PR vs Digital PR

Erica Vonderwall and Chloe Hutchinson, Outreach Managers at iProspect explain the difference between PR and Digital PR.  

 What is the difference between traditional PR and Digital PR?” is a question we get asked a lot. With a couple of members of the outreach team coming from a more traditional background, we think we have the nuances nailed...

There are small but key distinctions between traditional PR tactics and Digital PR (as part of a content marketing/SEO strategy). However, the biggest success is always achieved when using them in conjunction with each other. Consider your two methods a bit like salt and pepper. Individually, they’re both fine. Great, even. But together, it’s a taste sensation!

The agenda

Digital PR, especially within content marketing, is more story focused. The aim of any campaign being to produce emotive data-driven content with a strong story for outreach. The story itself should entice the journalist, while the supporting on-site content (blog/article/tool/data viz, whatever format you’re working with) should encourage the journalist to link back to the brand’s website. The story is never overly branded, and it’s usually a step removed from the product or service. The goal is always to drive links back to the brand’s website.

Traditional PR is more brand focused, with outreach tactics focusing on brand-heavy stories and key messaging, often closely related to product or service and new product launches. Obviously, traditional PR does cover many other tactics too, from trade events and pop-ups to large scale stunts, however it’s always centered around getting the brand’s name out there. The goal for traditional PR is usually brand reach and awareness.

Outreach Strategy

When it comes to journalist outreach, the target media lists tend to differ slightly too. Apart from Digital PR lists including solely online publications, the lists also tend to be more extensive, delving into niche and specialist sectors and blogs too. Strong titles for an outreach campaign are those which have a high domain authority, rather than the largest reach – although we understand reach and traffic is still important.

The way we conduct the outreach also varies. A press release is at the heart of the traditional approach – topped with a killer headline and finished with a boiler plate featuring all the key details about the brand. But in Digital PR, we produce longer outreach e-mails which sell the campaign story, highlighting stats and key findings too, engaging the journalist and encouraging them to write a piece linking back to site and our assets. Outreach e-mails and the story will change numerous times over the course of an outreach campaign, so we focus on varying angles for the different publications and sectors. As with traditional PR, in Digital PR, we always keep an eye out for news hooks as an opportunity to do another round of outreach.

Be reactive

Both sides of the PR world use the news agenda to inspire campaigns and newsjacking opportunities. They also always have eyes open to spot relevant journalist requests which might be of interest for clients, coming through via various tools. And, both have also been known to use editorial partnerships to bolster campaign activity in line with objectives. However, in Digital PR we tend to also utilise platforms like Reddit to a fuller extent, for testing campaigns and stories, not just for campaign inspiration.

Digital PR strategies will also incorporate guest posting and link reclamation (outreaching to secure or update links to the client’s relevant page), to drive link building success. This is where a Digital PR and traditional PR should be working together, so as to ensure that the traditional press releases are optimized from the start, to reduce the amount of link rec that needs to happen further down the line.

So you see, there really is space for both traditional and Digital PR in any Content Marketing strategy, as the deliverables from each are so specialist and nuanced that there is a range of expertise needed to achieve overall success.