Digital PR Strategies and Campaigns
Gone are the days when traditional PR sufficed to meet most businesses’ needs. In the internet age, when digital transformation continues to take hold, PR needs to become digital too. It must evolve past press releases and damage control and delve into proactive branding and online visibility. Under this umbrella definition, ignoring the sum of what makes digital PR tick can prove a costly digital marketing mistake. Perhaps most importantly, you’d be missing out on how digital PR can improve your brand presence, fosters trust, and even boosts sales.
What is Digital PR?
To elaborate on its benefits, let us start with a proper definition. As the name implies, the foundation of digital PR is traditional PR in digital form. How it differs from traditional PR is the much more extensive scope it can have, precisely because of its digital form.
To illustrate this, consider some examples of traditional PR gone digital:
- Online press releases, instead of press releases on traditional media channels
- Reviews and interviews similarly expanded to digital channels
- Sponsoring events and networking with professionals within the same niche, both in-person and digitally
In brief, PR focuses on an improved online presence because of the wealth of digital channels it can now occupy. That can now include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), networking for online press coverage, and more.
Acquiring Digital PR Through Common Digital Marketing Efforts
This kind of approach to PR may seem unconventional or extensive, but it is a perfect fit. A wealth of established marketing channels and practices lend themselves to PR benefits with virtually no additional effort.
For a very notable example of this, consider building citations to enhance authority. Citation building is an established practice at the heart of local SEO, as we’ve outlined before. By nature, digital PR-wise, it also:
- It perfectly lends itself to networking with one’s peers in the process
- Enhances search engine visibility by boosting Domain Authority (DA)
- Produces inbound traffic through effective backlinks
It is this kind of overlap that digital PR presents, opening up immense opportunities within established marketing practices.
How Digital PR Can Improve Your Brand Presence.
In this article’s context, however, outlining digital PR’s benefits to brand presence may be more helpful. That’s because PR statistics paint a rather odd picture; the PR industry does grow, but PR remains one of the most stressful jobs and is still isolated from most marketing teams. This state of affairs does leave ample room for untapped potential. Businesses may unearth immense growth opportunities if PR professionals become more integrated into content and marketing plans. Digital marketing trends do point in the direction of omnichannel marketing, which perfectly aligns with digital PR.
#1 More Brand Awareness
First and foremost, digital PR explicitly seeks to generate brand awareness. Whether it’s through SEO-generated traffic or wide online coverage, its philosophy is one of expanding businesses’ online presence. Notable examples of this include:
- Inbound marketing, from SEO to backlinks and citations
- Influencer marketing and broader social media marketing
- Video marketing, including a video that humanizes brands
As marketing trends show, no such channels or practices show any signs of slowing down. Therefore, chances are increasingly more businesses will embrace them to generate brand awareness. A PR mindset, with a keen eye on branding and brand humanization, can serve as an excellent booster to them.
#2 Better Search Engine Visibility
On brand awareness, the most direct way digital PR can improve your brand presence is through enhanced search engine visibility. If this seems unclear at a glance, consider such examples as the above:
- Valuable backlinks from high-DA websites boost your DA and your search engine rankings, in turn
- Citations directly enhance local SEO and help your Google Business Profile reach local audiences
- Incoming traffic, whether from referral traffic or due to online coverage, produces engagement signals which also benefit SEO.
Better yet, none of these are new or risky practices. SEOs the world over will attest to their effectiveness – digital PR embraces SEO more than most.
#3 Increased social media engagement
As a direct byproduct of a more significant online presence, digital PR can also significantly enhance your social media marketing efforts. You need social media in the digital age, and the two align perfectly.
For some basic examples, consider the following:
- Social media content, which boosts brand awareness and generates website traffic
- Influencer marketing, which incites engagement with audiences invested in your niche
- Online coverage, which can drive awareness to your social media activities – and your website, in turn
For a more specific example of the latter, once you’ve established expertise within your niche, you may consider contributing to Help A Reporter Out (HARO). This platform sees use by both digital and established traditional media and is among the best ways to garner PR.
#4 More User-Generated Content (UGC)
Once you begin reaping the benefits of your efforts, UGC will present a curious case. It’s a testament to how digital PR can improve your brand presence effectively, and a perpetual asset toward generating more.
In brief, an expanded brand presence and meaningful engagement will soon inspire users to offer their content to you. That may include such content as:
- Infographics and guestographics, which can enrich your existing pages
- Social media content, which drives more engagement
- Video testimonials, which incite further trust with audiences
Where online reviews, another product of effective digital PR, can start your branding consolidation, UGC can cement your brand.
#5 More Brand Trust
On the subject of brand trust, this benefit cannot be overstressed. The Edelman Trust Barometer has identified a steep decline in brand-consumer trust for years. In addition, it rightly identifies diminishing conversions. In turn, consumers value ethical drivers and prefer approachable brands which deserve their loyalty.
That is digital PR’s final, definitional benefit. As a culmination of the above, digital PR can strengthen your brand presence by inciting trust. That may be achieved through such means as:
- Brand humanization through interviews, staff and workplace showcases, and influencer brand ambassadors
- Evident customer satisfaction through reviews, testimonials, and comments
- A stellar online and offline reputation in your field through event sponsorships, clear mission statements, cause marketing, and more.
After all, digital PR does not exclusively delve into brand awareness and online visibility. It also focuses on positive brand perceptions and fostering trust, as traditional PR has always mandated.
To summarize, there are ample ways digital PR can improve your brand presence. Worlds apart from traditional PR but still faithful to its key concepts, digital PR offers unparalleled opportunities for digital growth. From expanding online visibility to driving engagement and fostering trust, it’s an invaluable asset in an increasingly competitive digital age.
It can feel daunting, however, given its scope and applications. As such, hiring a digital marketing agency may be a route to consider. As powerful a tool as it is, it does need a strategic approach to best pay off.
About the Contributing Author
James McMahon is a freelance copywriter and licensed psychologist who frequently contributes to Archstone Behavioral Health. He writes on all matters of SEO and PPC but also maintains a keen professional interest in mental health and healthcare marketing.
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