Before the digitised era of consumerism, most companies’ main PR focus involved outsourcing their work to traditional agencies. These agencies spent their time schmoozing with journalists and celebrities, encouraging them to raise the profile of a particular brand.
As the world has moved away from traditional marketing channels, so too has the PR strategy. Agencies and marketers have had to become digitally savvy. In addition to learning exactly how consumers engage with brands. As well as how they can utilise influential figures online to get in with their audiences.
Today, digital PR is a widely renowned strategy for digital marketers. But to those new to the industry, the term and its components can feel a little elusive.
If you’ve ever attended a digital marketing conference, you may have seen talks by striking individuals. Those with job titles such as ‘Influencer Strategists,’ or ‘Digital Outreach Managers.’
If you’re not social media savvy, don’t let these names daunt you. Effectively, individuals with titles such as these work within digital PR. And this is quite similar to traditional PR, but with a slightly different approach.
In short, digital PR is a strategy used by brands looking to increase their visibility online.
But, where this style of marketing goes further than traditional offline campaigns, digital PR can also help to increase brand’s SEO rankings and domain authority due to the backlinks they can provide.
These backlinks help brands to be discovered by more searchers for associated keyword searches on search engines.
This makes digital PR an effective tool for helping to raise the profile of your brand quickly. Especially if picked up by big publications and bloggers. But it can be used to increase your website traffic for the long term.
In this guide, we’re going to be looking at digital PR in detail. What exactly it involves, its benefits, as well as some top tips on how you can get started today.
What is Digital PR?
As the name suggests, digital PR is an online marketing strategy. And it’s used by brands who want to increase their visibility online.
The process usually involves marketers or digital PR agencies who network with journalists, bloggers, influencers, and publicists. The marketer or agency will then send their online press releases to them. This is done in the hopes that they will create a feature or a piece of content out of it. And most importantly, a piece of content which links back to their website.
If you’re familiar with traditional methods of PR, then digital isn’t too dissimilar. Back in the day, agencies would spend their time schmoozing journalists over the phone and at networking events. Whereas today, digital PR makes this process much more efficient via few email exchanges or via direct messages on social media.
Digital PR is a highly effective tool. Especially for brands looking to reach their target audience. By featuring on a more diverse range of websites and content mediums that they engage with, you’ll be placing your brand directly in front of them.
On top of increasing brand exposure, digital PR is also great for increasing your website’s SEO rankings.
If you can obtain backlinks from a variety of websites with domain authorities that are higher than yours, you’ll be strengthening your overall ranking. As well as increasing the chances of you ranking higher in a page of search engine results pages (SERPs).
In the long term, having higher page rankings will drive more traffic to your website. Therefore, generating more leads for you. An overall win-win situation.
A Quick Note on Digital PR for Local SEO
For local businesses with a physical location, you can use a digital PR strategy to improve your local SEO.
It works exactly the same as a generalised SEO strategy. Though you need to focus on reaching out to online publications that are relevant to your local area.
For example, you may want to reach out to the local newspaper websites. Or to bloggers or websites that contain local information and guidance.
You may even want to try reaching out to your previous customers. Simply encouraging them to leave a review on your Google My Business page, can improve your local SEO rankings.
Local SEO also provides an opportunity to showcase your brand’s core values and build a credible reputation.
For instance, if you aim to donate a percentage of your profits to a charity, why not sponsor a local charity? In return they may agree to feature you on their website and social media. As a result, you could be gaining some great backlinks for your site. As well as demonstrating your pledge to helping local charitable causes.
Likewise, you could also sponsor local events. Thus again, showcasing your brand’s dedication to helping out and championing the local community.
6 Key Benefits of Digital PR for Businesses
Digital PR can be a highly effective marketing strategy for businesses who are looking to increase their visibility online.
Whether your goal is to improve your website’s SEO, local rankings, or simply get noticed by a bigger audience. Digital PR can help you reach it.
Take a look at 6 of the main benefits below. Dependent on your goal, you’ll want to track one or more of them as you implement your campaign. In doing so, you can ensure it’s running effectively and achieving what you set out for it to do.
1. Higher SEO rankings
Having your website featured on websites with a high domain authority will gather some quality backlinks for you.
Search engines like Google will then infer these backlinks when determining your page rankings. And as they’re coming from reputable sites, these backlinks will bolster your position in the SERPs for your target keywords. As a result, they will help you to be seen by even more people.
2. Increased website traffic
As a result of improved SEO rankings, you will also benefit from driving more traffic to your website.
We know that a staggering 90% of Google users don’t bother clicking past the first page of search results. And so the higher you rank, the more traffic you will see coming to your site.
On top of this, by featuring on a diverse range of websites and social media accounts, your traffic will improve. As you will naturally have an influx of referral traffic coming to your site. This is because a broader audience will be reading, seeing and hearing about you from the sites they engage with.
3. Improve your brand’s credibility (socially)
An effective digital PR strategy ensures all the great things about your business appear when searchers discover your brand on a search engine or a third-party site.
Every piece of content you share with journalists, bloggers and influencers needs to be engaging and high-quality. All in all, this content should showcase the best of your brand.
Lots of people are going to be reading that content, so make sure it helps your brand to shine.
There really is no room for error here. Never say something or make a claim which is considered socially unacceptable or inherently wrong. Or else you could find yourself reeling in some bad press.
So, always make sure every press release and published content item is the best possible reflection of your work.
4. Improves your brand’s credibility (online)
On top of improving your brand’s reputation amongst your target audience, a digital PR strategy can also bolster your reputation online with search engines.
Google’s E-A-T algorithm is an important ranking factor for your website. It stands for ‘Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness’. Three paramount traits of a great brand.
Although there’s no direct connection between digital PR and E-A-T, there’s certainly a strong correlation between them both.
Whenever an external site sends referral traffic directly through a backlink, that traffic wants to be wowed by great content. If they land on your website to see a collection of high-quality, relevant, and informative content. And if it comes from what seems like a trustworthy brand. Then chances are, they’re going to stick around and engage with your content.
And it’s the engagement with this content that’s important. As it signals to search engines that your content is valuable, trustworthy and worth reading. Therefore, helping you to rank higher in search engine results pages.
As such, when you’re considering implementing a digital PR campaign into your overall plan, make sure that you have a great bank of content ready and waiting for that increased site traffic to enjoy.
5. Lead generation
Every great digital PR strategy will showcase your brand, its products or services in front of a relevant audience.
As long as your press release is impressive enough to engage that audience, you’ll reap its reward. That is, you can benefit from a higher number of interested leads coming through to your site from third-party referrals.
Like all content, your press releases should be engaging and written well. You need to capture the attention of journalists, who’ll write their own content from your press release to be successful.
And, the more people who see your content, the more leads you’ll get.
Once you’ve gathered your new leads, you need to convert them into sales.
And this is where your quality content marketing strategy comes into play.
Remember point four in this list? On how quality content is needed to engage your audience? Well, that same content is also what’s going to push your new leads through a conversion funnel. And as a result, transform them into paying customers.
Everything you create needs to offer value to the customer. This means it directly targets their problems, answering queries they are seeking answers to.
If you can do this, then great! You’ll be forging relationships with these new leads. And new leads often need a reason to connect with and trust your brand before they depart with their pennies.
Great content marketing is the key to improving web conversions. Spend the time to make sure yours is at the top of its game. As a result, you’ll be reaping the benefits for years to come.
5 Ideas For Your Digital PR Strategy
It can be difficult to know where to begin with a digital PR strategy.
There are so many different types of PR that you can do. And there are also so many different types of connections you may want to build relationships with.
Although there are some common ways marketers choose to deliver their digital PR strategy, there really is no set ‘formula’. So, you should experiment with your ideas, implementing what works for you.
As long as you’re connecting and nurturing relationships with prospective journalists or bloggers, you’ll be on the path to success.
However, if you’re looking for some inspiration to get you started. Or you need help with your digital PR campaign, take a look at my top 5 ideas below.
1. Influencer marketing
If you listen to any social media expert, you’ll notice how much they upsell the size of the influencer marketing industry and its value. Presumably making it a costly marketing channel.
One of the most common misconceptions with influencer marketing today is that you need to be cash rich. Or else none of the biggest people or influencers in the business will want to work for you.
But that’s simply not true.
In fact, micro influencers tend to have higher engagement rates than macro influencers. Which means brands will often see better conversions by working with someone with a smaller audience.
Obviously, this depends on what your goals are. If you want higher conversions, then a micro influencer with a high engagement rate is probably more valuable to you. However, if your goal is purely online visibility. Then a macro influencer with a large following seems like a more obvious choice.
Despite the headaches involved in researching which influencers fit best for your brand, it is a highly effective method. And one which works well within a digital PR strategy.
Usually, the process involves reaching out to an influencer. Then offering them an incentive in exchange for a mention on their social media accounts. As a result, you’ll really be increasing your visibility. And potentially, could see an influx of leads coming to your site from those posts.
Typically, in order to work with an influencer, the incentive needs to be financial. However, this can come in many forms:
- Gifting your product or service
- Offering discounts on your site
- Sending PR boxes full of your products
- Or even giving them a straight-up payment
Whether you choose to pay, offer gifts, or provide discount codes to the influencers – there really is no set ‘standard’. Influencer marketing is still a relatively new concept. And so you may find yourself making up your own rules within your partnership with a particular influencer.
Just make sure that when looking for influencers, they reflect your brand. Ideally, they should seem like a natural fit to be marketing your product. If they aren’t, you’ll probably be preaching to the wrong audience. And as a result, could end up wasting a lot of time, money and energy.
2. Networking with journalists
The most common way digital PR agencies operate is through networking with journalists. They then send press releases to them about a company’s new product, service, as well as other general updates.
If the pitch is compelling enough, journalists will then create a piece of content around that press release. As such, they’ll publish it on their website with a link back to the brand and their original piece of content, which is mentioned within the article.
So, implementing your strategy in this way can be highly effective. Not only do you have the opportunity to have your brand mentioned on a platform that’s viewed by thousands of people. But you can also build a strong link profile. One with quality backlinks coming from sites with high domain authorities.
Again, just like with influencer marketing, always ensure that the publications receiving your press releases are relevant to your brand.
Journalists receive, on average, 50-100 press releases every week. So, you want to make sure yours is really going to jump out to them.
3. Blogger outreach
The idea of blogger outreach as a form of digital PR is not too dissimilar from influencer marketing.
The process involves a brand that is seeking exposure for their product or service. This brand then connects with established bloggers who have a substantial following.
Normally, the brand will ask the blogger to write a post about a particular subject. And this is in exchange for free access to that particular product or service. Though this can also be a financial transaction too.
The blog will typically include a link back to the brand’s website. So if this is a style of PR you want to experiment with, make sure the domain authorities of these bloggers are of similar or higher authority to yours.
Just like influencer marketing, blogger outreach can be a highly effective PR strategy. Not only will you be putting your brand in front of a completely new target audience. But that audience should be high converting.
Blogging can be an incredibly personal channel. The readers of blogs tend to feel incredibly close to the writer. Often because writers tend to share personal anecdotes and aren’t afraid to show emotion within their work.
As a result, audiences who subscribe to these bloggers tend to have a strong connection with them. And they really trust what they have to say.
Therefore, when that blogger promotes a particular brand and their product or service, their readership is generally high converting. This is because they believe that the blogger would only promote something which is genuinely worth spending their money on.
So, I would highly recommend you focus your time and research on discovering some good bloggers out there.
This doesn’t mean you need to spend tremendous amounts of money to find the best. But it means finding individuals who seem to have great engagement (check out how active their comments section is). And who also cater to an audience that’s similar to your target demographic.
4. Offline press events
Just because the name includes the word ‘digital,’ doesn’t mean your entire strategy needs to operate online.
In fact, physical PR events can be hugely rewarding for brands. Offering an opportunity to improve their visibility both offline and online.
For example, say you attend an industry-related event where there will be a variety of journalists, influencers, and bloggers in attendance. Here, you have a fantastic opportunity to physically network with these individuals. Therefore, forging connections through face-to-face conversations.
As a result, you can collect a great network of contacts. Many of whom may be inclined to work with you and promote your brand in the future. Either on their websites or via social media.
You will have also had the opportunity to showcase your brand physically. Especially if you pay to pitch a stall or hand out free samples.
Keep an eye out on any events taking place which may be worthwhile attending. As you never know who you could end up meeting there!
5. Publishing quality articles and infographics
As effective as it is to outreach to journalists, bloggers, and influencers, don’t forget about your own content. Take the time to promote your brand and its content on your platforms too.
I cannot stress the importance of having a quality content marketing strategy. Your website and its content are the virtual sales assistants. Your content puts in the work 24/7 to push your leads through the sales funnel. And will eventually convert them into paying customers.
Every piece of content you publish needs to be quality, engaging and relevant to what your audience is interested in. It’s the only way you can forge connections with your visitors and convince them of your value. And that you are the brand within your industry that’s the best fit for their needs.
Your content can come through a whole range of different mediums. As such it’s going to take time to refine your audience. Especially in terms of understanding what types of media they most enjoy and interact with.
If your content is quality, ‘shareable,’ and being seen by a sizable audience. Then you should be seeing a backlink or two coming off the back of it.
Infographics are effective content types in terms of generating shares. Their succinct and visual display of information makes them great content for readers short on time. Whilst their eye-catching graphics make them engaging enough for readers to stop and look at.
No matter what style of content you create, spend the time promoting it through your own channels and through outreach programmes. It’s the only way you can expect to increase the amount of people viewing your content and engaging with your brand.
Measuring The Success Of Your Digital PR Strategy
One of the greatest advantages to using digital PR over traditional methods is that its success can be easily measured with a number of metrics.
Analytics tools such as Google Analytics, SEMrush, Moz’s Link explorer, and other website software can do this very easily, allowing you to make effective data-driven decisions, quickly.
As a free tool, Google Analytics is a great starting place for small businesses who are just launching their digital PR strategies. As long as you have your domain registered on Google’s search engine, it’s free to use for any brand.
On it, you can measure the referral traffic which comes from articles published about your business, or through social media links from influencers and bloggers.
This may involve adding some UTM tracking codes to these links, but Google offers free training courses for their Analytics software, so you shouldn’t have any trouble being able to set this up.
Digital PR is an extremely effective strategy for brands looking to increase their visibility online.
From improving your organic search engine rankings through quality backlinks and referral traffic, to having your brand visible across a whole range of websites and publications – there’s no end to the great benefits that it can bring.
Where traditional marketing may have been limited, digital PR certainly makes up for it.
In an increasingly digitised world, this form of PR allows marketers to make data-driven decisions that will target the right audiences at the right time of their brand strategy.
The online world presents a new way for PR agencies to reach audiences like never before. Whether it be through news publications, influencers or bloggers, brands now have the opportunity to target specific groups with content that’s tailored to their interests.
There’s never been a more effective way to get your brand recognised, generate new leads, and increase your sales.
Outsourcing Your Digital PR Strategy To A Marketing Consultant
As effective as digital PR is as a form of marketing, it takes a lot of time to do well.
The process of researching which publications, bloggers and influencers seem like a relevant association to your brand takes a lot of time to do. And that’s before you’ve even begun the process of outreach and communicating with them.
On top of that, you need to be creating regular quality and engaging content that you can send to these sources, as well as use to convert your referral traffic into paying customers.
Often, many small or new start-up businesses don’t have the time to dedicate to this properly. So, they turn to a marketing consultant, such as myself, who can outsource their digital PR strategy for them.
Having worked with thousands of clients across a whole variety of sectors, my team and I know exactly what it takes to deliver a digital PR and content strategy effectively.
Whether you’re looking for an advisory service, or a team who can create and implement your strategy for you, my team and I offer a whole range of services.
If you would like to discuss how we could help your brand to start ranking higher and drawing in new leads, why not get in contact. I’d be happy to have an obligation-free chat with you and walk you through some of our previous work.