5 Steps to Create a B2B Digital PR Roadmap
Whether you’ve been carrying out Digital PR for a few years, months or are just at the beginning of launching a strategy, creating a roadmap will allow you to plan, manage and measure your activity more effectively.
The aim of a Digital PR roadmap is to create an overarching plan for which activity you will be carrying out for your brand or client, and when.
Impression focuses on a layered, always-on approach to Digital PR, which makes their roadmaps key to visibly breaking down the resource they have available to commit to their campaigns, ensuring all parties are clear on what will be delivered.
The Value of Digital PR for Your B2B Business
Digital PR is a crucial element of any solid B2B digital marketing strategy. While the aim of traditional PR, generally speaking, lies in creating brand awareness usually intended for print or broadcast media, Digital PR goes beyond this and supports wider SEO goals such as improving keyword rankings, search volume, and direct traffic to the site.
As a service, Digital PR is useful for your B2B brand if you wish to add value by:
- Increasing visibility in search engines through the acquisition of quality links back to your site
- Widening awareness of your brand and products/services
- Improving referral traffic to your site
- Driving engagement and leads from your target audience
If you are looking to create a Digital PR roadmap for your B2B brand, Impression recommends following this five-step process to ensure you have a secure, well-resourced, and in-depth map for your upcoming activity.
Step 1: Understanding the Role Digital PR Plays for Your Brand
The first step in creating a Digital PR roadmap is to understand what your goals are. Everything you do as part of your digital marketing activity should be working towards set goals, especially when it comes to Digital PR.
As a starting point, assess your SEO activity and KPIs to understand how your roadmap will fit into this.
Your PR activity will work in partnership with SEO, impacting traffic, rankings, and brand awareness.
You should have an understanding of which keywords you are looking to target which is usually informed by the SEO strategy in place.
As the team or individual carrying out the Digital PR activity, your strategy will, in turn, help to build on the backlink profile of the brand and produce measurable keyword ranking improvements.
To successfully carry out Digital PR for your brand, it is important to understand what success looks like to your team, or client:
- Which keywords do you want to move the needle on?
- Which pages are you driving links towards?
- Which sector do you want to target with your activity?
- How many campaigns do you want to run each quarter or year?
- What are your dream publications to be featured in?
- Is your brand in the YMYL sector?
This will feed into how many campaigns you wish to carry out in a quarter, what their focus will be and how heavily thought leadership and reactive PR will feature in the roadmap you create.
Step 2: Competitor Research
In order to outrank your competitors, it is important to have an understanding of what Digital PR activity, if any, they are carrying out.
It could be the case that they have placed an emphasis on creative campaigns and are regularly being featured in a broad range of publications.
Alternatively, they may be focusing on reactive PR and see a trickle of links from national and lifestyle publications each month.
The first place to start is on Google by searching your competitor’s brand name to see if there is anything notable within the news section. This will provide you with insight into the types of stories that are working well for them and can also be a great inspiration for your own campaign ideas.
The next recommended step would be to conduct a link intersect to gather a list of all the domains which link to your competitors and not to your own brand.
To conduct a link intersect, you should head to the link intersect section of ahrefs where you can enter your top 3 (or more) competitors to show which domains you are missing from your backlink profile.
Conducting a link intersect will provide trends across titles and different verticals which your competitors have landed links with.
You will have visibility over the type of PR activity they are focusing on and can use this insight to feed into your Digital PR roadmap.
Step 3: Assess Your Resource
Before committing to timelines, results, and specific campaigns for your roadmap, it is crucial to have an understanding of how many resources you have available for your planned activity.
By resource, this could mean the number of people you have who can work on the account, the number of hours/days you have available, and also the budget available to cover costs such as surveys, infographics or designs for your campaigns.
This will allow you to assess how many campaigns you can feasibly commit to per quarter, how much time you can spend on reactive PR, and whether you have the time to put into drafting articles for any thought leadership outreach that you do.
For a layered B2B Digital PR strategy to be most effective, it is helpful to have multiple bouts of activity occurring at once. This does, however, require a heavier investment in terms of both time and people working on the campaigns.
Here, you could have one campaign being prepared (e.g. the data being pulled together), one reactive press release being outreached and a thought leadership feature being sent to the journalist all at once.
By having multiple stints of activity at once, you are avoiding putting all your eggs in one basket and also contributing to having a more natural-looking backlink profile.
Impression suggests your roadmap should include a layered approach encompassing larger content campaigns, thought leadership features, and reactive PR.
- Content campaigns – these require a bigger chunk of resources, as they are generally data-led, visual, or survey-based campaigns which have the capability of gaining a high amount of traction. They usually have multiple angles and can be outreached over several months to reap the benefits of higher investment.
- Thought leadership – this activity refers to demonstrating your brand or client as an authority within the industry, by offering bespoke articles to relevant publications on a topic of interest to your target audience. Here, you have the opportunity to develop the voice of the brand and tie the business into topics happening in real-time.
- Reactive PR – This generally requires fewer resources and involves commenting on the news which relates to your brand, responding to journalist requests through the Twitter hashtags #PRrequest and #journorequest on stories that tie into your brand, or promoting your client’s own news through press releases or statements to the press.
Step 4: Ideate Your Ideas
Ideating for Digital PR campaigns to sit within your B2B roadmap is arguably one of the hardest stages of the process.
Here, you are looking to come up with campaign ideas, thought leadership pitches or reactive opportunities which both relate to your brand and also would be considered newsworthy enough to be picked up by a journalist.
For inspiration for your campaign ideas, start by researching your own brand, competitors, and industry.
Exploring Google search, reports, government datasets, and news stories will allow you to gather an understanding of hot topics, areas of interest, or buzzwords that relate to your brand.
Utilising tools such as BuzzSumo, ExplodingTopics and Ahrefs are also helpful, as this will allow you to unlock more areas of interest which you can brainstorm to create a story and drive measurable results to your site.
Once you have an understanding of the key areas of interest, hot keywords and interesting reports from your areas of focus, consider gathering your team to brainstorm the strongest angles and stories you can pull to suit your target audience.
The key here is to ensure your stories are strong enough to catch the eye of a journalist and also feasible to carry out within your roadmap.
Step 5: Build Your Roadmap
The final step is to begin building your roadmap, with your campaign ideas and allocated resource to hand.
Here, you are building out a working document that demonstrates which activity is going to be completed each month, how much resource is allocated towards it, and who is going to be completing the activity.
Impression has created a Digital PR roadmap example as a template for your brand:
Using this roadmap will allow you to plan out each of your campaigns in detail to understand how many months they will span over and how they will overlap with any other activity you are carrying out.
By splitting out each campaign into the tasks required, the roadmap provides clear direction to all parties involved and ensures your brand can stay on track to deliver against the KPIs you have set out.