Digital PR Guide for Business Owners
SEO, SEM, SMM…
There certainly are a lot of fancy words in the online marketing world.
And as if those weren’t enough, there’s a fresh buzzword that’s gaining quite a lot of attention nowadays.
It’s a strategy that many businesses use to increase their brand awareness, online traffic, and, ultimately, sales.
What is it, you ask?
It’s called Digital PR.
Today, we’re going to have a closer look at this “new” strategy.
We’ll have a look at:
- What exactly digital PR is
- The benefits of digital PR
- How to run a digital PR campaign
- Samples of digital PR in action
All with business owners in mind – so you can get your digital PR campaign up and running by the end of this article.
Well then, let’s dive in!
What is Digital PR? (Digital PR vs. Traditional PR)
In a nutshell, digital PR is the strategy of reaching out, building online relationships, and spreading information about your product or business to popular blogs and websites in your niche.
You might be familiar with traditional PR companies. It’s important to note that digital PR services are NOT the online equivalent of traditional PR (public relations) services. Digital pr isn’t necessarily online “public relations.”
At least, not in practice.
So what’s the difference between digital PR vs. traditional public relations companies?
Traditional pr companies have connections to prominent media outlets. They know the right people and can get you on major publications for a fee.
On the other hand, digital PR is just a term to describe a particular combination of well-known online marketing techniques.
Yes, it gives you great results, but the methods it uses aren’t exactly new.
Digital PR uses a healthy mix of SEO link building, influencer marketing, press releases, social media marketing, and strategic partnerships.
With these techniques, you will get a lot more exposure in your niche.
That’s the whole point of digital PR – getting your name out, increasing your brand awareness, and building trust with your target audience.
However, it’s important to note that digital PR is NOT a standalone marketing strategy.
Yes, it’s a great way to get your name out there and boost your sales.
But if you focus solely on digital PR without a healthy SEO backbone, it won’t give you the results you want.
It’s not as difficult as it seems.
Benefits of Digital PR
Digital PR is not a trend.
Yes, the term is relatively new, but it’s not going to disappear anytime soon.
This is because there are dozens of benefits you can enjoy from a good digital PR campaign.
What are the benefits, you ask?
The benefits of digital PR include:
- Establishing your company as an authority in your niche
- Getting a flood of new traffic on your website
- Boosting your SEO rank and enjoying long-term results
- Capturing dozens of new leads
- Building a healthy business network
And, most importantly, good digital PR will boost your sales – no matter what industry you’re in.
How to Do Digital PR
You know what digital PR is and what you’ll get from it.
Now the big question is:
How exactly do you do digital PR?
Where do you get started? And how do you ensure that you will succeed?
We mentioned that digital PR is a mix of several other online marketing strategies.
Let’s have a closer look at each one.
Digital PR Strategies #1: Link Building
Link building is one of the mainstays of SEO.
Getting useful links to your website is a crucial step to take if you want to rank on search engines.
Without links, there’s just no way you can win any keywords (except the ones no one searches for).
However, aside from the rank boost, link building also has another wonderful benefit:
If you get links from well-known websites in your niche, this will be huge for your digital PR push. It will be as if that popular site endorses you. And your name will be right in front of your target audience.
Like every finance-related business wants to get featured on Wall Street Journal, or every sports-related business would love a plug on ESPN – there is surely a prominent website in your industry that you’d love to get on.
If you’re doing your digital PR yourself, you’d reach out to that website and try to find a way to get a link from them.
If you’re working with a digital PR agency or digital PR professionals, they’ll be the ones to do that for you.
But here’s an important bit:
Unlike traditional public relations services, most digital PR agencies or digital PR professionals don’t already have relationships with that popular website you’re after. Instead, they use SEO link-building techniques to try and reach and get you a link from them.
In other words, you’re not paying a digital pr agency because they know someone inside those popular websites – you’re paying them to do the hard work of reaching out to these big websites (which you can do yourself).
See the difference?
So don’t get digital PR services with the expectation that they can give you a link from a specific website every time.
The real benefit of a digital PR agency is that they:
- Know the best link building techniques (which may or may not land you your dream link)
- Will save you a lot of time (and we mean a LOT, link building can get very tedious)
- Can get you links from various websites in your niche
See point #3?
It’s not as glamorous as getting one link from the absolute best website in your niche. But if you have plenty of links from other good websites, you will still get excellent results.
Okay, enough talking…
How do you do link building again?
As mentioned before, link building can get tedious.
Here are some ways you can do it:
- Write outstanding content
- Reach out to websites
- Guest blogging
Note: If you already know people with good websites in your industry, great! All you have to do is talk to them about how they might link to you (make sure there’s something in it for them).
Let’s have a quick look at each one.
Write Outstanding Content
(For an in-depth look at how to write outstanding content, check out our content marketing guide)
If you have valuable insider information…
… information about your industry that people can’t find anywhere else on the internet…
… then, you can use that knowledge for links.
Write a blog post, perform a case study, or create an ultra-valuable infographic that reveals what you know, then publish it for FREE.
Give it out to the world. If it’s really valuable information, it will win you links.
People will read your comprehensive blog or case study, and they will naturally want to link to it. They will reference it on their blog posts or direct their audience to it if they want more information.
If you want to learn more about writing awesome content, check out our in-depth content marketing guide.
Reach Out to Websites
While a fantastic piece of content or infographic should gain links on autopilot, it’s also a good idea to go looking for them.
Search for blogs in your niche that your article, case study, or infographic could supplement.
When you find them, shoot them an email and ask them if they’d like to cite your work or put up your infographic on their website in exchange for a link.
It’s a shot in the dark, we know.
But if you master the art of cold email outreach, this will be an easy way to get more links.
Don’t send out a generic template to hundreds of websites at a time. Instead, take the time to personalize every single one.
And make sure you let them know what they and their readers will get if they choose to link to your article.
Cold outreach is tough.
It’s one of the main reasons people turn to digital PR agencies instead of doing it themselves.
But if you’re determined and have a knack for getting people’s attention, you will win easy links this way.
The biggest question with link outreach is this:
What will the websites that link to you get in return?
Many people will feel that linking to your superior content won’t be worth the hassle.
If that’s the case, you can turn to guest blogging instead.
Guest blogging is similar to link outreach. However, instead of writing content on your website and for links, you publish your content on their website.
There’s more in it for them since your spectacular content will be on their site.
So pitch your content!
Yes, it’s that cold outreach once again.
That is the way to build links.
Digital PR Strategies #2: Press Releases
Quick note: digital PR doesn’t stand for “digital press release.” PR stands for public relations like traditional PR.
Press releases are another essential part of digital PR.
As more and more people head online to get their news, this is a tremendous opportunity for you to reach them.
And the good news?
Unlike link building, where outreach is as cold as it gets, online journalists are actively looking for interesting stories every day.
So reach out to them!
If you have something newsworthy going on, reach out to these online journalists.
They’d love to publish a story that will grab the attention of their readers.
And if the press outlet is closely related to your niche, you can be sure you’ll get some good exposure from it.
What to Write About
But here’s the problem:
What if you’re in an industry where nothing newsworthy happens?
You might feel like you’re in an industry where nothing spectacular happens.
It’s just the same old day in and day out work as before.
Even if that’s your case, there are still ways you can put up newsworthy stories.
For construction companies and architects, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
You can put up stories of your daily work. Publish stories when you win a project, during the groundbreaking, or any significant updates.
Turn the tasks you do every day into exciting stories and publish them.
But what if you have a SaaS company? Which stories do you publish?
You could post news stories whenever some high-profile person starts working with you.
Or, if you have updates in your SaaS, publish that as well.
You could write an article about your latest update, then go on about how your software is changing the game in your industry.
You could even publish news articles about a specific page on your website that you’ve updated.
If you created an ultimate guide and updated it for the year, publish that on the news! After stating the updates, you can get into how helpful your guide has been to everyone in the industry.
It’s great for your digital pr campaign and can help your SEO as well.
How to Distribute Press Releases
There are two ways to distribute your press releases:
- Contact journalists
- Get press release distribution services
To contact journalists, you’ll have to do a little digging.
Don’t just pitch your press release to every single journalist you find.
Look for journalists who have published articles on your niche before. This way, there’s a much bigger chance they’ll consider your story.
The problem with this method is that it is very time-consuming.
Finding the right journalists and writing a good pitch can take a LOT of time.
Your other option is to go for press release distribution services.
The pricing of these services might seem high for you at first, but you have to remember that their service is very valuable.
These press release distributors have contacts with thousands of journalists in every niche.
When you get their services, they’ll syndicate it to their network of journalists, no questions asked.
Then it’s up to the journalists whether they’ll take up your story or not.
Again, it doesn’t sound very promising.
But if you can write a killer press release, it may just land you on a major online newspaper.
Digital PR Strategies #3: Influencer Marketing
Influencers: famous people who can influence others to buy your product or get your service.
You might have heard of influencer marketing on Instagram or Facebook before.
It is a prevalent marketing method nowadays.
Because it works.
Influencer marketing is paying an influencer in your niche to use and advertise your product.
No, you don’t have to shoot a commercial with them or put their picture on a billboard. Instead, all they have to do is show their followers that they are using your product or service.
They can do this by posting a picture of themselves with your product on their social media platforms or tweeting that they got your services.
Influencer marketing is very similar to referral marketing.
The only difference is that someone famous in your industry is the one endorsing you.
Remember when Elon Musk tweeted about Dogecoin?
Dogecoin rallied an enormous 37% in 24 hours!
But here’s something that too many people get wrong about influencer marketing:
You don’t need to get someone with a million followers to benefit from influencer marketing.
There is such a thing as micro-influencers, people with 1,000 – 100,000 followers.
The great thing about getting these people to endorse you is that they aren’t too expensive, AND they are perfect for very specific niches.
Another great thing about influencer marketing is that you can negotiate lower prices.
Let’s say you only want someone to endorse your product during a specific time of day. You can ask them to put the post up for only a set amount of hours.
After that, they’ll take down their post, and you won’t have to pay them as much.
Digital PR Strategies #4: Social Media Marketing
Branding is a big part of your digital PR campaign.
And when it comes to branding, social media is one of the best places to do this.
If you do it right, social media can increase your brand awareness.
However, you may have heard that SMM is great because if you go viral, you get a LOT of free traffic.
While that is true, going viral is tough. There is no science behind it. You either strike gold, or you don’t – and most people don’t.
So is SMM dead?
Even if you never go viral, social media is still a great place to engage with your customers and win new ones.
Again, people want high-value information and infographics. If you give this to them on social media, it will build your brand trust.
You can also make food for thought posts, which will start a conversation. Engaging your customers is a great way to build up loyalty.
Also, there is always that slim chance you’ll go viral if you keep providing high-quality content.
Finally, social media platforms allow you to run highly-targeted advertisements.
As with all ads, this can get expensive very quickly.
But if you want your name slapped in front of your target audience fast, social media is a great place to do so.
Now for the hard stuff:
Social media marketing is time-consuming.
If you’re not going to commit to your SMM, it’s not worth doing it.
Social media marketing only works if you are consistent – if you can regularly put out high-quality content for that platform.
And things can get expensive.
If you aren’t willing to spend $1,000 on social media marketing a month, don’t expect results.
Digital PR Strategies #5: Strategic Partnerships
Last but not least, strategic partnerships.
There are no standalone businesses.
You surely have several businesses around you that have a similar product or service – but aren’t exactly competing with you.
Those businesses are perfect for strategic digital pr partnerships.
If you can build a relationship with them, you can work together to reach more people. You can link websites, publish press releases, or be each other’s influencer on social media.
It’s a win-win for both parties.
However, too many people are afraid of strategic partnerships – which is a shame.
There is a lot of fear involved. A lot of people don’t see how beneficial strategic partnerships can be.
Think about it.
If you were a short-term loan company and made a partnership with a used car dealership – things would be very fruitful for both of you.
The dealership can point people who need cash to you, and you can point borrowers to the dealership if they’re looking for a car.
So don’t close the door to strategic partnerships.
Find the right partners, and together you can grow exponentially.
And that’s it!
Those are the five ways you can start working on your digital PR campaign.
As we said, digital PR is just a mix of online marketing techniques designed to put your name in front of your target audience.
That’s why you must pair digital PR with a great website and solid SEO for it to work.
Digital PR Examples
Still confused about what to do?
Here are some industry examples of digital PR in action.
Digital PR Strategy for Short Term Loan Companies (Local Link-Building)
Short-term loan companies have an extremely local market.
People aren’t going to drive across a big city to borrow money. Instead, they’re going to the nearest lender near them.
That’s why local marketing is critical for this industry.
So what would digital PR look like for them?
Local link building.
Short-term loan companies can find other businesses in their area with websites, reach out, and build links with them.
In return, they can link to that local businesses as well.
It’ll be a win-win for local businesses.
Digital PR Strategy for Construction Companies (Press Releases)
One industry where brand awareness is a necessity is construction.
Construction companies need to get their name out as much as possible.
This is because there are only so many construction projects out there. They need to position themselves as the absolute authority in their specialization to win the projects they want.
That’s why construction companies need to get their name on the news as much as possible.
The good news is that the rising of a new building is always exciting.
It’s something that news outlets would love to publish.
That’s why construction companies should write those news articles. They should write on the groundbreaking, major updates on the progress, and when they finally finish the project.
This will keep their name on the news and in the minds of people.
Digital PR Strategy for Tax Preparers (Influencer Marketing)
For the longest time, that was the only reasonable way for tax preparers to get more business.
Tax preparers relied on their clients to get their family and friends to come to them.
Things have slightly changed with the arrival of SEO, but referrals are still massive for tax preparers.
And speaking of referrals, there is one digital PR technique that acts as a referral.
That’s right. It’s influencer marketing.
Here’s the thing:
Everybody needs to do their taxes, but many people would rather have a professional do it for them.
That’s why if someone they look up (an influencer) to recommends a specific tax preparer, there’s a big chance they’ll take that recommendation.
And that’s one way tax preparers can work on digital PR.
Any famous person they work with, tax preparers can offer an incentive for a mention on social media. Plus points if they can get a picture as well.
It’s great for PR.
That is… digital PR.
Digital PR Strategy for SaaS Companies (SMM)
All SaaS companies do one thing:
Make their client’s life easier.
Whether it’s by providing marketing tools like HubSpot or helping people fix their grammar like Grammarly, this one goal unites SaaS companies.
And in the spirit of making their client’s lives easier, one easy and advantageous way to help them out is posting on social media.
That’s right, one effective way to do digital PR for SaaS companies is to work on SMM – or social media marketing.
SaaS companies can post tips, tricks, infographics, helpful slides, and fun and engaging content to make waves in social media.
And since SaaS companies’ entire customer base is online, this is a splendid way to get to them.
Digital PR Strategy for Architects (Strategic Partnerships)
There are so many people involved in a building project.
These include the contractor, the estimator, the engineer, the construction worker, the electrician, and, of course, the architect.
Now, unless your architecture firm provides all of these services, you’re going to have to work with other businesses.
That’s why it’s critical for architects to work on strategic partnerships.
You can work side-by-side with construction companies or engineers to create a mutually beneficial network. You can call on each other whenever there’s work to be done, growing both of your businesses.
For digital PR, you can use this partnership to promote each other online.
Many companies in this industry have a “partners” page. Creating one and linking to your partner’s websites (and having them link back to you) is a great way to increase your reach.
Ready to Get Your Digital PR Rolling?
There you have it!
Yes, you can always hire a digital PR agency.
But it isn’t so hard to do it yourself, right?
And now that you know all about digital PR, you’re well equipped to start building your brand awareness online!
So build those SEO links…
… send out those press papers…
… get that influencer to talk about you…
… create a buzz on social media…
… and work on building healthy relationships.
All of these will build your prestige and stamp your name into the minds of your target audience.
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