Why digital PR is essential for brand awareness objectives

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Zazzle Media think about some of the reasons why digital PR is on the decline.

I want to get my brand noticed. This is the core objective behind the vast majority of marketing activities; yet in 2019 standing out from the crowd is becoming harder and harder to do.

In a bid to tackle this treacherous task, the marketing industry has developed a plethora of different methods to give businesses the best opportunity of reaching new audiences. However, understanding which ones to use and when can be a tricky task for marketers to figure out.

In the third edition of Zazzle Media’s State of Content Marketing Survey, marketers were asked what their top focuses would be for the following year and the results unveiled the following top five.

Top focuses for content marketing in 2019

  1. Written content/blog
  2. SEO
  3. Email marketing
  4. Video
  5. Organic social

An interesting list, featuring some elements which are quite rightly regarded as top focuses. However, when asked what their top goals to achieve through content marketing were, in some cases the list of focuses above didn’t seem to be the best way to achieve them.

Top goals for content marketers in 2019

  1. Brand awareness
  2. Lead generation
  3. Engagement

Two of these goals are strongly catered for within the top priorities.

Quality written content and a frequently updated blog are great for engagement, as well as a strong organic social presence. In terms of lead generation, email marketing is a must and a strong SEO strategy is essential as a foundation for both of these goals.

When it comes to brand awareness, these priorities are less helpful.

Perhaps the most glaring omission from the top priorities of marketers is digital PR, especially if a top focus is to increase brand awareness. But yet less than one in ten marketers are focusing on digital PR in 2019.

The problem

So, why are marketers seemingly less concerned about off page distribution, and why should you make a case for digital PR to hold a key position in your marketing activities?

There are three big reasons which come to mind immediately.

Brand awareness

Content is nothing if no one sees it. That may sound like a stark statement, but it’s a reality which we need to come to terms with. Whilst the creation of written blog content will appeal to people already on your site, we need a mechanism to drive others towards it.

There are several ways of doing this, but digital PR can help users find your site in a more organic way rather than in a targeted advertorial manner.

Seeing brands frequently mentioned talking about topics in the press plants the idea of authority into potential customer’s heads. Most importantly it puts you on their radar, meaning the next time they need a service that you provide, you’re in with a shout of being searched for.

The survey also found that a quarter of marketers want to target new audiences through content distribution, but without digital PR this will prove difficult.

Brand protection

Without a solid PR presence, be that digital or traditional, you allow your brand’s story to be in the hands of others. This is obviously a precarious position, especially in competitive markets.

Digital PR allows you to control narratives and get involved with industry conversations which you would otherwise be unable to participate in. The digital aspect also allows you to receive real-time coverage updates when your brand's name is mentioned, so you can put out an immediate response in an attempt to stem or enhance any positive or negative feedback.

Becoming a regular in relevant conversations will also increase your relationships with the media, and give you a bigger chance of journalists coming to you first when they either want a quote or have a difficult question about your brand.

Link building

One perk about creating digital PR campaigns is that they usually come with linkable assets that have a chance of being cited within media coverage.

Link building is an activity in which many participants rely on black-hat tactics for success, paying for links and directories etc. Digital PR allows you to avoid all these techniques and the risks associated with them and build some legitimate links from high authority publications.

How successful this method is is down entirely to the idea and the team carrying out the distribution, however as a the slightly quaint saying goes, you don’t win the raffle if you don’t buy a ticket, and not getting involved in these campaigns gives you a 0% chance of building these links.

Whilst digital PR can work in silo to other activities, content distribution is always better when utilising a multichannel distribution campaign. These new people then find an attachment to your brand and messaging and then in turn, subscribe later after they’ve been nurtured into the funnel by your, no doubt, excellent content.

This multi-channel approach can be summarised through four areas, made up of earned, owned, paid and shared channels.

Now the above is just a summary of what brands usually have available, but that’s not to say we need to utilise every single aspect of every single channel for each campaign.

Picking and choosing the appropriate aspects of each of these segments and condensing and selecting the most suitable will enable you to save time on ineffective distribution outlets and focus your energy on the ones which will give you the best ROI.

Digital PR can be one of the most valuable aspects of your content marketing strategy, unfortunately, it can also be one of the most frustrating. The lack of control over when and what coverage about your brand is published is something which a lot of other marketing activities avoid.

However, as another old adage goes, “no pain no gain”. These difficulties should not sway your decision making away from an activity which is ideal for raising brand awareness.

2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year for content marketing, and digital PR could be the key to giving your brand new audiences and visibility.

Alex Jones is a campaign manager at Zazzle Media.

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