How does Digital PR benefit business?
Digital Public Relations or Digital PR is managing a brand, company’s perception in the digital world using content marketing via Bloggers, journalist, and influencers. It is a “strategic communication” process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their various communities and stakeholders. Let’s understand how does PR benefit small businesses.
Given the fact almost 53% of the worldwide population is internet user, it becomes very important for a brand to influence the perception positively to achieve the required business goals.
Digital PR is an online marketing strategy used by businesses to achieve the required business objectives.
In public relations campaigns, public relation professionals help a business or individual create a positive reputation with through paid or earned media. This may include press released to media outlets, print publication newspapers, magazines, TV, Radio, reviews etc.
They also help defend a client’s reputation through a crisis that can negatively impact their image.
Digital PR helps achieve the same objectives as traditional PR via digital platforms, both earned and paid media, like, social media, website blogs, digital marketing.
What are the benefits of a good Digital PR strategy?
There are a lot of benefits of a well crafted Digital PR strategy. Some of them are as follows:
Your target audience is going to trust messages coming in from an influential personality more than paid advertisements. Influencer marketing has become a rage and created a lot of success stories in the digital world.
A good story is typically picked up by various media outlets almost at the same time. There are umpteen number of opportunities both in the form of press releases and social networks that can amplify your reach.
An advertisement in English daily like Times of India on the front page can easily exceed 7-10 lacs for one city. Digital PR is free. You don’t need to advertise and yet you get almost NO COST results.
Improved perception with various stakeholders:
One of the direct output of Digital PR is improved perception with various stakeholders like clients, employees, social communities which are interlinked to the business.
During a crisis situation, PR initiatives can help salvage the situation. These initiatives can help in damage control and salvage the brand image.
How is Digital PR different from influencer marketing?
Digital PR is all about communicating and releasing a press release with the hope that digital media channels will pick the press release. This helps in generating awareness, brand recall, solve brand perception issues etc. The upside of PR is that there is unlimited potential. Problem with Digital PR is that it does not guarantee any final result. You can only hope that your press releases will be picked up by the relevant media channels.
When it comes to influencer marketing, you can pick and choose your influencers on the basis of your target audience, budget etc.. You can even ask them to endorse your brand, products. Etc. You can ask them to even share your press release over social media and make a favorable comment. The advantage influencer marketing has over Digital PR is that there is a guarantee of the deliverable in the sense that your product will be endorsed over their channel. With Digital PR you have control over the imagery, the message and where you want that message to be delivered.
This is also where influencer marketing and PR has an overlap. Mostly when there are paid product endorsements by influencers and celebrities, it lies under the ambit of influencer marketing. But when the same channel is used for spreading awareness and is picked up by influences and celebrities by themselves, that is Digital PR in action. Increasingly there is the practice of influencers being hired for Digital PR as well.
How PR and SEO Work Together?
PR and SEO didn’t have any overlap in the traditional PR domain as such. But with Digital PR becoming increasingly important, its overlap with SEO has also become an important aspect that can be leveraged and synergized to create maximum impact for a business. Client’s website plays a big role in SEO.
Search engines today give high weightage to high-quality links from high domain authority websites like media channels etc. It is almost impossible to get any traffic to a website without a good amount of work on link building. Digital PR can help get these links from various influencers, media houses and social networks by the use of an outreach in the form of PR campaign. All these websites when they link back to your brand websites improves the SEO profile drastically. So Digital PR can contribute significantly to Search engine optimization of your business.
Let us see what all activities of Digital PR can help SEO:
When you identify the right influencers across blogs, social media etc they help you build relationships with their audience.
As Sir Richard Branson Said- “ Succeeding in business is all about making connections.”.
More targetted your influencer marketing is, it gets shared, amplified across various channels over and over again. This helps by the way of signals to search engines that users find your content being shared by influencer marketers relevant.
Digital Press Releases:
Digital PRess releases help you get backlinks. It is the most valuable outcome from the SEO perspective. From Digital PR perspective there are other outcomes like Online Reputation Management, brand awareness etc but those are added bonuses. Like traditional PR, press releases are still used. However new age Digital PR works with online platforms such as; Cision, Muck Rack, BuzzStream etc.. These tools send out a Press release or news story to a collected contact list via an email in bulk.
Social Media Marketing:
Social media is one of the ranking signals for search engines and helps in SEO. When you do Social Media Marketing and Optimization for your press releases, it sends a signal to search engines for ranking them.
Tools for managing Digital PR effectively:
For executing your PR strategy online, following tools would come in handy.
Google Alert is a tool that alerts you on the basis of specific keywords that you specify. You can specify the geography where you want that alert. For example, if you are a US-based organization, you can choose Google US and specify the keywords to watch for.
As per Wikipedia, “Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service, offered by the search engine company Google. The service sends emails to the user when it finds new results—such as web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or scientific research—that match the user’s search term.” This is a pretty useful tool for finding your brand mentions across the world or geographies you are present in.
This is a tool used for social media monitoring. You can find out brand mentions in real time. It is also suited for large teams present at different locations across the world. It helps you track activity on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc in real time.
Klout is primarily a tool which is used for measuring influence impact that a particular individual has. It is a good means of keeping an eye on what people think about your brand, and to see what influences them the most.
One can use this tool for tracking backlinks that are getting generated post your press releases or any outreach program.
Google Analytics is one tool which provides information about the traffic and pages on which traffic is coming, giving an idea about the effectiveness of the PR campaign.
Open Site Explorer is another tool which one can use to get information about the backlinks.
There are other hosts of tools like Keyhole, Hubspot etc which can also be used for various niches within Digital PR.
Digital PR tactics for small businesses:
For a startup or a small business, it becomes very essential to use Digital PR. For a startup or small business, the budget is always a constraint. Then there is a trade-off between PPC campaign and PR. But as discussed earlier there are benefits of PR for small businesses.
Those benefits include the impact on brand awareness, driving perceptions, and more importantly, SEO becomes a good reason to focus on Digital PR.
Some of the Digital PR tactics for startups are mentioned below:
Use Niche Networks:
First and foremost it is important to identify the right news outlet for startups. There are small networking groups in industries, online networking forums who are seeking networking opportunities. They can be used for PR for your startups.
You can use these platforms to promote your brand. Once you are part of these communities you can submit articles, comment on different posts. Publish white papers etc that can help you advance your PR.
Influencer marketing can be used for helping you achieve your PR objectives for your startup. You don’t need to have large budgets and pay influencers. You can look at relevant local influencers into smaller local markets, cities with a smaller following who may be the right target audience for your brand.
Be a Subject Matter Expert in your Niche:
You can promote yourself as a subject matter expert in various social media by providing relevant information for your niche and help achieve your PR objective.
Use Press Releases:
There is an umpteen number of Digital PR platforms where you can release your press releases. Not only this is much cheaper as compared to traditional media PR release but also faster to execute. You can even hire a small PR agency to release a press release in traditional media, should your budgets allow.