When people think of PR, they’re used to thinking about features in the local paper or their favourite glossy magazine. But these days, most people have had to shift their gaze towards digital PR - featuring in online publications with often higher readerships and better ways of tracking how much of an impact your hard work has had.
Whilst it does mean more strategy may be needed in your work to create a successful campaign, digital PR is beneficial for businesses on the whole as it can improve your online presence and lead to visibility in many more places, reaching much farther than a single feature in one newspaper.
Why social media is needed for digital PR
Being able to reach a larger audience is, of course, largely down to social media and the ability to create a conversation around your work with other readers within the comments sections, reviews and from tweets and posts on your businesses social channels.
When your nice bit of PR work is shared in an online publication, which is then shared on someone’s Facebook page, your work can now be accessed by an audience that may not have ever read that publication, and certainly wouldn’t have considered paying for it in physical copy, meaning it has gained extra readers through little effort of its own. But the benefits to digital PR doesn’t stop there.
Why digital PR and SEO need one another
For instance, promoting your business in an online publication can help grow credibility for your business and be seen as a trustworthy source by those looking for information on the topic you’ve chosen to talk about. Industry leaders are able to give insightful opinions on important matters, and if you can make your business be seen by others as an expert on this, it will increase your authority by a large sum. That’s why research on stats is useful to a campaign. In this day and age, it’s more important than ever to back up any findings or work that is stating new facts or you may fear your campaign being labelled as ‘fake news’, which isn’t a good PR strategy for anyone (we’re looking at you, President Trump).
Another important benefit to digital PR is allowing Google to recognise your business’ site as the most trustworthy and relevant source for that particular sector. By using digital PR tactics to link a press release to your business, you are opening a new door for potential customers to click through to easily.
And, if your business is linked to from a lot of other trustworthy sites such as news publications which have high domain authority, this would make Google trust your site too and establish its good authority. This will begin to show your site higher in their search rankings, and in turn generate more organic traffic to your site, which can then convert these site visitors to customers.
This is something that, traditionally, a mention in a lovely print publication from some top-notch PR work has not been able to help improve on and is why digital PR has become so desirable these days.
The different types of PR strategies
So, what does digital PR involve? For most, the main tactics come from creating campaigns for your business or client by formulating ideas, building a press release around this campaign and targeting your press release to relevant journalists and publications through built relationships.
An even better campaign can be built around newsworthy pieces that are timely and engaging. If a digital PR campaign is focused around something that is currently being talked about a lot in the news or on social media, then the chances of your piece being picked up by other news outlets and shared by more people is a lot higher which is a lot more of a likely outcome than when just using traditional PR tactics.
Some other great digital PR tactics include answering journalist requests on HARO, through Twitter and on Response Source; giving you the chance to help journalists out pretty quickly with a current story they’re running and being able to obtain that all-important backlink to your businesses site, reaping a lot of benefits with a lot less effort.
How old content can still be a useful tool
Finally, another brilliant reason why digital PR is so great to businesses is for repurposing. A lot of time goes into the creation of a campaign, usually by multiple people researching ideas and statistics and then writing up their findings; each hoping for its success. If a campaign doesn’t garner as much interest as you’d like initially or if it becomes relevant to current affairs once again, digital PR allows you to repurpose this content and look at it from a new angle or target different audiences.
Something that was originally intended to be a blog post on your website can be repurposed into a piece for a newspaper or for a trade publication with new information relevant to that topic. For example, a car company can produce information on how to stay safe when driving in a current snowstorm or a flood warning which is imminent and pre-empt that journalists will be looking for related content to this topic for its readers.
While traditional PR tactics aren’t totally redundant anymore - who doesn’t love to see their work in print - a digital strategy is most definitely necessary to grow your online presence and to reach a much wider audience. If done right, it can open the doors for new customers by sending them directly to your site and by producing a much bigger ROI than with traditional PR or simple SEO tactics alone.
Sophie Campbell, digital PR executive, Click