As Head of Digital PR at Blue Array, Jodie has a unique insight into the changing world of online branding and reputation management for companies big and small. She gives us the inside scoop on life at Blue Array and what to look for when pursuing a career in digital PR.
Hi Jodie, tell us a bit about Blue Array and what makes it unique?
I think what makes Blue Array different to other agencies is its people. The Blue Array team is large, but every single person who works at the agency is exceptional at their job. We don’t have a polished client services team, instead, we have fantastic SEOs and Digital PRs that consultant and implement our client’s plans, which our clients see as a breath of fresh air. I know culture has become an important topic lately, especially in agency land and the one at Blue Array is brilliant. Saying this we are always looking at how we can support our employees in different aspects of their life in and outside work.
What is your role at Blue Array?
I am a Head of Digital PR. So, essentially my role is to head up and grow our Digital PR offering at Blue Array. I am 10 months into the job, and we have seen some great growth, even in a notoriously slow year.
What kind of clients do you work with?
True to form for an agency, we work with a variety of brands in different industries. We work with large global tech security providers in the UK, household brands to B2B businesses.
Digital PR has boomed in the agency space in the last few years – how do you differentiate this from digital marketing to your clients?
Digital PR is a part of the Digital Marketing mix, just like content, SEO and Paid Media is. How I always tell prospective clients who have heard of Digital PR but are not sure if they need it is that it’s a crucial part of branding, exposure for your brand and the links it gains is pivotal to your overall SEO strategy. Without Digital PR, a brand will have no presence, their brand message risks being lost and they aren’t working on a fundmentimental part of their organic strategy which is backlinks.
As Head of Digital PR, what other teams do you work with across the business?
As a Head of Digital PR, I work with every facet of the business. From marketing and sales in how we position ourselves in the market to finance right to SEO and how we can integrate our services more. One team that really makes Blue Array brilliant is our people ops team, they supply us with great data and intel on how workload and people capacity to ensure none of our team burns out. With someone people left burnt out after the pandemic, it’s become one of our USPs.
What role are platforms like Tiktok having on client campaigns – for better and for worse!
Personally, I am a big fan of Tik Tok, but like any platform, it has to feel organic for your brand to be there. Your campaign has to be well-thought-out, and it needs a purpose. A lot of brands can risk rushing to get on a platform before thinking about why they are there and what they are going to do.
What about SEO? Does having a strong foundation in SEO help with digital PR?
I think to have a strong appreciation definitely helps, but you don’t need to be an SEO to be a great Digital PR. Digital PR is the evolution of traditional press PR but uses SEO metrics to measure success. Leaning in too much to SEO when you are a Digital PR can risk in focusing on links and DA when should be more focused on telling the brand’s story.
What challenges do you come up against in your work?
I think Digital PR still gets a confused rep. Whether links can actually be built, or we are not going to get a brand like a traditional PR will or it’s an easy task to go and create a campaign, outreach to credible titles and get that featured. It’s hard for someone to doesn’t work in PR or who has worked closely with Digital PR not to understand how it really works.
What advice would you give someone looking to follow a career in digital PR?
Go to an agency and go to an agency that values you as a person, gives you good training and mentorship and wants to see you move up within the industry as well as the business. There are lots of positions out there at the moment for people who want to start a career in Digital PR but there are a lot of agencies that won’t invest in its people. Look at reviews, follow the people who work there on Twitter- if they love the place they work at, they will tell everyone!
Why do you think the community is so important in the agency space?
I think the community is important because as an agency you can work in a lot of different industries but not be a part of those communities. Community within agencies is more than healthy competition, it’s how we can discuss techniques, and tactics, talk about campaigns that have inspired us as well as support each other as events and promotions. It’s definitely needed.
What is coming up for Blue Array?
Wow, a lot! We have submitted our application to become a b corp business, which is huge news for us and will open us up to opportunities that are aligned with our mission. The new edition to Mastering SEO In House is soon to be launched and so is the refresh of our Blue Array Academy courses. One of our biggest initiatives is to elevate everyone in the SEO & Digital PR industry and that starts with free mentorship, training events and access to our courses. We are also on a growth path that thankfully hasn’t slowed down by this year’s financial crisis so much. 2 months ago, we held the largest SEO event in London and it was a roaring success- to the point Blue Array was invited to hold their Meet-Ups at Google’s HQ. As for Digital PR, we have big plans to grow and to be recognised within the industry. We have done the unexpected in the last 10 months, so I am very excited to see what the next year brings us!