Search engine optimization (SEO) aside, you must consistently find avenues for brand exposure to reach new markets and engage an existing audience. Digital PR will help you with this and more. That’s why 50 percent of in-house departments attest to getting measurable results with PR.
Looking to get started with digital PR? This article discusses all you need to know about using digital PR to help your brand.
What Is Digital PR?
Digital PR is a promotional strategy brands use to improve their online presence.
It helps you maintain and promote a positive brand image using critical cornerstones of the internet — SEO, content marketing, influencer marketing, and social media — to build authority, drive visibility, boost site rankings, engagement and sales.
Safe to say, digital PR uses traditional PR principles at its core to market content, stories, products, or brands online. But unlike its predecessor, it has many moving parts, operated by several kinds of marketers as part of a holistic marketing strategy.
Like every other strategic marketing tactic, digital PR is measurable using the right metrics.
How Does Digital PR Help Businesses?
Digital PR ensures your communication online is targeted to the right audience. That communication has a clear goal. The goal can be different for different people.
For instance, brand founders can use stories or thought-leadership content to position themselves as experts or hype a product launch. Content marketers can boost online presence through content distribution on several communication channels. Social media PR agencies can get your brand social media coverage or help curb a social media crisis.
But that’s not all digital PR can do for your business. Because your communication caters to your specific audience, you reap other benefits that positively affect other aspects of your business. Here are other ways digital PR can help your brand.
Can Help Improve Your Site's Ranking
Digital PR is not SEO but used along with other solid technical SEO techniques, it can get your site ranking on Google. When you rank on Google search results, you increase your chances of users choosing you over your competitors. After all, people typically just click on links at the top of search engine results.
How does digital PR improve your site’s ranking? When you provide relevant and quality content, high-authority sites are more likely to link to you. Quality backlinks are an important ranking signal for Google. These earned backlinks indicate that website’s trust in your content’s quality.
Guest posting is another way to generate these backlinks. Instead of waiting for sites to link to your content, you reach out to top bloggers or websites in your niche then contribute content containing your links. Google uses these quality digital PR backlinks to assess your expertise, authority, and trust (EAT).
Drives Traffic to Your Website
A focused digital PR campaign can drive traffic to your website. This helps improve brand awareness.
To do this, you can use social media as part of your marketing strategy — for promotion, communication, and distribution of content. If you think of it this way, then there are several things you could do to drive traffic.
First, distribute social media content on several social media channels to increase visibility. By doing so, you spark interest in your brand, giving you a chance to connect with new and existing target audiences. Also, people share and discuss your content on social when it is engaging and value-packed, creating more chances of a click-through to your website.
For example, Grizzle’s Head of Content, Erica Schneider, increases her company’s online presence by sharing valuable tips on her LinkedIn.
While this benefits her personal brand, it also drives traffic to Grizzle’s website because of the relationship she has built with her audience.
That’s one way to use digital PR to drive traffic.
Another way is to partner with social media influencers. They can help you push a positive narrative about your brand, subtly persuading their followers to become your customers. This works great for eCommerce and SaaS businesses.
Ecommerce brand, Fashionnova, does a superb job of using social media influencers to promote their products, thus driving traffic to their store.
They do this regardless of other promotional ads they run on social channels. Why? Because influencer marketing combines social proof and digital PR for the best results.
You can also drive traffic to your site without using social media. When you optimize your press releases with relevant links to your website, you can get traffic to your site if media outlets carry your press releases with the links.
Just think about it. The people who read your press release are more likely to click on those links you inserted. There’s another bonus. If the articles you linked to also provide value, these readers are also more likely to spend time interacting with your brand on your website.
Builds Brand Trust
Trust is at the core of every brand-customer relationship. With a solid digital PR strategy in place, you can build this trust online. When people trust your brand, they’re more likely to search for you online or pick you over other brands.
You can build this trust through:
User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content (UGC) is effective because it’s customer-led marketing. It creates a viable avenue for genuine trust to thrive as other customers become your brand’s advocate online.
With UGC, you access authentic (and free) marketing material that influences your audience’s perception of your brand. That’s why nearly 80 percent of people find UGC more impactful than influencer or branded content.
Little Moon is an excellent example of a food company that used UGC to build brand trust on TikTok.
It started with a few TikTokers’ posts about Little Moon’s ice cream balls. The company leaned into the trend. They posted clips with upbeat and popular audio tracks to showcase their ice cream balls in a similar way.
Apart from increasing sales by 700 percent, they’ve gathered loyal followers who trust their brand while increasing their online visibility.
If you are a food company, you can use a food PR agency to build brand trust through user-generated content. You can also showcase how real-life people use your products. In the process, you build a relationship with those customers as well.
Reviews and Testimonials
Encourage customers to leave reviews and show them you value their opinion by addressing their queries.
Simple things like apologizing after a crisis and transparency about certain business operations will increase people’s trust in your brand. It will also make them willing to leave a positive review or testimonials with or without request.
You should also seek reviews through surveys. Allowing unbiased customer feedback shows customers that you value user experience and are seeking ways to improve.
Codecademy, a website that teaches coding and programming, uses video testimonials to humanize their stories, inspiring potential customers.
To make the most of positive reviews and testimonials, use them as social proof on your website and Google Business Profile. Not only will this boost your online presence. It’s also great for local SEO.
Collaboration with Media Outlets
Online media relations are essential for companies looking to increase visibility through digital public relations.
Identify media outlets and online publications. Whenever your brand has a newsworthy event, notify your preferred outlet. If the outlet covers your event in a positive way, your brand’s legitimacy is enhanced. The result? The outlet’s audience trusts you, too.
- Generates Leads and Sales
Digital PR gives you a platform to mold the public’s perception of your brand. This matters because a good brand image reduces perceived risk and influences customers’ tendency to patronize you.
Together with content marketing, digital PR can attract business leads to you. All you need to do is:
- Optimize all stages of your marketing funnel. Ensure it contains relevant content like blog posts, email newsletters, product videos, and case studies to aid lead generation.
- Follow best email marketing practices like audience segmentation and email automation to grow your mailing list and further build trust in your brand. Using identity theft protection software can also help prevent scammers from using your name for fraud. You want to maintain a good reputation so leads will be drawn to you.
With effective digital PR strategies in place, you create a snowball effect that makes it easy to turn new leads into customers, thus enhancing sales.
Digital PR has several benefits. You get to build online authority from long-term relationships with your audience. You can also drive traffic to your website. Digital PR helps build brand trust, too. It can help you generate new business leads and sales.
In other words, if you’re not leveraging digital PR, you’re missing out.
Kick off your digital PR strategy and reap benefits for your business.
By Chris Norton, Founder of B2B PR agency Prohibition, former University lecturer, author of “Share This Too” and his social media training blog which is listed in the UK's top 10 PR and social media marketing blogs.
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