Online PR is the evolution of conventional public relations that embraces the fast-advancing digital business world.
Companies and brands need online PR to control their online identities and be proactive about boosting SEO and crafting a unique tone to engage with their audiences.
Digital PR has multiple aspects that make it so important to growing companies, from establishing brand authority, increasing brand awareness in a crowded market and using a professional content strategy to build powerful backlinks.
How Do Traditional and Online PR Compare?
PR isn’t a new business concept, and it has been used for decades to enhance brand visibility and attract new demographics through radio, TV, print advertising and promotions. It is also a valuable tool to coordinate and publicise events, promote new launches, or protect a business’s reputation in a crisis.
While online PR has a similar remit, the big variance is that it is considerably easier to measure and quantify the impact – and how that trickles down from better SEO performance to real-time sales.
The limitations of traditional PR are that it is:
- Prohibitively expensive: a primetime TV slot or a full-page ad in a newspaper or magazine can be a substantial investment.
- Difficult to track: managers cannot know how many readers have consumed their content or how many acted on it without any meaningful way to track the response.
- Restricted to the particular media outlets the company has a connection with or that are within their PR agency’s little black book.
Digital PR allows businesses to target their features and content to a specific customer demographic and see exactly how each campaign has performed to replicate successes or decide where to make changes.
It takes the concept further by using the incredible capacity of online data to maximise reach, engage with audiences in the millions, and use PR content to share a brand story with new prospects aligned with their core customer persona.
Tracing the Success of Online PR
Because every transaction is traceable, businesses can easily monitor imprints, click-throughs, visitor numbers and engagement to tweak campaigns or choose between online PR strategies based on quantifiable successes.
We use a range of metrics such as search engine rankings, conversion rates, backlink counts and clicks, and engagement levels to determine how well an online PR campaign has performed and recommend a format for future promotions.
Elements of Online PR
Online PR is about more than placing a few features in online news publications. It is an integral part of a broader marketing strategy, using SEO, quality content, backlinks and engagement to generate ongoing scalability and growth.
Important features include:
- Creating a tailored online PR strategy: researching your market and competition, analysing which channels your customers use most, and setting goals and benchmarks to monitor progress against.
- Brand narrative: an excellent PR campaign is based on a cohesive, identifiable brand story, and PR can emphasise factors such as your mission statement, ethos and approach to business, whereas more generalised marketing can focus on sales-based content and promotions.
- Reputation management: a strong, long-standing reputation as a high-quality brand will stand you in good stead if you experience challenges such as a negative press piece or a bad customer review. Online PR is also a proactive method of tackling reputational damage and reframing the discussion.
- Outreach content: the types of content you publish and your selected publications will depend on your goals, business sector and customer base, but can include anything from a press release to a case study, a thought piece to a whitepaper. Online PR allows you to improve domain authority and brand credibility by providing genuinely useful information to your readers.
Content is a cornerstone of effective online PR. Still, it is just one element of a wider framework that explains what your company is, what you’re all about, and why customers should choose you over the competition.
A core advantage is the ability to enhance SEO metrics by placing authoritative backlinks on high-readership publications, which can significantly impact search engine visibility and, therefore, overall brand awareness.
How to Integrate Online PR Into Your Marketing Strategy
Online PR has multiple touchpoints and has a place in every channel you use to communicate with customers or visitors.
Business websites are your calling card, and a fully functioning and immersive website is step one to creating a winning promotional strategy. A best-in-class website provides all the essential information a new reader needs to know about your business and showcases flagship products and services with great information architecture and navigation.
Brands use social media in a number of ways:
- Cross-posting third-party news features and media pieces to maximise content visibility and provide added value to followers.
- Engaging with customers to answer questions, provide more details, or gain traction by publicising forthcoming events or product launches.
- Advertising endorsements and PR pieces that validate products or services and enhance social proof and trust in the brand.
Businesses can re-use any content produced for an online PR campaign, whether as evergreen content to provide continuity and create a long-standing presence or short-term content that ties into a current marketing project. Content such as social media posts, blogs, videos and case studies can be shared across multiple digital platforms.
Re-using content increases your opportunities to generate leads, raise the brand profile, and make the best use of the content without necessarily relying on sales promotions to improve your bottom line.
Expert Online PR for Growing Businesses
Brand News is an accomplished team of PR professionals designing bespoke PR placement strategies, producing exceptional results in terms of media coverage, news features, brand validation and valuable SEO backlinks.
Online PR may have similar aims to traditional PR, but to build brand awareness and engage with your target demographic, you need a digital approach to meet your readers where they are. And sometimes you need PR placement guarantees, not just a promise. Please get in touch if you would like more advice about the best online PR approaches for your business or to explore integrating online PR into an existing PR strategy.