When it comes to content marketing and link building, you've probably heard a lot of content creators talking about digital PR. If you are wondering exactly what digital PR is and what the benefits are, you're in the right place. We're here to talk you through the entire process behind a successful digital PR campaign, explaining exactly why you should be creating digital PR campaigns to enhance your brand and build high-quality links.
What Is Digital PR?
To put it simply, digital PR consists of creating stories that the media (in particular press) want to feature, share and link to. The benefits of this, are:
- Grows brand awareness and visibility online
- Increases website traffic to your site and search rankings
- Helps strengthen your site's domain authority
- Helps you target your specific audiences
- Allows you to build strong and authoritative links
- It can work alongside a wider social media strategy
Note that digital PR is different traditional PR, though there are some overlapping strategic elements. The core difference is that traditional PR refers to channels such as print media, television, radio, and other channels offline, whereas digital PR occurs online and ties in with a wider digital marketing strategy or SEO strategy.
The Psychology Behind Digital PR Success
Before you begin your ideation process, there are many different things to consider. To begin, you must decide what are the objectives of this piece of content - do you want to reach a certain audience? Do you want to increase sales to a particular product?
Once you have decided this, it is worth thinking about what emotional response you want to achieve with your digital PR campaign. Do you want to create something shocking that will generate social media buzz, or are you wanting to draw attention to an important and serious subject in a creative and engaging way?
Research into successful digital PR campaigns has shown that campaigns that evoke certain emotions tend to have a higher success rate in terms of links and coverage achieved. This indicates how important the message of your campaign is, as well as the way the target audience is likely to respond to it. The top emotions revealed were:
If these emotions tie into your brand's persona and the message you want to share, it is worth brainstorming for content ideas that will generate emotions and responses to get people talking about and engaging with your brand.
[Research and tweet credit - @abbychinery]
Content and press releases that include factual, interesting, or shocking data points are also good for evoking emotion from readers and interest from journalists. If there is something topical going on - for example in politics or popular culture - that you can tie back to your brand in some way, this is important to consider as well. Journalists are bombarded with pitches and press releases daily, so it's important to stand out with something interesting and eye catching as part of your digital PR efforts.
Idea Generation: Where to Look For Digital PR Inspiration
Coming up with creative ideas can be difficult, especially if your business sits in a specific or niche market. However, there are plenty of ways you can come up with digital PR campaign ideas that are relevant to you and your brand without them being directly related to your products or what service you sell.
For example, if you are a business that sells cars, you don't have to create content based solely on cars. You can look at transportation, travel, the environment, commuting, the cost of fuel by country - there are many different avenues you can explore that would still remain on-brand and relevant to your business while targeting the right audience through press releases, thought pieces, and other forms of content.
The less ‘salesy' a campaign is, and the more creative the story, the more likely a journalist is to cover it, which is why it is often wise to move away from a product or service-specific pitch.
If you think outside the box, not only will you get better results with your digital PR efforts, you'll also have a higher chance of being featured in the media. This will get your target audiences talking about your brand and will create a brand reputation that is memorable. Think about brands that do great advertising - more often than not, they don't tend to just talk about their product with their marketing, they develop a brand image and persona through stories that are engaging. That is how digital PR works and it is an important part of any marketing strategy.
There are many places you can find inspiration online. Below, we've listed some useful resources below to get you started.
- Content Curated - an online marketing newsletter featuring the best creative campaigns
- Digital PR Examples - a Twitter account that shares some great digital PR work for inspiration
- The Weekly PR - a weekly newsletter highlighting inspiring online PR campaigns as well as useful digital PR resources and articles
The Recipe for a Strong Digital PR Campaign
There are certain elements that are consistent in any successful digital PR strategy or digital PR campaign. The two main digital PR tactics to keep in mind are having a strong, relevant story and being able to execute it effectively at the right time.
In addition to these two factors, you also need to consider the below to ensure your digital PR strategy or campaign has the highest chance of success:
- Is the idea likely to be featured in your target online or print publications?
- Will it reach your target audience? What do they consider to be quality content?
- Is the idea easy enough to achieve? Do you have the budget/time/resources and can you easily collect any data required?
- Is the topic evergreen or topical?
- Can you tie in your campaign with an upcoming news event or date?
- Can you utilise any product sales data to sell or support your story?
- What type of content are your competitors creating?
- What are recurring topics within your industry?
Once you have validated your idea, you then need to:
- Put a strategy plan in place of how you are going to execute it
- Next, you need to create the asset or blog piece and create a dedicated landing page or blog post for this
- You need to identify which publications you want to target and build your media list based on this
- Finally, you need to write a strong press release or pitch that is likely to catch the journalist's attention, sell the story, and land your brand in your target publications
How to measure the success of your digital PR strategy
There are some key factors that will indicate how successful a digital PR campaign has been, however, depending on the business, the overarching KPIs may differ. Some ways to measure success of a specific digital PR strategy include:
- Number of pieces of coverage secured - set a goal and try to hit it and beat it over time
- Number of links secured back to your website
- Number of enquiries or newsletter subscribers gained through the feature
- Increased brand awareness (visibility in Google search, increased site visits)
- Increased direct and organic search traffic to your site
There are various digital tools such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and trackable links (i.e. UTM codes) that can help you quantify the above and demonstrate the impact of your digital PR efforts.
- Don't be afraid to think creatively and try something new with your digital PR strategies
- Consume the news and keep up to date with what is topical
- Don't forget about evergreen topics (these are topics that never date and are always relevant) - but, is there a new angle you can take on an evergreen topic to make it more interesting?
- Follow inspirational brands or digital PR on social media
- Keep up to date with what your competitors are doing
- Utilise sales/product data where possible to create stories
- Dedicate time and effort to digital PR and you're bound to see some great results - set yourself some link objectives or publications that you would love to be featured in, and work towards achieving this. You will soon get an idea of the kind of content certain sites are interested in, and you can then adapt your campaigns based on this
If you are still unsure how to begin or need some guidance, seek advice from digital PR specialists!
Can a digital PR agency help? Yes!
Keen to learn more about Digital PR or have any questions about our digital marketing services? Call us on 0161 402 3170 or fill in our handy contact form, for a free no-obligation chat about how we can help you achieve your marketing goals. We are an experienced digital marketing agency with over 20 years of experience across PR and other digital marketing channels.