We will define digital public relations (PR) as encompassing all efforts that help businesses build, maintain and increase their digital presence. In contrast with traditional PR, digital PR focuses on achieving its goals via the digital channels of online content, social media etc.
Digital PR has strong overlaps with content marketing, where you are focused on creating and distributing useful content such as useful blogposts (such as these!), videos, infographics, free tools, free ebooks etc. to attract and retain a clearly defined audience to ultimately drive conversions to your intended goal.
Digital PR vs content marketing
The major difference between digital PR and content marketing is that in the former you are simply pitching interesting story ideas to the journalists and letting them write the story as they see fit; you may only be a small soundbyte in a story, but that’s fine. Whereas in content marketing you are paying someone to not only come up with a story idea but also execute it in full and create a finished content ready for public consumption. Obviously, generating content will come at a cost, but it allows you greater control on the type of content you want to create as well as the frequency of publishing it. No matter how hard your PR team works, they will never be able to generate consistent and predictable coverage so it content marketing fills that need.
Digital PR vs Influencer marketing, guest and sponsored blogging
We should also differentiate digital PR from influencer marketing, guest and sponsored blogging even though the lines are blurring somewhat. Many people get confused by influencers aka people with lot of social media following and celebrity journalists who can also have hundreds of thousands of followers. However, one fact separates them both: with influencer marketing, you are paying a slice of profits/revenues with each sales conversion attributable to a mention or content push by the influencer. The exact payment terms could be worked out as individual agreements or with standard Affiliate arrangements. Influencer marketing is mostly associated with instagram and youtube although you can also do it with guest blogging etc. on major platforms such as Forbes.
In Digital PR, the journalists are paid not by you but rather the outlet they write for. As mentioned before, there are some freelance journalists writing for Forbes etc. and they do get paid for sponsored content but its clearly indicated whenever that happens.
Why everyone including small businesses need digital PR
All of the conversation till now may seem intuitive but its still useful to explicitly mention it. So influencer marketing, content marketing, and digital PR are three different ways to the same end goal: getting people to your business front (aka your website) and generating conversions.
Can you guess about how general public finds anything or anyone on the internet? ofcourse by using a search engine like Google or Bing! Hence, I can break down our digital marketing end goal one step further and say that our eventual goal is trying to rank higher on search engines whenever someone types in a query relevant to our business. This is exactly what Digital PR will help you way more than any other digital PR strategies.
One of the most common misconceptions from small businesses is the thinking that they are too small for needing a PR strategy. That’s not true at all! any business these days needs a PR strategy; you may not have budget to have dedicated employee or an agency to do it for you, but you can surely do some PR on the side. Most users of journalistfinder.com are indeed small business owners, nonprofits etc. who are doing digital PR themselves.
Nowadays, if you dont actively manage your web conversations, than your customers will do that for you by writing reviews on Google, Tripadvisor, Yelp, Trustpilot, Amazon, Ebay.com, Walmart.com etc. Search engines like Google will automatically rank these higher whenever someone enters a query and in absence of a digital PR strategy these will dominate your search results. Digital PR is the art of making sure that your customers see good stories when they enter your name in Google.
Boosting SEO via Digital PR
In more technical terms, digital PR will amplify your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. SEO aims to improve organic rankings on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
SERP ranking is based on relevancy, trust and authority.
Relevancy determines how relevant a particular page is for a given search query. You can influence the ranking for a set of keywords by including them on your page and within meta tags on your page. There are also other onpage factors your web developer can create on your website which helps search engines find content on your site. Let’s assume that you are already up to date with all these factors.
Whenever search engines encounter content hosted on two websites with similar relevancy, the content hosted on a domain with higher trust and authority gets precedence in SERP ranking compared to sites with lower trust and authority score.
trust and authority is dependent on quality of your site; sites get a higher score by getting other high-quality webpages link to your site’s page URL (backlinks).
Digital PR allows you to build these links from high quality websites (aka news sites) back to your website, boosting your domains trust and authority scores. That will in turn help you boost search engine rankings for all the content hosted by your site, making your existing content marketing efforts even more effective.