Hot off the press, Digital PR is a strategic way to build your online presence and establish credibility in your industry and one of the newest buzzes in link building and SEO.
Like traditional PR, it can help you influence how potential customers perceive your brand.
And because it takes place on digital channels, it’s one of the best methods for acquiring high-quality backlinks. The type of backlinks that make Google take notice and show your website some extra love in search results.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What digital PR is and what it involves
- How it compares to traditional PR and marketing
- How it benefits agencies and clients
- How it impacts SEO
- The benefits of outsourcing digital PR
What Is Digital PR?
Digital public relations (PR) is a set of marketing tactics used to increase brand awareness and enhance online reputation.
The goal of a digital PR campaign could be to establish credibility, generate positive coverage, or drive website traffic. It’s about telling the world who you are and what you do.
While it shares similar objectives to traditional public relations, digital PR focuses on online media.
What Does Digital PR Involve?
From online press releases to sponsored Instagram posts, there are many digital PR activities you can use to promote your brand.
Most digital PR strategies can be categorized into three main categories:
Content Creation (Creative PR)
Creating compelling content is an important aspect of Digital PR strategy.
The goal is to provide valuable information that captures the attention of the media and your target audience.
This content could be a blog post, sponsored article, research paper, or infographic.
Many companies conduct industry research to create unique content that catches the eye of media publications.
Using internal data for digital PR campaigns is by far one of my favourite ways to create a story.
🧲 No one else can get the data
🧲 You can tell on-brand stories
🧲 The data will constantly be updated
Here's some of my favourite from the past year 👇
— iona 🦎 (@IonaJTownsley) January 11, 2023
Uber’s Lost and Found Index is an excellent example of how to use industry research for digital PR.
The report includes interesting statistics and trends related to items people have lost in Uber vehicles.
Uber distributed a press release through its newsroom to promote the research and get the attention of journalists.
It resulted in brand coverage from some of the most well-known news organizations around the globe:
The Lost and Found Index significantly boosted brand exposure. It also attracted high authority backlinks and positive media mentions.
Newsjacking (Reactive PR)
In many ways, this is the opposite of the Uber example above. In that example, Uber used their content to create the news.
With newsjacking, you instead chase current news trends, creating content to piggyback on viral news trends or, increasingly, memes.
Traditional newsjacking involves monitoring current news trends, especially ones that can relate to your industry, and publishing new content to coincide with newsworthy events that are industry-related.
It can vary in scale from simply publishing a new blog post hoping to hit for related terms, all the way to launching a full campaign based on recent news updates.
Increasingly brands might also try a form of newsjacking where they join in on memes, often putting their own brand’s spin on the meme.
Barbie budget vs Oppenheimer budget pic.twitter.com/iZeExBWXiL
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) July 3, 2023
Brands like RyanAir have developed a reputation for their meme-y Twitter admins and often get much much more organic engagement than a brand profile might otherwise get.
The key is to tie the memes into your brand’s actual offering! Sadly, there’s no point in making a banger of a Tweet if it doesn’t relate to your business in any way.
There are three types of people that you want to reach with a digital PR strategy:
These people have the power to amplify your brand message and help you reach a wider audience.
For example, a fitness brand launching a new line of athletic wear could collaborate with influencers to expand its reach on social media.
The influencers could showcase the brand’s products in their workout routines.
This collaboration introduces the brand to a larger audience and builds credibility through endorsement.
You can use digital PR tools like Inzpire to get an estimate of the costs involved in partnering with relevant influencers.
Unlike an advert, the product is promoted by someone the audience trusts. The influencer has already established credibility with their followers.
This can translate into increased engagement and greater impact.
HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out. Journalists will send requests for sources on their stories and by responding with a quote from a valid source you can be credited with a backlink.
With the potential to obtain linked brand mentions from relevant articles in high authority publications, HARO link building is a cornerstone of digital PR, especially for SEO.
While it’s typically an outreach-based that can result in links it can also be a productized service (like the one we offer) where we guarantee it will secure links.
If you’re not sure where to start with HARO, check out our helpful guide to using HARO for link building and digital PR.
Online Reputation Management
Digital PR is also about shaping audience perceptions and maintaining a positive brand image.
That can involve participating in social media conversations and building relationships with followers. It can also involve campaigns with specific objectives.
For example, the pet food brand Chewy launched a digital PR campaign to boost customer retention and increase brand awareness.
Chewy surprised selected customers with hand-painted pet portraits.
The customers were chosen because they had shared pictures of their pets using the branded hashtag #PetsBringUsTogether.
The campaign generated buzz on social media and in online communities. It fostered a positive brand image while also generating significant media coverage.
Chewy earned organic coverage and backlinks from AP and other media organizations. This is something no paid advertising campaign can achieve.
How Does Digital PR Differ From Traditional PR?
The main difference between digital PR and traditional PR is the channels used.
Traditional PR is rooted in offline channels like print and broadcast media. Digital PR uses online channels like social media, blogs, and influencer partnerships to reach audiences.
Digital PR is also more targeted, faster, and generally more affordable.
You can use many online niche publications to gain coverage and exposure in your industry.
The ability to measure and analyze results is another significant difference.
Traditional PR typically relies on estimates and circulation numbers to gauge reach and impact. This can make it challenging to accurately track the results of a traditional PR campaign.
Digital PR is much more data-driven. You can track website traffic, social media engagement, and other metrics to measure performance.
You can see which strategies are working and make data-informed decisions to maximize impact.
That’s not to say that traditional PR isn’t valuable.
Don’t forget the power of traditional PR efforts.
Press releases, guest blog posts, and interviews can all help get your content in front of new audiences.
— Ulf Lonegren (@norsewulf) June 19, 2023
While guest blog posts are typically considered a digital tactic, you can increase your reach and build credibility by getting mentioned in print and broadcast media.
What’s the Difference Between Marketing and Digital PR?
Marketing is an umbrella term covering a range of tactics used to promote a business and ultimately drive sales.
It includes everything from billboard placements to social media ads.
Digital PR is a subset of marketing that uses online channels to generate positive brand coverage. A typical digital PR campaign uses search engine optimization (SEO), link building, and social media marketing tactics.
How Does Digital PR Benefit Agencies And Clients?
Digital PR is a powerful strategy that can benefit agencies and their clients. Here’s how:
Expanding Service Offerings
Adding digital PR capabilities can help agencies expand their service offerings. You can increase revenue streams and capture a larger share of your client’s marketing budgets.
With Google’s ongoing focus towards detecting link spam and determining the quality of a backlink, Digital PR has taken on an important role in SEO and link building as a proven whitehat approach to genuine outreach campaigns.
Interest in digital PR has steadily increased over the last five years:
According to data from Google, demand for Digital PR has grown 154% since 2014. That demand is only going to increase with each passing algorithm update.
Digital PR tactics can be seamlessly integrated with other services as part of a holistic digital marketing strategy. Social media, content syndication, and SEO are all closely related to digital PR.
Adding Digital PR to your service list opens up a host of upselling and cross-selling opportunities. You can strengthen client partnerships while expanding your revenue potential.
Digital PR provides measurable results.
You can show clients how your campaigns impact website traffic, social media engagement, and other key performance indicators.
This measurable impact can keep your clients happy. It increases the chances of long-term partnerships and repeat business.
Enhanced Online Visibility
Digital PR agencies can boost a client’s online presence.
You can introduce your brand to new audiences through the publications and influencers they already know and trust. It allows you to communicate your message to a new audience of potential customers.
In the Content Marketing Institute’s latest B2B report, public relations and guest posting were two of the most popular organic ways to distribute content:
These are strategies that are central to a successful digital PR strategy.
Improved Brand Reputation
Getting featured in the media can act as a powerful form of social proof.
People associate the brand with the reputable publications they have received coverage in.
For example, Upraw Media lists the notable publications it has been featured in on the homepage of its website:
When visitors see they have been featured in reputable industry outlets, it immediately establishes credibility.
Being associated with respected publications lends authority. It shows potential customers that the brand has gained recognition from trustworthy sources.
Increased Audience Engagement
Digital PR strategies can help clients forge authentic connections with their target audience.
This can include guest articles, expert interviews, or contributed content. The aim is to provide valuable insights into the audience’s interests or pain points.
Does Digital PR Help SEO?
Digital PR and SEO go hand in hand.
Getting featured in authoritative online publications can drive traffic and boost search engine rankings.
It can support your SEO strategy with high-quality backlinks.
Search engines view relevant backlinks as indicating a website’s authority and credibility.
The more authoritative websites that link back to your website, the higher your chances of ranking well for your target keywords.
When Backlinko conducted a study of search results, they discovered that the number one Google result has 3.2x more referring domains than competing results:
Backlinks have a direct impact on search ranking.
Digital PR can also have an indirect influence on SEO performance.
When people talk about your brand online, it increases brand recognition.
And brand recognition has a significant impact on organic click-through rates. Searchers click on results from companies they know and trust.
Here’s an example.
If you Googled “how to get a business loan,” you would see a search engine results page (SERP) like this:
The title tags and content for all of the results are very similar.
But Forbes has a good reputation and considerable brand recognition, so it likely gets most of the clicks.
This is backed up by research from Search Engine Land.
In their survey, respondents were asked what influences them the most when deciding which search result to click.
Nearly 70% of respondents said they look for a “known retailer.”
Digital PR can boost brand recognition, leading to more clicks and better SEO performance.
Is Digital PR the Same as Link Building?
While digital PR and traditional link building use similar tactics, they are not the same.
Link building is the practice of acquiring backlinks from third-party websites.
The goal is to build a high-quality backlink profile that signals to search engines that your website is an authoritative and credible source of information.
Digital PR is a term for a broader marketing strategy. It focuses on building a positive brand image, enhancing visibility, and engaging target audiences across online channels.
Link building is one of several different aspects that make up digital PR, and they can be used together to improve your search ranking and increase organic traffic.
You can learn more about how to build links for your clients in our ultimate link building guide for SEO agencies.
Outsource Your Digital PR
Digital PR is a super effective way to gain recognition and credibility while boosting your SEO performance.
But here’s the thing.
It can be really hard to do.
Digital PR is one of the most challenging marketing disciplines to master. It takes lots of time and effort to get right.
I wish people would stop saying certain things within Digital PR were “easy” or “quick”. The truth is link building done right is hard and it’s certainly not quick. Yes you can get links quick but most of the time it takes time and that’s ok. It’s also a hard discipline.
— Shaun (@ShaunCHill) January 25, 2021
If you’re a busy agency owner, achieving meaningful results will be next to impossible without significantly expanding your headcount.
There’s a reason over 60% of online companies outsourced their digital PR efforts in 2022.
Here’s how outsourcing your digital PR to an agency can help:
Expertise and Specialization
An effective digital PR strategy is built on strong ideation, quality content, and outreach.
By outsourcing, you can leverage specialized digital PR knowledge and experience without having to develop it in-house.
Partnering with an agency like FATJOE helps you access an existing network of media contacts.
This access to journalists and publications can significantly boost the chances of securing media coverage and generating positive publicity for clients.
Building an in-house PR team can be expensive. When you outsource, you pay on a project-by-project basis.
With a productized service structure like ours you know exactly what you’ll receive and can budget accordingly.
It’s a more cost-effective approach to meet demand.
You can quickly scale up or down based on changing client needs.
Digital PR campaigns require significant time and effort. From crafting press releases to pitching media outlets, a lot goes into an effective campaign.
Outsourcing digital PR saves time so you can focus on core competencies and client management.
Grow Your Agency By Unlocking the Potential of Digital PR
Digital PR is a powerful strategy.
It allows brands to establish credibility, build trust, and enhance their perceived value through media placements and social proof.
You can forge connections with audiences and establish your brand as a trusted authority in your industry. All while boosting your SEO performance and increasing visibility in search results.