For decades, traditional public relations involved calling journalists, working tirelessly to promote clients, and waiting days (and weeks) to see your brand mentioned by the media. While the principles of a sound PR strategy remain the same, the tactics have shifted to accommodate digital audiences. Today’s public relations professionals need to be SEO specialists, influencer marketers, and blogger-relations managers. Check out these 10 digital PR strategies you can use to promote your brand and get the valuable traffic and backlinks you crave.
1. Develop Relationships With Social Media Influencers
Influencer marketing has become one of the most popular forms of advertising as of late. If you look at the Google Trends over the past five years, it’s clear just how much people are talking about and working with influencers. Recently, there has been a shift from working with influencers with tens of thousands of followers to “micro influencers” or “nano influencers” — people who only have about a thousand followers.
Influencer marketing is ideal for reaching people within your niche. Start by identifying 10-20 influencers over various sizes and specialties and reach out to them to develop a relationship through digital PR. Some may require payment to promote your brand, while others will accept free products, services, or subscriptions instead.
2. Connect With Local Patch Mayors
Patch is a local news publication that was once owned by AOL-Yahoo. Each town or neighborhood has a Patch website that promotes local events, stories, and news. Today, many Patch websites are still operational, but are run by “mayors.” These mayors are typically unpaid volunteers in the community who want to continue using the website as a source for highly-local news.
If you have a local brand or a national brand with multiple locations across the country, make a concentrated effort to get to know the Patch sites near your businesses and their mayors. These are publications you can turn to as a source to promote your brand, report news, and link back to your website.
3. Identify Local Journalists and Publications
Along with local Patch mayors, expand your digital PR strategy to find media outlets and journalists who are local to the areas you want to target. Instead of solely trying to connect with the Wall Street Journal, look for small newspapers that cover local news. There are likely a handful of blogs that post content related to the city and the people who work there.
Chicago Food Girl and the Richmond District Blog of San Francisco are two great examples of this. These pages have their fingers on the pulse of the city and want to know if there’s anything newsworthy coming out of your company. Plus, smaller publications tend to have highly-engaged readers who trust what these blogs have to say.
4. Sponsor Content on Industry Websites
As you reach out to various media outlets, blogs, and publications, know that the coverage doesn’t always have to be free. Many publications offer sponsored content options where they will link back to your website and talk about your brand at the start of the article. Some will even include branded overlays to reinforce the message that the content was created with your support. You can choose whether you want to create the content for the publication or simply sponsor posts that they create. Either way, you get the mention and the link.
5. Create Content for Blogs in Your Niche
SEO is a two-way street. Even if you have the strongest website with the best content and links, your customers won’t be able to find you without other pages linking back to your brand and building up your network across the web.
Start by curating a list of niche blogs or websites related to your industry, (some companies develop a list of more than 100 publications) and start reaching out to create guest post content and publish on their blogs. You can scale up your efforts as much as you can handle, as long as you don’t let the quality suffer. Some companies can only handle a few publications per month, while others publish multiple guest posts per week.
Discuss linking options with each publication you work with. These journalists don’t want you to spam them with low-quality content that has a dozen links to your homepage. If you follow their rules and provide value to their readers, then you are more likely to build links back to your pages.
6. Become a Contributor to Leading Websites
The best guest posters become contributors. Think about the industry leaders who regularly post on Forbes, Inc, or Entrepreneur as examples. These people become leading voices by providing insight that they can share with potential leads and existing clients. As their profiles grow, so do their opportunities, and some people use their contributor bylines in their portfolios to book conference speaking engagements.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you likely won’t develop a host of regular contributorships overnight. However, if you set a goal to establish one new relationship each month, you will find yourself contributing to a host of websites by the end of the year.
7. Send Out Press Releases With Digital Audiences in Mind
Just because digital PR is changing the game when it comes to gaining links and media coverage doesn’t mean the press release has become an artifact of journalism history. Companies still rely on press releases and media alerts to let various channels know about upcoming events and news.
The B2BPRblog created an in-depth guide to creating press releases that you can use and apply to the digital era. Use their resource to improve your headlines, share captivating quotes, and use action words to engage people who see your brand messaging. By making a few changes to how you create press content, you can move into the world of digital PR successfully.
8. Conduct Studies and First-Hand Research
Digital PR isn’t as foreign as you think it is. The same basic principles of sharing newsworthy information remain. If you want media outlets and online news channels to cover your business, give them something interesting to report on.
One way you can do this is by conducting first-hand research and studies within your industry. Take some time and invest in serious research to better understand various trends, behaviors, and services that you offer. You can release the content in the form of a whitepaper with supplemental blog content and graphics, creating a whole promotional content package. Not only does this give you something to report to journalists, but it also gives your brand valuable content that hundreds of people will want to link to.
9. Look For Valuable Stories In Your Staff
If you don’t have the resources to gather statistical data to drive interest in your brand, turn internally to your staff and clients. There are likely dozens of interesting stories of people you can profile and build a digital PR campaign around.
Maybe one of your programmers is also a concert pianist, highlighting the connection between creativity and logical thinking.
Maybe one of your remote workers is helping their community and you can share their story with others. A study by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) analyzed more than 1,400 marketing campaigns over three decades. They found that the vast majority were successful because they used emotional appeals or a combination of emotional and rational appeals. Humans are inherently emotional, and if you can tell stories about your employees, company, and clients then you can win people over and build up your digital PR.
10. Make Yourself Available for Media Quotes and Insight
All of these digital PR efforts work together to boost the exposure of your brand and drive links back to your website. As you go through the motions to expand your brand, people will notice. When you are an expert, others will want to reach out for quotes, insights, and ideas. By accommodating these questions, you can grow your SEO.
Check out this article on Forbes for managing remote employees as an example. Each subhead has a quote by a leader who has developed a policy for working with remote teams. By contributing quotes to the article, business leaders build their brand and earn links back to their website, while the website gets content and quotes from valuable resources.
Make yourself available as a leader to address questions and concerns in your industry and you can start to watch the links back to your website grow.
Improve Your SEO With Digital PR
Digital PR offers many benefits to your brand. Along with building links that boost your SEO, you can grow your standing in your industry and drive more traffic to your website. These efforts lead to more prospects and easier sales as more people become familiar with your brand.
If you’re looking to launch a digital PR plan or expand your marketing strategy as a whole, sign up for a Free Digital Advertising Health Check. We can review your strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to grow your SEO and brand awareness.