As a PR firm that works with political candidates, nonprofits, global corporations, and others, we often get asked what companies should be doing to improve their digital footprint.
There’s an old journalism expression that says, “Today’s newspaper wraps tomorrow’s fish.” It means that whatever story appeared in the newspaper today would be forgotten tomorrow and simply used to wrap fish at the fish market.
But that’s not true anymore. Today’s newspaper story gets put on the internet before the ink is even dry, and it stays on the internet forever. That makes your digital footprint even more important.
Here are three critical steps for improving your digital footprint.
Step 1: Make your strategy cohesive across all communications channels
We’ve seen a lot of companies invest in a new website, and then they don’t change a single thing on the main page of their site for two years. Then they decide it’s time to do another new site. But there are lots of little things they could be doing along the way to help that website work for them.
When it comes to your digital footprint, everything should work together. Your website, your social media, any news articles (earned media) that run in the paper—all of that should be working toward the same goal.
Step 2: Identify a clear goal
Speaking of working toward the goal, it’s critical to identify that goal first! We’ve had clients say, “I want to write a blog about this.” And our first question back to them is usually, “Why?” You’re not just doing it for the sake of doing it. Everything you’re doing should be working toward a clearly identified goal.
Step 3: Know your audience
Along with knowing your goal, it’s important to know your audience. What audience needs to hear your message in order for you to reach your goal? Are you speaking in a language that makes sense to them?
The audience you’re trying to reach also informs what channels you’re going to use to reach them. Should you use earned media in the newspaper? Should you aim for getting a story on the 4 p.m. news or the 10 p.m. news? What social media channels should you be using? The audience you’re trying to reach impacts all of those things.
Like anything in business, having a goal and a strategy is critical, and your digital footprint is no different.