With a rapid shift to online presence after the beginning of the pandemic, many companies had to explore digital options. One business function quickly making the move to digital is public relations (PR). If you own a web design and developer business, you might be asking yourself, what is digital PR and how can I make it work for my company?
We’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at how you can make digital PR work for you and your business.
What is digital PR?
Digital PR is a marketing strategy that shapes the online image of a company. The objective of a digital PR campaign is to improve organic search results and customer reviews via digital content to build a company’s brand.
To fully grasp digital PR, there are a few key definitions within online marketing to become familiar with:
- Backlinks: links from other websites that point to your website
- Referring domains: unique domains linking to your website
- Domain rating: the strength of a website’s backlink profile
- UR rating: the strength of a page’s backlink profile
- User-generated content: reviews, text, images, and videos that are created by individual and identified people
Digital PR strategies and tactics
The core of our digital PR definition revolves around improving organic search results. These are six digital PR strategies that seek to improve organic search results.
1. Reverse engineering
Reverse engineering is a digital PR strategy that examines the backlink profiles of multiple competitors and identifies the referring domains they have in common. In other words, what websites are linking to all of your competitors, but not to your website?
If you can figure out how each of your competitors generated a backlink on a domain, then chances are your website can take a similar approach to secure a backlink. Several SEO tools offer this functionality to help identify opportunities.
2. Skyscraper technique
The skyscraper technique is a content marketing strategy that identifies weak content with links, makes better content, and then reaches out to the sites that link to the weak content with your better content.
Sound like a lot of work? It is. But, the skyscraper technique has stuck around as an effective way to build backlinks because it works.
Start by identifying high-ranking content in your niche that was last updated four or more years ago. Chances are, your business can create content with more up-to-date information that external websites would find more value in linking to. You’ll need a paid SEO tool to identify which sites link to the content. But, this technique can produce nice returns when executed correctly.
3. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
You are likely an expert in something. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) connects journalists with experts to include in their content. In other words, if you answer questions from journalists on a service like HARO, then your answer may be included in articles with link attribution to your insights.
While HARO is highly competitive, the tactic of sharing your expertise online can produce some high-quality digital PR placements for your business and brand.
If you are interested in this tactic, try signing up for HARO or a similar service like Qwoted, Terkel or another alternative. Review the queries, answer questions that speak to your expertise, and see if your insights get selected.
4. Community sites
Since digital PR is about building brand awareness and increasing inbound traffic, community sites like Reddit and Quora are good outlets to create a focused campaign.
Reddit, Quora, niche forums and message boards feature online conversations about your business’s relevant topics. Identify those conversations, listen to the discussion, and insert your insights into the thread if you can add value to the conversation.
Participating in a community site can produce brand awareness, referral traffic, and, sometimes a nofollow link. While a nofollow link typically carries less SEO value than a dofollow link, Google announced that nofollow links are now treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within search.
5. Internal linking
Not all digital PR strategies are external. Internal linking is a tactic that seeks to use existing pages on your website to boost the authority of a target page you’d like to promote.
For example, websites commonly use menus and navigation bars to list priority pages such as Home, About, Contact and Services. An internal linking strategy takes this concept a step further by including links to a target page in places like a footer, sidebar, or within the text of blog posts and landing pages.
Your site can more clearly communicate to search engines about which pages are most important to your site through internal linking.
6. Customer reviews
Google determines local ranking based on relevance, distance and prominence. Prominence, which digital PR aims to influence, is based on information such as links and online mentions that Google monitors about a business.
One other major factor Google uses to determine prominence is customer reviews. Google says that “review count and review score factor into local search ranking.” More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’s local ranking.
In other words, increasing customer reviews on relevant directories and your Google My Business profile is one digital PR tactic that may help local rankings while also shaping customer perceptions.
Benefits of digital PR
1. Improved keyword positions
Digital PR campaigns should produce an increase in SEO rankings for specific keywords that pertain to a business.
Why is digital PR’s role in helping improve keyword rankings? Generally speaking, the more high-quality and relevant backlinks a website receives, the more authoritative the website becomes (measured by domain rating). The more authoritative a website, the more likely it is to bypass less authoritative competitors who occupy higher keyword rankings.
Since SEO typically takes four to 12 months to see an improvement, a business can monitor keyword positions for specific terms to see if digital PR efforts produce the expected benefit.
2. Organic and referral traffic
As keyword positions improve, a business should experience an increase in organic search rankings.
Since most clicks happen on the first page of search results, the idea is that the more top 10 rankings a website has, the more organic search traffic they will receive. Especially if some of the target keywords have a high volume and consistent flow of correlated searches.
In addition to organic traffic, a side benefit can be referral traffic from the referring domain that includes a link to your site. Businesses can measure the ROI of digital PR by measuring and comparing organic and referral traffic trends throughout the campaign.
3. Inbound leads
What should happen as a result of more organic and referral traffic? More inbound leads.
Of course, conversions from a website are largely dependent on how well your website is optimized to convert website traffic into legitimate leads.
But, as traffic begins to increase to your website, a business should set up conversion tracking to measure the quantity and sources for inbound leads.
4. Paying customers
The ultimate benefit of digital PR is paying customers. If digital PR efforts produce a more steady inflow of legitimate inbound leads, then it is safe to assume that a portion of those queries will convert to real revenue.
However, make sure to monitor the sources and the quantity of new paying customers. Arming yourself with reliable data helps you replicate your success and double down on the working tactics.
5. Brand recognition
Since digital PR is about building brand awareness, brand recognition is another benefit a business can expect from a campaign.
Brand recognition may seem like a less quantifiable benefit, but there are some ways to measure awareness. The easiest way is to measure how many people are searching for your brand or company name online. You can measure these branded searches through Google Search Console, which produces reports showing how many impressions and clicks a site received for branded searches.
Other brand recognition metrics to monitor include an increase in customer reviews (especially if a component of the digital PR campaign was to increase reviews) and social media followers on platforms like LinkedIn.
How to use digital PR to promote your business
Now that you’ve answered the question “what is digital PR,” how can your business utilize this marketing strategy to grow your brand online?
Try out tactics. If something doesn’t fit your business, move on to a different tactic that may have more potential. And if you get lost along the way, feel free to revisit this post or speak with Eastlink about increasing your online presence.
The hardest part with digital PR is knowing where to start and getting started. Hopefully, these digital PR techniques and tactics will inspire you to improve your SEO presence and grow your business.