Is Ethical PR possible?
Delivering a successful PR campaign can shape the narrative of a business and it is therefore important that ongoing considerations are made to avoid dilemmas that otherwise may impact consumers’ trust in a brand. Today we talk to PHA groups Digital PR specialist Indy Deo to discuss her thoughts on building an ethical PR campaign.
“As a minimum, it is our responsibility to ensure our messages are both correct and ethical, but we should also think more about the media we target with our campaigns.”
Indy, believes that whilst generating the largest number of eyeballs on a brand, ensuring the placement of our content doesn’t negatively impact the brand through association is just as important.
Indy, thinks back to some recent experiences involving both Caroline Flack and Meghan Markel. Publications can often feature incorrect headlines just to get clicks to their site and this leads her to question why as a PR agency do we still strive to be featured in the very same publications. Of course, it can be a ‘win’ to get coverage on a site that achieves 1000’s articles every day, but can it be possible to deliver successful campaigns if we boycott these publications?
“Understanding audience is the key to any successful digital PR strategy. Identifying interests and online behaviours as well as how they consume their content online will provide the most impact and whilst this could involve some of the media publications we may wish to avoid, if the client wishes to be part of the big picture, then we may need to take action.”
Building your PR campaign.
So what can be done if our clients want to be included? Well firstly, ask your client why they want to be included in certain publications. Having these discussions with your client can help formulate your outreach strategy. This could also potentially help identify alternative platforms that might have the same or similar level of authority but a much better moral compass.
In addition, you must understand your target publications. Looking at recent articles produced by the publication will give you an insight into their writing and if it can be aligned with your client’s online brand.
Finally, when setting out your campaign as yourself if it is useful and positive and avoid scaremongering. When pulling together your campaign thinks about the audience as opposed to just the headlines. Whilst planning out key headlines first isn’t morally wrong, ensure you build interesting and engaging content for your audience.
“Whilst it is a fine line to walk, I don’t believe morality must be sacrificed to gain coverage. You also don’t need to rely purely on outreach to amplify your content. Using paid social and display advertising can help capture attention and drive the campaign landing page”
Ultimately, how you position your client’s online brand is between you and your client. However, it is important to educate your client on being ethical online. And, whilst it may not be possible to completely avoid certain sites, especially when coverage can be picked up organically, it is possible to control the narrative so that your client’s brand may prosper.
If you would like to learn more about creating ethical digital PR, click here to get in touch with our team.