How to Create a Digital PR Strategy for Your Small Business

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Learn the value of developing a digital PR strategy and best practices that will help you achieve good ROI and boost your SEO visibility.

Knowing where to reach members of your target audience and customers has always been critical for marketers and publicists. In both cases, GPS refers to the digital channels where consumers and businesses choose to search, shop, and interact with brands.

During 2020, the shift to digital channels increased as in-store shopping and branding experiences were somewhat limited. As more and more people prefer digital channels, PR marketing strategies will need to increasingly focus on this environment.

Not sure where to start in 2021? Here are some digital PR strategies to get you started.

Overview: What is digital PR?

Digital PR is an online marketing strategy used by all types of businesses (B2B and B2C) to boost their online presence. Internal PR and digital marketing teams, as well as digital PR agencies, network and partner with media outlets, influencers, journalists and bloggers to build this online presence.

The goal is to build that digital portfolio by sharing press releases online, buying high-quality backlinks and social media mentions, and improving search engine visibility (SEO).

This in turn generates publicity in the form of backlinks from websites, online publications, podcasts, mentions, social media posts and customer reviews. By addressing SEO as well, digital PR can help improve visibility and ranking on search engines.

Digital PR vs. Traditional PR: What’s the difference?

Both traditional PR and digital PR share goals and focus on a tactical approach. The main difference between the two is in the channels they seek to raise awareness of the company or brand and how they get the message across to those channels.

Traditional PR targets channels such as print as well as television and radio. Text messages and press releases share news and developments with key journalists, whom you usually contact by phone or email.

Although these channels are still used in the PR industry, digital PR pursues online publications such as digital magazines, podcasts, and blogs created by influencers, industry leaders, online journalists, and influencers.

While content marketing approaches to both digital PR and traditional PR focus on increasing brand awareness, building credibility, and adding customers, digital PR content strategies also look at how such content affects a website’s SEO appearance.

To succeed at this requires an understanding of Google’s search and ranking guidelines. A digital PR agency also typically includes SEO experts and content marketers who know how to craft search-optimized digital PR campaigns.

How a Digital PR Strategy Can Help Your SEO

A digital PR strategy can amplify the impact of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to increase organic rankings, increase brand awareness, and increase website traffic.

Raising Domain Authority (DA) for your website

Your website’s DA is scored on a 100-point logarithmic scale that predicts how your website will rank in various search engines. The closer your DA score is to 100, the more likely your website will get a higher search ranking.

This higher ranking then leads to higher quality web traffic to your website, because your links are located higher on search engine result pages (SERPs). The Digital PR team takes this metric into account as part of its overall link building strategy.

Enhance brand awareness and authority

Digital PR program aims to publish content on websites of the highest authority. This tactic then increases backlinks to your website which can improve your site’s rankings for certain keywords. The higher your position in the SERPs, the more likely it is that search traffic will go to your site. In partnership with Content Marketing, it develops digital PR and publishes high-quality, relevant content that enhances this brand authority.

Benefit from gained coverage with the media

It’s important to improve keyword visibility, and one way to do this is through earned coverage. Since PR is all about getting coverage, it’s important to develop a strategy that can combine this focus with knowledge of search engine optimization best practices.

In the process of getting brand signals, it is helpful to shape your content around related phrases and links that appear from keyword research using SEO tools. As a result, earned coverage can help maximize the value of all your blog posts, press releases, and articles that have been covered or shared on your website or social media accounts.

Wordstream SEO Keyword Research.

Use SEO tools like Wordstream to do keyword research. Image source: the author

7 Steps to Creating a Digital PR Strategy for Your Small Business

Now that you know why working with PR professionals on a digital PR strategy is so important to success, the next step is to understand how to develop a strategy that works for your small business.

1. List your goals and objectives

It’s important to know the purpose of your digital PR strategy, so make a list of goals and objectives associated with traffic, ratings, leads, and revenue. Other goals I saw included organizations using them to grow high-quality links to their websites, build brand awareness, or diversify backlink profiles for their brands.

Setting these goals first will help you determine the types of campaigns and content your business needs to move forward.

2. Define your target audience

These goals and objectives should align with the various segments of your target audience. I’ve seen many companies use specific buyer personas. You may already have identified these personas within your marketing department, so be sure to share this information and assess whether your demographics are entirely specific to your PR messaging.

3. Give your brand a voice

Determine what your brand should look like and what it should say based on what you know about your target audience and personas. A common tactic that you usually see at this point is for marketing departments to build a list of topics and message themes with a brand voice. From there, you can develop those topics and topics into full content.

4. Develop your own editorial calendar

Content creation is at the heart of your digital PR strategy. You also need to know when certain content will be more relevant than other times, not just for your readers.

Digital Public Relations Editorial Calendar.

Use an editorial calendar template to start planning your digital PR awareness. Image source: the author

This includes researching and contacting publications, sites, and channels that may want to distribute your content at some point. Like traditional PR, digital PR needs to consider the timing carefully and then chart out a course and schedule to contact the outlet online.

5. Create your own content offerings

The next step is to work on creating content, including videos, infographics, thought leadership articles, blogs, guest blogs, white papers, research reports, and sketch articles.

One of the best strategies I’ve seen is to build the topics and topics you’ve selected that fit your audience and then optimize the final content for SEO. You want it to rank high so more people see it and end up with more new or returning customers.

6. Start communicating and developing relationships with the media

As you begin implementing these PR tactics and releasing your content, it’s important to spend some time raising awareness in the meantime, and developing relationships with the media contacts you’ve identified. Find out what topics and fields bloggers and journalists cover, comment on those types of posts, and then share valuable content and information that they will find useful.

Perhaps the best advice I’ve heard in this area is to spend time on platforms that journalists use most often themselves. If you go to online services where they spend their time on social media (like Twitter), and actually interact with them when they talk, you may get to know them over time. This will really increase your chances of getting noticed if you eventually get them covered.

7. Create an evaluation process for digital PR campaigns

Reporting and evaluation is vital to any campaign in which money and time are invested. I have seen many organizations struggling to do this consistently. Tracked metrics can show a positive ROI or reveal where you need to make improvements. Focus on reports that look at SEO and links, mentions to brands and other coverage, organic traffic, and rankings.

It’s time to focus on PR work

Despite what you may have heard, PR is far from dead. There is more than just social posts and influencer posts. Public relations remains a very useful strategy as part of your overall digital marketing program for building brand awareness, authority, and engagement with your target audience. Now is the time to work on your outreach efforts and be part of the conversation.

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