Digital PR: What It is and How Can it Help Your Business

Having an online presence has become a necessity for businesses of any size. This digital presence, however, opens up the possibility of digital interactions, bringing the concept of public relations (PR) online. Digital PR stands at the forefront of brand management strategies, offering businesses unparalleled opportunities to connect with their audience, shape their online presence, and drive growth across the digital landscape.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore digital PR and its profound impact on modern marketing strategies.

What is Digital PR?

Digital PR is not merely an extension of traditional PR into the online realm. It encompasses the strategic use of online channels to manage and enhance a brand’s reputation through leveraging digital platforms like social media, blogs, influencers, and online publications. These platforms are used to amplify brand messaging, cultivate relationships, and foster trust, as well as reach specific target audiences and help shape the public’s perception. Ultimately, the goal is to get people talking about your brand, preferably positively.

Some of the common tactics used in a digital PR campaign include:

  • Media outreach
  • Creating and distributing press releases
  • Planning and promoting events
  • Sponsorship opportunities
  • Crisis communication
  • Attention-grabbing tactics or publicity stunts
  • Influencer marketing partnerships

So, why is everyone talking about digital PR? These days, consumers are inundated with information from various online sources. Through digital PR, the consumers are served authenticity and relevance, which helps build trust and keeps the business ahead of the competition.

The Difference Between Digital and Traditional PR

The main difference between digital PR and traditional PR is that digital focuses only on online channels. Traditional PR has long been characterized by its reliance on media channels such as newspapers, magazines, television, and radio to distribute information and shape perceptions. Digital PR achieves the same goals through platforms like social media, online publications, blogs, podcasts, and influence collaborations. Rather than simply sharing the information, though, digital PR uses the digital landscape to engage with audiences in a more dynamic, interactive way.

Let’s say your law firm has just won a major case that could potentially influence legislation. Using traditional PR, your firm may draft a press release and distribute it to newspaper or magazine journalists to secure print coverage or a segment on television news. If you have a PR team, they may also organize a press conference or media event to discuss the landmark case in front of reporters.

On the other hand, using a digital PR approach, your firm would utilize a multi-faceted strategy to reach your target audience across various online platforms. This may involve creating engaging content about the case, such as blog posts or videos, and sharing it on your firm’s website and social media channels. Your law firm could also collaborate with legal influencers, bloggers, or podcasters to review the case and share the information with followers. Additionally, you may leverage targeted digital advertising to reach those potentially affected by the case decision or future legislation, encouraging them to take action.

Benefits of Digital PR

Digital PR offers a multitude of benefits for businesses, including:

  • Enhanced Visibility: Digital channels are fairly accessible to all and cover a broad range of topics and industries. Digital PR is an excellent way to quickly reach a large audience and even spread your message globally.
  • Stronger Reputation: Positive media coverage and influencer endorsements position your brand as trustworthy, ultimately improving your brand’s reputation quickly and effectively.
  • Greater Digital Traffic: Digital PR strategies encourage reputable sources to talk about your brand. As more people talk about your brand, more of your target audience may visit your website, bringing greater traffic to your site, where they will hopefully perform the desired conversion.
  • SEO Improvement: Digital PR often leads to high-quality backlinks that will ultimately improve your search engine optimization (SEO) by signaling to search engines that your website is trustworthy and deserves a high ranking.

By leveraging the power of digital channels, your business can amplify its reach and influence across the web.

The Importance of Backlinking in Digital PR

Backlinking is pivotal in digital PR, improving your website’s SEO performance and credibility. It’s essentially telling search engines that your information is so useful and informative that other credible websites are citing you as a source. Here’s why else backlinking is an important part of your digital PR strategy:

  • Use thought leadership to build brand authority: Frequently showcasing your expertise on relevant third-party platforms encourages your target audience to trust your advice.
  • Generate inbound leads and conversions from third-party social proof: The more other websites recognize your brand as a trusted expert, the more they share your content with their audience and followers. More people seeing your content should lead to more people reaching out for your products or services.
  • Reduce hesitation and speed up your sales cycle: Earning brand authority, demonstrating leadership, and boosting organic inbound traffic already covers over half of your sales cycle. All that’s left now is for a lead to request your help, which takes care of the active intent, a major step toward closing a new sale.

How to Implement a Long-Term Backlinking Strategy

Implementing a successful, long-term backlinking strategy requires strategic planning, consistent effort, and quality content creation. Here are some practical tips to help you establish a sustainable approach to acquiring quality backlinks over time:

  • Identify High-Quality Link Opportunities: Start by identifying authoritative websites, blogs, and online publications in your industry or niche that could potentially link back to your website. Look for websites with a strong domain authority and a relevant audience.
  • Create Compelling Content: Content is the cornerstone of any successful backlinking strategy. Develop high-quality, informative, and engaging content that provides value to your target audience. This could include blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, case studies, or whitepapers. Ensure your content is original, well-researched, and relevant to your audience’s interests and needs.
  • Promote Your Content: Once you’ve created compelling content, it’s essential to promote it effectively to attract attention and generate backlinks. Share your content on social media channels, email newsletters, industry forums, and relevant online communities. Reach out to influencers, bloggers, journalists, and website owners in your industry and ask them to share or link to your content if they find it valuable.
  • Guest Blogging and Contributorship: Guest blogging and contributorship are effective strategies for acquiring backlinks from authoritative websites. Identify reputable websites that accept guest contributions in your industry and pitch them relevant, high-quality content ideas. By contributing valuable insights and expertise to other websites, you can earn backlinks to your own website in return.
  • Monitor and Analyze Backlink Performance: Regularly monitor your backlink profile using tools like Google Search Console or Ahrefs to track new backlinks, monitor their quality, and identify any potential issues, such as broken or toxic backlinks. Analyze the impact of your backlinking efforts on your website’s SEO performance, including improvements in search engine rankings, organic traffic, and domain authority.
  • Build Relationships with Influencers and Industry Experts: Cultivate relationships with influencers, industry experts, and thought leaders by engaging with them on social media, attending industry events, and participating in relevant discussions. Building genuine relationships can lead to natural backlink opportunities as influencers and experts reference your content or mention your brand in their own content.
  • Stay Updated on SEO Best Practices: The field of SEO and backlinking is constantly evolving, so it’s essential to stay updated on the latest trends, algorithm updates, and best practices. Follow reputable SEO blogs, attend webinars, and participate in industry forums to stay informed and adapt your backlinking strategy accordingly.

Here are some real-world backlinking case studies from Fery Kaszoni to help you learn more about their usefulness to digital PR:

  • A Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce Wedding: Examine the reactive Taylor Swift Super Bowl digital PR campaign that got a Las Vegas wedding chapel over 100 backlinks. Kaszoni breaks down how it was done and how the campaign received over-the-top results.
  • Google Trends Worker’s Strike: This specific link-building campaign generated over 50 backlinks from large online publications. Kaszoni shows just how he utilized reactive digital PR to earn these results.
  • Free Public Car Test Data: This digital PR campaign achieved backlinks across 20 websites and a plug on BBC. Discover how Kaszoni executed this unique campaign to get the results they wanted (and more).

Be Focused: Key Elements of Digital PR

To succeed in digital PR, businesses must focus on essential key elements, such as setting clear goals, defining objectives, developing strategies, and implementing tactics. Understanding each of these elements, how they’re different, and the crucial role they each play will help when developing your campaign.

  • Goals: Your goals should be representative of the wider scope of the campaign and should align with those of the organization.
  • Objectives: Create clear, defined, and measurable objectives for the strategies or tactics you plan to use. As a rule of thumb, adhere to the SMART framework: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
  • Strategies: These are the methods you use to accomplish the objectives and your reasoning behind the plan. A good strategy is practical and demonstrates a desired outcome. Digital PR campaigns will typically employ several strategies that work to serve multiple objectives.
  • Tactics: Tactics are the precise techniques the team will use when implementing the strategy to accomplish the objectives. Each tactic should be able to identify the next steps needed to achieve the strategy. As these are often the most tangible elements of a digital PR campaign, it’s easy to focus on them and forget the overall strategy. Still, through efficient organization and progress tracking, you can keep all necessary tasks within the campaign coordinated and moving forward.

Digital PR Strategies

There are several digital PR strategies you can use to create a successful campaign.  

Content Distribution

Billions of pieces of content are published all across the web, vying for readers’ attention. Without the right strategy, your content can easily get lost in the noise. Using content distribution, you can send your content to target audiences through various media channels to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and establish a strong digital presence.

Once you’ve established your content strategy, you can look to promote and distribute the content through owned, earned, and paid channels. Here’s how each works:

  • Owned Channels: These are the most logical starting point in distributing content, allowing you to create, distribute, and test content at your own pace that is focused on your target audience. This content gets published on your company’s website, blog, and social media pages or sent to current customer or prospect lists via email.
  • Earned Channels: Earned channels are a bit more of a challenge as it requires reaching out to third parties and convincing them to share your content on their platforms. This may include social media sharing, backlinks, media coverage, and influencer collaborations. Getting content published through earned channels takes a lot of time and effort as you must first build a relationship with those external partners. Still, when you have it, it spreads your message to a much wider audience and helps boost your credibility, making it all worth it.
  • Paid Channels: These channels require direct payment for content promotion and advertising. This includes social media ads, sponsored content, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Of course, this takes planning, budgeting, performance tracking, and optimization to avoid targeting the wrong audience or overspending.

If you plan on using content distribution, ensuring the quality of the content itself is critical. Make sure your content is:

  • Optimized for SEO
  • Leveraging user-generated content such as testimonials or reviews
  • Varying the type of content, such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, case studies, and more
  • Set up to allow for analytics monitoring to keep tabs on performance

Social Media Engagement

Social media plays a significant role in digital PR strategy, boosting your brand’s visibility and fostering trust and engagement with your audience. Pairing digital PR with social media marketing creates success, but it must be done correctly. Here’s how to successfully utilize them both:

  •  Understand Your Audience: Your objective should be to create a campaign that caters to your target audience. Easily identify who they are by analyzing data insights from the social platforms you use and pay attention to their common interests and preferences.
  • Create a Cohesive Message: Your brand messaging should remain consistent across your digital PR and social campaigns. Ensure all of your press releases, interviews, and official statements are aligned, and reinforce the messaging through shareable content.
  • Leverage Influencers: Help amplify your digital PR efforts through influential voices. Start by identifying the influencers that match your brand’s values and create a collaborative partnership through content.
  • Use Visual Storytelling: Audiences often find compelling visuals more engaging than text. Work with an experienced graphic designer to create eye-catching visuals, such as infographics or short videos, that summarize your message.
  • Offer Real-Time Responses: Consumers enjoy easy communication. By monitoring your brand mentions across social media and news outlets, you can engage with your audience directly for better brand reputation management.
  • Measure and Adjust: Strategizing should never be considered “done.” As long as the digital PR campaign is running, you should be continuously monitoring, analyzing performance data, and adjusting for greater reach and success.

Online Reputation Management

Online reputation management (ORM) is the service that happens behind the scenes, while digital PR is what is visible to the public. Although the services are similar, they often work together to monitor and manage online reputation, address negative feedback, and perform crisis communication on various digital platforms. ORM works in the background, focused more on the content creation, SEO, social media management, digital branding, and content removal strategies to improve overall image and search results. When ORM is done well, the public doesn’t even know it’s happening. Digital PR works to put the information in front of people that you want out there but is much less technologically focused than ORM.

In a comprehensive reputation management strategy using both digital PR and ORM, you may receive:

  • Newly developed digital assets for placing optimized content on additional platforms
  • Existing asset optimizations to boost organic rankings
  • Reviews and ratings management on Google My Business or other platforms
  • Ongoing performance analysis and tracking
  • Development of engaging social media promotions and management
  • Continuous brand mention monitoring

Measuring the Impact of Digital PR

Measuring the effectiveness of a digital PR campaign is essential for optimizing strategies and demonstrating ROI. But how do you measure digital PR?

Three distinct key performance indicators (KPIs) are a step ahead: backlinks, referral traffic, and search engine results page (SERP) visibility.

  • Backlinks: Tracking backlinks is a bit different for digital PR than typical SEO strategies. Digital PR backlinks heavily rely on the quality of the link, not just the quantity of links. It is crucial to pay close attention to where your content is being linked to determine success.
  • Referral Traffic: Seeing an increase in referral traffic is a good indicator of the success of your digital PR campaign. This also ties into the quality of backlinks because the better the referring website, the larger the referral traffic. This metric is easy to find within the Google Analytics dashboard.
  • SERP Visibility: SERP visibility examines search results pages for holistic keywords and estimates the potential visibility and traffic you may receive from being included on every keyword-ranking page. Essentially, you want to be included in any relevant third-party websites that also rank for the keyword you are targeting (think “best of” lists published by trusted websites). Since search engines will prioritize these articles over specific businesses depending on how the user enters their inquiry, you want to be part of those ranking pieces.

Embrace Digital PR and Elevate Your Brand with Timmermann Group

Digital PR has become a cornerstone of modern marketing strategies, offering unparalleled opportunities for businesses to connect with their audience and shape their brand narrative. By embracing digital PR, your business can take its online presence to new heights and achieve lasting digital success.

As digital marketing experts, Timmermann Group team empowers businesses to elevate their brands and achieve their marketing goals. Contact us today to discover how we can help you unlock the full potential of digital PR for your business.