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Digital PR & its impact on link building

May 3, 2023


min read


Digital PR is a growing trend focusing on building high-quality, relevant links from authoritative sources

The importance of digital PR for link building

Did you know that according to recent studies, 91% of web pages get no organic traffic from Google? With so much online competition, driving traffic to your website is becoming increasingly difficult. However, there is a solution that's gaining traction - digital PR. 

By leveraging Digital PR tactics to build high-quality links, businesses can improve their search engine rankings and drive more traffic to their site. In this article, we'll dive into the importance of Digital PR for link building, different tactics you can use, and how to measure success.

A team of digital marketing & PR professionals collaborating on a Digital PR campaign.

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Introduction to the growing trend of digital PR 

Digital PR (Digital Public Relations) has emerged as a growing trend in recent years due to the increasing importance of online visibility for businesses. With the rise of the internet and social media, businesses have more opportunities than ever to connect with their target audience and generate interest in their brand.

Traditional PR has long been focused on getting coverage in traditional media outlets, such as newspapers and TV, to reach a wider audience. However, with the decline in traditional media and the rise of digital channels, the focus has shifted towards digital PR.

Digital public relations is used by a wide range of businesses, from small startups to large corporations, to create a solid online presence, boost brand awareness and reach their target audience. It is particularly effective for businesses in industries such as tech, finance, and healthcare, where there is a lot of competition and a strong need to stand out from the crowd.

The impact of Google's algorithm on traditional link-building tactics

Google's search algorithm has evolved to provide users with high-quality and relevant search results. One significant change in the algorithm has been the move away from traditional link-building tactics that were once used to manipulate search rankings. The Google Penguin update in 2012 specifically targeted websites that used spammy, low-quality links to improve their rankings.

In recent times, Google has focused on high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites. The algorithms now identify and penalise websites that engage in low-quality link-building tactics. Google's algorithm also assesses the relevance of links to the website's content. This implies that links from sources relevant to the website's content carry more weight than those from unrelated sources. 

How Digital PR can help in building valuable links

Digital PR involves creating high-quality, shareable content that can generate interest and engagement from online audiences. By crafting an effective digital PR campaign with unique and informative content, businesses can attract attention from relevant online publications and industry influencers, resulting in more high-quality links.

One example of a good digital PR strategy was created by Airbnb with a campaign called "Night At. Win the sleepover of your dreams". Airbnb offered highly news-worthy, one-of-a-kind overnight experiences in unique locations, such as a shark aquarium, Abbey Road Studios or a hot air balloon. The campaign generated a significant amount of press coverage and backlinks from reputable sources such as the BBC and The Guardian.

Different digital PR tactics for link-building

Crafting compelling stories

Crafting compelling stories is a key digital PR tactic that has proven effective in building high-quality links. According to PR expert and author of PR’s Digital Resolution, Stella Bayles, telling a story is one of the best ways to get people to engage with a brand or product. She suggests that a good story should be rooted in human emotions, as this helps to make the story more relatable and memorable.

To create a compelling story, businesses need to identify the unique aspects of their brand or product and weave them into a narrative that will resonate with their target audience. This can involve showcasing the brand's values, highlighting a specific problem the product solves or sharing an inspiring success story.

Weave unique aspects of your brand into a narrative that will resonate with your target audience.

Leveraging social media platforms

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 94% of reporters, editors, and other news industry professionals in the US use social media in their jobs. The survey also showed that Twitter is the clear leader among social media sites used for work-related tasks by US journalists, with 69% of them saying it is the site they use most or second most for their job.

Social media platforms also allow for the monitoring of industry trends and conversations. By staying up-to-date on the latest news and discussions within their industry, businesses can craft timely and relevant content that is more likely to be shared and linked to by industry influencers and online publications.

Hosting events and webinars

Hosting events and webinars is an excellent way for businesses to showcase their expertise and generate interest in their brand or product. These events can also attract attention from relevant online publications and industry influencers, build relationships with potential customers and generate interest in a brand or product, resulting in more high-quality links.

A recent study by ON24 found that 95% of respondents believed that webinars are an effective way to provide value to their audience. This is because webinars allow businesses to deliver valuable insights and engage with their target audience in real time, creating a sense of community and establishing trust. 

Webinars can be repurposed into other types of content, such as blog posts and social media posts, which can further increase their reach and impact. 

Conducting surveys and studies

Conducting surveys and studies is a highly effective link-building digital PR strategy. According to a recent survey by Fractl, 59% of publishers say that original research is the most effective type of content for generating links. By conducting a survey or study on a relevant industry topic, businesses can provide unique insights likely to generate interest from journalists and influencers in that field. 

Data-driven content has become increasingly popular as consumers are more interested in content backed by data and statistics. By leveraging this trend, businesses can increase their chances of getting high-quality links from reputable sources.

Collaborating with industry influencers

Collaborating with industry influencers can help businesses to increase their visibility and build their reputation as experts in their field. These collaborations can lead to more high-quality links as the influencers share content with their followers. According to a recent report by Influencer Marketing Hub, businesses earn an average of $5.78 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing. 

However, it is essential to choose the right influencers with an engaged and relevant audience that aligns with your brand image and target audience. By partnering with the right influencers, businesses can build trust and credibility with their audience and generate more high-quality links to their website.

It's essential to choose the right influencers with an engaged and relevant audience.

Finding and reaching out to relevant journalists

Identifying relevant journalists

Identifying the right journalists to reach out to can be a challenge for businesses looking to build high-quality links. According to a recent study by Cision, 57% of journalists say they receive between 50 and 500 pitches a week, which means businesses must stand out from the crowd! 

Using tools such as Muck Rack or Help A Reporter Out (HARO) can help businesses identify journalists who cover topics relevant to their industry.

Building relationships with journalists

Building relationships with journalists can be a valuable strategy for digital marketers looking to improve their digital PR efforts. Here are a few ways to build relationships with journalists:

  • Follow journalists on social media: By following journalists on social media, digital marketers can get a sense of their interests, the topics they cover, and the type of content they prefer. A recent survey by Muck Rack, a PR and journalist platform, found that 61% of journalists appreciate a follow-up email.
  • Engage with journalists: Digital marketers can engage with journalists by sharing their articles, commenting on their social media posts, or offering insights related to their industry. This helps establish a rapport and build a relationship with the journalist.
  • Personalise pitches: When reaching out to journalists, digital marketers should personalise their pitches to demonstrate that they have done their research and understand the journalist's interests. Muck Rack’s research also suggested that 72% of journalists say they are more likely to cover a story if the pitch is personalised and tailored to their interests. 
  • Offer exclusives: Digital marketers can offer journalists exclusive content or access to experts in their field. This can help to establish a relationship with the journalist and increase the likelihood of coverage.
  • Attend industry events: Attending industry events and networking with journalists can be a valuable way to build relationships and establish connections that can be leveraged for digital PR efforts.

Crafting a pitch that resonates with journalists

Crafting a pitch that resonates with journalists is crucial to successful digital PR strategies. Here are some tips for crafting an effective pitch:

  1. Personalise the pitch: Research the journalist and their work before crafting it. Reference specific articles they've written or topics they've covered to show that the pitch is tailored to their interests.
  1. Be concise: Keep the pitch short and to the point. Journalists receive a lot of pitches, so it's important to make the most important information stand out.
  1. Offer unique insights: Provide insights or data the journalist may not have previously seen. This makes the pitch more valuable and gives the journalist a reason to cover the story.
  1. Use a compelling subject line: The subject line should be attention-grabbing and give a clear idea of the pitch.
  1. Provide multimedia: Including multimedia such as images or videos can help make the pitch more interesting and engaging for the journalist.

Digital PR's role in B2B and professional industries

In recent years, digital PR has gained popularity as an effective marketing strategy for businesses across industries, both B2C and B2B. However, there is a common myth that digital PR is only effective for B2C or ‘fun’ brands. 

Some people might believe that digital PR is only effective for B2C or fun brands because these types of businesses are often associated with more visual or trendy content that is easily shareable on social media. This is not true. 

According to a recent survey conducted by Meltwater, B2B PR differs from B2C PR in that it’s largely driven by relationships. While the goal of B2C PR is to build brand awareness, B2B PR aims to build trust. It’s less about products and more about results - but it’s still a vital part of their marketing strategy.

As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stated, “A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” 

Essentials of a B2B PR Tool Kit.

How to make digital PR work for any brand

To make digital PR work as part of your digital marketing strategy, businesses must focus on creating high-quality, valuable content relevant to their industry. Businesses can improve their online presence and generate high-quality links by building relationships with journalists and industry influencers and consistently sharing valuable content on social media.

Businesses can create many types of content as part of their digital PR strategy. Some popular content formats include:

Blog posts: Blogging is a great way for businesses to provide their target audience with valuable insights, industry news, and thought leadership content. 

Press releases: Online press releases are an effective way for businesses to announce new product launches, company milestones, industry awards, or other noteworthy events. 

Infographics: Infographics are a visual way to communicate complex information or data in an easy-to-understand format. They are highly shareable on social media and can generate high-quality links from other websites and blogs.

Research reports: Conducting original research and producing a report on the findings can be a great way to generate media coverage and high-quality links. 

Case studies: Sharing success stories and case studies can be an effective way to demonstrate the value of a business's products or services. Case studies can also generate media coverage and high-quality links from industry publications.

Measuring success in digital PR

Measuring the success of a digital PR campaign can be challenging, as it can be difficult to quantify the impact of PR activities on business outcomes. To track the success of a digital PR campaign, businesses need to focus on specific metrics that are directly tied to their goals. 

Here are some of the key metrics that businesses can track to measure the success of their digital PR campaigns:

Website traffic: By tracking website traffic, businesses can measure the impact of their digital PR activities on website visits. 

Search engine rankings: By monitoring search engine rankings, businesses can track the impact of their digital PR activities on their visibility in search results. 

Social media engagement: By monitoring the engagement of your social media marketing, businesses can measure the impact of their digital PR activities on their social media presence. 

High-quality links generated: By tracking the number of high-quality links generated, businesses can measure the impact of their digital PR activities on their website's search engine optimisation (SEO). 

Tools to use for measuring Digital PR success

Several digital PR tools can help businesses measure the success of a digital marketing strategy or PR campaign. Here are a few examples:

Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a free tool that allows businesses to track referral traffic and organic search traffic, user behaviour, and other important metrics. By setting up custom tracking URLs for their digital PR campaigns, businesses can monitor the traffic generated by those URLs and measure the impact of their PR activities on website visits.

SEMRush: SEMRush is a popular SEO tool that allows businesses to track search engine rankings, backlinks, and other important metrics. By monitoring search engine rankings and the number of high-quality links generated, businesses can measure the impact of their PR activities on their website's SEO.

Moz: Moz is another popular SEO tool that allows businesses to track search engine rankings, backlinks, and other important metrics. By using Moz's Link Explorer tool, businesses can monitor the number and quality of backlinks generated by their digital PR campaigns.

Hootsuite: This social media management tool allows businesses to track social media engagement across multiple platforms. Businesses can use Hootsuite to monitor the performance of their digital PR campaigns on social media and engage with their audience in real time.

Mention: This is a media monitoring tool that allows businesses to track online mentions of their brand, products, or services. Businesses can use Mention to monitor the performance of their digital PR campaigns and identify potential opportunities for outreach and engagement.

By using these digital PR tools, businesses and digital PR agency teams can track the metrics that are most important to the success of their digital PR campaigns and make data-driven decisions to improve their performance.

Tips for adjusting strategies based on campaign performance

Here are some top tips for adjusting digital PR strategies based on campaign performance:

Set clear goals and KPIs: This will help you measure the success of your campaign and identify areas that need improvement.

Regularly monitor performance: Use tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush, and Moz to track metrics such as website traffic, search engine rankings, social media engagement, and the number of high-quality links generated.

Analyse the data: Look for patterns and trends in the data to help guide your decision-making.

Test and iterate: Use A/B testing to test different campaign elements, such as headlines, images, and calls to action. Iterate your campaign based on test results.

Make adjustments: This could include changing your target audience, adjusting your messaging, or trying new tactics.

Keep experimenting: The digital landscape is constantly evolving, so it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and be willing to adapt your strategy accordingly.

What are the next steps for your business?

Digital PR is a powerful tactic for building high-quality links to a business's website. To succeed in digital PR, businesses must create valuable content, build relationships with journalists and influencers, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices. By leveraging social media, hosting events and webinars, conducting surveys and studies, and collaborating with industry influencers, businesses can generate interest and attract attention from relevant publications and influencers, resulting in more high-quality links.

Digital PR is a critical link-building tactic that businesses cannot afford to ignore. By investing time and effort into creating valuable content and building relationships with journalists and influencers, businesses can improve their online presence and drive more traffic to their websites. 

As the world becomes more digital, the importance of digital PR will only continue to grow. Will you be ahead of the pack?


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