Digital PR is a broad concept with lots of diverse tactics within. From tried-and-tested methods that you know work and how to implement, to innovative tactics that embrace new technologies.
In this piece, we’re looking at the former—those trusty digital PR tactics that, when done right, can net you coverage, awareness, and traffic for your clients or brand. Let’s get started!
Network with journalists for links and coverage
Press opportunities and PR comments (like those won through Help A Reporter Out, or HARO) are a handy digital PR tactic that can get you coverage, awareness, traffic, and more—when they land. They aren’t guaranteed, but when they do convert, they’re a massive and bountiful win.
In short, these opportunities involve journalists reaching out on public spaces (typically through HARO or Twitter hashtags like #journorequest) to brands, agencies, and experts for comments on stories they’re writing. Journos get dozens or more submissions for these, so here are a few handy tips to make yours stand out:
- Speed: the early bird catches the worm—journalists are bound to tight deadlines, and the sooner you get your response across, the more likely it is they will use it.
- Conversational but authoritative: if you’re writing for a mainstream or general publication, you want your copy to be accessible and understandable by all, but knowledgeable at the same time.
- Write a pithy soundbite: if you can phrase something in a memorable, witty, or humorous way, it’ll resonate with journos and/or their audience.
As well as a lovely link, you also get your brand or client featured in reputable and often relevant publications, both online and off. Don’t let the lack of guarantee put you off—PR comments are a big win for digital PR, and are well worth pursuing.
Launch solid blogger outreach
Blogger outreach is a great digital PR tactic. Reach out to relevant bloggers, offer a guest post, win coverage—simple but effective.
Of course, like any good tactic, it has been exploited by some. But to distinguish your work from rubbish, spammy guest blogs, you need to make it genuinely, wholly, completely value-led.
This starts with relevance.
During the prospecting phase, create a list of target sites that relate to your client or brand’s industry. Trade publications, niche bloggers, review sites—anything that naturally falls under the same umbrella as your site.
Next comes the outreach phase. A well-written outreach email is essential for winning over prospects with the offer of a guest post. Prospects get hundreds of cold open emails a day, so you really need to invest the time and effort in ensuring yours stands out. Specific, relevant, timely—this is what makes for an enticing outreach email.
Finally, your content. Well-researched, well-written content that adds value to your prospect’s audience is what bloggers want to see.
Adhere to basic writing for the web principles, ditch jargon and fluff and offer relevant, targeted value in every paragraph, use design and formatting to make it easy to consume—this is what sets a great piece of content apart from a rubbish one.
Create a sparkling, newsworthy press release
Press releases are an easy win—in theory.
Firstly, make sure your story is actually newsworthy. Journalists don’t care if you’ve moved offices—they want something that is genuinely interesting, inspiring, or even shocking. In short, they want something that will make readers click.
We’ve covered the basics of writing a good press release already, but for a quick recap, you need:
- A strong headline that captures the crux of the story.
- A concise lede that outlines the who, what, where, when, and why of the story.
- Contact details and easily-accessible media dropbox.
- Strong quotes from a relevant person that add colour to the story.
Top tip: where possible, write and format your press release as closely as possible to the same style as your target journalist and publication.
This streamlines the process for the journo, basically letting them cut and paste your press release into their article.
This isn’t easy if you’re sending press releases out en masse, of course. But if you’re targeting a select few, this little tip will increase your chances of conversion. (Shout out to Buzzstream’s Stephen Panico and his excellent outREACH Online 2020 talk for this useful tidbit!)
Lean on influencers for publicity and social proof
Influencer marketing and digital PR cross over in so many ways, offering an effective means of driving awareness and coverage for your brand or client.
With influencers becoming PRs in their own right in some cases, they’re an obvious choice for a digital PR campaign—as commercially-savvy and goal-driven as any agency.
There are myriad options open to you here:
- Product features: send a free sample of your product (or, indeed, service) to an influencer within your niche. A positive review across their social channel, coordinated with your PR team with your campaign goals in mind, is an easy win.
- Competitions, contests, and giveaways: launch a competition via an influencer offering products, branded merch, one-off creations, and so on. Another simple but effective way to get your brand seen by the right people.
- Social media takeovers: while this won’t work for all brands, a social media takeover is a fun and exciting way of encouraging cross-platform engagement. Have an influencer take over your social channels (Insta is best) for a Q&A, contests, behind-the-scenes peeks at your company, etc, and promote the takeover via their own channels.
As ever with influencer campaigns, it’s all about the preparation and planning. Map out your campaign with your selected influencer(s) with your desired outcomes in mind. A good influencer knows what they’re doing, and will be able to offer ideas and tactics that help you meet these goals. In short, the influencer guides, but you decide.
Embrace the growing power of podcasts
If you’ve spent most of your lockdown enjoying long walks (or long post-work lie-downs) with a podcast or two (or three, or four), then it’ll come as no surprise to hear that they’re big when it comes to marketing.
Podcasts are a strong PR tool, offering you the opportunity to spark a personal connection with prospective customers—not to mention to boost brand authority, traffic generation, and so on.
Of course, actually launching a branded podcast isn’t easy. Just 7% of podcasts ever make it past their seventh episode, and it requires passion and persistence to make a new podcast venture work. It’s not impossible, though—Full Story Media’s Corinne Card gave us a few handy pointers on how to embrace podcasts in an insightful BrightonSEO in 2019.
But getting your brand featured on a relevant podcast that gets you heard by lots of potential customers? That’s another matter, and a great digital PR tactic too.
As with all great digital PR tactics, it starts with relevance.
A feature for feature’s sake won’t get you coverage. Land your client a spot on a podcast that relates to your brand and target audience is what really works. Community or review podcasts are the obvious choice here, giving you a space where potential customers expect to hear (and are primed for) a feature from a brand.
Next, be clear about what you want. Are you promoting a new product? Looking to boost your social following? Increase website traffic? Podcasting offers an intimate connection with your audience, so it’s excellent for boosting brand awareness and tapping into a potential customer’s pain points.
It’s also worth considering how you present your client or brand. No podcast listener wants to listen to a sales pitch, so it’s important to couch your pitch in a story. A founder interview, a new or groundbreaking product feature, a relevant corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative—this is the kind of thing people want to hear about.
These are just a few of the digital PR tactics open to you. Digital PR is an ever-changing thing, but these tactics benefit from a creative, tailored approach that takes into account your brand, your target audience, and your desired goals.
Need a helping hand with your digital PR strategy? Get in touch—we can get you the awareness, coverage, and traffic your brand needs.