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Improve your subsequent PR marketing campaign with the assistance of digital marketing

by Holly Rollins

According to the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future, professionals in America spend an incredible amount of time online, an average of 22.5 hours per week. The majority of our customers are online. The result? Digital marketing and PR have never been more important.

Digital vs. traditional PR

Traditional PR is about working with journalists to get your company featured in newspapers and magazines. Prior to the dotcom boom, the goals of PR specialists and publicists were centered on how often their clients were featured in newspapers, magazines, radio and television.

And then came the internet. Many newspapers and magazines have moved their stories to websites and the role of traditional PR has shifted. Just as publicists used to compete for customers in the most widely read newspapers, they are now competing to bring their customers to a broad online audience. That's not to say that PR folks are still not working to get their clients in the papers – far from it – but the focus has changed and now PR firms and their clients can start with publications that have both print and online versions get more for their money.

In a certain way, digital PR enables companies to access two target groups at the same time.

What is digital PR?

Digital PR is not dissimilar to traditional PR, but its focus is on online visibility. They'll still do things like:

  • Writing and sending press releases
  • Building relationships with journalists
  • Organization of events and reviews
  • Writing blogs and thought guide pieces

By adding a digital twist some extras are added, such as:

  • Writing press releases with relevant, high-quality backlinks
  • Building relationships with online journalists
  • Organization of podcasts, events and reviews
  • Secure a high rank in search engines with SEO
  • Writing of thought guides for online publications with high quality backlinks
  • Creating content for social media

The goals of digital PR are very similar to the goals of traditional PR, but the methods are different.

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SEO and Google Ranking

The first goal of digital PR is online visibility. Getting on the first page of a Google search is important, and skillfully executed digital PR can accomplish this and more. A well-designed digital strategy involves SEO; Link profiles, anchor text distribution, link monitoring and ranking play a role in increasing the online presence and measuring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.

The press release in the modern world

It is the often discussed question in the PR world: Are press releases dead?

Press releases polarize. A good press release conveys who, what, when, where, why and how as quickly (and precisely) as possible. They are also incredibly easy to write badly – (many journalists keep “press release failed” compilations on their social media channels). However, publicly owned companies must use them for communication, and most niche market publications rely on press releases for their information.

However, simply including company news in a press release and posting that press release on a sales service is unlikely to support your digital strategy. You need to carefully consider how best to make your press release work for you. How? The Stern Strategy Group offers some great insights:

  • include backlinks. You MUST include backlinks in your press releases. The backlink is the key to digital PR value.
  • Create a timeline and build momentum. A press release, even if only on your website, shows current and potential customers that your business is doing well.
  • Use as part of a targeted media conversation . A press release is a great way to demonstrate credibility, especially when creating thought-guide pieces.

Thought guidance

Thought leadership establishes you as a leader in your field, but did you know that it can actually lead to new business? According to a survey by Edelman, 48% of executives and 45% of decision makers said that guiding a company's thoughts directly led them to do business with the organization.

Digital PR is a little harder. Much of the value of thought leadership comes from these high-ranking backlinks. Use a tool like Moz Domain Authority Checker when checking the backlink value and make sure to do your research. Some journalists don't include backlinks in their articles and are VERY frustrated when you email them to ask for one. It's always best to reach out to a journalist who has previously used backlinks to get the full digital value of the opportunity.

Pro tip: Online journalists are not bound by printing deadlines and publication days, so the pitching times can be a bit more flexible. Try to pitch at 11 a.m. and remember to avoid early Mondays and late Fridays.

Social media

The rise of social media has dramatically affected the way most companies think about PR. Where social media used to be about content creation, digital PR streamlines social media channels and is all about delivery. While content is key, digital PR social media is all about measurement.

Social media offers a range of insights, ranging from likes and shares to reach and impressions. Use the data to determine sales. Are there correlations between sales and impressions, likes or shares? This data has the potential to revive your business.

Building relationships with online journalists

A PR professional is only as good as his little black contact book, and without face-to-face meetings, any interaction is crucial. How can you build good relationships with online contacts?

  • Only put forward relevant ideas. In our digital world it is so easy to research what journalists have written about recently and what they are interested in. Take your time, do your research, and include a recent article in your pitch. Everyone likes to be praised. A journalist who knows you care is more likely to drop a backlink as a favor.
  • React quickly. If a journalist needs anything, be it a photo, a comment or another story, get in touch with him as soon as possible. This can mean keeping an eye on your email when a story is about to be published, but it's a small price to pay for the incredible exposure they offer.

Organize podcasts

According to Edison Research, 144 million Americans listen to podcasts. Chances are, your customers are some of them. Podcasts are a fantastic way to tell your story because you can use your own words with your own voice. Podcasts are also a great way to get your audience involved and bring them back to you over and over again for information about the industry.

When it comes to ROI, the answer is clear: today's most effective PR is digital.

RELATED: Local Small Businesses Get Smarter About Digital Marketing

About the author

Contribution by: Holly Rollins

Holly Rollins is President of 10x digital and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations, digital marketing and content marketing. She has created successful content marketing and digital marketing / PR for various industries: from healthcare and wellness to global retail and commercial real estate. She is also a contributor to the Huffington Post and was named a Top Global Content Marketer by the Content Marketing Institute in 2013-2018. Holly earned a Masters in Journalism / Global PR from USC and a BS in Graphic Design / Marketing from Appalachian State University.

Company: 10x digital
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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