Digital PR, what’s that?
In recent years, there has been an increasing convergence of PR, Digital Marketing (especially content marketing) and SEO as companies shift towards inbound marketing. This has given birth to Digital (or online) PR, which, whilst still maintaining a brand’s public perception, has seen Public Relations evolve to incorporate useful tools such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media, link building and content marketing. You have to go where your target customers are, and increasingly that is online.
Simply put, Digital PR puts the focus on online visibility and increasing a brand’s reach, mainly through building relationships with online journalists and influential content creators. It’s all about creating a compelling and relevant story for your audience about your brand and maximising engagement for content that you create. The ultimate goal is to reach this audience, generate leads and therefore turn your audience into customers.
How does Digital PR work?
As mentioned above, when Digital PR is executed correctly it can increase a brand’s visibility and reach online and can have a positive effect on website traffic and search engine rankings (through onsite SEO). How exactly does it work though? Well, there are a few factors:
Digital PR Outreach
So, whether it’s a blog post, how-to guide, GIF, infographic, video or otherwise, you’ve created a great piece of content, now what? This is where Digital PR can help your content marketing. Once you’ve produced content, outreach is important and especially when it results in a link back to your site and therefore glorious traffic.
By getting featured on targeted sites that your customers visit, you can secure high-quality backlinks. This helps boost your website’s authority and can improve your ranking for your target keywords. This could be locally with online news publications, depending on where your customers are based, or nationally if your customers are widely-spread geographically. Targeting popular bloggers is also a great tactic.
Therefore, an aspect of effective digital public relations is nurturing and maintaining relationships with journalists and bloggers.
The main objective is to publicise your great content, attract viewers to your site and try to build a valuable link.
Social Media and Digital PR
Social media is a godsend for Digital PR if (and this can be a big if sometimes) it is done correctly. It can amplify your brand’s voice and allows you to showcase its personality and it can build your reputation through developing trust. By creating a list of key influencers relevant to your audience, you can identify who your customers follow. Try to target them through factors such as engagement rate, followers and their domain authority. Building up a rapport with your targeted influencers, you can begin outreach and try to secure a partnership where they share your content with their viewership.
Social channels are also important for promoting your content and building an audience. You can do this through social contests and social networking such as LinkedIn groups
Digital PR and SEO, a not-so-odd couple
Because it has a strong correlation with SEO, Digital PR relies upon the same methods as it in order to be successful. This involves producing high quality links back to your website from digital content that you create as well as optimising your website too. If you work hard on building links and mentions, it can increase your ranking in search engines and bring more traffic to your site.
Optimising your content tells search engines (the plural is just to be polite, I mainly mean Google) what exactly it is and how it is relevant to associated search results. This can help raise awareness of your brand and also boost its online visibility.
Why does my business need it though?
It may seem obvious, but you need to be right in front of customers, staring them in the face when they are looking for your products or services. That’s where Digital PR comes into the fold.
Nowadays, if a customer wants something, they will Google it (which is why we even use “google” as a verb). This means that you need to get the edge on your competitors. As people have increasingly moved online to find and share information, Digital PR allows you to maintain relevance by sharing educational information and having real conversations directly with your audience.
Digital PR can:
1. Synchronise with SEO efforts to improve search rankings and web traffic
Digital PR can complement SEO and make the most of keyword search trends, which maximises exposure and coverage. By being published on high authority sites and gaining backlinks to your site, you can improve your search rankings and therefore gain more traffic.
2. Build brand trust
In the long-run, creating compelling content and publicity can enhance the credibility of your brand. When you create useful, quality and search engine optimised content that is shared through other credible sources it can build your reputation.
3. Convert social media audiences into web traffic
When your content is shared or engaged with on social channels, it can lead to increased website traffic. Digital PR helps you leverage content to make this possible. It also helps you alter your message for your audience depending on the channel you are using.
4. Increase leads and sales
When your brand is reaching the right audience, you’ll have more people becoming aware of your products and services and hopefully clicking through to your site. Customers are most likely going to google you and they will get a much more positive search result with your Digital PR efforts.
Okay, so how do I get started?
You’ve created your sublime, industry-changing content, now what? First off, ensure that your Digital PR efforts are integrated with any social media and SEO campaigns that you are running. Besides that, whether you choose to use a digital agency or do it yourself, there are several things you can do to get started:
1. Do your research
Make sure you understand your target customer and their buyer persona. Make a list of the online media outlets and social media platforms that they read and use. While you are at it, make another list of influencers who are active online and follow them on their social channels. It’s okay, it’s not stalking, it’s research, honest.
Create a keywords plan and identify what your customers are searching for and what is sending them to your site through a tool such as Google Analytics.
2. Make your presence known
Ensure that you have an active online presence, whether it is through your company blog, Twitter/Facebook or LinkedIn groups/Pulse. Joining and contributing answers to Q and A forums such as Quora can also boost your digital PR activities and build your reputation as a thought leader and subject-matter-expert.
3. Make your content easy to consume
We now live in a society where people are often pressed for time and have decreased attention spans. Therefore, when creating the story, you want to tell, make sure that content can be quickly scanned and digested. This is why video and visual content is so popular and making it useful or entertaining means it will be shareable!
You can take a shortcut by repurposing existing content such as blog posts into snappy infographics or short videos.
4. Put the social in social media
When it comes to Digital PR, social media is one of the easiest tools to use. Start socialising and engaging with influencers and journalists, people who can reach your target audience and inform their decisions. Start building your Twitter list and once you’ve identified who the key players are, like and follow their social profiles, comment occasionally and engage with them to build a rapport before you ask for something from them.
Once you’ve made a connection and established a relationship, then you can ask if you can contribute through activities such as sponsoring an influencer’s competition or giveaway.
The worlds of SEO, Digital PR and Digital Marketing are colliding and this calls for a closer integration of techniques. Digital PR is a viable and straightforward way to increase your online presence, gain access to your customers and identify influencers. With it, you can grow trust and raise awareness whilst building connections with people who can help grow your business presence.
With a little bit of work, Digital PR can make a noticeable difference to your online conversions and ultimately boost sales, so really, what’s not to love!