I’ve been working in digital PR for five years now, and in that time I’ve seen the industry go from strength to strength. Digital PR teams are now creating campaigns that achieve coverage around the world, get talked about on TV and radio, are shared by hundreds of thousands of people and – crucially – provide measurable SEO results.
I recently gave a talk at the CMA Content Breakfast on digital PR’s effectiveness, focusing on how it’s a valuable, scalable and varied tactic. Here are the three key points from my presentation.
1. Digital PR is about more than just links
If you’re only reporting on links when it comes to digital PR campaigns, then you’re only reporting on one part of the impact that you are having. Our recent work with The Body Shop, around the best places for plastic recycling in the UK, achieved links on the Metro, House Beautiful, Country Living and a large number of online regional publications.
@TheBodyShopUK has created a list of the top 20 #plasticrecycling towns & cities in the UK. Based on the index, the town of Wigan has been named as the top plastic recycling town with over 9,000 tonnes of plastic being sent for recycling between 2017-18 https://t.co/Zv5zEGpaNT— waytoeco (@waytoeco) July 8, 2019
Had we stopped at reporting at just links then we would have missed the over 6,500 social shares and interactions from a highly relevant audience of local councillors, heads of environmental departments and eco-influencers. These shares widened the reach of our campaign, increased brand awareness and resulted in positive interactions with The Body Shop’s social channels.
And it’s not just social shares, I’ve jotted down some of the further benefits that I feel digital PR can bring below. This shows that although you might be creating your campaign for links, there is a huge number of areas in which your content and related coverage can bring value and tangible results.
Monitor more than just links, use tools like Buzzsumo, Google Analytics, CoverageBook and Ahrefs to discover all the benefits your coverage is bringing
PR your own work internally so other teams can utilise the content and/or story you’ve created
2. Digital PR can come in all shapes and sizes
You might think that digital PR is all about expensive interactive content and time-intensive big data sets, but it certainly does not have to be. If you can see a good media hook, then you have a digital PR opportunity.
Take an example from E.ON, they had a press release that announced how the brand was working with the European Space Agency and Astrostat to use satellite data to tackle fuel poverty and carbon emissions. After the story had been pitched to ‘traditional’ media, we then drew up a more niche but highly relevant media list and built a further 20 links and coverage.
Nothing had to be changed with the story, we just took it to the right people who we knew would be interested. By scrutinising what your client or brand already has, you can make sure you’re adding SEO value at all levels.
Regularly check your blogs and press rooms/media centres for blog posts with digital PR potential or press stories that could have more digital PR mileage
Assess the assets you already have, such as calculators, data sets, white papers, etc, for media angles
Meet with your PR team to see if there are any PR stories that you can ensure gains links too, they’re likely already pitching to high authority sites so try to make sure these pitches are optimised for SEO
3. Digital PR gives you the creative license to broaden your links and your audience
When it comes to your backlinks you’ll have no doubt heard that you should be striving for a ‘varied’ backlink profile – where the links pointing to your site are from a range of (relevant) websites. This might seem quite a hard ask to achieve if you’re not thinking creatively about how you build links.
Digital PR gives websites outside your industry or niche a reason to link to you, so it’s a fantastic way to broaden your linking profile. In my talk I used an example of one of my favourite PR campaigns, A Requiem For Meters, which announced the switch to smart meters by having the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform a uniquely composted piece on instruments made of old gas and electricity meters. A fantastic creative idea that really got people talking about the (somewhat boring) subject of smart meters, but this creative take on the story also means a vast media list.
This is what a media list for this story could look like:
The media list without the creative angle, just a press release about the introduction of smart meters, would like look like this:
Without the creative angle, the breadth of the media list (and therefore the breadth of links you can achieve) is substantially depleted. Planning in creative PR campaigns like this, with link building in mind, will not only capture the media’s interest but also really start to address the variety of your backlink profile.
Brainstorm all the related topics that you brand can talk about, but may not be the ones that spring to mind immediately
Research where you don’t have links from, from this you might see industry gaps that you can tap into
Full slides here:
Follow me on Twitter: @louisevparker