Public relations, or PR, has been a vital component of business communications for decades. It goes hand-in-hand with marketing, given it’s all about how we communicate with our audience and build our reputation as a trustworthy, quality brand.
Today, PR is just as crucial as it’s ever been.
Only, if you want to get the best results, you need to take it online. This is where digital PR comes in.
But what is it, and why is it essential to your SEO strategy? Keep reading to find out
What Is Digital PR?
Digital PR is about taking those traditional PR tactics and applying them to the digital world, supporting your digital marketing strategy.
When done right, it’s a highly effective way to increase brand awareness and reach your target audience.
The principles haven’t changed much, but the technology has.
Traditional PR was all about building relationships with journalists to get your brand featured in the media, which typically involved print publications like newspapers and magazines. While there’s undoubtedly still space for traditional PR, digital PR applies these concepts to online media, including online publications, social media, blogs and influencers, and other online information sources.
It’s still about building those relationships with the people we want to connect with and sell to, but it requires a slightly different approach.
Why should you include Digital PR in your SEO strategy?
Digital PR can also form part of your SEO strategy, often with impressive results.
Although the goal of digital PR aligns with traditional PR goals — to get your brand noticed by your target audience — it has other benefits that make it a core feature of any modern SEO strategy.
The most obvious benefit is the potential for building high-quality, authoritative links. When relevant leading online publications link to your website, this provides a signal to Google (and other search engines) that your website is one they can trust.
This trust improves your search engine ranking, getting your page higher up the results page for your chosen keywords.
Importantly, you need more of these good-quality, authoritative links to boost your rankings than you do low-quality links.
This means that you can get a much higher return on investment from digital PR than many other link-building strategies. You can also build links at scale — using effective Digital PR services that drive multiple links, with various angles, back to your website.
5 ways to incorporate Digital PR in your SEO strategy
There are many ways to incorporate digital PR into your SEO strategy. Here are five we recommend:
1. Keep a PR calendar of relevant events
Although PR often involves reacting to new stories as they emerge, there’s another, more predictable side of SEO. Each year, you should create a calendar of events relevant to your niche.
Your calendar should include awareness days that provide content opportunities. For example, if you’re selling beds or mattresses, you’d want to make sure you have National Sleep Day on your calendar.
It would help if you also thought seasonally. What will journalists in your industry be writing about in spring, compared to autumn or winter? Another example, if you’re a private tutor, it would be a good idea to include exams and back-to-school-related events on your calendar.
Essentially, anything that happens during the year that’s relevant to your brand — write it down!
This can help you structure your content and the associated PR campaigns. The trick is to pitch journalists at the right time. If you’re in the UK, journalists regularly use the hashtag #journorequest to find quotes for their news articles or editorial pieces. Set up a notification for this hashtag, and look out for relevant requests to your niche.
Some publications plan their content months in advance, while others write it closer to the date.
2. Create content that tells a story (storytelling)
Successful PR tells a story. You need to create something worth writing about. Whenever you’re planning a PR campaign, ask yourself why a journalist would want to write about it. Why would their readers be interested?
It’s a good idea to spend time creating a complete content marketing strategy. Digital PR isn’t about the ‘quick wins’ but about strategically pitching the right content at the right time.
When you take your time to craft a compelling story that invokes emotion and makes people want to share it, you’re more likely to be successful with your pitches and be rewarded with multiple links.
The most effective digital PR campaigns also include content that can be approached from multiple angles, again maximising the return on investment.
3. Always think about the hook
Aside from a great story, you also need a hook.
Journalists receive an inbox full of pitches every day; they’re not going to spend long reading yours. If you don’t have a hook, it’s going to get lost in the sea of pitches, never to be seen again.
How do you know when you’ve got the right hook? You need to get inside your customer’s head. What’s in it for them? Why will they care about your story?
Think about the primary message of your campaign. To get the right hook, you need to answer two questions:
- Is the message clear?
- Does it stand out?
If you can’t describe the core message using a single sentence, keep working on it until you can.
Your audience doesn’t have time to decode your campaign, and neither does the journalist reading your pitch.
4. Supercharge your link building with newsjacking
While a PR calendar helps you plan for the predictable, newsjacking is all about responding to the (mostly) unpredictable.
The news cycle runs 24/7. When something significant happens in the world, there will be journalists reporting on it.
Those journalists need sources.
And they often need them quickly.
Newsjacking is a growth hacking technique that capitalises on this by providing quotes and soundbites to journalists quickly in response to the latest headlines.
This can be an extremely effective way to build authoritative links, with a bit of time investment each day. We recommend getting up early in the morning to check the headlines and see if there’s anything you can respond to.
It’s essential to make sure you only send pitches when they’re relevant to your niche — and to act quickly. For the biggest chance of success, aim to get your pitches in before 9 a.m. (or as soon as possible after a story emerges).
5. Learn how to research and build relationships
PR has always been about building relationships — and that’s no different in this digital age.
Take some time to get to know the journalists in your industry. Read their past pieces. What do they write about? What kind of angles do they take? What do they look for in their sources? The more you learn, the more you can tailor your pitch to improve your success rate.
When you’ve worked with a journalist once, make sure you continue to build your relationship with them. If you become a trusted source, they may come to you with opportunities and be more open to receiving your pitches. Be courteous, thank them for their time, and respond quickly when they request information.
This will get you a lot of future mentions without having to ask for them, which is one of the main benefits of executing an SEO campaign.
These traditional PR principles will always be vital to getting results when working with the media, both online and in print. Are you ready to give digital PR a try to get more high-quality links that boost your SEO strategy? Get in touch to find out how we can help.