Digital PR and Brand Reputation for companies and startups
An introduction on Digital PR and online brand reputation for startups
How can Digital PR and online brand raputation support startups to create and enhance brand awareness? Let’s talk to an expert.
Let’s meet Enzo Rimedio, Digital PR and communication expert!
Enzo Rimedio is Digital communication expert, Marketer, Journalist, associate FERPI (Italian Public Relations Federation), PRSA (Public Relations Society of America), AISM (Italian Marketing Development Association), AICA (Italian Association for Informatics and Automatic Calculation) and SIAE (Italian Society of Authors and Publishers).
Hi Enzo, you deal with Digital PR, Digital marketing, Media Relations, Media Intelligence, Web Reputation and Digital Content and you tell your stories and experiences in the SOS Digital PR blog, how did you come up with this idea and what it is about?
Originally SOS Digital PR was born under the name of SOS Rassegna to give voice to those who work in the media monitoring sphere, essential for media intelligence, but often considered a stepbrother of journalism and communication. This project, combined with the experience accumulated over the years in the world of communication, marketing, and digital knowledge, has evolved into SOS Digital PR, the blog where communicators and marketers can find articles and resources that deal with the evolution of their professional profile.
You are also the author of the book “Digital PR”, would you like to tell us something more and why did you decide to write it in 2017?
I’ve been working in communication for over 30 years and I’ve experienced digital evolution from A to … I don’t know what letter we are in now, but not Z for sure. So, when Dario Flaccovio, in an exchange of messages on LinkedIn, asked me to write a book, I accepted his challenge and wrote it, which is almost a manual, in three months.
We also know that you are responsible for Miss Italia’s digital communication and so we would like to know more about this experience and the goals you have achieved with them.
Miss Italia is one of the most important experiences of my career. Not because of the brand’s name, which everyone knows, but because of allowing me to apply my strategic ideas on digital PR with the constant approval of Patrizia Mirigliani, who believes in a determined approach. During the first year of work, I coordinated a network composed of over 200 social accounts belonging to regional agents, sponsors, influencers, media partners, advocates, and the Misses, talking about the contest in 10 thousand posts. If I hadn’t directed everything with digital PR techniques, I would never have succeeded.
You are also the founder of a studio focus on digital communication, Digitalk PR, and partner of various communication and media intelligence agencies, and we are curious to know who your customers are, small or large companies or even startups?
In my professional life, I have always ranged by keeping a single common denominator: the use of new media for communication. So, it doesn’t matter if a corporation like Miss Italia or a company in the real estate, finance, cultural heritage, non-profit, tourism, and many others that I have followed over the years contacts me. What is important to me is the project, certainly not the company size. So, start-ups are welcome, also because often by their nature, they are more interesting than big companies.
Do you teach, and have taught, in graduate schools and universities, what do you like most about teaching and what do you talk about to your students?
I have a degree in education and during my first 14 years of profession I worked in the school and university sphere as a director, joining training and communication. Now that I continue to collaborate with vocational training schools, I have the same passion as then, precisely in interfacing with students, because as well as for startups, their enthusiasm infects me and I can speak to them in a mixed language between professor, friend and boss.
You are a personal consultant to bloggers and social influencers, what is it like to work in this world and why do your clients ask for your help? What goals do they want to achieve and how? What is your method of working with them?
Often bloggers and social influencers are great experts of their content, however, they have gaps in other aspects such as communication, marketing, use of technology and administrative tasks. I generally try to help the beginners, those who have between 10 and 100 thousand followers, because when they grow up, they attract the attention of talent management agencies, which are more interested in the revenue than in their growth. Therefore, I do a step back, hoping that all my advice can guide them in the future.
In recent years you have attended as speaker at events such as Digital Innovation Days, IAB Forum, SMAU, Communication Forum, Social Media Strategies, FERPI conference and ANCI Annual Assembly. What is the event that most excited you and why?
If I think about the past, the event that most excited me was the FERPI conference during the presentation of my book. We were at the Terrazza Martini with a beautiful view of Milan with over 100 idustry professionals, including communicators, marketers, and journalists. Moderated by Paolo D’Ammassa, CEO of Connexia, togheter with several bloggers and social influencers I talked about the approaches to this profession.
Another event that excited me is the latest. It was in Sharm el-Sheik at the end of May, where I talked in front of an international audience about how digital PR can be used to promote tourism in the post-pandemic era.
We know that you are an expert and so we would like to know from you what the Online Brand Reputation is? How to create it, monitor it and defend it?
Technically, Reputation is the fusion of expectations, perceptions, opinions developed over time by both our stakeholders and the general public in relation to the qualities, characteristics, behaviors, which derive from personal experiences, hearsay, observation of past actions.
So, there are fundamental activities to be activated. On the one hand, the monitoring activity of the web and social networks, as they are two different environments and therefore must be analyzed separately. On the other hand, there is the activity of building, defending, promoting reputation. Doing this requires synergy between the communication, marketing, and legal departments, combined with Digital PR tools, SEO management, buzz, community management, and even advertising. Everything helps to manage a company’s reputation.
We would also like you to tell us a little about Digital PRs, what they really are?
In a nutshell Public Relations is when we get someone to speak well about us and that the story, we tell is real and authentic because this someone will tell it to someone else, turning into word of mouth. Public Relations professional talks with other professionals with followers and readers, who are credible when they speak to an audience. So, when a Digital PR works, the achievement of the goals he has set always depends on who supports him in this intermediary action. That’s why it’s important to find the best possible partner: journalist, blogger, social influencer and ambassador.
My personal opinion however is that Digital PR, the real ones, the ones that bring a real evolution of the profession are not the one I told you before, otherwise, it would be just a transition from the traditional world of Public Relations into the digital world. The real evolution is to collaborate directly with the users through three techniques to take advantage of users for our promotional activity: community management, user generated content and advocacy plans. New professional of communication and marketing should be able to innovate their activities working with them, to become intermediaries and therefore partner for our promotion.
We also are curious about what the press release is. Why, when and how to write it?
I don’t write press releases, or in any case, I write a few. I prefer to relate to a journalist, explaining why it would be useful for his newspaper to talk about the company I represent. By doing so, I provide each journalist with similar content, but never the same, as happens in the traditional world of press releases.
For Digital PR are press releases the only tool that can be used or are there others? If so, which ones?
Media Relations is just one of the activities included in PR, in Digital PR. As I explained, press releases are somewhat outdated in media relations and they are unfunctional for relating to bloggers, influencers, advocates, users, etc. For each of them, the contact must be specific and personalized.
Are Digital PRs suitable for startups and why?
Yes, yes, yes. Startups have a strong need to make themselves known and advertising activities can’t always help where we talk about ourselves.
Digital PR thus allows startups to expand their target audience with the support of intermediaries such as journalists, bloggers, influencers and advocates, which being third parties who talk about them, enhance the image of these new companies and make them more authoritative.
Can Digital PR be done at zero cost?
Considering the fact that a communication professional must be paid, it is clear that some intermediaries who help to spread the image of a company, such as journalists and advocates, don’t have to be paid. So, it is true that digital PR can have a lower cost than advertising, which in any case must be included. However, it always depends on what the goals of the communication plan are.
Do you have any suggestions for those startups that want to make use of Digital PR?
The suggestion is to start first of all by understanding what are the goals, the target and the media of your communication plan. Then you must decide which content to convey. Afterward, understand which are the best intermediaries who can help in spreading the goodness of your products. Finally, contact them, invite them to disclose, mediate the relationship and so on. In few words, do Digital PR!
If you are interested in Digital PR, please read also the interview with Carlo Occhinegro Digital PR and communication at the heart of the strategy