A Guide to Digital PR (2024) & Why It Matters

As the saying goes, “All PR is good PR” But for a business, that’s not always the case. A solid reputation is key for any brand (big and small) to stand out. How? Digital PR.
A Guide to Digital PR
Managing Director Benjamin Paine at Digital Nomads HQ

Benjamin Paine

Managing Director at Digital Nomads HQ

So, What is Digital PR?

Now, more than ever, we seeing how important it is for businesses to maintain brand awareness and authority.

Not just with Google, but users too; the people who are actually finding value in the content you put out. Google is just what they use to find that content.

So, to answer your question – Digital PR is the strategy to get your business noticed online. It’s become a catch-all term that refers to using digital channels to reach a wider, but more targeted audience.

It is a form of earned media that gets existing, new and potential audiences talking about your brand, and saying great things.

Just like ours below 😉

Digital vs Traditional PR

Digital PR vs. Traditional PR: Looking At The Differences

Both digital and traditional PR have the goal of starting conversations about your brand and getting your messaging out there.

It’s how we build trust, authority and most importantly, loyalty. We want our audience to know who we are, like what we do and trust we are the best in the business.

But, the biggest difference between digital and traditional PR is how that message is conveyed.

Distribution Channels

Traditional PR refers to various “offline” channels to share news and information about your brand -From that billboard on your daily commute, to TV ads, radio snippets, flyers and even articles in your local paper.

Digital PR, on the other hand, uses online channels such as blogs, social media, guest posts, press releases and other digital platforms do to the same thing.

Digital vs Traditional PR Breakdown & Comparison Table

Communication

With a lot of traditional PR there is no guarantee that the audience will take any meaningful actions.

That’s why when we look at a lot of traditional marketing messaging, they are very direct and “salesy” – think of it as casting a wide net in the hopes of catching a few fish.

Digital PR, however, uses online content and messaging that can meet a very specific audience at every touch point.

This tends to lead to more quality leads as the messaging is tailored specifically for them. Who doesn’t love when a brand takes the time to get to know you?

Interaction

While Traditional PR is still a widely used marketing strategy, it’s reach is relatively limited and confined to a more passive audience.

Because of this, there is little to no engagement or feedback, making it a challenge to measure any sort of success.

With Digital PR, it is an instant connection. The moment you hit publish, it is visible to your audience (within your chosen platform’s algorithm, of course)

This allows for seamless communication and adaptability, so your brand can respond to market changes, and feedback, address concerns, and build stronger connections – all in real time.

These are even features that have been built into the apps many of us use every day. Both TikTok and Instagram give their users the ability to respond to feedback, both in the comments and as new videos and posts.

If Digital PR is About Building Authority, How Is It Different From Link-Building?

Great question! Here’s a quick breakdown:

Link building: This is a strategy used primarily for SEO that focuses on increasing the quantity and quality of inbound links to a webpage.

The main goal of link-building is to boost the authority and credibility of a website (statistically) to get better search rankings. It’s basically a vote of confidence from Google that you’re the real deal.

Digital PR: This is a more holistic approach to brand awareness and credibility.

Digital PR, when done right, can have a snowballing effect that can result in backlinks and external mentions on other websites, but it also involves gaining other online coverage, social media chatter, influencer mentions and more.

Ultimately, It combines a number of strategies to shift the perspective of your audience and encourage engagement.

The Benefits of Digital PR

Did you know that over 90% of marketers say that brand authenticity is a key factor in a branding process? That’s what digital PR is all about – ensuring your brand comes off as unique!

Improves SEO: The more you brand and content is published on high DR (reputable sites), the more credible you are. The result? An improvement in your visibility, making it easier for potential customers to find you.

Grows Website Traffic: With engaging content, strategic placements and more awareness, a well-executed digital PR campaign can drive quite a bit of quality traffic to your site, opening up new opportunities for conversion and engagement.

Builds Brand Awareness and Credibility: What better way to showcase your expertise than by sharing your knowledge and insights? This doesn’t just inform and educate your users but ultimately build lasting trust. Afterall, no one wants to support a business who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, right?

Generates Leads and Increases Sales: Ultimately, the objective of any marketing strategy is to maximise the bottom line. As more people discover and trust your brand through your PR efforts, the likelihood of sales and leads naturally increases.

Easy to Track and Monitor: Unlike broader traditional media, it is pretty easy to track successes in Digital PR. With an internet full of tools and resources like SEMRush, Ahrefs and even Google itself, it is now simple to see how well your campaign is performing and whether or not any adjustments need to be made.

Common Strategies We See In Digital PR

Blogs, Guest Posts & Other Content

Content is king. While this sounds cliché, it is said as often as it is for a reason!

High-quality, relatable and newsworthy content is the best way to get your brand noticed.

Writing articles for other (keyword: reputable!) websites can capture the attention of journalists and publications who want to feature you.

This not only showcases your expertise but also directs traffic back to your site through high-quality backlinks.

Events, Awards and Case Studies all make for great content that showcases your business, your difference and ultimately the value you provide.

Unlinked Online Mentions

As we’ve already mentioned above, backlink building is an essential strategy when building the credibility of your website, especially in the eyes of Google.

However, when building credibility in the eyes of your audience, unlinked mentions can be just as effective.

We’re constantly bombarded by ads and sponsored posts, so unlinked mentions from friends, family, influencers and other businesses is an “organic” way that essentially tell others that your brand is worth talking about.

And, it’s a cyclical process! The more you are mentioned, the more people will actively look for you and then go on to tell others about it.

Directories

Our users are always on the move. So, it’s no surprise that almost 50% of all Google searches are for local products and services.

Local directories and even a verified Google Business Profile listing ensure that your brand’s awareness is more relevant.

Meaning: The users who are in your area are more likely to convert because they are looking for what you are offering.

Being listed in online directories relevant to your industry can improve your local SEO by helping potential customers find you more easily. If your local business does not have a Google Business Profile, you are missing out!

Influencer Marketing

The meaning of celebrity status has changed quite a bit since the early 2000s. TikTok and Instagram have turned everyday people into influential figures with massive followings and significant marketing potential.

Users are more conscious of what they support and spend their money on, and take reviews and testimonials pretty seriously. About 50% of social media users rely on influencers when it comes to making recommendations.

For example, you are a boutique clothing store looking to promote your latest collection of sustainable clothing.

By partnering with a fashion influencer who shares the same values as you do, you get to showcase your pieces to their loyal followers who trust their recommendations.

This collaboration not only increases the visibility of your brand to an engaged audience, but also lends credibility and authenticity to your message, ultimately driving traffic and sales.

Crisis Management

No matter how hard you try, unexpected challenges tend pop up.

Digital PR is an unsung hero when your business, products or processes are brought into question.

It offers the ability to provide swift and effective responses, transparency, and a proactive approach to mitigate the impact and regain trust.

Looking To Create A Digital PR Strategy?

Like any marketing strategy, digital PR requires careful planning and research. We’ve outlined some key steps to take when starting out:

Set Clear Objectives

Before launching a digital PR campaign, ask yourself “What are the goals I want to achieve?”

  • Do you want to raise overall brand awareness?
  • Increase sales of a specific product or service?
  • Looking to boost traffic to your website?
  • Is your digital PR part of a wider strategy to support SEO or social media efforts

 

Objectives, KPIs and goals is the foundation of a successful campaign. You need to know what you are working towards so you can develop the steps needed to achieve these goals.

Pro Tip: Don’t rely on cookie cutter strategies. Your strategy should not only align with your business goals, but your identity too!

Understand & Define Your Target Audience

Knowing who you’re trying to reach is arguably the most important step – it’s no use creating a strategy that reaches customers who want apples, when you are trying sell bicycles!

Creating customer personas are a great way to understand your target audience on an almost personal level. It sounds a little stalker, but we promise it is a strategy that works!

It allows you to understand your target audience’s needs, interests, and online behaviours so that you can meet them at the right place at the right time.

Key information to include in your customer personas are:

  • Basic demographic information (age range, gender, location)
  • Possible competitors
  • Topics they may care about
  • Pain points that you can solve
  • Digital platforms they use
  • Devices they use most often
  • The language and tone they use or will respond to (conversational, professional, witty?)

 

This is a stripped-down list, but the more granular you get the more targeted you can make your campaigns. But keep in mind: relevance is key and getting too specific can limit your reach.

Do Competitor Research

If you’re not sure where to start, have a look at your competitors.

What is their mission statement? What tone of voice or visuals are they using? What are customers saying about them? What content do they offer? What links are they getting from external domains?

A competitor is a competitor, right?

Not really.

Not all competitors should be treated the same, and should be segmented on how they relate to your business.

  • Primary: These are direct competitors, who offer a similar product or service as you.
  • Secondary: These are similar companies who sell a version of your product or service to a different audience. Think luxury vs affordable.
  • Tertiary: These are somewhat related brands, but don’t directly compete with your brand.

 

This will give you an idea of what similar brands are doing, what they’re doing well and even where they are falling short.

Create, Curate & Cultivate Quality Content

As marketers, when we say “content creation” a lot of people automatically think of blogs or social media posts.

But,

in Digital PR, good content takes on a variety of styles. Podcasts, videos. Infographics and even image-based content should all be included in your campaign.

But what topic should you focus your content on?

This relies entirely on what you have to say and your ability to adapt it to the platform you want to publish it on.

Their motivation: Do they want to buy something or simply looking for more information

Pain Points: The problems they are looking to solve (whether they know it or not!)

Preferred Channels: How are they digesting your content? On your website as a long-form blog, TikTok as a video or Instagram as images and graphics?

Remember, your content needs to be well-researched well-presented and tailored to meet the needs of your audience.

The more they like what you have to say the more likely they are to engage in meaningful ways.

Repurposing Your Content

Content doesn’t always have to be different across different platforms. It only needs to be optimised for the target audience and platform.

For example, an informative blog post published on your website is a great starting point for an infographic or carousel as a social media post or a script for a short video, or can even be utilised in our backlink-building efforts as a guest blog or article.

This allows you to leverage on piece of content multiple ways that can be shared ways that can be shared efficiently across various channels, maximising its reach and impact.

Develop a Distribution Strategy

Having great content is only just the beginning, you now need to get it out there for users to see and interact with!

Think about what you have created, who you want to see it and where they are most likely to see it.

Owned: Content for your own channels (websites, blog, social media)

Earned: External sites, unlinked mentions, press releases and reviews

Paid: Ads (PPC) and influencer marketing

Building Relationships With Influencers And Journalists

Reaching out to relevant influencers, industry publications, and journalists who align with your brand’s values and audience is another key tactic in digital PR.

Remember: A lot of positive media coverage comes down to who you know and cultivating genuine connections can significantly amplify your brand’s reach and credibility.

But who are these connections? Influencers, creators, journalists and industry-relevant websites are just some of the names you need in your list.

Every media list (a collection of relevant people who could be interested in covering and writing about your business) should be created with credibility, overlap and authority in mind.

Top Tip: A good pitch gets to the point fast, without any fluff. It makes is clear why your story is newsworthy and why readers should care.

This means seeking out individuals and platforms that align with your brand’s values and have a strong reputation in your industry. Quality over quantity, always.

Monitor & Measure

Digital PR is an ongoing game that requires constant monitoring. Fortunately, it is easily measurable

Tools like Google Analytics and Google Alerts means you can see where your strategy is doing well, and where it is falling flat.

Clicks, social shares, external links and leads are all metrics you should be monitoring.

Plus, it allows you to leverage historical data to help identify trends, understand audience behaviour, and make informed decisions about your digital PR strategy in the future.

You’ve Got A Strategy, Now What?

Digital PR is a complex strategy. But, having the right digital PR tools can help streamline your efforts and maximise your results.

These tools (both paid and free) can help monitor PR campaigns, discover new opportunities, predict upcoming trends.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console: Offer insights into website traffic and performance, helping you gauge the impact of your efforts.

Majestic: Provides detailed analyses of backlinks and the credibility if external websites.

Content Creation: Canva and photoshop are some of the most popular tools used to create high-quality graphics and images.

Ahrefs and SEMRush: Offers a comprehensive look into the performance of your website. From keyword rankings to domain ratings.

Social Media: Platforms like LinkedIn can help facilitate networking and outreach.

Other Channels: External websites like Business Wire can help you publish and distribute press releases – just remember to keep the website relevant to your niche or industry.

Mentionlytics: This is an AI powered tool that monitors media coverage, reputation and negative feedback monitoring and can even discover potential influencers to partner with.

Digital PR Examples to Inspire

Looking for inspiration? Here are a few Digital PR tactics to think about when creating your own strategies.

Data-Driven Content

Leveraging Data is a great way to showcase your expertise – even better if it is your own!

A great example of newsworthy content is BeyondTrust’s Report on “Microsoft Security Vulnerabilities Decreased by 5% in 2023”

This is a yearly report that details data on Microsoft vulnerabilities and assesses how these vulnerabilities are being used in identity-based attacks.

This report was picked up on another reputable site, TechRepublic and has garnered over 15.6 million backlinks over 125 thousand referring domains. (according to Semrush’s Domain Overview tool)

This has solidified BeyondTrust’s position as a thought leader in cybersecurity, enhancing its credibility and authority within the industry.

News Jacking

News Jacking is when a brand uses current events and trending topics within their own marketing efforts to give everything from advice and insights to making satirical comments.

We’ve seen more and more businesses of all sizes leverage current events and trends in their marketing strategies.

Some of the most popular brands that you might have seen use this technique is Nando’s and their on-the-nose takes on the latest news, Google’s “Year In Search” and Uber’s “Thank You For Not Riding” during the Covid Pandemic.

When done right (and a lot can go wrong in News Jacking) News Jacking is an effective way to demonstrate that your brand is “with it”, and can even get your brand seen in topics everyone is already talking about.

This Nando’s Post is a great example of how to relate your brand to current events – in this case the Superbowl.

Expert Insights & Thought Leadership

You need to convince readers you are an expert in your industry.

By presenting real-world examples backed by solid data, you demonstrate your credibility and also provide valuable insights into how you can solve their problems.

This can be seen in our own case-studies, where we analyse and outline the successes we’ve achieved for our own clients, offering transparent evidence of our expertise and the tangible results we deliver.

Key Takeaways & The Future of Digital PR

With new platforms and technologies always emerging, there will always be a need for digital PR strategies.

Don’t believe us?

With a value of almost 100 billion USD, the global PR market is set to reach over 130 billion in the next 3-5 years!

When done right digital PR has the potential to revolutionise your business, expand your reach, build your brand’s reputation, and drive engagement like never before.

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