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2020 Year in Review: Digital PR Media Coverage

Tricia Harte

By Tricia Harte

There was nothing normal about 2020. Our content and outreach strategists had to navigate a particularly fickle news cycle. A cycle dominated by the Covid-19 crisis, election sentiments, and tremendous economic uncertainty.

As a result, roughly half of our research reflected pandemic-related themes and storylines in order to resonate with the media’s appetite.

2020. What. A. Year.

Between December 1, 2019 and November 30, 2020, our agency launched 60 digital PR campaigns for our clients. The campaigns were grounded in data and defined by tangentially relevant research topics. We selectively chose topics that could both establish our clients as subject matter experts, and appear newsworthy enough to capture the attention of the media.

Depending on the client and content focus, we turned to different modes of data collection to produce our research. Some campaigns consisted of consumer and national surveys, others scraped public data bases for trends and demographics information, while others dove deep into Google Trends to reveal insights into search behavior.

Even though the content topics varied from client-to-client, many campaigns found ways to reflect how the global Covid-19 pandemic actively influenced different spheres of life.

60 campaigns launched, 2806 total placements, 2539 total links, and 42 average links per content campaign.

National News Coverage

Digital PR aims to connect brands of all shapes and sizes to the largest audience possible. What better way to do that than secure media coverage in the nation’s leading publications?

Over the past 12 months, our content marketing and digital PR teams secured impressive national news coverage:

  • 1,441 national placements
  • 47% of placements from DA 50+ websites
  • 26% of placements from DA 70+ websites
Brand logos for the top 50 media outlets we earned in 2020 including NBC News, The Hill, Adweek, inc., Yahoo, USA Today, and the New York Times.

Not only do national publications reach an enormous audience, they also maintain substantial domain authorities; making them incredibly desirable for link builders.

If inbound links are a sign of trust, then a referring link from Newsweek or CBS News signals to search engines that a website is an extremely trustworthy source.

From an SEO perspective, inbound links from national media carry with them some of their host website’s domain authority (DA). Nearly half of the placements we earned from publications with a national audience had a domain authority over 50. While one-quarter of the national placements we secured had a domain authority above 70.

From a PR perspective, a brand mention in one of these leading publications ostensibly conveys credibility. If ABC News cites your company’s research, then it’s often viewed by other journalists and audiences as a trustworthy source of information.

For these reasons, and more, our digital PR strategists constantly pursue and build relationships with journalists at national media outlets. Open lines of communication, consistent content, and strategic outreach provide our clients ongoing access and exposure for future content campaigns.

Local News Coverage

In 2020, local news continued to be a staple of our digital PR strategy

While many may assume local news is an imperfect fit for their brand or marketing strategies, we see the bigger picture. We understand that there are inherent SEO benefits when you secure inbound placements on local media. Local news outlets, like national media, have high-DA websites. Any inbound link earned from those sites carries with it the authority and reputation of the platform.

This year, our work was featured in 48 states and 407 cities, reaching millions of local news consumers via content syndication and original placements.

  • 1213 local news placements
  • 82% of all designated local media markets (DMAs)
  • 46% of links in major media markets

The average local news placement we earned in 2020, had a domain authority of 66.5. With more than 1,200 local placements, that’s a significant number of links carrying impressive SEO value.

Local news also carries additional, albeit harder to measure, PR value in the form of broadcast, print, and radio coverage across geographically diverse audiences.

There are 107 million TV homes across the country. Homes and local news audiences are broken up into 201 designated market areas (DMAs), according to Nielsen. DMAs are designated by population, with the top markets reaching the greatest potential viewership in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

This year, our clients’ research was featured by 308 newspapers, 421 television stations, and 352 radio stations. Further analysis revealed that our clients’ content was featured in 82% of the nation’s media markets. With 46% of the total local news placements occurring in the 30 largest media markets; reaching a potential audience of nearly 58 million viewers.

Not to mention, local news is often the most preferred type of news in many communities across the United States. A survey conducted in April revealed that local news is the preferred source of information for 32% of news viewers.

Combine the potential audience reach with the sheer volume of local news outlets, and local news coverage is ostensibly valuable from SEO and digital PR perspectives. For these reasons, and more, many of our content campaigns contained localized elements to make them more appealing to local journalists.

What’s the Value of Digital PR?

Digital PR is an emerging force in the world of digital marketing. It’s no longer just about link building, it’s about earning the right type of links on the right publications.

We don’t want our clients to have backlink profiles filled with junk, low-DA links. We want our clients to earn media coverage that’s reputable, relevant, and effective at getting their name out there.

Digital PR agencies are tracking a number of things when it comes to digital PR media coverage, including: brand mentions, inbound links and their anchor texts, the domain authority of the links earned, impressions and so much more.

Unlike traditional PR, digital PR combines PR with SEO; where earned media translates into increased visibility, traffic, and keyword rankings.

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