Lindsey Witcherley

[Ask Me Anything] What is Digital PR?

by Lindsey Witcherley on June 10, 2014

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Digital PR is an essential part of today’s successful marketing strategies, but what is it and why should businesses pay attention to it?

In this Ask the Expert article, we explore how:

  • It compares to regular PR
  • It works in reality
  • You can achieve the most impact
 

Q: Apart from being online, how is digital PR different to regular PR?

A: The fundamentals aren’t different, and the principles of good PR are very much the same. The difference is that with digital PR you can reach a larger, relevant audience for a longer period of time because you’re not tied to traditional print-based distribution.

Once upon a time, PR was focused on media relations and churning out press release after press release. However, the advent of digital PR has changed that: the PR industry has now opened its eyes to a much wider audience that simply cannot be reached with offline methods.

Digital PR recognises that the world, and how we digest information, is changing – and this is in part down to the rising use of the internet. With statistics showing that 36 million people in the UK use the Internet on a daily basis, you can reach a vast audience through online channels, meaning your news can spread further and faster than ever.

This means that modern PR draws on content marketing, social media and search engine optimisation to make the most impact.

For example, imagine you're a construction company and you get a case study of a recent job published in Construction News. Lots of the developers you work with read this, so it's great for your profile. If you also get that case study published on cnplus.co.uk it will have a long shelf life – as it’ll be featured online (maybe permanently).

Construction News online might also include a link to your case study in the regular news digest emails it sends to its database, which is larger than its print subscriber base. You can include the link in eshots or ezines, so your customers and prospects learn about your successful job. You can also post links to the article on your website and your company and employee social media profiles. All this helps your natural search listings.

Q: How does it work on a practical level?

A: Because people source and share information online, digital PR is about making the transition from offering static news to sharing innovation, so you’re educating people and starting conversations. Much of this can be done without having to deal with the media, which means you get to speak to your target audience directly.

For example, you’re a manufacturer that’s just produced an article on an innovative new project. Digital PR means we don’t just share the article with leading industry media such as The Manufacturer: we can also upload it to your website, email it to your clients and promote it through social media channels such as LinkedIn.

As a result you’re sharing your work with friends and colleagues, as well as industry peers and potential customers.

Q: Which digital PR tactics generate the best results?

A: It depends on your business, target audience, and business objectives. Like any PR, the key lies in creating compelling, newsworthy stories.

However, there’s no point taking the time to craft quality, relevant content only for it to get lost in the noise. This is where technical skill plays a pivotal role. Identifying the best tactics for targeting your audience is essential. Here are just a handful of ideas to get you started:

  1. Identify the online media outlets and social media platforms your customers read
  1. Find out who’s influential online in your industry – bloggers, journalists or simply other professionals active on social media. Connect with them and get to know them. Provide them with interesting content at the right time and they’ll write about your brand
  1. Get active online, be it blogging, participating in LinkedIn group discussions or tweeting. Your PR activity will then be more effective because you’ll have authority as a thought leader
  1. Make your media releases work harder by repurposing them to create additional online content such as infographics, eguides, white papers and blog posts

The Ask Me Anything series

Have basic questions about marketing? We’ve been helping SMEs with marketing for more than 10 years, and have decades of experience across our team. In our Ask Me Anything series, Cognition’s experts answer common questions our clients have posed over the years.

By gaining media coverage, you build trust and credibility, which gives you a competitive advantage. Learn more here in our Free eBook, PR & Social Growth Secrets.
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Lindsey Witcherley

This post was written by Lindsey Witcherley

As Inbound Director, Lindsey is responsible for driving overall inbound strategy and marketing automation.

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