Public relations have been a key part of any business strategy since humans started trading things they needed in return for something of value.
Although dollars and cents may be very different today, the idea of promoting your business in a positive way, and gaining business through “word of mouth” is still as important as it has ever been, and that is no different for online industries.
Digital PR, very much like public relations for brick and mortar businesses is a crucial part of any growth strategy and an essential aspect of SEO.
Link building, along with content production, is one of the most important aspects of any SEO strategy. However, as Google tightens up on its fight against link spam and paid links, truly white-hat methods become even more prevalent.
What Is Digital PR
And Why Should You Care About It? The answer to this question is simple: digital PR helps you build relationships with influencers and journalists who can help promote your brand or product.
It also helps you get high-quality backlinks pointing to your website from reputable sources.
The best thing about digital PR is that it is far more organic – or “white-hat” than traditional link building. By creating shareable content, liaising directly with journalists and influencers to publish newsworthy content that drives brand awareness and engagement.
Where Did Digital PR Start?
The first step towards digital PR was when social media became popular. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram were all created by people looking to connect with others.
These platforms are now used as a tool for companies to engage their customers and prospects.
In fact, according to Hubspot’s 2016 State Of Inbound report, 93% of B2B marketers use social media marketing to generate leads, and 82% of B2C marketers do the same.
Where Are We Now?
Today, there are over 2 billion active users on social media sites. This means that if you’re not using these tools to market yourself and your products, then you’re missing out on a massive opportunity.
Creating high-quality content around your company or personal brand that people want to actively share and engage with is one of the best marketing strategies used by the largest brands worldwide to promote their products to their target audience.
Why Digital PR is Important
In today’s world, we are in the midst of a digital revolution. In times where everyone shares their daily lives on social media, it only makes sense to take at least some parts of your business online, and that includes your marketing efforts.
Considering huge portions of the day for most people are spent scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and watching content online, it makes sense that your marketing strategy covers everything from mobile apps to social channels and everything in between!
The Goal of Digital PR
Like most forms of digital marketing, the ultimate goal of all digital PR strategies is to help you meet your business goals. Whether that is reaching broader audiences, improving conversions for leads, or securing online mentions from relevant websites to improve SEO rankings.
Using digital channels, producing online content, and being featured on external websites are just some of the digital PR techniques used to promote you and your brand to the world.
How Digital PR Benefits A Small Business
1) Improve Your SEO
Positively impacting your search engine optimization efforts is one of the core reasons we work on digital PR campaigns.
The top three reasons behind this are that improved brand awareness through digital PR means more brand searches and organic search traffic.
As a business owner, being able to boost website traffic from target customers to your website through digital campaigns that you can convert into leads and sales is priceless.
2) Connect With Journalists In Your Niche
A featured news story or being listed as a credible source in a top-level publication such as Forbes or The New York Times significantly improves E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
Becoming an expert thought leader in your niche not only builds credibility with your target audience but also with Google.
Once you’ve been able to build relationships with journalists, they will be able to recommend other publications where you can pitch stories.
This is especially helpful if you’re targeting specific verticals like travel, health, tech, business, etc.
The age-old saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know” really shines true when it comes to this kind of online marketing, and having contact with journalists who are already open to your content ideas can significantly improve the success of your digital PR efforts.
3) Improve Your Backlink Profile
A secondary benefit, being featured in high-authority websites mean improved domain authority by gaining relevant links.
The types of links secured through this kind of outreach are significantly more valuable in terms of “link juice” than most acquired through more traditional forms of link building like guest posts.
Even a nofollow link from a non-niche-specific, well-known publication with an incredibly high domain authority and traffic has way more link equity than a dofollow link from a super niche-relevant site with mediocre traffic.
Plus, using this strategy with multiple online media outlets will give you a super organic and diverse link profile and positively impact your domain rating.
What Should A Digital PR Strategy Include?
In order to create a successful digital PR campaign, there are certain components that need to come together.
These can include:
- An effective press release
- An engaging social media presence
- Content creation
- Outreach to journalists
- Earned Media
- Email marketing
- Paid advertising
- Link building
Here are three examples of how these elements can be combined for maximum effectiveness:
An Effective Press Release
Press releases are often seen as old school, but they still have their place in today’s digital world. If done right, they can help you get noticed by journalists and increase the chances of getting coverage. They’re also great at driving traffic to your website.
You should always write your press release in the third person because it makes you sound more authoritative.
You want to make sure that your press release includes all the information that journalists would expect to see in a news article. For example, the headline should summarize the main points of the story, while the first paragraph should provide context and background information. It’s important to use keywords throughout the body of the press release so that it shows up on search engines and gets found by journalists.
When writing your press release, think about how you’d describe your product or service in a news article. This helps you craft a compelling message that will resonate with journalists.
When pitching to journalists, you’ll want to focus on creating a strong hook.
Your hook should be something that is interesting enough to capture attention, but simple enough to understand quickly. This is especially important if you’re pitching to someone who isn’t familiar with your industry. Your hook could be anything from a new feature to a unique selling point.
Once you’ve got your hook figured out, you’ll want to find ways to support it. This means providing additional details about the product or service, including statistics, case studies, testimonials, etc.
An Engaging Social Media Presence
Social media is one of the best places to promote yourself and your business.
But before you start posting, take a look at what’s already being said about you on different platforms.
Use tools like Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your company name across various social media sites.
Then, respond to any negative comments or complaints.
If you don’t address them, people will assume that you don’t care about customer feedback and may even spread rumors about your brand.
There are many types of content that you can share on social networks.
Some of the most popular formats include images, videos, infographics, podcasts, webinars, etc.
The key here is to choose the type of content that resonates with your audience. The goal is to create content that provides value to your followers. How do you know what kind of content works best? Look at what other companies in your niche are doing.
Are there any influencers in your space?
Do they post regularly?
Look for patterns and trends among their posts. These insights will give you an idea of which kinds of content perform well.
In addition to sharing valuable content, you can also engage with others online. Don’t just comment on other people’s posts. Instead, try starting conversations with relevant questions and answers.
For example: “Hey @joe_bloggs, I love this infographic! What was the inspiration behind it?”
“I’m looking forward to hearing more about @johnnybravo’s book launch next month.”
You can also join groups where your target market hangs out.
Outreach To Journalists
You might not have direct access to journalists, but you can still reach out to them through third-party sources.
Start by identifying publications that cover your industry.
Next, identify editors and reporters who write about topics similar to yours.
Finally, contact these individuals directly via email or phone. Be sure to follow up after sending a pitch. It’s okay to send multiple emails over time, as long as each one is personalized.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure every message includes a clear call to action. A Call To Action (CTA) is a button or link that encourages readers to take some sort of specific action.
Here’s an example: “Here’s an infographic I created on the topic!”
Your CTA should clearly state what you’re asking someone to do. Pointing a journalist to a hook, like a digital asset, is a great way to get their attention.
Once you’ve identified your ideal audience, craft your outreach messages accordingly. Remember that you’ll need to tailor your pitches based on the publication’s size and scope. Smaller outlets often require shorter pitches than larger ones.
And while it’s important to be personable when reaching out to journalists, avoid being too familiar. If you use the same tone and language across all communications, it makes it look like you’re spamming. Keep your messages professional and concise. This will help ensure that you stand out and are remembered.
How To Run A Digital PR Campaign
Now that you understand how digital PR works, it’s time to put it into practice. We’ve provided a few tips below to help you get started. But first, let’s talk about why you need to run a digital PR campaign.
Why Should You Do Digital PR?
Digital PR helps promote your business. It’s a great way to build awareness around your brand and attract new leads.
But most importantly, it gives you a competitive advantage. When you work with a reputable PR agency, they’ll help you create a plan that positions your company in front of the right audiences at the right times.
The best part is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to start seeing results.
In fact, we recommend starting small and scaling up later. The key is to focus on building relationships with influencers and getting their attention early on.
When you do so, you’ll gain valuable exposure and establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche.
So, before you dive headfirst into digital PR, consider the following questions:
Do I Have An Audience For Digital PR?
Before you decide whether digital PR is right for your business, you’ll need to determine whether there’s an audience for it.
To find this out, think about your target market. Who would benefit from reading about your industry? Who would be interested in learning more about your products and services?
You can also use Google Trends to see which topics people search for most frequently.
Are There Any Opportunities For Me In This Space?
Next, you’ll want to identify any opportunities for your business within the space.
There are two ways to do this. First, you can simply brainstorm ideas. Then, once you’ve come up with some good concepts, you can research them further by using tools such as BuzzSumo or Ahrefs. These platforms allow you to quickly see what other companies are doing in your field.
Are My Products Or Services Unique?
Finally, make sure that your products or services aren’t already covered by another company. If they are, then you won’t be able to generate much interest in your own content.
Once you know if digital PR is right for you, it’s time to move forward.
Here Are Some Tips On How To Start Running A Digital PR Campaign
1. Identify Your Ideal Audience
Your ideal customer isn’t just anyone who happens to visit your website. They’re specifically looking for information related to your product or service. So, figure out who those customers are and where they hang out online.
2. Find Influencers
Influencer marketing has been growing in popularity over the past couple years. And for good reason. It allows businesses to reach out to people who are influential in their respective fields.
These individuals often have large followings and influence others.
They may even write articles for publications like Forbes or Business Insider.
If you’re not familiar with influencer marketing, here are some things to keep in mind when identifying potential candidates:
- People who have lots of followers tend to be better influencers than people who have fewer followers.
- People with higher follower counts are usually more active on social media than people with lower follower counts.
- People who post regularly tend to be more influential than those who only occasionally share content.
3. Create Content That Delivers Value
The best way to get noticed is to create quality content. But how do you go about creating content that delivers value to your readers? Here are three tips to help you along the way:
Ask yourself “Who am I writing for?” You should always ask yourself this question first.
It will help you determine whether your content is relevant to your audience.
Think about what makes your product or service unique. What sets it apart from competitors?
Use keywords that describe your product or service.
Write short paragraphs (less than 250 words).
Remember, content isn’t always written! An awesome infographic or engaging video is often more shareable than the written word.
4. Get Social With The Right Platforms
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat all offer different benefits to businesses.
So, choose one or a few of these platforms and start promoting your content there.
Remember, you don’t need to spend hours every day posting on each platform. Instead, try scheduling posts at certain times during the week. This will give you an opportunity to promote your content while still having time left for other activities.
5. Track Your Results
After running a successful campaign, you’ll want to track its success.
This includes measuring engagement rates, conversion rates, and click-through rates.
You can also measure the number of shares, comments, likes, retweets, etc., that were generated as a result of your efforts.
You can also use Google Analytics to see which pages generated the most traffic.
And finally, you can measure the number of shares and likes your content received.
6. Be Patient
While the results of a digital PR campaign might seem slow to come, remember that it takes time to build up traction.
Your goal is to gain attention so that people actually notice your brand.
Once they do, they’ll likely share your content.
Don’t expect instant results. Instead, focus on building relationships with influencers and sharing great content.
When To Consider A Digital PR Agency?
There’s no hard rule saying that you need to work with a digital PR agency if you’re just getting started.
But if you’ve been around for a while but aren’t seeing much growth, then you might consider working with a professional.
A good digital PR agency will provide valuable insights into your target market, develop a strategy to increase awareness, and execute that strategy.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some questions to ask yourself before hiring a digital PR agency:
1. Do you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your online presence?
2. Are you willing to invest in the right tools and resources?
3. Do you understand how search engines work?
4. Have you ever hired a public relations firm before? If yes, why did you decide to go this route?
If you would like to discuss using digital PR as part of an ongoing SEO and PPC strategy, contact us today.