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Digital PR Tips for Charities

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Digital PR Tips for Charities

Digital PR has long been demonised and viewed as an unattainable way of getting a charity’s name out there. We are here to change that and help charities with actionable tips to create, execute and monitor their digital PR campaigns.

First off, let’s establish the difference between digital PR and link building. Link building simply consists of acquiring links to the site, and that can be done by many ways, including the spammy and unsustainable method of ‘buying links.’ On the other hand, digital PR is more like public relations, but online.

As harnessing the power of strategic communication is crucial for charities to amplify their voices and foster meaningful connections with their audiences, each digital PR campaign should have its own strategy, tailored to attain the end goal, be it brand awareness, leads, or donations.

Let’s kick off with this comprehensive guide to crafting digital PR strategies best suited to your cause.

Your Actionable Digital PR Roadmap

What makes digital PR distinctive from other media is the focus around creating a positive brand impression. As it’s one of the best tools to improve the online reputation of your charity, setting the goals and the tone to align the sentiment is vital. Here are the vitals of an evergreen digital PR campaign.

Define Your Goals:

Clarify your mission and objectives. Are you aiming to raise awareness, drive donations, or foster community engagement? Setting clear goals is the cornerstone of any successful digital PR campaign.

Understand Your Audience:

Dive deep into understanding the demographics, interests, and behaviors of your target audience. Crafting personalized messages that resonate with their values and aspirations is key to capturing their attention.

Create Consistent Brand Messaging:

Maintain consistency in your brand messaging across all digital channels. A cohesive and unified voice reinforces your brand identity and builds trust with your audience over time.

Encourage Employee Advocacy:

This one is often overlooked but empower your staff and volunteers to become advocates for your cause. Encourage them to share their experiences, insights, and achievements on social media to amplify your organization’s reach and impact.

Also, for the thought leaders in the charity, sharing their knowledge and insights with journalists can be an effective way to earn media coverage.

Build Relationships:

Easier said than done, but cultivate genuine relationships with influencers, journalists, and stakeholders in your niche. HARO, X (though it’s still Twitter), and Featured are great places to find media coverage opportunities.

Create Newsworthy Content:

It’s all about the sentiment when it comes to digital PR. Craft compelling stories that evoke emotions and inspire action. Whether it’s impactful visuals, thought-provoking articles, or captivating videos, quality content lies at the heart of effective digital PR.

Develop a Distribution Strategy:

You can promote content on owned, earned, and paid channels once the PR coverage is in place. The landing page and the resources of your campaign can be utilized to repurpose and remarket in the future as well, depending on the nature of the campaign.

Leverage Social Media:

Harness the power of social platforms to engage with your audience directly – or better yet, drive them to the social media communities you build. From sparking conversations to sharing impactful stories, build and serve your community.

Collaborate with Influencers:

Partner with influencers and advocates who share your values and mission. Their endorsement and support can amplify your message and reach new audiences with authenticity and credibility.

SEO Optimization:

Repurpose your digital content to ensure maximum visibility and discoverability. Strategic use of keywords, meta tags, and quality backlinks can boost your organic search rankings and drive traffic to your website.

Promoting with Other Channels:

Engage your audience through targeted email campaigns or cover more searches with paid ads. You can also partner with listicles and related websites and take advantage of referral traffic as well.

Online Monitoring:

Stay vigilant by monitoring online conversations about your cause. This allows you to address any misconceptions, respond to feedback promptly, and seize opportunities to engage with your audience in real-time.

Google alerts is a free tool you can use to be notified whenever a website mentions your charity.

Data and Analytics:

Harness the power of data and analytics to gain insights into the effectiveness of your digital PR efforts. Track key metrics, analyze trends, and iterate your strategies based on data-driven insights for continuous improvement. Supporting you with charity sector data is the core of what we do.

Some of the key metrics you can set to effectively measure the impact of digital PR include:

  • Clicks and impressions (in Google Search Console)
  • Increase in trends around the campaign topic
  • Social shares
  • Earned links
  • Leads and donations

We would always recommend joining the Charity Digital Benchmark as well to understand what good looks like in terms of traffic split in your cause area.

Benefits of Digital PR for Charities:

What does it all serve, though? Benefits of digital PR encompass visibility, improved brand awareness, better engagement, and more.

Here are how charities benefit from digital PR:

  • Increased visibility
  • Links from authoritative top-tier publications
  • Stronger reputation and sentiment
  • More traffic and awareness
  • Improved fundraising and donations
  • Community engagement

These benefits are not limited to the campaign, and they bring enduring benefits to your charity, including improving your website.

Harnessing the Synergy between Marketing and Digital PR:

Charities can use digital PR to effectively establish their authority and improve coverage online.

Even though it’s a highly competitive field and the results are not guaranteed, we encourage charities to build strong relationships with journalists in their niche and give digital PR a go, over link-building tactics.

This would not only improve visibility and sentiment but grant brands evergreen resources and leverage that can be utilized for years afterwards, and serve as a rich foundation to be built on and iterated.

If you have any questions about the execution or reporting of your digital PR campaign, drop us a line at hello@upriseup.co.uk.

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Our B Corp Impact – A Year On

 

This time last year we were thrilled to announce that we’d become B Corp certified.

 

After a thorough application and certification process, we’d reached the magic 80+ score, with an impressive 105.9, and were a fully signed up, authenticated member of the global movement to use business as a force for good.

 

Last year we explained in our blog what B Corp is, why we wanted to become a B Corp, and what our journey looked like..

As a purpose-driven business, we have a natural affinity with B Corp. We wanted to embrace its ethos of continuous improvement (also one of our own values) making our business even better for its staff, customers, community, and the environment. This was a great way to demonstrate our commitment.

One of the things we really appreciated about the B Corp certification was the yearly reporting required. This means we need to publish an Impact Report each year, and in this blog we’re proud to share how we’ve improved over that time.

 

How did we do?

As recommended by B Corp, we completed the B Impact Assessment with figures for our last financial year (ending March 2023), and our unverified score has now increased 3.5 points to 109.4.

There are five separate impact that B Corp defines, so let’s look at each in turn:

 

Workers – increased from 34 to 35.1

The Workers Impact Area evaluates our company’s contribution to its employees’ financial, physical, professional, and social well-being. This is an area where we made a significant impact over the last year.

What we wanted to do: to make Uprise Up an even better employer by improving staff benefits and increasing staff engagement.

What we did:

  • Improved our maternity leave package offering up to 12 weeks on full pay plus a staggered return on full pay.
  • Improved our paternity leave package offering up to 2 weeks full pay.
  • Introduced a Paid Sabbatical Leave benefit which will see staff enjoying a paid month of sabbatical leave every 5 years.
  • Introduced a paid day off for moving house.
  • Increased holiday allowances to 35 days inc. bank hols, increasing to 38 days after 2 years employment.
  • Increased our starting salaries.
  • Introduced a free flu voucher scheme.
  • Put together a programme of weekly company-wide training sessions to complement team and individual training.
  • Improved our staff engagement from 76% in 2022 to 81% last year, which is now above average for the marketing sector*. We also saw a lower staff attrition rate.

What we would like to do next year: to continue looking at ways to facilitate a good work-life balance for our staff and continue to ensure they are fairly financially rewarded.

 

Community – increased from 14.8 to 16.5

This area evaluates our company’s positive impact on the external communities in which we operate.

What we wanted to do: to further improve the diversity, equity and inclusion in our company and continue having a positive economic impact in our community.

What we did:

  • Undertook pro-bono work.
  • Gave to local charities.
  • Increased net jobs over the period.
  • Increased our age diversity.
  • Increased our completed annual diversity, equity and inclusion training.
  • Continued to have 50% women managers.
  • Maintained the same % of our workforce identifying as being from a racial or ethnic minority, and overall women workers.

What we would like to do next year: to increase our volunteering – we are already committed to helping Speakers for Schools, offering our time to support young people with fewer personal connections to get work experience in the sector. We are also volunteering our team as judges on awards panels for charity work – encouraging more businesses to get involved with charitable activities. We’d also like to improve our diversity, particularly by increasing our ratio of those from a racial or ethnic minority and increasing our women workers overall to get a better balance, and to continue to give back to the local community.

 

Environment – increased from 10.3 to 10.8.

The Environment Impact Area evaluates our company’s overall environmental stewardship, including how we identify and manage general environmental impacts, our management of air and climate issues, water sustainability, and impacts on land and life. Whilst our B Corp score here remains static, we made improvements.

What we wanted to do: to reduce our energy usage, and get our food waste composting running more effectively.

What we did:

  • Donated our first batch (34.8kg) of compost to local charity Chesham in Bloom and we are starting to invite other tenants in our shared buildings to use it for their food waste.
  • Worked with our landlord to install more functionality in our central heating programming so it could be used more effectively and reduce wastage.
  • Reduced our total energy usage from 98 gigajoules in 2021 to 80 in 2022 and 70 in 2023.
  • Increased our environmental training.
  • Offset our carbon emissions.

What we would like to do next year: to further reduce our energy usage where possible. We’ll continue to brainstorm regularly for ideas to reduce usage further at home at in the office. We are looking at more sustainable consumables, to continue composting, and roll that out to more companies using the same office premises.

 

Customers – from 28.6 to 28.7

This area evaluates our company’s value to our customers and our customer’s own beneficiaries. We provide marketing services predominantly helping charities and socially positive organisations, many of whom work with ‘underserved populations’**. We contribute to providing better outcomes for their beneficiaries (e.g. through campaigns to increase fundraising, volunteers, information, support, and campaigning). We remain strong in this area.

What we wanted to do:  continue our focus on charities and socially positive organisations. We wanted to use our expertise to the best effect to help as many charities and organisations as possible. We wanted to ensure our customers are happy and focus on client satisfaction.

What we did:

  • Invested heavily in Charity Digital Benchmark. A benchmark tool to identify trends, highlight opportunities and learn from other charities.
  • Conducted a series of client satisfaction calls with an external expert.
  • Conducted client satisfaction surveys.

What we would like to do next year: our main focus in this area will be to further develop the Charity Digital Benchmark so it becomes an invaluable toolkit for as many charities as possible, creating improvements for the whole charity sector, including our own clients. The Charity Digital Benchmark helps charities make better decisions on their digital activity, which naturally drives better results for their causes.

Governance – 18.1

This area looks at our mission, ethics, accountability and transparency and we already scored highly in this area. We hadn’t identified any areas for improvement here and our priorities for next year lie largely in the other areas.

 

Overall

Overall we are proud of our progress over the last year. We’ve added huge improvements for our staff, supported the development of the Charity Digital Benchmark, improved our score for the Community topic, and managed to decrease our environmental impact.

When thinking about what’s next for us it’s worth bearing in mind that B Corp are in the process of changing their impact topics. At the time of writing they are currently in consultation, departing from their current framework where companies have flexibility in how to achieve a verified 80-point score, and instead meet specific requirements across impact topics. There will be new impact topics and different standards by size and sector.

We wait to hear what this will mean for our future Impact Reports and recertification (B Corps have needed to recertify every three years), however with continuous improvement always an objective at Uprise Up we’re confident we will have plenty of progress to report on next year regardless of format, and look forward to doing so.

 

 

*(the benchmark figure for staff engagement in the Marketing sector according to Workleap OfficeVibe is 79%).

** ‘Underserved’ is a term used by B Corp to describe groups that do not traditionally have access to positive social or economic outcomes. This can be low-income, poor, or very poor individuals or a group lacking access due to chronic discrimination which may include discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, colour, disability, political opinion, sexual orientation, age, religion, or social origin.

 

 

 

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    A day in the life of a Paid Digital Media Assistant

    We asked Jessica to tell us about her role as a Paid Digital Media Assistant here at Uprise Up, for anyone considering working in the industry, or interested in how we work at Uprise Up Towers.

     

     

    When talking to others about my job role, the first hurdle is often clarifying that the “Paid” in “Paid Digital Media Assistant” doesn’t mean ‘as opposed to Voluntary’… The second is explaining what Paid Digital Media is, exactly, and what it actually looks like day-to-day. It’s something I had little knowledge about prior to interviewing at Uprise Up.

    After 5 months in the role, at the time of starting this blog, it seems fitting to illustrate the job through 5 tasks I have lined up today.

     

     

     

    1. Creating an ad campaign for a cancer charity’s Awareness Month.

    The bulk of my work is with , provided to charities to fund advertising through Google search. Several aspects of these are automated, but someone still has to write the copy. Today, a cancer charity is preparing for its Awareness month, so I’m creating some ads for an online quiz about a lesser-known cancer. Improving the reach of lifesaving information is always rewarding, and I’ll often be learning too.

    As well as the more creative tasks, there are technical questions in play. Do we want the ad to be seen by as many people as possible, or do we want to focus on reaching people we know are going to engage with the content, and hopefully stick around on the website?These kinds of questions influence what budgets and bids we set for the campaign before it goes live.

     

    1. Video call with an environmental charity to discuss the month ahead.

    Work at Uprise Up follows a monthly round. Each month I have a video call with each client I lead on. Today I’m discussing an environmental charity’s upcoming priorities – they are launching several new campaigns as we head into Spring. I’ll admit that leading the conversation on calls didn’t come easy at first (it’s harder to forget the word for ‘hello’ in an email). The more familiar I’ve got with the topics I’m addressing, the more confident I’ve become, and I’m getting better at dealing with unexpected questions as well – it’s great to have had the opportunity to improve a skill in this way. Calls are also the best way to build rapport, and having got to know a wide range of friendly clients is perhaps my favourite aspect of the job.

     

    1. Implementing new tracking for a health charity’s newsletter sign-ups.

    Analytics – tracking who is visiting your site, when, and what they are doing there – is a huge part of the role, and I was only vaguely aware of it beforehand. Today I’m looking into a charity’s tracking of people signing up for their newsletter, as I’ve noticed that the numbers have flatlined. Turns out, the URL of the newsletter page had changed on the website, but hadn’t been updated in tracking – an easy fix. Deeper dives are often needed, and the kind of investigative problem-solving involved reminds me of studying Maths – often frustrating until you hit a satisfying breakthrough!

     

    1. Training presentation on Google’s new cookie policies.

    Within the Uprise Up team, we have regular training sessions. Keeping up with outside influences is vital, whether that’s the Paid Media industry, the realm of Google, the internet sphere, or broader world events. Just this month, new EU rulings on privacy have led Google to shake up the way they collect user cookies, which has sent huge waves through our work. When I started, I thought it just happened to be a particularly eventful period, but I’ve come to understand that in the digital world, things are always changing.

     

    1. Tracking my hours for the day.

    Time-tracking might seem like a minor task to choose as representative of the role, but agency life is in no small part about the hours, minutes and seconds (maybe not the last one), since each client is billed for a certain amount of our time. I’ll start the day by planning my tasks and setting aside blocks of time for different clients, and I’ll finish it by logging how my hours have actually panned out.

    I’m glad to have started out in an agency. Working with 10+ charities provides a huge amount of variety, and I’ve been exposed to several different types of organisational structure – really valuable knowledge for a career starter.

     

    5 months in 5 tasks – I haven’t covered everything, but between them, they sum up my experience so far of working in Paid Digital Media. At the time of writing, I’ve just been promoted from an Assistant to an Executive, and I’m excited to see what new responsibilities will make up my days in the future.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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