Digital PR is one of the best-kept secrets of marketing. It is a relatively simple concept, and, while time-consuming, it is not as hard as one would think to execute.
In our experience, it’s one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing. It does have one caveat, and that’s what usually holds brands back from pouring money into it: it offers extremely good long-term value, but it requires patience.
We’re keeping this post short, assuming that you’ve already sorted out your overall marketing plan for 2022 by the time you get to this. If you haven’t, then I strongly suggest that you start there. Before you click through, though, first you should understand the benefits of Digital PR in order to decide if it’s the right tool for you.
The benefits of Digital PR
First – the main benefits of digital PR are very similar to the main benefits of any high quality content marketing (or inbound marketing) efforts you make. With the right process in place you can land yourself in the media (for the right reasons), get journalists to talk about your efforts and about your brand, and as a side benefit gain from:
- Increased brand awareness
- Increased top of mind presence
- High quality inbound links to your resource or to your website
- A vast amount of content for your channels
- Implicit brand endorsement by the media covering your brand
What is Digital PR?
Digital PR is the process of creating a resource of value and then bringing it to the attention of journalists who would be interested in sharing it with their audiences.
Let’s break down that definition slightly though, because there are some words that make digital PR very different from begging for links. The first is “of value”. You should go out there and create, or build, something that is solving a real problem for a specific audience.
The second key phrase there is “who would be interested” – you can’t work on digital PR as a way to go out there and beg random web owners to insert a link in an existing article.
This is not link building. This is not an SEO exercise. Can it give you SEO benefits? Yes, it can, but digital PR should never be seen as an SEO exercise. Digital PR is a process of getting your hard work in front of interested audiences.
Let’s take an example. A few years ago we found that it was incredibly hard to find an accurate hourly rate generator. It is such an obvious problem for freelancers, however, no one seemed to be covering that specific problem.
Beewits is a site built for freelancers, so we decided to solve that specific problem, by building a great, and free, hourly rate calculator and got in touch with well-respected journalists from sites like Creative Bloq, lifehacker and Contently who had already written about the subject in the past. Journalists all over the world picked it up, and other writers picked it up after the journalists did.
What are good examples of valuable content?
Before you start planning your Digital PR efforts for next year you need to figure out what constitutes valuable content in your area. Value is very subjective, and if you want to benefit from good coverage you should stand out in the right way for your industry and niche.
The second factor to keep in mind is that your budget and creativity will determine how wide you can expect to shoot. If you’re running a study globally then you can go after global publications, but you need many more answers than if you ran a local study and just went to the local press.
Some examples include:
- Tools – free tools that solve problems for your niche are always gold. Excel sheets which solve specific industry problems, calculators, and so much more.
- Surveys – Everybody loves to learn about the state of their industry, whether it’s local, or by niche. By surveying peers you can come up with some rock solid findings that the press would love to report. The juicier the better, so plan this out well, because if you can ask the right questions you might find a juicy nugget.
- Lists – Time is the scarcest resource of them all, so if you can compile giant lists that help people out when trying to figure out something, then you are likely to be appreciated by people around you.
- eBooks – Or actual books, really. These tend to be spoken about if they’re well written, well presented and distributed well. There are millions of books out there, but I’m sure that you could find an interesting angle in your industry if you tried hard enough. And you don’t even need to be a writer yourself, you can work with ghost-writers – everybody does it.
- Creative Solutions or Interpretations – The number of times I’ve seen “This is what the next version of Windows should look like” and then clicked through to see that some agency had taken the time to redesign Windows, without Microsoft knowing about it. It will never be developed, but people just love seeing how their favourite toys could be reimagined.
How should I plan for Digital PR
If you’re sold on the concept, and why shouldn’t you be, then you should start figuring out how much time, effort and money you can put behind it and start planning next year’s main thrust(s). Digital PR takes time to plan, time to execute and even more time to start reaping the rewards from, however it is worth it. We still reap the benefits from the Digital PR efforts we did in 2015, and I can’t think of anything else (other than brand work) that’s given us such a good return on investment.
Put time into long-term vision for Digital PR, it’s not the kind of thing you can dip your toes into and expect to see immediate results from, so you need to plan for it in a way that will give you results that you need in the long term.
Once you know where you want to go, look at industry publications, see what they cover regularly and look for angles that you can add value to. Once you’ve identified this, the rest is relatively easy, even though it’s hard work. Build a valuable resource, find the right people to pitch it to and take the time to pitch it to them, offering them additional value if you possibly can.
Go for it
Bottom line, don’t dilly dally. Mix Digital PR into your marketing mix next year. Most of your competition won’t have the patience for it, and you can start sowing seeds to reap long-term benefits.
In addition you get short-term rewards because your marketing will feel much richer when you’re producing excellent content, so it’s a win-win all around.
And if you don’t know where to start from, or if you just want to brainstorm some ideas, feel free to get in touch with us.