Digital PR has disrupted the press release of decades past and sent ripples throughout the digital marketing world. Defined, digital PR is the intersection of traditional public relations, content marketing, SEO, and social media.
In short, digital PR is a strategy used by brands to evolve their business and build an online presence. Gone are the days of merely using print media to achieve brand awareness. Companies are utilizing blogs, podcasts, emails, and more to reach potential customers.
What is Digital PR?
Did you know that a single email has the power to earn top-tier coverage, hundreds of backlinks, and thousands of social shares for your content? This is the power of digital PR. It goes beyond the standard press release, combining a brand's message with powerful storytelling to achieve online coverage on top-tier publishers.
Quality over Quantity
The press release is to 1990 what digital PR is to 2018. A traditional publicist might send long, uninteresting, and one-sided press releases to thousands of journalists a day in hopes of earning as many media mentions as they can. Yet, there is no guarantee that any of these press releases will ever be seen or shared.
Meanwhile, the key to a successful digital PR strategy is establishing mutually beneficial relationships with digital influencers—often journalists—through deliberate and personal correspondence. These relationships last, and digital PR professionals can continue to work with their contacts to share their message indefinitely.
Digital PR also has the added benefit of improving Google organic search ranking by accumulating press mentions and backlinks on high-authority websites. The lifespan of digital PR is far greater than that of traditional press releases. Digital PR is the easiest and fastest means to earn thousands of views on your content.
Rising Above the Noise
Robust and authoritative link building is the result of high-quality outreach. Journalists are outnumbered by public relations professionals by nearly 128%, meaning there are more than 4 PRs to every journalist. This means they receive a lot of pitches.
Fractl estimates over 42% of writers reported receiving 11 to 100 pitches a day, and almost 5% receive 100+ email pitches per day, meaning it's harder than ever to rise above the noise. Careful research of your potential contact combined with compelling content will ensure that your pitch gets read when you send it.
The easiest way to get your email to stand out in an inbox is by crafting a great subject line. We found, based on a study of 500 journalists, that most people (76% of writers) open an email based on the subject line alone.
What are the Goals of Digital PR?
Recently, Google more or less gave their stamp of approval when it comes to the tactic.
While Google hasn't always been clear about the weight of ranking factors, John Mueller all but confirmed digital PR is equally as important to technical SEO (if not more), for boosting your website's search engine rankings.
At Fractl, we've known for years that Digital PR works hand-in-hand with your SEO strategy to achieve your marketing goals. When digital PR is integrated into your overall content marketing strategy, it can perform various objectives. Fractl's promotions team leverages relationships with editors, journalists, and influencers to get quality content published on high-authority sites with large audiences. We can use a digital PR strategy to achieve various goals for our clients.
There are a few key steps to accomplish your goals when it comes to building and developing these relationships. The first is to craft a pitch that shows you've done your research on who you're outreaching. Next, personalize your email. This again shows you have done your research and are taking the time to contact them directly. Third, show how your content will be valuable to them. Be straightforward in your email and only share essential information that will benefit them. Finally, send a follow-up email. Relationships need to be maintained, and following up will help build trust in the relationship.
“When it comes to placements with high-authority publishers, taking the time to personalize each pitch is key to success...This long-term relationship-building strategy fosters name recognition and affinity for individuals on your team as well as your business. Over time, you’ll go from sending individual pitches to seeing top-tier writers reaching out to you for content and quotes.” - Kelsey Libert, VP Marketing, Fractl
Examples of Digital PR
How Digital PR Can Build High-Quality Backlinks and Improve SEO
Example: Most Instagrammed Locations
If you have high-quality content, and you know how to pitch it to writers, you can set up a strategy that builds top-tier links over time.
Take our client, THE INTERVIEW GUYS, for example. They hired us to partner in this content marketing + digital PR endeavor. We create content projects for them every month and have a team of people responsible for pitching that content to the most appropriate writers.
We pitched it to well-known publications, and as a result, it was covered in CNBC, MARKET WATCH, READER’S DIGEST, and more. These are links with a domain authority above 90 that are extremely hard to acquire if not for this particular strategy.
So if you need to improve your backlink portfolio, definitely consider pairing great content with digital PR.
How Digital PR Can Increase Brand Awareness
Sometimes, you’re just looking to get your name out there. Maybe your competitors are household names, or maybe you’re new to the scene and trying to compete. Whatever the reason, if you’re not well-known, that can be keeping people from trusting you or even knowing you’re an option for them.
SEO-driven content is a great way to BUILD BRAND AWARENESS in this way, because you want your content to be high up in search engine results when people search for queries related to your business.
Digital PR is a great supplement to SEO work. If they’ve seen your brand name before, they’re probably more likely to click on it when they see it in the SERPs.
When you do the digital PR work like I described in the previous section, your brand is often mentioned early on in the news story since you’re the source of the information.
In the MarketWatch coverage, our client was mentioned in the “top of the fold” — meaning it’s in the first screen of text without scrolling. And it says exactly what kind of site they are. Hard to beat that.
How Digital PR Can Increase Customer Acquisition and Leads
Example: Sapio User Acquisition Case Study
Digital PR can achieve a variety of goals. In the case study focusing on the dating app, Sapio, researchers saw a 3,072% increase in the number of downloads weekly over five weeks.
Focusing on timelines was a massive win for Sapio. Knowing Valentine's Day was on the horizon, they maximized coverage and played on the upcoming holiday. They also offered interviews with founder Kristin Tynski. This provided an authoritative voice for the media to showcase in their coverage.
Third, they personalized pitches to each outlet. Instead of sending along with a standard copy, they customized each pitch to fit the publishers' tone and perspective. These three things all helped Sapio substantially grow its user-base in a matter of weeks.
Measuring ROI of Digital PR
You've achieved a massive win for your brand, but now what? Once your digital PR campaign is getting widespread coverage, it's important to start tracking your digital PR efforts.
- How effective is your pitch? You can analyze KPIs like open rates, subject lines, and response rates to measure your outreach effectiveness.
- Once you start getting widespread coverage, track textual brand mentions, backlinks, social shares, and impressions to evaluate your campaign's overall success.
- Don't forget to evaluate your digital PR efforts' long-term ROI—what was the impact digital PR had on traffic, page rank, authority, and domain authority over time.
- Google analytics can be a great tool to track how much referral traffic a digital PR campaign is driving to your site.
Ultimately, your digital PR efforts will lead you to measure ROI, including new referral links, increased organic traffic, and new leads or signups. With this information in hand, you can have a straightforward, concrete look at your link building success that you can easily share with your entire team.
Let's Review: What is Digital PR?
Digital PR is shaking up the traditional PR methods in the best possible way. When done correctly, digital PR can be a crucial part of your strategy to help not only build but maintain and develop relationships. It can be a game-changer in any marketing strategy and substantially increase ROI.