What is digital PR? How can it help your business get noticed online? Will it hook in new customers? All your questions about digital PR answered.
Digital PR is an online marketing strategy used by businesses to increase their online presence and grow their brand.
Imagine an office worker living in Nottingham. He’s just got home from a tiresome day at work only to find that his oven has suddenly broken. What’s the first thing he’s going to do? He’s going to type “over repair Nottingham” into Google to find a local repair guy asap. What’s the second thing he’s going to do? He’s going to type “pizza delivery Nottingham” into Google to get some food asap.
What digital PR does is make sure that your business is the first name that comes up when a potential customer puts a question into a search bar.
How Digital PR Actually Works
We’ve reached a point where very few purchases are made without a Google search at some stage. This means that in order to really compete in your industry, your business needs digital PR.
Digital PR gets your business ranking higher on search results by getting your business featured on the websites that your customers visit. This might be local publications if most of your customers come from the surrounding area, or it might be with popular bloggers or even national newspapers.
This is achieved through publishing articles on relevant websites and blogs and also securing high-quality backlinks. It also involves nurturing relationships with journalists to get mentioned in the press. We aim to get a backlink to your website so that customers can click-through to your site, but also because it helps to boost your website’s authority and get you further up the search engine results for your target keywords.
The ultimate goal of online marketing through digital PR is to reach a relevant audience, generate leads and get more customers.
What Digital PR Success Means For A Business
In 2015, we started work with a performance management software company who provide software for HR teams in SMEs. They had a simple but effective website already up and wanted to build up their brand name before the official launch of their software. The guy running the business had done his research, he knew the trends and his software was set to blow his competitors out of the water. But his business was new, it was small and no one had heard of them — yet.
We started building up a list of websites, magazines and blogs that were well read by HR professionals and reached out to editors offering articles about new trends in the performance management industry. We successfully placed content with a number of small but still influential websites in the sector.
Once our client’s name and business had been featured on a number of different websites, we set our sights higher. We began pitching to the big boys in the HR industry, looking for publications where our articles would really start to get some traction. We sent editors links to our other published articles to show that this business really knew their stuff and would provide incredibly valuable content to these bigger websites.
Our content got accepted, we published more and more articles, and soon we got lucky! One of our articles on new performance management trends in 2016 went up on Minutehack.com, an advice website for small business owners in the UK. The article got over 400 social media shares, mostly on LinkedIn. The snowball had started.
HR professionals began to pick up the article through LinkedIn and enquiries about the software and requests for demos began rolling in. That same month, we spoke to a journalist from The Guardian’s small business sector. They’d seen our client featured in a number of publications talking about effective management strategies and asked him to provide a quote for a feature being written on business success.
Together with the client, we wrote up a killer comment about managing performance and motivating employees. The comment was published in an article on The Guardian’s website, including a link to the client’s website. Months ago, no one had heard of this company or the guy running it, and now he was featured in the UK’s most authoritative online newspaper!
How Digital PR Benefits Your Business
We’ve already established that digital PR is about getting your business and products featured in articles, blogs and news websites online. Now let’s break down exactly how this digital PR work benefits your business:
Benefit #1: Improved search rankings
Publishing on high authority websites and getting links to your website will push you up the rankings for your target keywords. The higher up you place on Google, the more traffic will come to your site.
Benefit #2: Gain website traffic
The more people reading about your business and sharing your content on social media, the more people there will be visiting your website. It’s a wildfire, but you need to light it.
Once we’ve got traffic on your site, we can also show you how to convert that traffic into paying customers with our onsite optimisation process.
Benefit #3: Cultivate brand trust
A digital PR team makes sure your customers only see good things when they type your company’s name into a search engine. Creating engaging content and securing positive and impartial reviews will nurture your brand image over time.
Useful, high-quality articles that are SEO-friendly will signal to search engines that you’re a credible source of information.
Having your products or services reviewed by bloggers will increase trust in your brand. Check out our post on running a kick-ass blogger outreach campaign.
Benefit #4: Generate leads
A good digital PR strategy should put your products in front of a relevant and interested audience. The more people reading about your products and clicking through to your website, the more leads you will generate.
Benefit #5: Increase sales
Any digital marketing agency worth their salt knows that businesses have to make sales and they have to see an ROI from their digital marketing. A digital PR campaign should always be aiming to reach a relevant audience who could become potential leads when they land on your website.
You can communicate your USPs through different media, such as videos, infographics and articles. This can have a positive impact on purchasing decisions and is much cheaper than running traditional TV adverts.
Traditional PR vs. Digital PR
What is the difference between traditional PR and digital PR? This is a question that we get asked a lot and it’s a good one.
PR traditionally focused on print-based publications, TV and radio. But print media isn’t what it used to be and online media is rapidly overtaking traditional print publications and even TV. In 2016, the Independent was the first UK newspaper to abandon print and embrace a digital-only future. As this change occurs, we’re increasingly seeing online publications becoming more influential.
Instead of targeting just print publications, digital PR is an evolved form of PR that focuses on publishing articles on online publications, working with bloggers on product features and reviews, nurturing journalist contacts to secure features with online press, and using social media and other online platforms to gain exposure and build trust in a brand.
As part of traditional PR work, PRs would send out promotional, corporate-focused press releases that talked about the company itself — irrelevant of whether these were of interest to editors and journalists. This approach is out of date. Sending out generic press releases on corporate news is rarely able to gain businesses coverage in 2016 and most likely these will be deleted by busy journalists searching for exciting and fresh stories.
Digital PR is about creating a story that involves your brand, looking at how a brand can be relevant to an audience and getting real engagement from the content being produced. Don’t get us wrong — we’ve had our clients feature in the biggest print newspapers and even on national television. But we use the term digital PR to signal the fact that we’re prepared to go anywhere that your customers can be found (and these days, that’s most often online).
Your Digital PR Campaign
Whether you decide to invest in a digital PR company, a digital PR consultant or go it alone, starting a digital PR campaign is a vital step for any business that truly wants to dominate in it’s market. To get the best results for your digital PR campaign, it should be run alongside a SEO and a social media campaign.