In the realm of marketing, businesses large
and small need some strategy in place to ensure they remain visible to
potential customers and clients. Millions of companies operate online, and the
vast reach of the web generates both opportunities and challenges in marketing
a business successfully. Enter digital PR – the new wave of public relations
that is focused solely on brand-building and visibility through online avenues.
According to a leading digital PR agency,
shifting efforts to encompass the breadth of online marketing is necessary for
nearly all businesses in today’s highly digitised environment. However,
creating a valuable digital PR strategy is not always an easy task,
particularly for companies that do not have the connections or relationships
with influencers in the space. Building a sound digital PR campaign requires
understanding the differences between traditional and digital PR, what tactics
are used most effectively in the space, and where to get started as a business.
Breaking Down Digital vs Traditional PR
The concept of digital PR is relatively
simple on the surface. Instead of using channels pertinent to traditional
public relations, such as print newspapers and magazines or television and
radio media, digital PR focuses its attention on online mediums. The intent of
digital PR is the same as traditional – to improve brand visibility and reach
through multiple avenues. However, a digital approach does so with publications
found online that may have a far greater reach than traditional paths.
With the right digital PR strategy,
businesses can move the needle on several marketing
factors. First, digital PR can increase brand awareness across all relevant
audiences, as well as help create and nurture relationships with target
audiences. A digital PR strategy, either as a stand-alone campaign or
intertwined with a traditional plan, can ultimately bring in more customers.
Digital PR also helps in improving search engine optimisation when a focus is
placed on being a thought leader or authority on a certain topic.
Strategies Used in Digital PR
In addition to being an online strategy,
digital PR differs from traditional public relations by using different avenues
to build brand awareness or create buzz around a business or topic. For
instance, digital PR specialists or agencies may focus efforts on building
relationships with highly influential online personalities or bloggers, as well
as journalists in the field. Digital PR also involves creating and pushing out
online press releases, as well as including links back to a business site
within each press release. In many digital PR strategies, a combination of
traditional PR tactics and search engine optimisation is used to ensure the
maximum reach of a target audience.
An often-overlooked advantage of digital PR
over traditional strategies in public relations is the ability to track
progress over time. Businesses in any industry, or of any size, can utilise a
digital PR strategy more effectively than traditional mediums like print and
television to determine what messages work best with the desired audience.
Although digital PR takes time to produce a return
on investment, the ability to reach exponentially more people through
digital channels, and with less time, is turning digital PR into a priority for
many businesses with an online presence.
Where to Start
Before diving into digital PR as a viable
strategy for a business, it is necessary to understand if an online public
relations campaign is the best fit. If you are looking for a viable way to increase
brand awareness, promote the visibility of a brand, or improve the reputation
of a brand, digital PR is likely a sound choice. These goals differ from a
traditional marketing campaign in that the focus is not necessarily sales, but
instead, boosting the impression a brand presents to the world.
Once digital PR has been determined to be a
good fit, working with a professional digital PR agency is often a smart
choice. Digital PR agencies typically have solid relationships with
influencers, online publications, and individual journalists that can help take
a brand from barely known to well-known with a strategic PR plan in place.
However, businesses on a budget can tackle the initial
steps of building out a digital PR campaign on their own if they have the
time and know-how.
Typically, this starts with researching
recent news relevant to the brand, and then coming up with a topic that relates
to that news for which an article or other content can be developed. Once the
content is created, reaching out to influential bloggers, journalists, or other
online personalities is the next significant step. This is where most
businesses turn to digital PR agencies for help, since many of these contacts
receive multiple requests for support with PR on any given day.
Although the steps of digital PR may seem
overwhelming, they can be hugely beneficial for businesses willing to put in
the work. Overall, digital PR is a necessary strategy for those who want to
build their brand more than standard SEO or organic growth can provide.