Whether performed in-house or by an agency, PR is an essential investment for any startup or new business looking to reach its target customers, fast.
As an entrepreneur, you may have a strong reputation, with personal experience and a career to back you up. But beyond this, a newly launched business is unlikely to have recognition in its sector, probably relying on word of mouth in those crucial first few months. However, search engines like Google can quickly drive traffic if you’ve implemented some strategic digital marketing activities, with the aim of increasing your SEO rank.
A good PR campaign or activity will tell your company’s story. It will present the brand in a way that resonates with readers, illustrates its message and be viewed by the target audience.
What is digital PR?
Digital PR is really just PR, but with an online focus. Traditional public relations has a greater emphasis on brand exposure, while digital PR focuses on placing links on relevant outlets to generate referral traffic, sending customers straight to your website. If these links are placed on reputable outlets, this in turn will help to build trust for your brand, encouraging consumers to click. It can also boost search engine presence.
These last two pointers are what gives digital PR an additional, essential value, as it becomes ever more important to rank high in search engine results to reach a customer base.
Benefits beyond coverage
Where traditional PR may get content placed on a major publication’s website, many of these include “nofollow” tags or have a policy where they will not “link out,” which means you will not get the full SEO benefit.
Obviously, if you’re looking to launch or build your brand, then featuring online in a national newspaper will still be worthwhile, regardless of whether there’s a link or not, but this is just one part of the bigger picture.
The most effective digital PR campaigns are developed through a mixture of strategic technical know-how, creative thinking, the ability to “sell” a story and excellent writing ability. A combination of all of these will generate great coverage and produce links in the most effective places.
Combining traditional PR skills with technical know-how
While budgets can be limited for startups, we would always recommend investing in digital PR, especially if your goals include appearing high in search engine rankings and remaining competitive.
Often, even if everything has been done from an on-page and technical SEO point of view, the only thing that will push a business higher up the rankings is link building activity. PR is gold dust in this landscape, helping to build relationships with target online media, providing great content for the websites that offer links.
In today’s day and age, it is now the website that can give clients the largest reach, generate the most traffic and also produce the highest domain authority links that are key.
Being in PR, we find that most of our clients now see more value from online content over print, as it can be shared and tracked, and generates links while turning readers into customers by taking them straight to the point of sale. All of this ultimately allows us to show a return on investment and improved search engine visibility.
When starting up, digital PR may seem like an unnecessary add-on to many entrepreneurs, who are choosing to focus their energy and budgets on other areas. However, at this crucial time, investing in digital PR can mean the difference between reaching the right audience or your brand or falling on deaf ears.