Guest post by Cognism
You might have heard of digital PR.
But what is it? How does it differ from traditional PR? Is it related to content marketing?
Here’s our explainer 👇
What is digital PR?
Like conventional PR, digital PR refers to a set of strategies and techniques that grow awareness and improve your business’s reputation.
Unlike conventional PR, however, digital PR focuses on enhancing SEO performance, publishing reviews of your product/service and building relationships with online journalists.
In short, it incorporates aspects of content marketing, SEO and PR to build authority, trust and presence within the online realm.
Why is digital PR important for growing businesses?
Digital PR is important for growing businesses because the growth stage is when the company is most likely to be doing something exciting and newsworthy. Revenue and corporate valuation are rising; people want to know what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.
The growth stage is the best time for the company to assert itself as a credible voice with an exciting, interesting or novel perspective.
It’s also a prime opportunity for the company’s employees to position themselves as thought leaders. Perhaps you have a B2B marketing wizard or an innovative HR leader. They can leverage digital channels to share their experiences, strengthening the company’s trust and credibility.
Digital PR is an area where putting the work in early reaps benefits down the line.
What are the benefits of digital PR?
The benefits of digital PR are wide-ranging, with some being more tangible than others.
Easily measurable upsides include improved SEO performance, more social shares, increased traffic and better reviews of your company. A successful digital PR campaign delivers buzz-worthy content that other content sources link to, building your company’s SEO profile and lifting overall traffic to your website.
Managing reviews of your company on websites like G2, Glassdoor and Trustpilot also falls under the digital PR umbrella. A strong profile can have a material impact on your company’s results, so improved review scores are a major benefit of digital PR.
Other benefits are less measurable but no less important; in fact, the real benefits of digital PR can be harder to see. Digital PR will boost your brand’s reputation as well as your reputation as an employer.
In terms of employer brand, one of the lesser-talked-about aspects of success in digital PR is that your company will start to attract higher-quality candidates. These candidates will be switched on to industry news and recognise your company as a desirable place to work.
11 steps for starting digital PR at your company
1. Define your target audience
Who are you trying to reach with your digital PR efforts? Once you know your target audience, you can tailor your content and messaging accordingly.
Audience targeting in digital PR requires a different approach to content marketing. In content marketing, your audience will be mainly prospective customers.
In digital PR, your audience is more often going to be signal boosters. Journalists, B2B influencers and thought leaders fall under this category. If you’re trying to build a reputation, your audience might also consist of other professionals in your industry.
2. Create high-quality content
Your content should be informative, engaging, and well-written. It should also be relevant to your target audience.
There’s no avoiding it: content creation within digital PR is hard to get right. Creating something that will appeal to journalists and thought leaders is no mean feat! It has to be original, insightful and thought-provoking.
Here are some tips:
- Research a particular topic online; look out for the same sources being referenced over and over.
- Aim to produce a cornerstone source that other blogs reference and companies base decisions on.
- Consider partnering with a research company to see if they can produce some original research that you can turn into highly shareable and widely referenced content. A good statistic page will be referenced across the web for years, each time earning a backlink!
HubSpot is a great case study on creating highly referenced statistics. By doing so, they build excellent brand authority and trust. We recommend putting serious thought into what topics your company wants to be an authority on and then investing in research.
3. Promote your content on social media
Social media is a great way to get your content in front of a wider audience. Make sure you’re active on your target audience’s social media platforms.
There are many ways to approach social media from a digital PR perspective. In corporate contexts, it’s advisable to decide on a clear channel strategy and keep your social media posts highly focused.
For B2B companies, LinkedIn will almost always be the primary channel. LinkedIn is unique because its users are actively interested in growing their professional network and developing professionally.
Userbases of other social media, such as Twitter or Reddit, are often either uninterested or actively hostile to corporate presences. Huge companies often get fewer than 1,000 impressions per tweet, for example. That’s not to say these platforms have no value for companies but they require a different approach.
4. Pitch your stories to journalists
Journalists are always looking for good stories to write about. If you have a newsworthy story, pitch it to journalists in your industry.
One way of boosting your visibility to journalists is through platforms like HARO (Help A Reporter Out).
These platforms connect journalists and sources in a mutually beneficial way: journalists get a reliable opinion and the source gets a high-authority backlink. HARO is the best known and has the catchiest name, but investigate other options, such as Terkel, which has more of a UK focus.
You can also pitch to journalists, although the bar for catching their attention is high.
5. Attend industry events
Attending industry events is a great way to network with journalists and other influencers. It’s also a great way to learn about new trends in your industry.
Attending webinars and other online events can be a good way of forming relationships with other companies, professionals and journalists. Attendee lists are normally shared with attendees pre-event.
Also, if your staff build up enough of a reputation as thought leaders, they might be invited to speak at events. You might be surprised by how achievable this is from a standing start. Share your experiences working on something interesting every week on LinkedIn and a following is sure to develop.
Speaker spots at events, online or offline, can make a real difference to your company’s credibility and authority.
6. Get involved in online communities
Online communities are a great way to connect with potential customers and partners. They’re also a great way to build your brand and authority.
Companies can find getting involved in online communities productive from a PR standpoint.
Sometimes it can feel like only six websites exist on the whole internet, but dig deeper and you’ll find a community centred on your niche.
For instance, Medium has many communities of curious individuals who will read longer-form blogging. Or consider participating in portfolio-style websites like Dribbble, which allow designers to showcase their work.
Decide whether to approach these communities as a company or via staff profiles. It can take more work to build trust posting from a company account.
On the other hand, investing in your staff as thought leaders also carries risk: they could leave your company and take their following with them. It’s something to weigh up.
7. Use social media analytics to track your results
Social media analytics can help you track the effectiveness of your digital PR efforts. This information can help you make adjustments to your strategy as needed.
Whether rudimentary or sophisticated, most social media platforms will offer metrics that measure impact. Twitter and LinkedIn provide clear numbers on reach and engagement rates.
Here are three metrics to track:
- Impressions measure how many people your social media marketing is reaching.
- Clicks measure how many people are engaging.
- An engagement rate measures clicks vs impressions, giving you an overall score of your progress.
8. Be patient
Digital PR takes time! Don’t expect to see results overnight. Just keep creating great content and promoting it, and eventually you’ll start to see results.
Keep plugging away. Write those weekly posts. Create that content. Answer those journalist queries. Consistency will get results.
9. Hire a professional
If you don’t have the time or resources to do digital PR, consider hiring a professional. A good digital PR agency can help you create and execute a successful digital PR strategy.
It’s certainly possible for small teams to benefit from using digital PR techniques. But if you have the budget, a digital PR agency can do it for you. Find one that specialises in your particular needs, be it thought leadership, statistics, social media, brand awareness, or building relationships with journalists.
Digital PR pricing varies a lot from provider to provider. Clutch have prepared a handy PR pricing guide for those looking for ballpark estimates.
10. Measure your results
It’s essential to measure the results of your digital PR efforts. This will help you determine which strategies are working and which ones need adjustment.
You can measure success in digital PR in various ways. Benchmark your backlink profile, scores on review websites, social media reach, engagement and website traffic. Track performance against these benchmarks as your marketing campaign progresses.
11. Keep learning
The world of digital PR is constantly changing! You’ll need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.
Follow Cognism on LinkedIn for expert advice on digital PR, SEO, demand generation and sales.
Digital PR: the last word
Digital PR is a powerful tool to help growing businesses reach new customers, build brand awareness, and generate leads. By following the tips in this blog, you’ll create a successful digital PR strategy that will help your business grow.