjacking opportunities that need to be acted upon quickly and can be created swiftly in response to #journorequests. These can also be known as “reactives” or “reactive PR”.

Campaigns are larger, research-driven pieces of content, often involving original data or designs. The complexity of these projects often means they take a while longer to produce, but will secure more backlinks as a result of their original content.

I hope you found this article helpful. I also recommend reading this A-Z Digital PR dictionary compiled by NOVOS’s digital PR strategist, Sacha. 

Chloe Charalambous from Novos
Article by Chloe Charalambous
Chloe Charalambous, a digital PR strategist at NOVOS, is a Broadcast Journalism graduate from the University of Leeds. Starting her professional journey with an internship at LADbible, she also worked in the research department for a Channel 5 TV series before taking a digital agency job and making a career in the digital PR industry.

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