Making the Move from Traditional to Digital PR

Farah Hussain 4 weeks ago

More often than not we get asked what is the difference in traditional PR and digital PR? With a clear distinction between the two, how do you know which one is right for you? As the digital world has truly taken over, it’s time to embrace digital PR as part of your marketing strategy and find out how best to utilise it for your clients.

We found in our State of Content Marketing survey 2019 that many companies want to increase their brand awareness, using content marketing. But only 1 in 10 were using digital PR to do that! Digital PR could be the key to unlocking the wealth of digital brand awareness you need, in a way that traditional PR cannot.

Before I go on to answer the question of 'what is the difference' further, it is important to understand that both types of PR agency ultimately share the same objective - to enhance brand awareness and if we’re talking search visibility, then Google rankings is a must.

But, as digital is slowly taking over and online information being easily accessible through smartphones, tablets and instant notifications, the question is can a traditional agency still compete with a digital agency in achieving this goal?

Let’s take a look at the difference between the two types of agencies and how they use content for engagement and visibility purposes.

What is Traditional PR?

Its aims will be offline visibility centric, with interaction being minimal and fairly one way.

Usually in the form of a press release, a traditional agency will interview key stakeholders and/or gather as much information about the chosen topic as possible. It’s then a case of writing up this information within four to five paragraphs in a way that would appeal to print journalists. The client's key messages will have to be covered in the release, as well as any promotional information.

A press release needs to be well written in order to stand out from the hundreds of other releases journalists get each day, but there is not much manoeuvre for creativity or opportunity for engagement with the intended audience with this type of content.

It's also hard to know who the press release is actually reaching, and of course, whether the press release has made a difference to the client's bottom line - has it had an impact on sales? It is hard to measure. A press release may have appeared in a desired print publication - but how many people have actually read it, never mind acted upon it?

What is Digital PR?

In an ever-growing tech and digitally enhanced world, making the shift, merging your approaches or even thinking about digital PR as part of a wider digital marketing strategy, will certainly reap more benefits. Putting out engaging content online in forms of blogs, visual posts, downloadable resources, press releases social media posts and user-generated content, are just a few ways to engage with your audience and increase interaction. We've covered 101 types of digital content on our blog, and you can use any of these to increase your brand awareness, if the following digital PR support is correct.

A great example of this is beauty brand Summer Fridays, who use their online social presence to market to their audience as the majority of their consumers are avid social users. Their Instagram page is filled with beauty tips and tricks and attracts the attention of any beauty fan with its visually stunning grid.

With a plethora of channels to target the content variations can be endless and very creative. Websites, social media, influencer campaigns, videography, podcasts, blogger challenges are many of the different forms of content used for taking a digital approach. Just as the channels vary from traditional and digital, so do the tools in how to do digital PR correctly.

It’s all great producing some amazing, visually inspiring piece of content, but if it doesn’t attract the right audience, and therefore reach expected engagement levels it could be all for nothing. A digital PR agency’s focus is online visibility. This means working for Google and other search engines to ensure that a client's website ranks highly in online searches. This also involves generating high quality links back to a client's website from each piece of digital content, as well as optimising the website itself. Done in tandem, this activity will increase a brand's visibility online.

A solid understanding and capability of technical SEO are essential, and are skills that only digital agencies can offer. Using this data expertise to aid the content creation process, identify influencers within the marketplace, secure high traffic metric placements and ensure a citation, not only helps raise the awareness of the brand but also really helps increase the client's visibility online.

Understanding link profiles, anchor text distribution and link monitoring are also key to increasing online visibility and to further aid this, web mention monitoring allows digital agencies to follow up on any additional opportunities off the back of a particular campaign.

The measurement of digital PR activity is also a lot more precise. We can know exactly how many people viewed a piece of content, or clicked on a link and which website pages are performing the best. ROI analysis of digital PR is a lot more detailed - another bonus for those all important decision makers.

Key takeaways for using digital and traditional PR

  • There are many benefits to both types of PR mentioned and a good mix of traditional PR and digital PR will maximise exposure.
  • As the world is becoming increasingly online focused – the shift to digital PR is more now than ever and will only continue to rise.
  • Digital PR is easily measured and can be tracked. You can instantly see results! As well as being cost effective and efficient.
  • The various digital PR channels ensures your content will be used in a variety of different ways to target relevant niches.

If you need more support on your digital PR journey, then please get in touch, and take a look at our case studies where we've nailed PR campaigns for clients.

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