Emerging information and communication technologies have impacted every facet of the society, taking a huge chunk of human activities to the digital space. Public relations (PR) is the deliberately planned and sustained effort towards maintaining a mutually favourable relationship between an organization and its publics. This profession used to be practiced through traditional offline strategies that largely involved physical contact with the publics but these days, online technologies have expanded the horizon within which PR experts achieve their goals. This is where the concept of digital public relations comes in. IT primarily entails utilizing online technologies in achieving and sustaining a good relationship between an organization and its public.
The concept of PR, content marketing, social media, digital, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are more intertwined than ever before. Traditionally, PR professionals used to basically focus on positioning and managing a brand’s image through press offices and media interviews. That has changed today in the face of evolving digital technology.
Digital PR in modern society combines the qualitative aspect of building and promoting a brand with the more quantitative elements from digital and SEO to inform the PR strategies and tactics.
Both types of PR professionals seek a newsworthy hook that can help them promote their brand. What Digital PR professionals do is to always seek to back it up with data assets that can help them build links. This is how digital technology is applied in the practice of public relations today.
What Is Digital PR?
Digital public relations refers to application of internet-based channels in establishing a two-way information channel with an organization’s publics with a view to sustaining a mutually favourably relationship. It consists of utilizing very useful backlinks from websites and online publications, including honest and good customer reviews, which play essential roles in giving a good impression of a client before the publics. Digital PR helps organizations to reach their target customers by featuring that organization’s business on the websites they read, the podcasts they listen to and the social media accounts they always visit. Through digital PR, a company can even get five-star reviews on Google and Amazon. Digital PR ultimately creates a positive impact on a website’s search engine visibility and ranking.
Digital PR vs Traditional PR
There is a difference between traditional and digital PR. Traditional PR refers to those publicists who made a lot of efforts networking with journalists over the phone and organizing dinners for them to get their clients into newspapers and print publications. PR traditionally focused on print-based publications, TV and radio. But print media is no longer what it used to be and online media is rapidly overtaking traditional print publications and even TV. With the growth of online marketing, the savviest of these PRs have shifted their focus online to Digital PR.
Digital PR is an evolved form of PR involving a lot internet based activities to widen the horizon of goals achievement. Instead of targeting only print publications, Digital PR focuses on online publications and increasing brand awareness. This includes publishing articles and press releases, working with bloggers and influencers on product features and reviews, affiliate marketing, nurturing journalist and content writing contacts to secure press hits, using social media to gain exposure and building brand trust through online reviews.
Digital PR Strategies
The most basic focus of digital public relations is on publishing articles and securing backlinks from relevant websites and blogs. Digital PR further consists of nurturing relationships with journalists to get mentioned in the press. However, there are several different ways this task can be implemented, different types of links that can be built and other important Digital PR strategies that may also be utilised.
Here are some of the most common types of Digital PR strategy, as presented by exposureninja.com:
- Publishing articles online to gain high-quality backlinks
- Networking with journalists and editors to gain backlinks
- Publishing press releases and syndicating newsworthy content to earn press features
- Blogger outreach to gain backlinks and mentions on relevant blogs
- Influencer marketing to gain mentions on influential social media accounts
- Affiliate programmes that pay a commission to bloggers who refer customers to your business
- Offline press events or blogger events that aim to gain online coverage
- Sharing and syndicating infographics
Benefits of Digital PR
There are direct and indirect benefits digital PR for businesses. There is need to first set goals to be achieved through digital PR so that these benefits will manifest. Among the main benefits of Digital PR campaign are as follows:
- It improves SEO and rankings — Publishing on high-authority websites and getting links to your website will push an organization up the rankings for their target keywords. The higher up you rank on Google, the more traffic will come to your website.
- It boosts website traffic — The more people reading about your business and sharing your content on social media, the more people there will be visiting your website. It’s like wildfire, but you need to light it.
- It builds brand trust — One of the main tasks of the digital PR team is to make sure an organization’s customers only see good things when they type the company’s name into a search engine. Through digital PR, engaging content is created and positive impartial reviews are attracted from website users. This will nurture the company’s brand image over time. Useful, high-quality articles that are SEO-friendly will signal to search engines that the organization is a credible source of information. Also having the organization’s products or services reviewed by bloggers will increase brand trust among potential and actual customers.
- It generates leads — A good digital PR strategy should put your products in front of a relevant and interested audience. The more people reading about your products and clicking through to your website, the more leads you will generate (exposurenija.com).
- It increases sales — Very serious digital PR agencies know that businesses have to make sales and see Return On Investment (ROI) from their digital marketing investment. One of the major goals of a well planned digital PR campaign is to generate leads, and quality content on a company’s website which will channel those leads through a conversion funnel and turn them into paying customers. This is what digital PR managers should strive to achieve.
Digital PR is one of the major ways serious companies control their market and position themselves for greater opportunities. Traditional PR can no longer be useful if applied alone. It has to be combined with digital PR techniques to achieve results. The end goal of traditional and digital PRs is the same – gaining brand authority from reputable news sources to increase brand awareness. The difference is that traditional PR professionals achieve this through print coverage and other offline strategies while digital PR professionals look to gain link equity from the news sites and further apply other online techniques in ensuring mutually favourable relationship between an organization and its publics. Modern PR managers should equip themselves with digital PR techniques in order to be successful in today’s dynamic tech-based society.