Whilst most brands have heard of the practice of PR before, the term ‘digital PR’ is still an entirely new concept to many.
Digital PR is becoming an increasingly crucial element of digital marketing, making it important for marketers and businesses to understand. While both digital and traditional PR hold some similar goals – increasing brand awareness and improving reputation – the partnership digital PR holds with SEO also magnifies their differences.
And it is this exact difference that makes digital PR an integral part of any marketing campaign in 2020.
Is it not just the same as traditional PR?
Digital PR is the practice of creating content strong enough to gain coverage and, more importantly, links on relevant publications and websites to your brand.
It is most likely to be in the following form:
- A standard news story with a decent hook,
- A piece of creative content such as a piece of research or an interactive tool,
- Thought leadership on a relevant topic,
- A proactive reaction to a news story (also known as newsjacking!).
Digital PR effectively blurs the lines between traditional PR and SEO (search engine optimization). It involves creative newsworthy hooks with optimised content, with the aim of gaining high quality backlinks from publications and relevant websites to a brand’s own site.
Whilst traditional PR focuses more on newspapers and printed publications, digital PR is focused on gaining backlinks from online coverage. As well as boosting brand reputation and widely increasing awareness, effective digital PR should be focused on improving keyword rankings, and in turn online traffic, of a brand too.
Why is digital PR key to driving your brand?
So now that you understand the concept of digital PR a little better, it is time to assess the benefits of how it can help your brand.
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1. It benefits your SEO efforts
Google rewards sites which it sees as credible sources of quality information. By receiving references from high authority domains, your brand can then be identified as a thought leader and valuable company within its particular niche. This, in turn, can help to improve the rankings of your brand in the search rankings.
2. It can rapidly improve awareness
Whether the digital PR efforts lead to national, regional or industry specific coverage, it will put your brand in front of a new audience of readers and potential customers. When those publications include a link too, this can also significantly boost traffic to the site and potentially influence sales figures too.
3. It can improve your reputation and brand loyalty
With the unique and creative campaigns which digital PR can bring, the practice lends itself to offering opportunities to develop the reputation of a brand.
With a simple Google search of your brand name, consumers will see your business featured in credible publications, demonstrating your brand as active and reputable. Interesting stories and tools can capture the attention of new and existing customers, building a narrative for consumers to follow that goes beyond the everyday sales messages.
Why is a layered strategy key?
When taking on digital PR, it can seem tempting to throw all marketing resources into a single campaign to ensure it is the biggest that it could possibly be.
However, it is important that a layered strategy encompassing an “always-on” approach and a variety of tactics is used to achieve continued success. By having a multilayer strategy to your digital PR approach, your brand can tackle multiple angles and a variety of publications rather than relying on a single story.
If the objective of your digital PR efforts is to raise awareness of a service you offer, try ideating around this particular area with your team or colleagues.
Campaign ideas should be backed by facts and data since journalists need proof of the pudding to include your campaign in their publication. Once you have found a unique angle for your campaign, you know you are onto a winner.
As a fantastic way to raise brand awareness, campaigns have the potential for an idea to bring in links from several publications in one outreach session. Unfortunately, they can also sometimes flop, requiring a patient PR to tweak and try, try again.
Thought leadership outreach
Commonly used as a method to engage with industry related publications, thought leadership involves using the expertise of your brand to educate other industry professionals or consumers.
A popular thought leadership technique involves ideating a particular topic of interest to the industry and outreaching to relevant publications offering a comment or article on this subject. Brands must provide a unique and informed angle on the field to avoid being dismissed by industry publications.
This type of outreach can support a larger campaign perfectly, providing a steady stream of links and coverage alongside a more resource heavy initiative.
For some, reactive PR sits at the top of their preference list. This involves reacting to opportunities in the news or within a business which can be used for PR gains.
Twitter is a popular tool for reactive PR, since journalists regularly seek out comments from experts to back up their stories on the social media platform, with the hashtags “prrequest” or “journorequest”.
Response Source is a fantastic tool for businesses looking to get started with reactive digital PR. As journalists seek content or comments, their requests will be sent directly to your inbox. This way, you can sift through and find any relevant to your brand, scoring an instant win with just a few simple steps.
Any digital marketing strategy nowadays requires digital PR to support it. With the benefits of increased search rankings, increased brand awareness and improved reputation, surely is it a no brainer?
Just remember, to ensure your digital PR strategy is as successful as possible, a layered strategy is key. Focus on hitting multiple angles at once and you will be driving your brand success in no time.