The Legacy Guide To Digital PR
The days of merely using print media to achieve brand awareness are over. In order to beat the noise of 1.86 billion other websites vying for consumers’ attention, companies leverage blogs, newjacking, stunts, data, creative thinking and social media to powerfully ramp up their business success.
Your business will struggle to survive without a solid Digital PR strategy in place. That’s why we’ve created this guide that will teach you:
- What Digital PR is
- Why Digital PR is so Important
- How to Build a Successful Digital PR Campaign
- Proven Tactics that will Strengthen Your Digital PR Strategy
- How to Measure Whether Your Digital PR Campaigns are Working
- How Digital PR Agencies Can Help
With this guide in your business back pocket, you’ll know how to utilize Digital PR like a professional and start building brand awareness right away.
What is Digital PR?
Public Relations is the process of managing and maintaining a favorable image in the public’s eye. It’s a tactic that marketers use to promote their brand and increase awareness.
Over the years, companies’ public relations strategies have changed drastically. A marketing evolution driven by technology has transitioned public relations from traditional to digital.
Fewer and fewer people are spending time reading newspapers and magazines, listening to the radio, or watching cable tv. In fact, printed newspapers have taken a steep dip in circulation, and magazine readers have dropped by 6 million last year. Radio audiences are declining, and millions are cutting their cable cord and waving TV subscriptions goodbye.
To fully understand Digital PR, let’s examine this transition and the difference between Traditional PR and Digital PR.
Traditional PR vs. Digital PR
The main difference between traditional PR and digital is that digital PR is – you guessed it, digitally focused. Traditional PR typically targets traditional media sources – things like newspapers, magazines, TV, events and radio shows. Digital PR, on the other hand, targets online sources, like news websites, social media platforms, blogs, online news outlets, and video portals.
As a sub-service of content marketing (which also includes all your content creation), Digital PR is the process of:
- Gaining publicity online
- Connecting with online journalists and publications
- Gaining high-quality backlinks (when someone sends their reader to your site) from websites, social channels, and online publications
Today’s most successful PRs have embraced savvy Digital PR strategies in order to reach a much broader audience.
Running Digital PR Campaigns, they can connect with their company’s target audience and boost product and brand awareness much more rapidly than traditional offline strategies.
Digital PR is a great way to gain additional coverage for a client by utilising a newjacking approach as well as creativity and timing to beat competitors to the punch and help your client rank as high as possible.
Why is Digital PR Critical for Your Business’ Success?
Digital PR professionals are a powerful force in a brand’s marketing team, able to effectively improve online presence and brand visibility. Digital PR drives brand awareness, traffic to a website, sales, social following and engagement, and links that boost organic rankings.
Its benefits for your business stretch far and wide, but let’s narrow in on the three main advantages of investing in Digital PR:
Digital PR Gives Your Business a Glowing Introduction
When your target audience isn’t aware of you, Digital PR strategies can raise awareness, increase the visibility of your brand, and help you and your audience get acquainted.
By connecting with your target audience through a blogger, or journalist who already has credibility with your audience, you can shortcut your way into their trust. Rather than running ads that tend to put consumers off, your brand can appear in front of your target audience as a recommendation from someone they already trust.
Digital PR Ratchets Up Your Google Rankings
Digital PR SEO tactics, like when someone mentions your brand on their own website or online publication, may carry more than 50% of the ranking factor weight for search engines. How?
Each online article, social media share, and product review that mentions you or links back to your site looks great to search engines like Google.
As you rank higher on Google, you’ll gain even more traffic to your website. This increased traffic will boost your rankings even higher, and the cycle continues.
Digital PR Boosts Customer Acquisition and Lead Generation
The number of people consuming digital content on their handheld devices is growing each year. As a business, lead generation should be at the forefront of your campaigns.
Digital PR gives you a way to target this massive and growing group of digital consumers and build quality lead generation.
How to Build a Successful Digital PR Campaign
Digital PR can be powerful, cost-effective, and transformative for your brand’s success, but only when a solid strategy is in place. Below, we’ll walk you through four critical steps to creating and implementing a robust Digital PR Strategy.
Create Your Digital PR Plan
Before you start sending out dozens of pitch emails determine your plan and approach to Digital PR. You can create a concise and detailed Digital PR plan by answering these 3 questions:
What goals do I want to accomplish with these Digital PR efforts? Set specific goals within a timeframe. For example, you might want to increase sales by 10% by 2022, gain 1 million impressions for your brand, rank on the first page of Google in 6 months, or double the traffic coming through your website within the year.
Which people and publications hold the most influence over my audience? Find out where your target audience hangs out. Which websites, magazine and newspaper sites, social channels, and blogs are they frequenting the most? Make it your goal to show up wherever your target audience spends their time.
Where is my competition getting published?
Google your competitors’ names or the CEOs of competitor businesses and see which sites and influencers have mentioned them. These sites might be interested in interviewing you or featuring your products and services as well.
Lock-In on an Other’s-Focused Perspective
Job interviews, marketing, sales, and PR are no places to gush about your business and goals. In any situation where you’re trying to convince another person to take you or your business on in some way, it’s paramount that you think from the other’s perspective instead of your own.
Your story, your products, and your goals can be shared later. For now, all you should be thinking about is their story, their products, and their goals.
Which outreach proposal do you think would more likely be picked up by a publication?
While the first message is all about John, the second is all about Sarah and her readers. If you want a “yes” from Sarah, pick a powerful angle for the piece you’re proposing that you know will capture her audience, increase her readers, and boost her sales.
Don’t Be The Company That Slips Through The Cracks
Influencers, entrepreneurs, journalists, newspaper editors, and magazine CEOs are busy people. On top of their daily responsibilities, they receive loads of pitch emails and outreach DMs daily. Your first message will almost certainly be left unopened or quickly forgotten.
Following up can make all the difference. Be patient and persistent. Send gentle reminders, graciously understanding that the people you’re reaching out to have a lot on their plates. They might need a few nudges before you hear back.
Build and monitor your contact list
As you work, keep track of every publication, blogger, or journalist that you’re interested in contacting. Create a Google Sheet that shows who you’ve already reached out to, followed up with, and gotten a response from.
When one of your proposals is rejected, reach out again with a different article idea or product for review. Just because the answer is no this time doesn’t mean that they’d say no to a different article or product in the future.
Note which sites published your content in the end. The commonalities can help you shape your outreach strategy in the future. Foster good relationships with the people willing to work with you. Oftentimes, you can continue working with them – especially if their piece or review covering your business boosted their own views and sales.
Tried and tested Digital PR tactics
Now that PR has moved online, methods are rapidly changing and developing to keep up with the internet’s constant advances. Here are three timeless approaches to Digital PR that will foster good relationships with the public and build your brand awareness in today’s market.
1- Reactive and Proactive PR (AKA Newsjacking)
Reactive and proactive PR is a great way to get ahead of your competitors by anticipating trends within the news cycle and hopping on breaking news stories and topics to increase coverage.
By monitoring breaking news you can keep track of ways that your client can easily gain some additional pieces of coverage – for example, is there a beauty story they can add an expert comment to? A new story they can add a fresh outlook to? Look for ways to apply the news to each client.
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) December 13, 2021
The same applies to proactive digital PR, a lot of topics will resurface year by year, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the calendar to predict trends and have your own takes ready to go.
2 – Product PR:
Product PR when done correctly can be a great way to drive traffic to a client’s site. The key is to think outside of the box – if a bottle of ketchup won’t get you a mention in a publication, a bottle of ketchup from Mars certainly will.
Get creative. The more outlandish the better, but make sure to approve any ideas with your client beforehand.
3 – Creative Campaigns or Stunts
When it comes to creating good digital PR, every campaign should be a creative one. Dedicate time and resources to thinking outside the box and figuring out fun ways to add value to journalists who might be reading your release.
Stunts are another great way to gain attention for your client, when done correctly you can secure massive amounts of coverage on both news and social sources.
4 – Data led/Data Stories
Combining data with creative thinking is a key part of digital PR. Once you have your idea, spend some time thinking about if it could be improved with data – and where you would get this data from.
Journalists are always on the lookout for new facts and figures but are often short of time to gather extensive data. By doing the work for them and offering them some quality data, you’re way more likely to see your piece land.
5 – Thought Leadership/Expert Led PR:
Similarly to the newjacking approach, keeping an eye on trends within each of your client’s sectors will give you a massive advantage. Monitor journalist requests and have somebody ready to provide quick quotes at a moment’s notice.
You can also use this approach to add value to your other stories, if you’re sending out a data or creativity based release, having a quote from an expert can give your piece authority and make it a lot more likely that journalists will pick it up.
How to Measure Whether Your Digital PR is Working or not?
You can use several success metrics for your Digital PR campaigns. Your measurement will largely depend on what goals you set while developing your Digital PR plan.
- If your goal is to increase sales by 10%, you can use tracking links and, with Google Analytics, analyze how many sales have come from that one link.
- If your goal is for your website to rank on Google’s first page within six months, you can track your search traffic and see whether that number is progressively increasing.
- If your goal is to secure 15 pieces of coverage or improve overall impressions surrounding a client, you can search online or use tools to search for mentions of your press release on various publications.
- If your goal is to gain more links to your client’s site you can then cross reference any publications who covered the release with any who attached a link to their site. Don’t be afraid to follow up and ask them to attach it either.
How Digital PR Agencies Can Help
To help build brand awareness, many companies hire a Digital PR Agency. These agencies can provide your company with professionals that can throw around acronyms like SEO PPC CRO, and CPC like Digital Marketing was their first language. The experts working at an agency can help you:
- Generate market research
- Create a strategy that beats the competition
- Build and run powerful campaigns that help you reach your business goals
- Create product or service advertisements in Google, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
- Manage and optimize your website’s rank
Running Digital PR campaigns takes a lot of time—precious time and resources that you or your in-house marketing team could be spending focused on running your business. After cutting out payroll and taxes, hiring an external agency to handle your Digital PR campaigns can also be a lot lighter on your business’ budget.
Ready to reap the benefits of Digital PR but don’t have the experience or time to do the job right? We’re ready to help. See how rapidly other ambitious companies have grown while working with us.
A Digital PR Case Study
Legacy put these methods into practice with a recent campaign that was hugely successful.
We secured 45 pieces of coverage from the campaign (so far), as well as 10 links, featuring in publications such as Her.ie, Galway Beo, Spin South West, Ireland Before You Die, four different Sun articles, two Mirror articles – and a multitude of local radio and news sites to boot.
Here’s how we did it:
Ideation: For our Ireland’s snowiest counties release, we dedicated time and resources to expand on the initial idea, finding tools to gather what we would need and analysing how it would work in practice before starting to collect data.
Data: To calculate the probability of a white Christmas in each county, Legacy used weather data from the past ten years from Met Eireann and weather checking application, TimeAndDate.
Timing: We chose the topic based on new cycle trends over the last number of weeks – as well as trends in the news cycle during the lead-up to Christmas over the past number of years.
Crafting: When writing our press release we crafted it like you would a news article, if you can do interviews with experts, think of snappy headlines and sub-heads and write in a news language style as much as possible – it will make a difference.
Outreach: You can always give your release an advantage by simply knowing what each publication is looking for. We took the time to look at what journalists were already writing about the topic before starting our outreach to achieve maximum results.
Retargeting: For Legacy’s Christmas-themed digital PR when coverage had come to a standstill after the first day or so we decided to ditch the traditional follow-up approach.
Instead, we decided to go back to each publication, see what journalists had covered similar stories in recent hours, and add them to the outreach list.
Insights: Even the most successful campaigns can always be improved. We found that certain aspects of our campaign such as the creation of a resource page on Legacy’s website to drive links, and the expansion to other locations would have made a big difference. Take note and apply it to your next campaign.
Here’s a link to the full digital pr case study.
Have another Digital PR question?
Is this guide “ultimate” enough, in your opinion? Did we miss something? Let us know by tweeting @Legacy_Comms. We’ll make sure to keep you updated with the most relevant answers to your Digital PR questions.
Keep this Digital PR Guide in your business’ back pocket. With it, you’ll be able to build a powerful Digital PR strategy that will help you reach your business goals.