1. Data and research
Developing a robust Digital PR strategy involves researching your topics and understanding what your audience wants! When planning your PR campaigns, ensure you are providing valuable content that people are actually searching for. Otherwise it’s a complete waste of time. It will just get buried where no-one will find it! There’s a ton of digital tools you can use to test and see what people are searching for. Google gives a lot of insights for free. It sounds logical, but you would be surprised how many organisations spend a lot of time and money on content that misses the mark because they simply haven’t properly researched what people actually want. It’s what we call ‘random acts of content!’.
2. Testing topics online
Just because you want to rank for something…doesn’t mean you can. There’s a lot of factors that go in to getting your content seen by search engines, such as Google, as the best. It first involves understanding what you can realistically compete for online now based on how strong your current online authority is. There’s a range of tools to help you test that – MOZ is one of the best.
3. Old-school PR techniques vs Digital PR
Understand that press releases aren’t helpful to your rankings. They used to be — but are no longer. A press release is really only a message to media and will only help your ranking if it’s picked up by a media organisation who then publishes a story with a backlink to your site. It’s more worthwhile repurposing it for your audience to generate engagement. What I also find incredible is that people are still posting press releases on social instead of creating relevant conversations with their targeted audience. While press releases still have a place in the world, they are old-school and can be seen by some as talking at people and full of puffery which does little to earn trust these days.
Another key thing to note is a lot of time and resource is being put into content and campaigns that you ‘think’ people want – yet do they? Many times over no-one is actually checking and designing PR campaigns based on what your audience wants. Gaining the top spots online is only possible if you are delivering the right content that someone is actually looking for – not what you think they want. For instance, your client wants to issue a press release about a new product or an award it has just won. While it may be relevant when people research your brand, your audience won’t naturally find it via SEO. That’s because people generally Google for answers to questions or solutions to problems. For search, you need to think in those terms and gear your content to that. But there’s a real art and science involved in doing that.
4. Backlinks are rocket-fuel for your online reputation
Backlinks to your, or your client’s site, are everything! There’s no better feeling than scoring a positive thought-leadership piece or article in the media. But, that’s only half the job you need to do now. Without getting a backlink to the company’s own site included in the story, the value of the article for your brand overall is only short-lived.
Earned media is temporary, PR-SEO is forever: While the benefit of a press mention boosts a brand, the spike in referral traffic may only be brief. But, when you’re able to get a journalist or blogger to link to a piece of content on your site, that link is likely to last and also build your online authority. It’s rare that sites delete pages and links. This is a key way to boost your online reputation and visibility.
To earn backlinks from media, make sure it leads to something relevant and interesting on your site – not just your Home page! Some journalists may take some time to convince to add in a backlink to a story – so make sure the link is worthwhile!
5. Digital PR requires you to write for humans and search engine spiders
The move to digital has meant the days of writing smart catchy headlines that don’t relate to the topic (we’ve all done it) and generalist pieces are becoming less relevant. Everything you create now has to be planned properly and written in a way that makes it easy for humans as well as search engine spiders to understand. Think of Google as a large online library. Its search engine spiders are constantly trawling the billions of web pages every day to get an understanding of what each organisation stands for and is an expert in. If your content is not geared properly with SEO (front and back-end) to give it vital clues, how can it rank you in the top spots? What’s more, if you are not in the top spots on page 1 of Search, how can people find you? This is only possible with smart Digital PR planning and processes. Writing good content that resonates with your human audience, as well as it being easily crawled by search engines is a must and takes time and new expertise to perfect.
6. Measuring your Digital PR efforts
The great thing about digital is that it has made it even easier to measure PR’s impact on a brand or client’s bottom line. There are now so many tools available – most of which are for free online to measure your impact. For instance, you can now show the success of your media outreach and the impact it has had on your audience and increased leads thanks to the likes of Google Analytics. Other metrics, like Domain Authority and organic page rankings are also great measures of the impact on your PR outreach is having. With so many new tools, data and measurement metrics available, we now have an opportunity to truly show PR’s worth and how it can impact a brand’s entire digital footprint and growth.