5 Digital PR Strategies to Boost Visibility

In the digital age, the ultimate word-of-mouth is getting mentioned by online news sources, tagged in social media posts, cited in blogs, and written about on websites, all of which help introduce a brand to a broader audience.

What is Digital PR

Digital PR is a form of public relations that relies on the digital world. By seeking brand coverage in online news sources, social media, blogs, and websites, digital PR is more likely to reach a broader audience and boost brand awareness than traditional media channels like television or radio. Additionally, digital PR is a strategy that not only boosts brand awareness, but can help boost search engine optimization.

Digital PR placements are crucial for any brand, but can also seem out of reach for many – but they don’t have to be, especially for businesses taking advantage of digital PR. By taking advantage of the reach of the digital world we’re living in, the right online PR strategy can expand your business’s online presence more than ever before. 

Here are five ways to use digital tactics to secure media coverage.

  1. Earning links in high authority websites
  2. Networking with reporters and publications
  3. Social media influencer partnerships
  4. Sponsored articles and blog posts
  5. Creating data visualizations and infographics

Digital PR vs. Traditional PR

Both digital PR and traditional PR aim to increase brand awareness. While traditional PR is a direct approach to public relations that utilizes television, radio, and newspaper, digital PR utilizers newer channels. Digital PR’s main focus is earning brand awareness on digital channels such as websites and social media while also using SEO and link building initiatives to develop a profile of high quality backlinks.

1. Earning Backlinks in High Authority Websites

In digital PR, creating a roster of inbound links from high-domain authority (DA) websites is one of the most effective ways to boost your website’s visibility. Whether it’s from a news source or a blog, each one of these inbound links influences Google – often raising a brand’s placement in its search engine result pages (SERPs) – especially when they come from well-respected, high-authority media sites.

The trick to getting respected journalists to write about a brand? There are a few ways:

Get your research shared

One option to earn linking media placements is to create original, newsworthy research. We refer to this as news-first content. We create content that is relevant to our client. These types of relevant campaigns can signal expertise and authority while earning placements.

How to Start a Digital PR Campaign

So, how do you start a digital PR campaign and where do you find the type of data that tells an interesting story? Consider researching search behavior, conducting studies or surveys, or analyzing databases and social media platforms.

One of our clients works in a niche market of real estate exchanges. We produced a piece of research about consumer sentiments on renting Airbnbs and privacy. The research earned our client placements in major outlets including Yahoo! Finance and PC Mag.

Example of media coverage

But it’s not even about the traditional PR value of a “name drop” in the publication. Google also translates SEO value and increased visibility from backlinks with just the URL linking to your website as well. The example below shows a link back to the client’s website without directly stating the company name.

Example of media coverage

Get your company quoted

Reporters are always looking for new voices to help tell and enrich their story. Getting quoted is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in the field, but you’ll need to be willing to put in the work. There are a few ways to do this.

Read the type of articles you want to be quoted in. Look for patterns in narrative angles and the journalists’ focus. 

Sign up for a sourcing service. This is a great way to find opportunities to be quoted. Services such as Cision and Haro provide a direct link between subject matter experts and journalists looking to secure quotes for upcoming stories.

Many major publications including Forbes, Bustle, and ABC News use these third-party platforms to quickly source expert quotes. The only caveat being, many are on tight deadlines, and need fairly rapid responses to win that quote and placement.

If you’re a subject matter expert, the payoff can be big, like this high authority placement in INSIDER, for a DTC client who is a practicing dermatologist. 

Example of media coverage

Write about the topics you want to be known for. Become a go-to source by utilizing platforms such as LinkedIn and Medium and produce well-written, well-researched articles for them.

Send press releases

The most traditional form of traditional PR, press releases are designed to be a direct approach to self-promotion. Each release features a brand’s products, expertise, and research – there’s no room for subtlety here. According to Hannah Fleishman of Hubspot, these announcements can “help a company stand out and build mindshare with journalists over time.” 

Press releases look like news reports and often read like them, as well (complete with an attention-grabbing headline, body paragraphs, and quotes). Staying with the theme of tradition, they’re shared with traditional media outlets such as TV, radio, and print in hopes of coverage.

Example press release

Add clearly marked media contact names, email addresses and phone numbers to the header or signature lines to assure that anyone who receives the press release knows who to get in contact with. 

If you’re sending data in the release that can be sourced, make sure to include a ‘fair use’ statement so that journalists and publications know how to properly source and link to your company, business, or website.

2. Networking With Journalists to Earn Future Placements

Getting to know and building relationships with those in the media is an important task, but where do you start? Journalists don’t have to feel out of reach. In fact, you already have the best ways to do so at your fingertips.

Engage on social media

While emails are still the preferred pitch method, social media has made it easier than ever to interact with journalists. In fact, Muckrack’s State of Journalism 2023 found X (formerly Twitter) is the social network most valued by journalists and 69% use the platform to find sources.

How to Engage with Journalists on X (Formerly Twitter)

DoDon’t
Retweet & comment on tweetsAbuse direct messaging
Use direct messaging to pitchUse Facebook or Instagram
Become a resourcePitch publicly

Send emails

Watch the space in which you’d like your brand to be featured. What are the journalists covering? What are their angles? Once you’ve figured these elements out, craft emails that fit in with their reporting.

One time-saving digital PR strategy is the “email blast” – it’s an excellent way to send a single message to a large group of people at once. The downside, though, can be costly: it’s an ineffective system, especially if lists aren’t personalized. This means your pitch can get lost in the shuffle, especially when others are sending the same type of blasts.

Journalists want pitches relevant to what they cover. They want to know that you know them. Individual, curated emails, then, are worth the effort. It takes more work, but you’re more likely to build a meaningful relationship and secure placements.

3. Partner With Influencers to Gain Mentions on Social Media

With the majority of Americans using social media, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it when considering digital PR strategies. But don’t simply send your message into the void of sponsored posts on news feeds – instead, be strategic, and consider partnering with a social media influencer.

You might be asking yourself, is influencer marketing worth it? We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves: the industry is expected to be worth $24 billion by the end of 2024.

Screenshot of an influencer's post

But with so many options, how can you be sure an influencer is the right digital PR partner for your brand? Media monitoring firm Meltwater suggests four things to consider when signing an influencer:

  • Are they an expert? Influencers should be trusted by their audience and offer credibility while fitting in with your brand.
  • Do they have an engaged community? The more engagement an influencer sees, the further your brand’s reach.
  • How many people do their posts reach? The more eyes on your brand’s content, the better.
  • Who do they reach? An influencer’s audience should be relevant to your brand to offer the maximum ROI.

One way to make sure that a social media influencer is the right partner for you is to search for keywords related to your brand, and then monitor the media for individuals who cover your market. There are also third-party social influencers tools, such as Awario, that can make the search easier, but come with added cost. 

When you’ve found an influencer you’d like to work with, you’ll need to engage in influencer outreach. Much like journalists, influencers prefer a personalized approach: address them by name and share your thoughts on their content. From there, keep it simple: What do you need from them, and what will they get in return? Above all else, why will they benefit from partnering with you? 

4. Sponsor Blog Posts and Articles

In addition to social media influencers, many brands like to have bloggers create sponsored posts. Sponsored blog posts and articles are a great digital PR tactic designed to increase brand awareness in a manner that feels more organic.

Screenshot of a sponsorship note

Similar to choosing a social media influencer, there are many things that should be taken into consideration when choosing a blogger to partner with. LinkedIn suggests looking for several different elements. One of the most important things is to evaluate the quality of each blogger’s content. It’s important to look at the content and the audience. Do they have an engaged and loyal audience? Are they interacting with their readers? Do they have reviews or comments on their posts?

As with social media influencers, you’ll need to tailor your outreach approach to bloggers you’d like to partner with. To see the most success, you’ll need to personalize your pitch with elements such as complimenting their work and addressing them by name. Be sure to describe the ways in which a sponsored post will benefit them, and offer a free sample for a better chance at good coverage. 

5. Create & Promote Data Visualizations

Once your research is done, the next question is figuring out how to engage your audience. Infographics and data visualizations are a great way to do this: not only are you packaging your information in a visually pleasing way, but you’re also allowing viewers to absorb it quickly. Plus, data visualizations done right have the ability to go viral.

Content examples

Infographics are also an effective means of pitching your new research, your company updates, and your newsworthy information to journalists. Rather than a lengthy, traditional press release, infographics can be an effective vessel to get your key information across quickly to the people you want to pay attention to it.

Which Digital PR Strategy is Right For You?

To determine the right digital PR strategy for your brand, you’ll need to take a closer look at your business as a whole. What are your goals?

If your goal is to gain more customers, find out where they spend the most time. Are they on social media? Who are they following? Perhaps partnering with an influencer is right for you.

If you’re looking for greater visibility, aim to build a portfolio of backlinks through content placements and brand mentions.

If you want to establish yourself as an expert, put yourself out there! Get quoted in the media and create research that earns content placements and brand mentions.

You’ll also need to get to know your audience better. Who – and where – are they? B2C companies should look closely at social media. Is their audience on Instagram or Facebook? What are they searching for, services or products? Regardless of the answer, visibility is key. Work on earning media placements and getting quoted as an expert in the field.

B2B companies also need to evaluate their customers’ social media usage. Is it for business or pleasure? What are they searching for, and is your brand visible? What do you need to be sure that you are?

Once you identify who your customers are and the best way to reach them — directly or indirectly — you can embark on your journey to moving forward with your digital strategy. 

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Lyndsey Maddox

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