Traditional public relations (PR) methods have changed. People rely less on tangible, print-based media, and instead favour more diverse multimedia formats. While many traditional PR institutions have adopted some digital PR techniques, it may be worth your while to secure the work of a dedicated digital marketing agency to benefit your business most effectively.
If we’re talking about strict definitions here, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations defines PR as:
‘The discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics’
Hence digital PR is all of the above but translated onto digital platforms and following digital rules.
However, this is all a bit wordy, so instead let’s stick with our shorthand definition:
Digital PR is an online marketing tool used within your marketing strategy that makes up part of your brand’s identity.
What a great digital PR strategy requires is the identification and management of opportunities whenever they arise.
Whereas with traditional PR you may be hired to represent your brand and speak at a conference in front of tens or perhaps hundreds of people, with digital PR you speak to potentially millions of people every time you post on social media!
It’s here, online, where your businesses reputation among your network will live or die. Therefore, everything you do should have a focus on cultivating the right following and maintaining brand awareness.
You should have a consistent flow of positive and persuasive on-brand messages distributed through the most effective channels for your business.
And if these foundations of digital PR are met, then your business will be sure to reap the rewards.
One foundation of digital PR that should always be at the forefront of your mind is backlinks.
Backlinks were an OG component in Google’s initial algorithm and to this day retain an important place in search engine technology. They decide where your webpage ranks on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) by how many inbound links to your page there are from other websites of quality.
The quality is crucial as not all websites are created equal. A single link from a trusted source like a newspaper or scientific journal trumps plenty of links from hundreds of spam-filled websites.
After you’ve created a killer piece of content and started to gain some inbound links, you can use a variety of tools to review your backlinks and discover information about their sources.
Ahrefs and Moz are two of these tools that also come with their own rating systems: Domain Rating/Domain Authority score.
Both out of 100, with higher being better, you can use the score check the authority of a domain linking to your website and remove them if they’re too low.
Regularly keeping on top of this will benefit your website and develop your authoritative presence online.
The most straightforward way an authoritative online presence will benefit your business will be through a multi-stage chain of effects leading to an increase in profit.
By investing in your digital public relations strategy, you will increase your SERP score, which will in turn boost the traffic to your website and statistically lead to an increase in sales.
Along with the surge in traffic, gaining leads from trusted online sources and winning those customers over with excellent content on your own site develops a trust between your business and prospective customers.
It shows that you are a respected platform among your network and therefore a trustworthy site to act as a safe space in your industry.
As mentioned above, with an increase in the number of backlinks (especially those from trusted sources), your own Domain Rating/Domain Authority score will increase.
This will make your website a bigger player in your industry and that can only be a good thing, right!?
First things first, you should identify your goals and made any campaign decisions from there. This is because some tools are better suited for specific targets than others are.
For example, if you want to boost your followers on a specific social platform, then it can be worth going through the influencer marketing route with a successful influencer that matches your brand’s tone.
Or, if you want to put a spotlight on any amazing new products or services that your business has to offer, then one of the best ways to do this would be through a well written press release or pitch which will bring attention to your brand through a host of authoritative sources.
What this means is that there is no one size fits all approach to digital PR. Your specific goals should dictate how you go about meeting them.
However, there are a few things to remember that will always come in handy!
One, always incorporate SEO into your digital PR campaigns. As they both focus on improving organic search ratings and driving clicks to your website, you’ll find that these two areas can go hand in hand and perform much more effectively than using either one alone.
And two, we advise you keep track of your performance after making any digital PR changes through tools such as Google Analytics, SEMrush, and Buzzsumo.
Each of these tools allow you to monitor aspects of your digital PR statistics through links, keywords, and shares.
By creating targets for where you want to be and comparing your progress with where you started you can measure your success and change your approach as you go if needed.
Now that you know the importance of having a quality digital PR strategy, it’s time to decide how you want your digital PR services managed.
A digital communications agency or digital marketing team can advise you on how best to run your digital PR moving forward. Usually this will come in one of two formats: retainer or project.
Hiring a digital agency to work on your digital PR through a retainer agreement means that they will be there to help you over a longer stretch of time. Often there will be individuals integrated into your team who you can develop long term relationships with and together you can develop an understanding of the best way for your business to succeed.
A project agreement on the other hand will require an in-depth look at a snapshot of your business, highlighting how to improve your digital PR right here and now. This can be a good choice if you want to manage some of the responsibility yourself and just need a head start to get you moving.
Of course, both of these methods have their pros and cons, and it’s up to you to decide which is right for you and your business.
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