The Role of Relevance in Digital PR Campaigns: Insights from Industry Experts

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital PR and link-building, relevancy and the role it plays has become a key topic in our agency and others around the world.

To learn more, we spent time reaching out to industry leaders across the United States and the United Kingdom to get their insights on the latest trends and topics shaping the digital PR field. In this post, we’re focusing on the role relevancy plays in the production and success of digital PR campaigns.

Meet Our Panel:

For this digital PR roundup we talked to 18 industry leaders from digital PR agencies in the U.S. and U.K. Each person brings a unique perspective and their insights showcase just how dynamic and interconnected the digital PR world really is.

Relevant vs. Newsworthy Link Building

94% of Digital PRs do relevant and newsworthy link building infographic from

94% of digital PRs on our panel do both relevant and newsworthy link building at their agencies.

This means they focus on creating content that is relevant to the client vertical and also produce campaigns that are newsworthy to grab the attention of journalists and media outlets (even if the connection to the client isn’t as obvious). But now, as the digital PR industry becomes increasingly saturated, across the board there’s a growing focus on the need and importance of relevant content.

What Role Does Relevancy Play in Digital PR Campaigns?

We asked this panel of digital PR pros to weigh in on the role relevancy plays in the success of digital PR and link-building campaigns. Here are our key takeaways:

1. Client relevancy in digital PR campaigns is vital

Relevant content in digital PR refers to campaigns that are closely aligned with the client’s industry, expertise, and audience. 

These types of campaigns may not generate widespread, viral coverage the same way a tangential campaign with mass appeal can… however relevant content can signal expertise and authority. Google’s 2022 content update even stressed the importance of taking a “people-first approach” and the importance of creating content that your existing or target audience would find useful.

Iona Townsley

“Relevancy has always been important when producing a digital PR campaign. At the moment, I think it gets a lot of buzz as if it’s a new strategy that’s emerged. But the content you create should always have been relevant to your client no matter how long ago you created content for links. If the content looks out of place on your client’s blog, or feels strange to a reader if they navigate to it from the website, then it probably isn’t relevant enough.”

Iona Townsley, Founder, Heroine

Alex Hickson

“I think it’s of paramount importance now, more than ever. The majority of our activity for brands is focusing on hyper-relevant link-building, and we’re steering away from just aiming for national press for the majority of clients with SEO goals at heart. Our clients that are looking for brand impact as well it’s more of a mixture, but relevancy remains key.”

Alex Hickson, Head of Digital PR, TrunkBBI

Gemma Flinders

“Relevancy is the most important factor when it comes to the true success of a campaign. You could get hundreds of high authority links, but if the target publications or the campaign isn’t relevant to the brand then those links are not going to have the right impact on SEO KPIs.”

Gemma Flinders, Digital PR Lead, Brave Bison

Tricia Miller

“The most successful digital PR campaigns marry the two concepts and still earn high-authority placements. It’s a balancing act. We strive to produce content that garners the attention of top-tier, traditional media outlets (with the flashy names that clients love to see), but also makes sense for a brand. Relevancy has always been a key part of digital PR, but in recent months we’ve seen more clients seeking not just topical relevancy, but greater keyword relevancy to work in tandem with their earned media goals.”

Tricia Miller, Director of Digital PR, Digital Third Coast

Georgia Gadsby

“We believe that relevancy is essential in building links that have impact. This includes relevancy of the publications we’re reaching out to, relevancy of the content we’re putting out, and relevancy of our experts to the content journalists are asking for in their requests. Based on the work we do, we can see that relevant links lead to stronger keyword uplifts and even higher increases in organic and referral traffic over time.”

Georgia Gadsby March, Co-Founder and Head of PR, Unearth PR

2. Earning relevant links is becoming increasingly important

There’s nothing like having a campaign go viral. It’s exciting to see your client earn hundreds of backlinks across a variety of media outlets… but it’s not the only way to increase your client’s digital visibility.

Relevant content can earn backlinks in niche publications that more closely align with your client’s industry. When evaluating your client’s backlink profile, we know Google doesn’t just consider the quantity of links, it places significant emphasis on link quality as well.

Domenica Dottavio

“In SEO, it’s not enough to be popular, you also need to be relevant. Lots of links from irrelevant coverage doesn’t move the needle as much as you think it does. We’ve seen time and time again, in our own studies, that DA or DR and number of linking domains, are LESS correlated to organic visibility than relevance. Don’t forget, most clients don’t want links for links’ sake. They want what links bring: increased traffic, better rankings for priority keywords, increased revenue, brand awareness, etc. And links will only serve those goals when they’re relevant.”

Domenica D’Ottavio, Associate Director of Digital PR, Journey Further

Bethany Durham

“With Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines it’s one of the biggest things we look at when producing content, relevancy is key. With Search Generative Experience coming our way, it’s going to be paramount, as AI will learn through contextual relevancy and reward people driving campaigns that are super relevant.”

Bethanie Durham, Associate Director, NORTH

Jasmine Granton

“When we talk about relevancy, we’re often referring to the campaign topic itself, but it’s also important to focus on the impact of the link. It’s great to get national and regional pick up and powerful sites with a high DA, but we need to balance that with topically relevant sites too, even if on the surface they don’t look as impactful.”

Jasmine Granton, Freelance Digital PR Consultant

What’s the Future of Digital PR?

While no one can know for certain what changes and trends the digital PR industry will experience in the next few years, we wanted to ask industry leaders for their take.

1. Building connections with journalists and creating innovative campaigns will be essential as industry competition increases

Kelsey Libert

“As Content Marketing and Digital PR continue to become more mainstream, industry competition will lead to the saturation of a writer’s inbox, and there will be a mounting pressure to build meaningful relationships with writers to break through the noise. Innovative, data-driven storytelling with truly unique visualizations or interactive assets will receive the lion share of coverage.”

Kelsey Libert, Co-Founder, Head of Digital PR, Fractl

Sarah Fleming

“There is no such thing as a completely new idea anymore in digital PR, and one can only redo/revamp campaigns done in the past so many times. Plus, journalists and figuring out how to do simple indexes themselves – so we have to ask ourselves if we think a campaign is just too simple. I think the industry, therefore, will turn to more primary research-based campaigns – search volume, ONS data, expert commentary-based pitching, etc. But no doubt we’ll continue to see trends recycled till the end of time!”

Sarah Fleming, Founder, First Create

Louise Parker

“I think pitching to journalists will get harder. There are already a lot of redundancies, so there are less people to pitch to (making competition much steeper). I think affiliate links will be trickier going forward also – as publications want to monetise as much as they can (understandably) so will use affiliate links a lot more, but these links have little to no SEO value making it tricky for DPRs.”

Louise Parker, Head Of PR, Propellernet

Luke Copa

“Agencies that don’t balance relevance and quality with their output will begin to struggle. We are at a point of saturation when it comes to the relationship between PRs and journalists. It’s likely that the whole pitch process of connecting PRs to journalists will change in the next year. Creativity and unique thoughts will become more important than ever as there will be a shelf life on cookie cutter tactics.”

Luke Cope, Co-Founder, Bottled Imagination

Lou Ali

“The industry is HUGE right now, to the point where the ratio of Digital PRs and campaigns to journalists is getting tight. It’s a very competitive space, but this is exciting because it means we have to think differently and work harder to hit our targets. Competition is healthy if approached in the right way – and that’s by creating more relevant, useful, innovative, ethical campaigns.”

Louise Ali, Head of Digital PR, Honcho

2. Successful digital PR campaigns will be contingent upon client-brand alignment

“In the next year digital PR is set to ramp up IMO it’s not going to just be about press coverage as the new SGE (Search Generative Experience) rolls out it’s going to be about real people’s opinions. Content creation and social channels such as TikTok are going to be HUGE for this it’s about tying all those strategies together to drive demand.”

Will Hobson, London and PR Director, Rise at Seven

Tamara Sykes

“I see the Digital PR industry becoming more crucial to brand marketing! It started out as something SEOs and SEO teams focused on, but I’ve noticed that the broader marketing industry is taking interest and adding it to their holistic strategy for brand growth.”

Tamara Sykes, Account Director – Stacker Connect, Stacker

Matt Seabridge

“I think we’ll see a continued move away from relying on big budget hero campaigns with more reliance on quick to produce content that can earn just as effective results. Having experts that represent your client will be a prominent feature of brands that are gaining the most exposure from Digital PR tactics as they allow brands to add valuable insight to both reactive and evergreen topics that can earn links on a weekly basis all year round.”

Matt Seabridge, Digital PR Strategy Manager, dentsu

Lauren Hewitt Crabb

“The industry is ever-changing and I think it will continue to evolve in line with the current climate. I think that DPR stories are becoming more meaningful and as PRs, we need to be more aligned with our brands and customers than ever. Acknowledging the wider picture and how our customers are impacted in their day to day lives is going to be important in the stories we create so we are sensitive to what’s happening and what is relevant to them.”

Lauren Hewitt-Crabb, Digital PR Manager, Blue Array

Damian Summers

“It’s no longer a ‘nice to have’, but an essential if trying to grow the online presence of a brand. Digital PR can be used as the vital linchpin that bridges the gap between often siloed organic, brand and paid teams, connecting strategies and building upon wider ideas, amplifying existing efforts to drive success.”

Damian Summers, Head of Digital PR, Impression


As the digital PR landscape becomes increasingly competitive, the consensus points toward a future driven by meaningful connections with journalists and innovative, client-aligned campaigns. In this evolving landscape, the ability to strike a balance between relevance and creativity will be pivotal in ensuring campaigns stand out, ushering in a new era of impactful digital PR strategies.

We want to give a big “thank you” to all who participated in our questionnaire and offered such thoughtful insights about the role of relevancy in digital PR.

Read more from our blog