Much of the public relations industry has managed to survive in the current landscape of economic conditions as the global shift from offline to online has rapidly increased. Subtly, traditional pr has been fading out of the industry, taking the backseat, while digital pr has seen strong support from digital marketers and public relations firms.
Subdued by the global pandemic, online communities have expanded, taking digital pr to new frontiers. In the 2020 State of News Report conducted by Pew Research, circulation of weekday newspapers was down from 63.2 million in 1990. Reaching an all-time low of 24.3 million in 2020. Further analysis revealed that print news publications have been declining 6% year-on-year.
The demise of traditional newspapers and printed publications who were able to see it through mass shutdowns and temporary closures are now seeking modernization. While traditional public relations methods helped promote news credibility, new forms of pr helped marketing teams and pr firms better understand market demands and needs.
Digital PR and SEO
Through the use of digital capabilities, companies were able to establish themselves during this transitional period. While the traditional landscape has become more and more deserted over time – new pools of digital innovation have been created, establishing an online community of digital PR professionals and marketers.
While digital public relations intervenes with our basic knowledge of search engine optimization, or technical seo concepts used interchangeably, are still far apart from one another.
To promote better understanding, this article puts forth ample explanation on what digital- and traditional pr in the current digital environment.
Digital PR vs Traditional PR
Digital PR Examples
The evolution of digital pr practices encapsulates the four most important cornerstones of every digital pr team.
So what is digital pr and what entails a digital pr strategy?
To have a better understanding, digital pr contains various aspects, but tie together to achieve a singular goal – to share and effectively communicate with a target audience. From this, we can already see how digital teams and marketers have incorporated the below elements to best work for a unified goal.
What’s maleficent about this field, is how important it has become for the online world. From Google searches, Facebook ads, and sponsored content on Instagram – we are constantly surrounded by the world of digital marketing.
To better navigate this landscape, creative strategies and pr campaigns are created to assist marketing teams. To further evaluate the success of these campaigns, firms establish measurable metrics which are now manageable through digital platforms and analytical tools.
Luckily, the following examples of digital pr house a plethora of tools and metrics which are used to track online reach and traffic growth.
Keep in mind, digital pr is still not search engine optimization. The term is heavily overused, but digital public relations combines SEO efforts to support digital marketing and pr campaigns.
Current statistics have revealed that more than 77% of internetusers read blogs. Furthermore, blogs have increasingly become popular among journalists, social media influencers, startups, corporations, and nonprofits. The share of available blogs on the internet currently stands at 570 million, with more than 7 million blog posts per day, as of 2021.
Before the recent boom of blogs, the concept saw little support. But the rapid growth experienced in the digital industry revived blogs completely, giving them new life and meaning. Now with high authority sites, businesses can increase website traffic and online marketing efforts.
Blogs have been a strong incorporation for digital pr strategies. Allowing companies to reach a larger audience, while at the same time increasing online presence. Generally, blog content contains high-quality information, added links to third-party websites, or online banner ads.
Using a blog allows pr professionals to create a better understanding of where online traffic is coming from, and where they can find potential collaborators. Measuring readership of blogs is now easier, as pr firms use this as a strategy to expand on future campaigns, and increase link building.
Some popular blogs platforms include WordPress, with more than 43% of blogs built on this platform. Additionally, BlogSpot, Medium, Blogger, HostGator, and Tumblr.
A global digital overview indicates that more than half of the total global population currently make use of some form of social media, accounting for 4.55 billion users as of October 2021.
Social media channels have become one of the main areas of interest for many digital marketers and pr specialists. The excessive use of social media has seen it become a solidified industry within public relations. Today, we consider social media marketing as a strong contributor to any type of digital pr work.
Through the use of these platforms, businesses and social influencers can share:
- Social links
- Breaking news
- Business information
- Regular updates
- Monitor online traffic
- Create ad campaigns and share sponsored material
But social media engagement has to be somewhat different from digital or traditional pr. All content posted and shared on social media platforms needs to be clearer and more concise, whatever the message aims to be. Directing a specific message or post to a targeted audience should contain high-quality content, creative pitches, and strong keywords.
Making use of these platforms as part of a new digital strategy opens various channels through which businesses and pr professionals can better engage with followers, and create a more relaxed environment of communication.
There is a fine line between the excessive use of social media to create better awareness and build a brand identity within the market. Podcasts combine a sense of direct interaction with those affiliated with a certain brand or company.
More so, podcasts, in recent years have gained massive support from younger generations. Putting the brand online, but through an audio perspective.
The latest findings indicate that:
More than 7% of Americans have listened to some form of a podcast, while roughly 77% are familiar with this modern-day concept. Listeners, in America alone, accumulated to more than 220 million in 2021, increasing 4.7% in one year.
There is business in podcasts, and leveraging its dominance in the market can reveal potential streams of increased revenue. The great thing about this is that content creators for podcasts can generate a large following through sharing valuable, interesting, and noteworthy information.
Solely making use of podcasts as a key player in any digital pr strategy isn’t worth much of any companies’ time or resources. It’s about creating a balance between visual and audio-centric media.
An effective way to make podcasts work for your campaign or business can be:
- Conducting an interview with an established individual within the niche.
- Sharing thoughts and industry insights.
- Establishing awareness for a new service, product, or platform on podcasts.
- Repurposing visual or written content to be used for audio purposes.
Podcasts create a human aspect of a business. It allows the audience to form part of what a business is setting out to accomplish. A pr tactic overlooked by many and used by few.
Digital pr is immensely diverse, and when it boils down to inclusions the scope of practice becomes even broader. Modern marketing practices have revised certain methods, and uplifted outdated methods, and brought forth the induction of digital inclusion.
While societal norms and inclusivity are struggling, private institutions have taken a different approach. The focus here shouldn’t be on who is using the internet, but rather who is not using it and how we can target them.
But successfully executing inclusions in digital pr campaigns and strategies consumes a lot of time and resources. If done right, companies will be able to witness:
- Growth in their market and consumers.
- Participation in future campaigns.
- Increased public awareness.
- Contribution to education, and economic growth.
Following this strategy should be considered with the right intentions, to improve and grow corporate responsibility. What pr firms and professionals are doing here is taking digital directly to the people who have limited access to it. Inclusion practices have been on the radar for a wide variety of individuals. Allowing companies to become more transparent, and direct efforts towards better social and community inclusion.
Traditional PR Examples
Contrary to popular belief, traditional pr methods aren’t dead. Today, it might see slim support from modern pr firms. Print publications has managed to firmly establish itself in recent years, allowing for the rejuvenation and creation of newer and more innovative pr methods.
Most pr professionals, marketers, journalists, and reporters still partake in traditional pr. Albeit, the decreasing support it has received in the last decade, these traditional pr mediums still give way for various startups, and other businesses to reach their target audiences.
From this, we can see the true importance public relations still have in the modern-day. Building and collaborating with media companies, and journalists allow many businesses to increase brand awareness and establish an identity within the market.
Printed media, such as newspapers, have been under close watch as the global pandemic pushed large media publications to make the rapid change over to the online world. Although newspapers have witnessed decreasing support in the last decade since the advent of digital media, there is still a stark connotation between newspapers and the media.
Newspapers do still carry their weight within the public relations industry. It puts companies at the forefront of communicating with a more traditional market. Allowing for a continuous flow of information, without having to tarnish a well-established identity.
Luckily, newspapers can offer a host of digital marketing capabilities:
- Press releases
- News editorials
- Interviews and commentary
It does however lack the capability to share with a broader market but puts the business in a more sophisticated light. News media has remained a trusted source of credible and reliable information for generations, and continuing this trend still gives pr campaigns the ability to leverage its undeniable popularity.
While podcasts might have become the next big thing in audio messaging and advertising, radio still has a strong following in the general market.
Public broadcasting radio stations have increased contributions. In 2008, contributions were just over $261 million, in 2019, those contributions peaked at $430 million. Marketing on the radio is still a big part of pr campaigning and traditional strategies.
As of 2020, more than 14 million Americans made use of radio as their primary source of news and information. Giving marketers and advertisers a chance to make use of a primary opportunity. Although radio isn’t nearly as popular as other forms of audio media or public relations, it still holds a sense of sophistication and immediate interaction with target audiences.
There’s no denying that in 2020, events were seen as the last choice when looking to increase public identity. While most events have returned, to some extent, direct representation in the public sphere creates a sense of awareness.
Using events as a marketing strategy gives way for not just marketers and skilled pr professionals to interact with its following – but also the business. Events put the business, and its employees in direct contact with those they’re looking to interact and reach.
It’s a bit of a risky streak, considering the number of financial resources needed, and the effort it takes to host a well-organized event. Never mind the physical labor required, and additional materials needed to make it a success.
Properly done, an event can garner ample network links for the business.
The last medium worth considering is relations.
Now, what do relations in traditional public relations mean?
Well, simply put it’s about researching and finding potential new clients and investors. Pr managers use this tactic to directly interact with an individual or a group, rather than in an event or social setting.
It requires a bit more formality, and professionalism, but isn’t that what pr is? Building a public image or identity of oneself or the company?
Relations building gets teams talking and interacting. Build contacts with media personalities, journalists, reporters, social media influencers, and anyone with whom you want on your social media accounts.
Keeping tabs on everyone can be a tricky job, but conducting regular follow-ups, and meetings helps strengthen ties between partners.
Importance of Digital Public Relations
Today, we see that the importance of digital public relations is becoming ever so clear. The digital world is filled with creative possibilities for businesses to intercept and take advantage of. Although it can come at a price, now, more than ever digital pr puts professionals in control of monitoring campaign success, and establishing brand identity.
But how important is it?
Improve SERPs Rankings
Search Engine Result Page (SERP) focuses on the organic ranking of a website in search engine results. The better the SERP ranking or score, the higher up the website will be featured on a search engine.
Grows Organic Traffic
Any traffic directed to a website without the need to pay for additional advertising or backlinks on high authority websites.
The easier it is to find a brand in the vast chasm of search engines, the better their brand exposure is.
Increasing leads through advertising and professional pr generates more leads or interest in a company. Consider leads as the individuals who are directly interested in the brand, its services, platforms, and products.
This is relatively straightforward. But digital pr allows consumers to easily purchase any item or service on the web, without the effort of actually looking for it. A great contribution for digital pr benefits.
What does a digital PR agency do?
There are a variety of subdivisions within a digital pr agency, but the core focus of the business is to generate more leads and increase traffic for an individual or business through digital ad campaigns. This can be in the form of social media marketing, content creation, or advertising on digital spaces.
Measuring the Success of Digital PR
Luckily today we have the technology to assist us in measuring how successful a specific ad or post was. Success is a broad term and is usually categorized into the following:
- Leads & Sales
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- Social Media
Examples of Digital PR
There is an endless amount of examples of successful digital pr, but some of the most noteworthy in recent times were:
- Secret Staycations: UK Locations that look like they’re abroad!
- Playing a sport will get you more matches on tinder.
- Selfies and Shark attacks!
- Gillette’s – The Best men Can Be
- #MyReasonIs by FitBit
How many of these do you recognize, and have seen trending on the internet in the last couple of years? If you’ve come across any of these, it shows the true success of sophisticated public relations.
How to Do Online PR?
Consider the service or product offering and who it’s targeted towards. From there on out, create digital pr efforts that will work best with your market, or audience. Additionally, look at the number of resources available within the business, and how this will increase returns.
How Do I Come up With Good Ideas for Digital PR Campaigns?
Study how other companies have done it in the past. How does your product or service measure up to those standards, but also what sets it aside from competitors? Find a different angle through which you can advertise, and interact with the market.
How Do I Reach out To Journalists?
There are various ways, but the most successful ways include Twitter, LinkedIn, or email. Find journalists that you can easily associate the brand with, and the type of niche they work in. Research the topics which they enjoy talking about most and consider doing regular Twitter mentions or sending them high-quality press releases.
How Do You Create a Digital PR Strategy?
The main focus should be to have a goal. Your strategy should bring you closer to your end goal, whether it’s increasing referral traffic, better brand image, advertising a new product or experimenting with influencer marketing.
Understand the digital platforms on which you are working and how those can help contribute to the strategy. Then, work through creative ways in which you can create new content for these spaces that will help you reach a larger audience.
Whether using traditional or digital pr, there are no limits to what one can do. Through these mediums, we’ve seen companies achieve immense success in their way of effectively communicating and establishing themselves in the market.
Although the market may seem saturated, priority should be placed on the goal, and how digital public relations can help you come closer to achieving a set goal. Don’t undermine the capabilities of one medium, outweigh your options and consider how resources can be distributed to increase returns. Ensure relevant websites, and organic search traffic remains a priority as a strong SEO strategy.
Push the boundaries on what digital pr can accomplish for you as an individual or as a business. Ultimately, the digital landscape is a vast field open to be explored. It’s simply how one can make both forms of public relations work harmoniously with the desired goal.