Most people know PR stands for public relations—the act of deliberately pushing out information about your business or organization to the public.
Digital PR falls into that same practice but instead of traditional methods of sharing your information, digital PR focuses on your digital marketing strategies.
In a nutshell, digital PR helps you reach your target audience across several different platforms and build relationships with people and companies in your industry.
It can mean featuring your business on popular websites, podcasts and social media accounts with which these people and companies regularly interact.
For example, in 2019, Tim Soulo, Chief Marketing Officer at Ahrefs, did 20+ podcast interviews in less than four months.
Of course, not all emails went well for Tim, since some of the responses he got weren’t as positive as he might have expected.
However, the fact that Tim reached out to those people 1-to-1 with an interesting pitch shows us two things:
Connecting with influential people in your industry matters.
Digital PR is hard and takes time, even if you’re experienced in this field.
Simply put, forming relationships with other people isn’t easy.
Moreover, the fact that we’re oversaturated with messages and pitches of all kinds nowadays makes it even harder.
So, if Tim, a CMO of a million dollar company (Ahrefs) got some resistance in his digital PR campaign—that had as a goal to get him as a guest on as many podcasts as possible—then you can imagine just how difficult it must be for you and me to do the same thing.
However, there are many people who really nail it when it comes to digital PR and forming relationships with other (usually influential) people online.
Just a few weeks ago, we had one of Respona’s users get a mention and link from TechCrunch.
As you can imagine, getting a brand mention on a website with 9.3M organic visitors on a monthly basis—according to Ahrefs—isn’t something that comes easy.
This means that digital PR works, but only if you do it right.
So, we could say that digital PR is a way to…
Raise awareness for your business,
Build relationships with thought experts and influencers,
Get brand mentions and links from high-authority websites,
Through these historic campaigns, Bernays was able to influence millions of people across several different countries and establish the foundation of public relations.
Traditional PR revolves around the relationships between publicists and journalists.
When traditional PR strategies first came around, publicists would have to put in a lot of work to network with journalists over the phone or through business dinners.
They put forth this effort in the hopes of getting their clients featured in newspapers or print publications.
As the readership of traditional print products like newspapers declined and became less impactful, this increased the influence that online publications had.
With the rise of the internet, Bernay’s work and legacy moved from traditional PR roles into the digital era, and his mark on PR has been solidified by the generations of public relations practitioners that came after him.
This is why, according to Google Trends, the interest for digital PR has been growing steadily since 2004.
With this digital transformation, digital PR now focuses on online publications and improving your brand’s awareness within digital content rather than print products.
While traditional PR focuses on things like getting a person/product featured on a TV show for a few seconds or even minutes, digital PR focuses on getting a person or company featured in an article, podcast, digital summit or similar.
Thus, as you can see, the medium has changed but the purpose behind those actions remain the same.
It can be highly beneficial to get featured in a major publications like TechCrunch, as we mentioned earlier.
Some of the benefits of large publication media coverage are:
Brand visibility and reputation
Facilitate user acquisition
Gain investor or partner interest
Attract more talent
Of course, nowadays, there are digital PR agencies that can help you with all these things.
However, in most cases, digital PR agencies charge a lot of money, which means you should be learning how to build those relationships and get more exposure for your business by yourself.
Now that you know the difference between digital and traditional PR, let’s examine even more benefits that come from digital public relations.
What are the Benefits of Digital PR?
There are many ways digital PR can benefit your business.
One of the most important things to do is set goals for your digital PR campaign so you can analyze its metrics later on. By tracking your own KPIs, you have the ability to determine what channels or types of content make the most impact.
These KPIs could be a number of things like social shares, organic traffic, media mentions, or anything else that indicates improved visibility.
Let’s break down some of the main benefits of digital PR for your business:
1) Improve your SEO
Search engines like Google place importance on several different areas of your website.
According to this survey by Sparktoro, 1,584 SEO professionals believe these are some of the most heavily-weighted ranking factors in Google’s organic search engine:
Relevancy of the overall page content
Use of relevant search keywords
So, it is evident that most SEO professionals believe that backlinks matter when it comes to rankings.
One of the most obvious benefits of digital PR is link acquisition.
Think about it:
When you partner up with popular websites or individuals, they will most likely link back to your site.
This will help you boost your Domain Authority (or Domain Ranking, according to Ahrefs) and get higher rankings.
Of course, there are many other factors involved—such as having high-quality content on your website—but that applies to almost all cases.
Building links for your website—as a by-product of building relationships online—will help you improve your search visibility and grow your organic traffic.
Using a tool like Respona, you can find and connect with popular bloggers and influencers.
This way, you can get in front of new audiences and raise awareness for your business.
Let’s move on to the next benefit of digital PR for your business.
3) Improve your backlink profile
This is not as simple as just asking a company to include your link on a client’s website.
You have to be able to pitch the value that their audience will gain by incorporating you into their brand.
This is one of the most common misconceptions when it comes to content marketing—that most content pieces pitched have no value whatsoever.
Let’s take Visme—a free infographic software and presentation maker—as an example.
Visme is a website that gets more than 1.1M organic visits per month according to Ahrefs.
If you check the “Best by links” report on Ahrefs, you’ll notice that some of Visme’s top pages have hundreds of links pointing back to them.
One of those pages, “infographic templates”, has links from 39 different domains.
Visit, and you’ll see that this is a well-designed page that has actual value for the visitor.
So, if hypothetically you were to promote this page, your job would be quite easy because this is a resource that is actually worth linking back to.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you can’t expect link building to work if you don’t have high-quality content to back it up.
You have to provide valuable resources and a creative or informative piece of content that provides a legitimate reason for the journalist to link back to it.
Take into consideration the following when trying to improve your backlink profile:
Which page the link goes to on your site. (Ideal places are either landing pages or products/service pages.)
How far down the text your link is mentioned. (How deep in the page.)
The text that’s attributed before or after your link. (The anchor text that’s used.)
The Domain Authority (DA) of the website that’s linking back to you.
You can use tools like Ahref’s site explorer to make sure you’re reaching out to valuable sites that will build a quality backlink profile.
Simply enter the domain of the site you are interested in and you can instantly see Ahref’s rank, the number of backlinks and referring domains, total number of organic keywords, monthly search traffic and the value of that traffic.
Tip: Try to avoid using solely branded anchor texts, as that may raise a red flag in the eyes of Google.
Of course, the way you’re going to evaluate those opportunities varies based on your goals.
If, for example, you’re interested solely in increasing your domain authority, then you should go for as many links with high authority as you can.
On the other hand, if you’re also interested in acquiring traffic from those links, then the traffic that the websites/pages you’re interested in getting a link from will also affect your decision.
In any case, be very specific as to what you want to achieve, since link building is a benefit with many sub-benefits of its own.
Let’s continue exploring the benefits of digital PR and see how it can help you improve brand identity campaigns for your business.
4) Raise brand awareness for your product/service
Raising brand awareness for your business is not something that will happen overnight.
Most podcasts accept sponsors to advertise to their audience, for a price of course.
They can give you a backlink, pre-roll or post-roll spot around their regular scheduled programs, and that single link from a podcast episode can drive traffic back to your website.
Author’s Tip: If you’re a guest on a podcast, make sure to create a dedicated landing page for the podcast’s listeners. For example, if I was a guest on Entrepreneurs on Fire, I’d create a landing page respona.com/fire with a special offer for the people who listen to the episode.
All these relationships are built—in most cases—through digital PR.
So, you have every reason to start using it for your own business.
7) Grow your online presence
This might be an obvious one, but one of the most beneficial things that can happen as a result of a successful digital PR campaign is seeing your online presence grow as you reach new audiences.
Even if people don’t use your service or product right away, it’s great to maintain your familiarity as a brand and establish trust so that they can consider you in the future.
Just think about it.
Someone is reading an article on a popular publication and they see your brand name, just like Respona’s mention on OpenView blog:
Over time, when readers of that blog post need a pr outreach tool for their business, they will remember our tool and be more comfortable because there’s already some familiarity there.
Once you can get customers to associate you as a brand that informs, educates and adds value, you can start building the relationship by engaging your audience.
After you’ve engaged with them, reinforce the sense of a one-on-one relationship that gives your organization a human touch to which consumers respond positively.
So, you now know what digital PR is and what main benefits it can have for your business.
Let’s close this article with some final thoughts.
Digital PR can help your business grow.
As you can see, there are many direct and indirect effects when it comes to digital PR.
It can help you…
Increase your website traffic
Reach your target customers
Earn credibility in your niche
Increase your search engine visibility
Improve your brand equity
Get more leads to your door
However, before you start working on a digital PR campaign, it’s important that you clearly define your marketing objectives and set clear goals.
As mentioned previously, even though there are many trustworthy PR services, most of them cost a lot of money.
This is why it’s always better to learn how to do it yourself.
Now I’d like to hear from you:
Have you ever run a digital PR campaign for your business? If so, what were the results? If not, what’s keeping you from doing it?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Farzad Rashidi is the co-founder of Respona, the all-in-one digital PR and link-building software that combines personalization with productivity. He also runs the marketing efforts at Visme, where he helped the company gain over 8 million users and pass 2M monthly organic traffic. Since then, he’s been helping other companies achieve the same success via Respona.
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