Digital PR is a strategy under digital marketing to enhance a brand’s website and digital footprint. Digital PR is yet to be given a textbook definition but is characterised as ePR, SEO PR, and link building. It forms part of a larger SEO strategy to help improve the website’s organic traffic, site rank, and backlink profile.
An online PR strategy is imperative to any digital marketing strategy to uplift a website to achieve its goals organically. (Suggested Read: How to develop a marketing strategy). The concept of digital PR is similar to traditional PR as the goal truly is to get maximum media coverage in credible publications, the difference is obvious: Impact and measurement.
Right, let’s start with the basics.
Why do you need a digital PR strategy anyway?
Every business with a website should invest in a digital PR strategy. Especially if:
- The business is new and has a new website
- An established business is looking for an increased digital presence
- The website is getting refurbished
- The optimised content strategy is not performing
- The business has an established website but requires quality backlinks.
Why does your brand need a digital PR strategy?
When the digital PR strategy starts working, it helps to increase:
- The website rank, domain rating(DR)/domain authority (DA)
- Digital visibility of the website
- Brand awareness
- Organic traffic to the website
- The website’s backlink profile
- Credibility, by establishing the business as a thought leader.
Let’s consider an example:
In scenario 1, if a user searches for your brand on a search engine, the likelihood of your website showing up is high, given a unique business name. But if your business is new and is taking its first few steps, there may not be enough mention of your brand or the website online.
In scenario 2, if the user is looking for a category of your product or service, the competition can make it hard to rank well. With the help of SEO, the right content finds its place on the website, but with all the data around the internet, it may take up to 3 months for google to recognise the changes and the results of the optimised content to show.
At this point, a digital PR campaign would support placing the brand on (media) websites with high organic traffic, credibility as well as good domain authority. These brand mentions when linked to your website directly contribute to all of the above. The search engines begin recognising your website as a credible source being linked to a highly credible website, enhancing the website rating, traffic, and links.
How to create a Digital PR strategy:
Step 1 – Establish resources
Digital PR can be a cumbersome process if resources are not identified whilst planning the strategy. The following strategic aspects need to be considered:
- Size of the online PR campaign based on your goals;
- Type of campaign content: business focussed (B2B) or a consumer angled campaign (B2C);
- Access to media lists or journalist relationships, especially in the industry the digital PR campaign would cater to;
- Time: how much time can you spend on the project and;
- Budgets – Digital PR budgets usually sit under digital marketing. However, it is important to assign a budget, specific to digital PR if the project needs to be outsourced.
Step 2 – Ideation
It all begins with an idea. As stated, the campaign could be B2B or B2C but most importantly, it has to be relevant to your brand. The best shot is to be a part of the conversations and trends. Put yourself in the user’s shoes, and think; what kind of a content piece would you like to read more about? If that seems difficult to tackle, begin with awareness days (eg: earth day), seasons and recurring festivals and events.
Step 3 – Avoid duplicate content
Snoop around the web to check if the idea you’ve finalised is already been covered. Sometimes if the content is covered but is outdated, you may provide current data analysis as a digital PR campaign. If it did well once, it will definitely hit the mark again.
Step 4 – Search keyword volumes
There are well-known marketing tools (paid) to check keyword volumes. If you are looking for the best unpaid analytical tool, Google trends is your best mate.
Gather an insight into what terms are relative to your own keywords. If these search terms show good search volumes, that is a possible introduction to your topic that can seal your digital PR campaign idea and contribute to SEO.
If working with approvals, this is a good time to get them as the idea is all set and you have identified gathering data for the digital PR campaign!
Step 5 – Gather data
Data for a digital PR campaign can be compiled in various ways. Some of them are:
- Search volume data
- Consumer surveys
- Desktop research
- Internal data
- Google trends
- Intent mining through tools like wordnet, schema, etc.
Step 6 – Write content
The content for a digital PR campaign includes primarily two write-ups. One that will be used as a landing page on your website (usually placed in the website blog or the news section) and the press release that will be outreached to media professionals.
Use the data and compile it to draw interesting or outstanding results. Based on the results, draft the landing page and press release copy. The landing page’s key component is to give maximum detail regarding the research, to become an asset. The press release should focus on sharing maximum information in the briefest way and include links to the research on the landing page. Brevity is the key here!
Step 7 – Outreach to relevant media
An outreach list needs to be collated with relevant and credible information-sharing websites like news publications, blogs, and businesses. (Ensure compliance of EU’s data protection guidelines).
Include a kind email with information about your content piece. A striking subject line makes a world of difference. Once all the information is sent out, conduct a search of your headline or keywords.
The wait for coverage can be a bit at times. If required, kindly follow up after 3 days.
Step 8 – Compile and measure
When the content gets covered by publications, compile the coverage links in a document and check for any follow links and no-follow links. You can also set up google alerts to track brand keywords to make sure nofollow brands are not missed. Even a brand mention on a well-established publication is an impactful source of brand awareness and creating impressions. It is a win-win.
Now to measure the campaign, it is important to rank websites as per their DR and organic readership. We at Digital Uncut use a scoring system to bifurcate and score the following attributes of the website where content is published:
- Its domain rating (DR) or domain authority (DA)
- Its organic traffic
- Its link type – follow or no follow
- Its audience relevance
For one of our clients, we were specifically delivering SEO on the vanity site, which was launched at the beginning of the year.
As a brand new site, it had no backlink profile or search visibility. Our goal was to build a backlink profile by gaining high quality links through digital PR campaigns, aiming for regional publication links.
Our first campaign launched in the first quarter around ‘Which city in the UK is best for a summer break’ (B2C). We gathered the data through desktop research taking into account a variety of summer amenities including rooftop bars, green spaces, swimming areas, and waterside activities. We gave each city a score out of 10, allowing us to rank 15 cities. Manchester came out on top followed by Newcastle, Bristol, and Liverpool.
The campaign received follow links from highly authoritative national and local UK websites including the Sun, the Scottish Sun, The Manc, Manchester’s Finest, Bristol Live, and Chronicle Live.
As a result,
- the website DR went from 0 to 1.5
- the backlink profile included credible links
- there were increased organic sessions to the website
- the website began ranking for people searching for UK holiday ideas
This article should give anyone new to digital marketing insights into the importance of digital or online PR.
This function has proven to be one of SEO’s most successful tools, following optimised content. Every brand must include digital PR in its SEO strategy.
Reach out to experts of digital PR should you wish to fast-forward your results with a digital PR strategy!