How I transitioned from traditional to digital PR

Thinking of making the transition from traditional PR to digital PR? 

Our resident media wiz Marianne (or Maz) talks through her first few months at Builtvisible, sharing advice for anyone looking to make the move from traditional PR to digital PR and explaining the training opportunities she’s dived into from day one.

How would you describe your role to others, and what does your typical day look like?

My role as a Digital PR Executive involves supporting the team by delivering the digital PR strategies we develop for our clients. This means I work on a variety of different activities, such as creating link-building campaigns all the way through to more reactive, ongoing work.

In terms of day-to-day, this is so varied! I might start the day by writing a press release, then I’ll move on to pitching to journalists, building media lists, or prospecting link-building opportunities for my clients. It could then finish with an ideation session for a new campaign. 

No day is the same really!

A lovely picture of Deebz and Maz

What would you say are the key differences between digital PR and traditional PR?

Well, traditional PR strategies often include gaining brand coverage in print media, such as newspapers and magazines, and broadcast channels like TV and radio. Whereas the main focus of digital PR is to increase a brand’s presence and visibility online. 

In my previous traditional PR role, SEO was rarely considered, but in my role now, it’s the driving force behind everything I do. It’s been a massive learning curve transitioning to digital PR and getting to grips with all things SEO, but also very rewarding.

I think with digital PR at Builtvisible, something else that’s different is our use of data which is definitely less of a focus in traditional PR. Anything we do, from gathering contact details, and survey material even to designing campaigns, data underpins it all! It is definitely a more robust process. 

What made you choose Builtvisible as the place to continue your PR journey?

I knew I wanted to make the move to agency side as I’d only worked in-house in traditional PR roles and I’d always thought the digital space was really interesting. That’s the direction the world’s going in – everything is online.

Some agencies get a bad rap for being too cliquey or having a poor work-life balance. But with Builtvisible, everything I’d heard about them (I heard about them through word of mouth) was good. The agency sounded genuinely supportive, somewhere you’re valued, as well as having things like great clients. 

For me, it was really important to have the personal development opportunities too, and what Builtvisible offers in this area really stood out to me.

Deebz and Maz ideating

How has Builtvisible supported your move to digital PR?

Well, I think having a beginner’s mindset is super important, and treating every day as an education opportunity. You need to have a fresh mindset, always showing up willing to learn.

When I first joined, I was completely new to digital PR, it was like starting from scratch. I suppose it could have been overwhelming, but Builtvisible was super supportive, I had a great team and my manager has been great to learn from. I had no prior experience in working with SEO, so there was a lot to get to grips with. I got involved in various training sessions, for example, even just getting my head around tools such as Majestic and Moz. It really helped to talk to different teams and see how they work closely with digital PR.

My team is great at making you feel that no question is a silly question, they really promote you to just ask and challenge everything, which helps a lot with learning.

What would your top five transferable skills from traditional to digital PR be?

I’d say the top transferable skill is communication first and foremost. Organisational skills are also vital with things for things like managing workload and timekeeping, especially with agencies where we fill out time sheets – something I hadn’t done before. 

Then having qualities such as honesty and integrity, and just being really transparent about what you’re doing to make sure as a team we’re doing what’s best for us and our clients. Everyone here is really good at that!

What training and development have you done so far?

Builtvisible has clear progression routes thanks to its Career Architect, a framework we use to make sure every employee has a clear view of the roles and responsibilities at each level. There’s complete transparency on expectations and they genuinely care about your development. 

If there’s a particular product you are interested in developing or a different team you’d like to get experience in, they will support that. I’ve had training sessions with the content team to improve my keyword research skills and learned how to use tools such as SEMRush effectively. 

As part of onboarding, I worked with my line manager to identify areas I’d need training in (particularly coming from traditional PR), such as SEO basics, and since then I’ve been attending various training sessions set up by the team and working through the resources we have available to us to get me up to speed. 

As a next step, I’m keen to learn how to conduct a landing page analysis which is a piece of work generally in the content team’s remit. But the skills I’ll learn from this will definitely benefit my role and so training on this is in the works at the moment. 

If there’s something you want to dip your toes in, they’ll 100% support that.

Maz doing training

Is there a piece of tech or a tool you’ve been introduced to that you now couldn’t live without?

I would say Trello has been life-changing, it’s like a time management and organisation tool all in one where you can see all the tasks you’ll be working on for the week and month. 

I think it’s probably commonly used in an agency space, but I had never used it before and I honestly love it. We have a team allocation call every Friday where we discuss what each team member has on in their Trello in terms of tasks so you can see what everyone is up to. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’d pass on to someone wanting to go down the digital PR route?

I would say not to be afraid, even if you don’t necessarily have PR or digital PR experience. Going back to what I mentioned earlier having a beginner’s mindset and a willingness to learn are the most important aspects. 

From firsthand experience, Builtvisible is great if you want to start your digital PR journey. It’s such a supportive team here. Going down a new route can be quite daunting but they’ve really made the transition smooth for me.

What’s your proudest client moment to date?

The most recent campaign I worked on with a client involved creating a survey and a press release to find out what kind of impact poor air quality has on workers. It was really interesting actually, and it’s the first campaign of this kind at Builtvisible that I worked on from the start to the end. 

We’re currently in the reporting stage now, but it was super successful and gained lots of traction online with diverse, yet highly relevant links. I feel like that would be my proudest client moment, especially when the hard work pays off and you get to show off the amazing results to the client.

Maz mid ideation

Is there space for innovation in your team? And how is your team innovative?

Yes, absolutely, my team constantly wants to push boundaries. 

We recently held a product development workshop as a team and Olivia, our Head of Digital PR & Promotion, really encourages the team to take on product development individually. I’m currently working on our newsjacking offering and improving our reactive PR. This involves working with some of the SEO team. It’s really exciting and nice to have something other than your client work to keep the work varied!

Is there anyone you want to give a shout-out to from the team?

Yeah! So my whole team is amazing and have great energy, but I really have to shout out my manager, Robyn Gravestock, she’s been integral in my transition to digital PR and has really helped me grow! 

I’ve asked her billions of questions and she’s always happy to answer anything I throw her way. She genuinely cares about my personal development and growth, which is really important.

What do you see as the future for the digital PR team?

I think in the digital PR team we’re constantly expanding, evolving, and looking at new ways to change things up and stay on top of new trends. Right from our products through to trying new ways of making our clients’ lives easier and appealing to new clients.

We’ve got a few team members that background in traditional PR, so it could be that we start incorporating more traditional PR tactics with a digital twist. Whether it’s doing more stuff with events or things in the social space. There are definitely exciting things to come!

What makes Builtvisible a unique place to work?

I’d say it’s the people. Everyone here is genuinely so kind and lovely but also super helpful. 

Joining as a beginner and starting from scratch essentially, not knowing much about SEO, I was surprised at how many people are so helpful to me like reaching out to see how I’m doing and asking how’re things going. So yeah, definitely the people.

Smiley Maz

What are your favourite Builtvisible perks?

Hmm, there are quite a few, but I have to say my favourite perk is having in-house psychologists. We work with The Core Collective group and they’re absolutely amazing. They run regular webinars for the team or you can organise one-to-one sessions with their experts. 

For the group sessions, they address common themes people are feeling or particular things the agency wants to work on. We recently did a session on imposter syndrome that was so helpful where they gave us such practical tips and advice. This is something that I’ve never had access to before but really enjoy about Builtvisible. 

We also have external speakers come in such as Kirsty Hulse, the founder of Rawr Training. Kirsty did a confidence training session which was absolutely amazing. 

I find it really motivating to hear from external speakers so it’s great for me that there are so many opportunities in this area! It’s nice to hear from different professionals.

How would you describe Builtvisible in one word?

I’ve got three words, energetic, supportive and caring because that’s been my reality.

Our digital PR team is currently hiring. If you’re on the lookout for an exciting new role, or to kickstart your digital PR career, take a look at our careers page for more info.

Join the Inner Circle

Industry leading insights direct to your inbox every month.