Digital Public Relations (PR) is a strategy used to increase awareness and visibility of your brand using online channels. Digital PR is similar to traditional PR but it offers the opportunity to reach more people in a measurable and targeted way. 

To make the most impact, digital PR relies on digital marketing strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, influencer marketing, and social media. Digital PR is a powerful strategy that allows companies to speak directly to their target audience at any time and anywhere. By connecting and sharing with your audience, it’s possible to start a dialogue that clarifies your focus and spreads news and information more quickly. 

What is the Difference Between Digital PR and Traditional PR? 

Digital PR and Traditional PR have their differences and similarities in approach and strategy. Traditional PR involves networking with journalists to get featured in print publications. The goal of publicists specializing in traditional PR was to leverage contacts to promote or quote their clients in the media (e.g. newspapers, magazines, radio, and television) or in crisis reputation management. Today, most traditional PR experts have adapted by including digital PR – often finding larger audiences or viewership in online content – although traditional forms of PR are still effectively used. Here’s the well-known “PESO media model for PR” created by Valerie Turgeon to illustrate the different types of media PR professionals can target. 

P – Paid Media: This includes paid advertisements, sponsorships, and paid articles appearing in the media. 

E – Earned Media: These are free media spaces obtained through public relations efforts, such as news articles, interviews, or reviews. 

S – Shared Media: This includes social media and platforms where users can share, comment, and react to content, which can increase visibility and engagement. 

O – Owned Media: These are media channels controlled by the brand, such as websites, blogs, and social profiles, where direct communication with the audience is possible. This model provides a framework for integrating different types of media into PR strategy to achieve broader brand visibility and impact.

Using digital PR provides marketers with the opportunity to:

Obtain interviews in online publications: Digital PR enables brands to appear in relevant online publications through interviews, articles, or other forms of media coverage, which can increase visibility and impact.

Increase online presence: Activities of digital PR, such as publishing relevant content on websites, blogs, and social media platforms, help strengthen the brand’s online presence, improving visibility and audience accessibility.

Utilize the power of social media for brand growth and recognition: Digital PR allows the use of social media as an effective channel for communicating with the audience, promoting content, interacting with users, and building brand recognition and loyalty.

Here are some advantages of digital PR for your brand:

Increased website traffic: When your brand is mentioned more frequently online, more people will visit your website, resulting in increased traffic and potential customers.

Enhanced SEO and search ranking: When your content is published on high-authority sites that contain links to your website, your SEO rating will improve for targeted keywords.

Establishment of company as an authority: Publishing high-quality articles on authoritative sites will enhance your reputation as a credible source of information and increase trust among the audience.

Generation of earned links: By using digital PR, you can obtain high-quality and deserved online mentions instead of paid ones.

Generation of potential clients and sales: When your brand is mentioned more frequently, you’ll generate potential clients who visit your website, potentially leading to increased sales.

Improvement of brand image and increase in trust: Your target audience will hear more positive things about your brand and see more positive customer reviews.

Easier tracking of success: Unlike traditional PR, which often targeted a broader audience and was difficult to measure, using UTMs or tracking parameters allows you to see how your PR campaign is performing.

Cost-effectiveness: One of the advantages of PR is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Simple press release distribution or reaching out to established journalists or bloggers can lead to success.

How to Use Social Media for PR? 

Few tools are more powerful in a digital PR campaign than social media. Through social media, you can connect with customers and influential individuals, study your competitors’ strategies, and consistently engage in conversations within your niche. As you continue to write and publish additional high-quality content, keep promoting them on social media and encourage others to share and promote them. Provide value and information worth sharing and discussing.

How to start a digital PR campaign? 

Whether you’re managing your own digital PR or using a digital PR agency, the beginning is crucial. When you start using online channels to build your brand, you can analyze what works and what doesn’t, and make changes if necessary.

How can you get started?

Know your target audience. Use surveys and social media interaction to understand people interested in your brand and its message. It will also help you create clear customer profiles.

Set your goals – Understand your goals and KPIs for your digital PR activities and track them.

Build key relationships – Research and use data to produce authoritative content by building relationships with influencers and top bloggers in your niche.

Brainstorm ideas – You know what you want to say, but how can you say it to stand out online? Content ideation is one of the toughest but most crucial elements. If done right, it will drive engagement. Pay attention to research in this phase to ensure the information you communicate is accurate and relevant.

Assess your resources – How much time you have for digital PR can be a factor in deciding whether to do it yourself or outsource. Consider outsourcing part or all of your digital PR if you don’t have much time.

The more digital PR strategies you use, the more likely you are to improve your brand’s reputation and successfully grow your business.

How to measure the success of a digital PR campaign

One of the great things about digital PR is that it’s possible to track and measure. This means you can see which campaigns or messages are successful and which ones fall flat.

But what metrics should you use for measurement and reporting on performance?

Clicks – If a link is included in an article or post, you can track click activity on it and see how many times it’s been clicked.

Backlinks – Look at how many backlinks your campaign has received and the quality of those backlinks.

Social sharing – How many times has the campaign or article been shared on social media and by whom?

Potential leads or revenue – Can you attribute any potential leads or revenue to the campaign? You can see this by reviewing the first or last visited URL in GA4 or by setting up “Events” goals. Did revenue spike when the campaign was launched or run?

ROI – Did the campaign achieve a good ROI? This could be visibility, website traffic, brand sentiment, or revenue.

Ultimately, your digital PR strategy should focus on providing useful and informative content for your audience. Also, ensure that your content integrates into foundational content pillars and SEO strategy for broader business context. 

Source: Digital Marketing Institute