When other companies provide quality backlinks to your site, it’s like a vote where the linking site is vouching for your content. Despite continual changes to their ranking systems, Google still values quality backlinks. While many marketers consider PR and link building mutually exclusive activities, they don’t have to be.
Here’s how to work digital PR into your link building strategy.
What is Digital PR?
You may be asking “what is digital PR?” Your goal with digital PR is to improve your online presence by focusing your public relations and SEO efforts on internet-based platforms. Like traditional PR, this strategy involves reaching out to journalists and other media professionals. Yet, consider broadening your net to bloggers and influencers as well.
Link building digital PR outreach helps you manage your online reputation by enhancing your credibility and your ability to connect with potential clients. Connecting with other companies that have complementary audiences and similar website traffic is a sound strategy with long term benefits.
Digital PR Benefits
Link building isn’t the only benefit to a digital PR campaign, but it is a strong component that helps you realize some of these other advantages.
One of the ways backlinks improve your SEO performance is by helping to establish your company as relevant to different search forms. When journalists, bloggers, and other businesses quote your company and link back to your blogs, videos, and other content, it signals to customers that you are a credible source.
A well-executed digital PR strategy gets you in front of the right target audience. When you know where your target audience is online, you can partner with these companies to get your content in front of them. Digital PR is all about connecting with internet personalities and websites that can appeal to your target customers.
A marketing campaign with a PR component can improve your SEO, driving clicks to your website. When journalists and bloggers use your website as a resource and include a link in their articles, they are exposing you to their audience.
When producing online content, journalists and other writers will include links to resources of important information in their articles, standing out from the rest of the text. Readers are often tempted to click on these links, which drives them to your website. Look through your analytics for referral traffic from other websites and note which are most successful.
Your digital PR team promotes more than your website. They can entice social media personalities to share your content on their feeds. Influencer marketing helps engage your audience. Whenever a brand or a person with a large following reposts your content, more people interact with it on social media.
When someone shares your content, their followers can respond directly from their feed. In turn, these users can engage with your users. Your social network becomes broader, introducing you to potential customers.
Digital PR Examples
Appealing to existing customers
A digital PR tactic to broaden visibility is to enlist former customers. To attract students, the American College of Physicians (ACP) started a campaign with #IMProud. The college encouraged internists to share their stories on social media using the hashtag. The organization appealed to multiple users through email, its newsletter, and social media.
This campaign was so successful, it led 3,500 to download materials from the ACP website, receiving a Digital PR award in recognition.
A good digital PR campaign improves your visibility and inspires others not associated with your organization to jump on the hashtag. Even internists who didn’t attend the ACP were inspired to share their own stories with the #IMProud tag.
Connecting to human interests
To gain visibility and compete with top-tier online dating rivals like Tinder and Hinge, Bumble launched a marketing and PR campaign titled Dating 101 in 2021. This campaign generated plenty of earned media coverage, with a variety of news shows across the country interviewing the company’s Head of Editorial Content.
If your company offers a service with broad appeal, pitch a human interest story idea that’s timely and relevant. Bumble did this when it created an in-pandemic and post-pandemic dating guide.
Many companies are using live streaming to connect and engage with potential clients. Hosting live marketing events like chats with your CEO, Ask Me Anything sessions, and others generate interest.
When you offer valuable information or unique customer experiences in these live streams, it can pique media interest. Promote your event with social media to get exposure and increase participation.
One of the easiest digital PR and SEO strategies is guest blogging. If you know companies whose products and services complement your company, reach out to them and pitch topic ideas for guest blogs. Find topics that appeal to your overlapping customer base and make sure you offer to link to the other company on your own website.
While online and hybrid conferences and education sessions have existed for years, they rose to the forefront during the pandemic. Many companies and professional organizations are hosting expert panels online, allowing you to serve as a topic expert without having to plan travel into your schedule.
Look for calls for pitches at digital conferences, marketing seminars, and summits in your industry. You’ll likely have to submit a session proposal. But, upon acceptance, the organization will promote the event and your company in the process.
Digital PR Outreach
To increase your chances of successfully executing your digital PR and marketing strategy, targeted outreach is key. Your strategy should give you an idea of who to target and how your contacts will help to build links. Your strategy should include the following:
One way to build SEO and encourage people to click on your content is through anchor text. Think about which keywords you’d like linked back to your site. When producing content and asking for links, include these keywords. You want to do everything you can to make it easy for the recipient of your request.
If you don’t decide, others will make the decision for you, and you may not like the result. For example, if you run a fashion brand, you might target “fall style” or “wedding guest outfit ideas.” From an SEO perspective, those are certainly much better than “click here.”
Obviously, don’t go wild with this when executing a campaign because too much of a good thing can be bad. The sudden appearance of a hundred backlinks, all with the same anchor text, may well get your site a manual penalty action by Google.
Having an accurate list of reliable media contacts will improve your likelihood of getting stories picked up. Look for PR contacts at your most desirable media outlets and add them to your database. Build relationships with these people and offer them high-quality pitches.
Informative and relevant articles and videos are some of the most common sources media personalities, bloggers, and influencers link to. Create a content planner full of marketing and SEO-friendly article ideas to keep your blog high in search engines and visible to those who might backlink to it. Look through trade magazines and other editorial calendars for content ideas.
Digital PR Measurement
Measuring your campaign’s success helps you refine your digital PR outreach in the future for better results. Digital PR measurement tools let you track your campaign’s performance using online tools that measure successful metrics, including domain authority and backlinks.
Site analytics are another source for PR metrics. Look for upticks in site visits. If you’ve created a digital marketing campaign aimed at driving more traffic to your blog, look through the metrics on the back end of your website to see if there was an increase in pageviews immediately following your campaign.
Set up Google alerts and alerts through Yahoo and Bing to notify you any time your company is mentioned in the media. If you notice an uptick in these alerts following digital PR and marketing outreach, you’ll have a good idea of your campaign’s success.
To see how many backlinks already exist, use a tool that searches for them online. You can also do this by Googling your company and manually tracking the results. But, digital tools are faster and more accurate.
When you have the list, click on each backlink to make sure it still works. If the link is broken, contact the company with the correct link and ask them to change it.
Digital PR and marketing are vital tools for building links an improving your SEO. But so is having a vast network of media contacts from which you can draw.
If you don’t have the contacts or the time to execute a PR campaign, consult a digital PR agency. They can help with the outreach required to establish your position as an industry expert. Plus, they can broaden your social media reach and community engagement. Use the tips and tricks discussed above to develop and execute your digital PR strategy and then measure your hits and misses.
Over time, you’ll learn the ins and outs of digital PR and improve with each campaign, reaching even more customers.