In the first in a series of informative posts about Digital PR, Head of PR, Jay Evans answers the question, What is Digital PR?
One of the most common questions I am asked is “What is Digital PR” or “How is digital PR different to traditional PR”. The answer is simple - it is not at all different to “traditional” (nobody likes using that phrase in our industry) PR, it is just a developed tactic in an ever-changing media landscape used by PR professionals.
In definition: Digital PR is the action of delivering editorial coverage in news and feature websites, delivering the key messages, and where possible a link to the client’s website, for a given campaign or wider public relations strategy. Digital PR works to improve SEO, work alongside PPC activity whilst raising awareness and building the reputation of a company, brand, or the people within.
In a media environment that has shifted quite dramatically away from print media, even before the lockdown took hold, a move to online resources was evident. Publishers Audience Measurement Company (PAMCo), announced in June that in the first quarter of 2020 over 25 million Brits were consuming news media online, at least once a day. So, without even considering other online resources, online news services should be a primary target for PR activities – a massive shift from a decade ago where a newspaper clipping was the pièce de résistance.
When considering digital PR, it is important to ensure your strategy is in line with your business goals and objectives. This strategy will need to be sense-checked against what is going to be achievable. Public relations activities offer the opportunity to shape the image and reputation of your company, it encourages sales - but cannot be measured by sales – certainly in the short-term.
This leads on to the next question often asked about digital PR activities; How do we measure ROI?
- Visibility – How much is your brand now visible online, outside of your own online presence? Has your visibility improved following digital PR activities?
- Engagement – Have there been comments on placed articles online? Has the article been shared widely across social media channels?
- Message Delivery – Are all your key message in articles? Whilst this not only raises awareness of the messages you need your stakeholder to see, it will also offer wider SEO opportunities with keywords that are - or should be - associated with your company or brand.
- Brand Sentiment – Activities should encourage media to write positively about your brand. If items online, featuring your company or brand, are positive then great, if neutral or negative – the value comes from the ability to identify the reasons and develop a strategy to enhance your reputation.
- Website Traffic – Has the coverage achieved during your digital PR strategy instigated a spike in website traffic? This will not only come from a direct link in an article, but also due to association with trusted media. If your article is on MailOnline and mentions your brand on a subject matter of interest to a reader, they are very likely to search for you online and to find out more about you.
A digital PR strategy will include a coordinated effort with your PPC and keyword strategy, website updates and strategic social media activity – planned and organic. As a full-service agency, we often advise our clients on multi-channel strategy – even working with their teams – to ensure a cohesion with messaging and timing. This should be key within your company – all marketing requires a commitment to a single, developed strategy.
In the long-term, your digital PR strategy and the subsequent online footprint, will only continue to enhance your business reputation and continue to raise awareness of your brand.