Digital PR can sometimes feel like a bit of a mystery, but it needn’t. It’s an effective and creative way to make you or your business stand out from the competition, so definitely one to solve. This mystery, however, can lead to some funny expectations, misconceptions and well, more mystery. So here it is – some of the benefits of digital PR and five reasons why this discipline of online marketing is worth your time.
Firstly, let’s make sure that you have a basic grasp of digital PR because you don’t know what you don’t know, after all.
What is digital PR?
Digital PR is a term used to describe public relations activity seeking specifically to earn relevant editorial links for company websites from publishers and media outlets. Digital PR, alongside high quality architectural and content-led activity, seeks to improve the SEO (search engine optimisation) or ‘search visibility’ of websites. Take a look at some examples of our work in digital PR to help get the idea.
Digital PR is one of the most important and easiest methods of owning your brand’s narrative. Much like traditional PR, It’s the art and science of helping a business, person or organisation to raise its profile – it all boils down to getting your name out there. The main difference – and it’s a big one! – is that it takes place online, much like a lot of things nowadays. Think websites, social media and email marketing. It’s all about using these things to raise awareness and drive interest in creative and compelling ways, and to grab the attention of a broader audience that just can’t be done with offline-only methods.
Got it? Good. So what are five things you must know about digital PR?
You probably already have all the tools to do it
Nah, for real. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you have a somewhat stable internet connection and a way to access the ol’ information superhighway.
Additionally, you might want a way to find some journalist contacts, a word processor, a way to make some nice, simple graphics and an email client.
With some good objectives, a defined target audience, a little bit of creativity, and a story to tell, you too could be speeding towards success (but if you need a little help, we’ve got you covered with our digital PR services)!
It is so much more than racing to the top of Google
My definition of digital PR was purposely simplified but I know the chances are that if you’ve clicked on this page, you might have a little interest in online marketing. If that is the case, you may have heard of a term called ‘link-building’.
Link-building is the process of getting other websites to (hyper)link directly to yours. It’s mostly used to help websites rank higher in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page, ‘at the top of Google’), meaning that stakeholders can find you and your site more easily.
Digital PR isn’t just about climbing Google or Bing. There is an element of that for sure, but it’s about building trust, love and authority for brands. It’s about raising brand awareness, improving brand credibility and both the quality and quantity of warm leads for your organisation by gaining like from trusted sources through creative and share-worthy campaigns – It’s far more than a race to the top of Google.
It’s not quite so formulaic
Remember when I mentioned the “art and science” of helping a thing raise its profile? Sometimes it’s more art and sometimes it’s more science. But one thing that you really should know about digital PR is that it cannot be 100% successful, 100% of the time.
Not everyone will like your campaign. Some journalists might be away on their holidays, or your idea might’ve been a little bit too niche – and that’s okay. It’s a learning curve and in the words of Michael Scott, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky”. Practice makes perfect, and refining your ideas and tactics to reach the right audience can help get your messaging out there.
That being said, sadly there are no guarantees in PR and it absolutely is not a sales channel. You can have the best campaign in the world, but if the product or service isn’t also top-notch then it’s not going to go far in terms of improving that bottom line.
(You can lead a horse to water and all that…)
It’s not just about schmoozing – but it helps
You don’t need to be an Eddy or Patsy to work in PR. It’s no longer about trying to dazzle and booze clients at big parties. But relationship and rapport building is a big deal and an absolute must. You’re far more likely to score results from people who know and trust you (or your PR team).
Go and find journalists where they hang out. Look up what they’re writing about, check them out on Twitter and get to know them a little better. If you find that you share an interest with them, maybe reply to a tweet and strike up a conversation – but be genuine, (no one wants fake niceties or client stories just shoe-horned in) stay in their good books and make yourself someone worth listening to.
Creativity is everywhere
A bright idea can get you far, but sometimes it can feel incredibly daunting to try and come up with one. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the details and feel stuck when you’re trying to get inspiration to strike.
Look around you. If it interests you, frustrates you, or makes you want to tag a friend on Facebook (anyone still use Facebook?) then it will make others do the same.
As long as your campaign idea is relatable, it will likely work. If you’re still stumped for ideas, why not try one of the following:
- Look for themes and trends – Check the news, Twitter, Reddit. Check anywhere that people are reacting to things to see if you can spot any recurring themes. Is there anything trending that your organisation or spokesperson can talk about or have a stance on? Is there anything bigger picture that you could link to your project?
- Get weird – If you’re a bit of an oddball like me, this is the best bit. Think of the wildest, most wacky thing that your client/organisation could talk about or do and work it backward. What would you/it do if money was no object? If you could solve a problem in the most ridiculous way, what would you do and can you turn itn into a campaign idea?
- Collaborate – Get as much diversity as you can in a room and bounce around some ideas. Be it different life experiences, ages, or hobbies and interests – however it is that you differ, get the team together and use it to your advantage. Groupthink is the thief of good ideas.
And there we have it, five things you should know about digital PR. If you think digital PR is something that might be beneficial for your organisation or want to know more about what we offer, why not get in touch with us.