What is Digital PR, and Why Does It Matter?

December 4, 2020

Kerrie Ashall

If you’re part of the SEO community, then you’ve likely heard the phrase ‘Digital PR’ passed around a lot. This marketing buzzword has cropped up many a times in discussions about content marketing and website optimisation, but it’s actual meaning may have become lost amongst the sea of trending topics. Is it simply PR but more online-focused? And how does it tie in with SEO?  

Today, we’ll explore the true definition of Digital PR and just what makes it stand out from all the other marketing strategies out there. 

What is Digital PR? 

Digital PR is an online marketing strategy that includes businesses networking with influencers, bloggers and/or journalists in order to build links. It’s all about getting coverage and using the right online platforms to connect with your target demographic and increase brand awareness.  

Examples of Digital PR 

The end goal of Digital PR strategies is always the same: to gain high-quality backlinks. There are several strategies that can be utilised by businesses, such as: 

  • Online press releases – Press releases are vital if you’re a smaller company starting out, as they offer potential customers important information about your business, such as an upcoming launch, exciting events or new products/services they can expect. Press releases are used to relay information while also keeping audiences’ interests piqued.   
  • Networking with journalists – Reaching out to a journalist is an ideal way to build key relationships that will strengthen your brand. Journalists – along with social media influencers and bloggers – are all about getting sources, and they will have ties to markets and brands that can substantially increase your visibility. Maintaining these relationships will benefit your company in the long run, as long as both sides profit.  
  • Social media shout-outs – A shout-out is when your business gets mentioned on someone else’s social media and they include a link to your site. Influencers are especially adept at promoting other services on their channels, and this helps your brand reach a new audience. 
  • Online reviews – Potential customers are likely to check online reviews about your business before they actually click on your site, so make sure you use them as part of your PR strategy. You can create a page for client testimonials as a way to promote positive reviews of your company.  

Why is it popular? 

The aim of Digital PR is to boost your online visibility with backlinks, and its popularity stems from the modern consumer’s reliance on digital devices. Compared to traditional PR methods, Digital PR has more range in terms of connecting to a wider audience. As recently as 2018, it was reported that 69% of people in the UK downloaded online newspapers or magazines, as opposed to purchasing traditional printed news content. And in 2016, The Independent went even further by becoming the first national newspaper to abandon print altogether and become fully digital. The digital market also has more potential for bloggers and journalists trying to find stories and connect to readers.  

With the coronavirus pandemic, Digital PR has become an even more vital marketing tool for businesses than ever. According to BuzzStream, “Millions of business owners have had to cut expenses to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, which is one reason 23.1 million Americans are unemployed. But the majority of business owners know the importance of digital PR, and, as a result, one-quarter of them have increased their digital PR spending during the pandemic. Communicating with your audience and attracting new business during a crisis is possible, a team just needs the right digital PR specialists. 

The Advantages of Digital PR 

The benefits of Digital PR include: 

  • Sites achieving higher search rankings – Digital PR can help you to boost your site’s Domain Authority (a search engine ranking score) and rank higher in the SERPs as a result. Using keywords, you can improve your credibility as an authoritative site, which will not go unnoticed by search engines.  
  • Bigger brand awareness – When you build relationships with other sites and achieve backlinks, this increases the number of visitors clicking on those links and landing on your site. This is a great way to attract new visitors who will, hopefully, become converted into customers.  
  • Making yourself an authority in your niche  By getting content published on high-quality sites – via guest posting or interviews – you can build your authority in your niche market. When your site is listed as a reference on a site with a high DA, then this highlights your site’s credibility.  

Digital vs. Traditional  

As mentioned before, Digital PR has soared in recent years due to the ever-growing use of mobile devices among consumers. So, what does this mean for traditional PR? Is it now defunct?  

Not necessarily; traditional PR is still going strong, with businesses getting coverage in printed newspapers and magazines, not to mention on TV and radio.  Meanwhile, Digital PR relies solely on online marketing strategies, having had to adapt to the modern consumer’s reliance on tech. So, in essence, Digital PR might not be better than traditional PR, but simply more advanced in an effort to keep up with evolving world of consumers.  

There is also the fact that Digital PR strategies are easier for companies to keep track of, with reports and data showing the relevant figures that help marketing teams determine what’s working and what isn’t. This data-driven approach to marketing is what helps companies to streamline their tactics and save time. Anyone who’s been on social media will understand just how quickly trends come and go, and why it’s essential to hop on bandwagons while they’re still in the public eye.  

What it means for SEO  

Achieving backlinks from high authority sites is one of the fundamental goals of any SEO team, and Digital PR has paved the way for enhanced SEO. Search Engine Land explains how SEO and Digital PR merge together; An easy collaboration exists between PR and SEO, now that good content and outreach is an integral part of SEO success — and those two things are something PR knows all too well.  

Final thoughts 

Typically, when we think of PR, our minds go straight to high-profile media companies pumping out press releases and generating leads through interviews and social media coverage for their A-List clientele. With Digital PR, companies can now exploit these very tactics in order to build their own company profiles in the digital world. While Digital PR isn’t always about liaising with journalists and social media influencers, it is about expanding your company’s reach and making yourself stand out from your competitors as they vie for the highest DA score. Digital PR isn’t new, but it may still be underappreciated by many companies trying to bolster their rankings. If you’re trying to enhance your brand, then it’s worth looking at the different methods of Digital PR and seeing which fresh techniques could boost your business.  

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