How To Develop a Successful Digital PR Strategy
Digital PR is a popular online marketing strategy that’s based on traditional PR but takes a digital approach. But what exactly is digital PR? Why should your business invest in it? And how should you go about it and track your results? In this guide, created by our Digital PR team, we cover all the above and more, including some of the best examples of digital PR campaigns for inspiration.
What Is Digital PR?
Digital PR, sometimes called online PR, involves creating strong content with a unique hook that generates media coverage online from news websites and blogs.
There is a certain amount of crossover between digital PR and SEO. When content is shared on news websites, this creates high-quality backlinks, which helps to increase organic search traffic. However, while digital PR certainly has SEO benefits, your goals may or may not focus purely on getting backlinks because press coverage also leads to an increase in social shares, engagement, brand awareness and authority.
Examples of Digital PR
There are many excellent examples of digital PR campaigns online, and you don’t have to look far to find them. The type of content used in digital PR takes many different forms, from videos to infographics to surveys, as you can see from the following examples.
- Houzz first released its renovation trends study in 2022. With responses from nearly 50,000 users, it provided deep insight into renovation trends, and it was picked up by multiple large outlets.
- Dove’s #TheSelfieTalk campaign focuses on the pressure young women feel to always appear perfect online, and how the beauty industry impacts the self-esteem of women. It’s one of many campaigns the company has run, and it helps the brand come across as a brand associated with positivity and confidence.
- During the pandemic, e-conolight carried out a survey asking how much work Americans actually do while working from home. People admitted what they were actually doing when they were supposed to be working, from shopping to having a nap, and the results got used by lots of big sites.
- Games and tools are often effective for PR, and Kayak created a trip calculator that people could use to find out which is more affordable, driving or flying. It was covered in large travel blogs and other sites.
- SimpleTexting also created a calculator, but people could use this to find out how long it takes a tech CEO to earn your salary. This unique idea was featured on many news websites.
- WalletHub regularly creates maps, including this one on the best- and worst-run cities and states in the United States. It generated lots of media attention, especially local coverage.
Digital PR Strategies
As you can see from the above examples, there are many different forms that digital PR can take. But whether you run your own campaigns or work with a digital PR agency, there are several strategies that have been tried and tested over the years.
When you are deciding on your own digital PR strategy, start by considering the following factors:
- Whatever type of content you create, it must be unique. Don’t focus on topics that have been done to death.
- Is your idea newsworthy enough? It must get press coverage or attract the attention of large blogs to be effective.
- Consider the types of publications you want to appear in and the journalists working at them. Research the types of stories they normally feature and what their hooks are.
- When you have an idea, determine how realistic it is. Can you carry out the survey? Do you have the funds to create a new tool?
Once you’ve considered all of this, there are several angles you could take:
Surveys are one of the easiest and most cost-effective types of content for digital PR. They are easy for journalists to create a story around, leading to good talking points. You can also use surveys to create accompanying content like infographics, which have visual appeal.
Maps are another popular option, and they are especially good for travel stories. You could create a map of countries, states or cities where people have certain habits, views, etc. They can be serious or lighthearted based on your brand and the type of campaign you want to run.
Interactive content and games can be effective, but they require more investment. Getting people involved by clicking on buttons or entering information while providing fun can be an easy way to generate publicity.
If you have access to your own data, you can use this to create stories and find interesting information and trends that will catch the eye of journalists.
Newsjacking is where you find an existing conversation and react to it. It could involve any of the above tactics, but by getting involved in a trending topic, you can amplify its reach.
Seasonal stories around Christmas, Halloween, etc., can work well because journalists are always looking for these, but this type of campaign should be carefully planned in advance.
These are just a few of the types of digital PR you can use. This should give you a good starting point for your own campaign, but a company offering digital PR services may help you determine which is the most suitable for your business.
Importance of Digital PR
There are many reasons why digital PR is so popular, and it has several benefits for companies of all sizes:
- Build authority online.
- Boost brand awareness.
- Improve brand reputation.
- Generate links, which helps with your SEO efforts and drives more targeted traffic to your website.
- Get more meaningful engagement online.
These are a few of the potential benefits, and all the above can lead to an increase in sales and revenue.
Digital PR for eCommerce and Retail
The same strategies covered above work for any industry, but you have to adapt your approach based on your niche. For example, ecommerce and retail businesses often target large blogs and social media accounts as well as media outlets.
In this case, choosing the right blogs to reach out to is important. Factors you may need to consider include:
- Website authority
- Size of social following
- Audience engagement
- Whether it’s a good fit for your target audience
When you have found the right influencers and bloggers to target, you need to reach out to them. The approach you take will depend on whether they have specific procedures in place for reaching out or not.
If not, it’s a good idea to show that you have an interest in their account and are familiar with their content to build rapport.
You will need to have your idea ready and suggest why they may be interested in it. Make sure it is targeted, which means you must have a good idea about their audience and what they will like so you can pitch them something of value.
If you’re selling a product, be prepared to send them a sample so they can use it themselves before recommending it to their audience.
If they have a large and engaged following, when they recommend one of your products, this can be a big driver of sales.
Digital PR for B2B
B2B needs a slightly different approach. Your focus will be more on enhancing your business’s reputation within the industry. However, the approach can vary greatly depending on your target audience and objectives.
Just like other digital PR, you will need to come up with a hook and collaborate with bloggers, influencers and journalists. The types of websites and news outlets you will target will often be different, but any national or local press coverage is useful.
You may need to focus more on different types of assets like white papers, surveys based on first-party data, and useful tools.
But don’t dismiss other ideas. Using lighthearted content can still be effective if it gets you coverage and helps you achieve your goals.
If you conduct outreach, find bloggers who operate in your niche. These may be fewer compared to retail and ecommerce. Is their audience a good fit for your company? If this proves a challenge, you may end up doing more outreach to media sites instead. Again, it depends on your specific niche.
Measuring Digital PR
Finally, you need to make sure your strategy is working. Only then will you know what to focus on in the future to enhance your campaigns. You can measure success by tracking:
- The number of media mentions you receive.
- The increase in traffic to your website. Use your analytics to find out how many visits you receive and where traffic is coming from.
- Signups to your email list, content downloads or any other goals related to your PR efforts.
- Social media metrics including likes, comments, shares, etc.
- The number of backlinks you generate, along with the domain authority of the links.
- The change in your website’s search engine ranking for specific keywords.
- Additional revenue you generate after campaigns go live
Digital PR can be a highly effective marketing strategy, whether your primary goal is to increase brand awareness, generate links from authority media websites for SEO, get more engagement or all of the above.
Whichever strategies you choose to focus on, if you go about digital PR the right way, come up with unique hooks, and learn from your campaigns, the results can be excellent.