Public relations (PR) has always been at the center of a brand’s communication strategy. A good PR campaign helps a brand form a mutually beneficial relationship with the public by increasing the public’s awareness about that brand and the products or services it offers. However, traditional PR forms just part of the picture in today’s technological world. People have significantly reduced their use of traditional media, such as newspapers, magazines, and radio. Instead, they have turned to online media.
With this shift to online media, consumers are more connected to each other and to information they are looking for. They have become impatient with traditional forms of advertising, which are blatant, annoying, and offer little value to them. Here are some statistics to prove my point:
- 84% of millennials don’t like or trust traditional marketing.
- 58% of millennials don’t mind ads when they support their favorite digital personalities.
- Today, customers want a conversation with brands.
- Brands are turning to collaborative marketing, where they “market with the consumer” instead of “marketing at the consumer.”
The key in today’s PR environment is to go where the consumers spend their time and to engage with them in a way they will appreciate.
Where to Find Today’s Consumers
Today’s consumers are largely online, and they spend an incredible 30% of online time in social media. In addition, digital use is growing around the world with over 3.5 billion internet users in 2017. 72% of consumers now turn to Google to research products or services. This means customers arm themselves with an arsenal of information before even making contact with a brand. It also means that search engine optimization (SEO) plays a huge role in a brand’s online presence and visibility. With this in mind, brands need to rethink their PR approach.
Enter Digital PR
In it’s simplest form, digital PR is PR that aims to improve brand awareness through digital channels. Since consumer presence is primarily online these days, brands have to turn to these digital channels for their PR activities. Specifically, digital PR occurs when a brand brings their marketing efforts to channels such as:
- Social media
- Online media
- Email marketing
- Affiliate marketing
When a brand conducts a PR campaign across these channels, they can rely on:
- Improved search engine presence
- More backlinks to their website
- More positive mentions, likes, and shares in social media
- More reviews and commentaries on the brand and their products
- More five-star ratings on Amazon and Google
These all help build trust and a relationship with the consumer in ways that were difficult to obtain with traditional PR. What makes digital PR so significant? Here are some things to consider:
- Customers are spread across the country and around the globe. This means customer service also needs to be global. Considering 89% of companies believe customer service is the primary point of competition, this means digital is a must.
- The digital age has leveled the playing field, allowing businesses of all sizes equal access to the consumer and consumer data. Even individuals running businesses from their homes can compete.
- Marketing is now easy and inexpensive, particularly with the availability of social media and blogs.
- Traditional advertising is going the way of the dinosaurs. In fact, online advertising can no longer come in the form of traditional ads. People don’t want a straight and blatant ad—they want value. This often means giving them something for free—a report or an e-book, entry into a competition or contest, or simply great and informative content via blogs, email, and social media.
Thus, high-quality content has become essential to online marketing efforts. Since so many consumers turn to search engines to launch their brand and product journey, it is important to realize that SEO plays a huge role in today’s digital PR. In fact, these two aspects of online presence make the perfect partners in online marketing.
Digital PR and SEO
A significant portion of digital PR happens through the publication of online content. This content can be published in many forms—from press releases and news articles to infographics to social media posts.
When this content is targeted at providing the utmost in value to the consumer, digital PR and SEO can come together in a significant way. This pairing has been made possible in part by Google’s revamped policies on SEO and their increasing focus on the content quality. That means the content has to provide value, be distributed via multi-channel means, be relevant, and provide backlinks to websites. Thus, anyone who wants to rank high in Google’s search engine has to produce content that is valuable and relevant to the masses and includes links to prominent sites.
Online Media Relations
In a sense, this is what PR has always been about. Getting content into publications and linking that content to a business and a brand. This is what makes the two methods of marketing the perfect team for today’s digital presence. The goals of both PR and SEO are focused on creating content and directing the consumer to a specific brand, website, or product.
Aligning Digital PR with SEO
There are four primary channels on which to focus when it comes to digital PR. These are:
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Online media relations
Let’s take a look at each of these.
Content is and always has been the foundation of PR. The key is to start delivering content online. This means digital PR experts must collaborate with content specialists to create and distribute their content in various formats and via various channels to ensure it reaches a properly targeted audience.
Search visibility is critical to the success of any digital PR campaign. For this reason, digital PR and SEO experts need to work together closely. This is to ensure that all content that is created and promoted is fully optimized for relevant keywords and contains high-quality links that will help increase the brand’s authority and visibility.
Social Media Marketing
Since so many people use social media to such a great extent, it is important to reach the consumer through various social media channels. This means social media is an ideal channel over which to distribute content. It also provides means of connecting the consumer directly with the brand in a sort of one-on-one way. Companies can offer live coverage of an event, engage in a conversation with a customer, and offer customer support and respond to customer feedback through social media channels.
Online Media Relations
Even digital PR relies on the media. In this case, however, it is online media that is the focus. When connecting with online media, digital PR enjoys the advantage of increased mentions, comments, and reviews and increased backlinks that again helps improve a brand’s SEO.
Becoming a Leader in Digital PR
The ability to combine digital PR and SEO in a way that is truly effective is not to be taken lightly. As you can see from this brief post, Digital PR is a comprehensive field, where you need to cover areas ranging from SEO to Affiliate Marketing. And this deep understanding of the interconnections of various fields with Digital PR only comes with experience. And SEMrush, being one of the leading digital marketing brands, shared their broad expertise in Digital PR and how to get the most PR value from various channels in an in-depth e-book called Launching Profitable Digital PR Campaigns for International Markets. This e-book provides a comprehensive view of digital PR, the role of digital PR specialists, and the tools used to create a comprehensive digital PR presence. To learn about each multi-encompassing side of Digital PR, you can download the e-book here.