What is Digital PR?

By Tricia Harte

The hidden value of earned media

Who doesn’t want to see their business mentioned in The New York Times, The Washington Post or Forbes? Exposure in such top-tier publications is highly valuable in terms of traditional PR and can do wonders for your brand.

But that’s not the end of the story.

There’s hidden value in earned media, and very few businesses pursue or understand it. This hidden value, called link equity, will increase your visibility and rankings in search, increase your organic traffic, and connect you with more customers.

Link Equity Visualized:

What is link equity?

Link equity represents the value created by one website linking to another website. It’s measured by Google’s search algorithm and is arguably the most influential factor in how you rank for your most important keywords.

The more links you earn and the higher value those links carry—based on the authority of the linking websites—the higher you’ll rank.

The Most Important Factor: Links

Of 200+ factors assessed by Google’s search algorithm, quantity and quality of inbound links have the most significant impact on how well you rank.

And the most powerful way to earn links is a link building strategy in the digital marketing world called digital PR.

Digital PR versus traditional PR

When your brand is featured in the media in the traditional PR paradigm, your greatest wish is for a potential customer to see that story. Maybe they convert minutes later, or just leave feeling positive vibes about your brand. In either case, you count it a success if they read about you, and a failure if they don’t.

In the digital PR paradigm, we want customers to read about you, but our primary focus is to earn links that influence Google’s search algorithm to boost your rankings.

Digital PR represents a more holistic, dynamic way of thinking about earned media. It takes select principles of traditional PR and integrates the mission of SEO, in order to produce more consistent, measurable results.

Making your own luck using Google’s algorithm

Earned media strategy is predicated on getting in front of customers with a narrative that promotes your business. There are two massive limitations to this strategy:

  1. You need to talk about your business
  2. You need to get in front of customers

These are both false starts. 

In the first case, media gatekeepers inherently resist giving you access to their audience to promote yourself. And if you get through, the audience frequently resents your self-promotion. That’s a lot of conflict right out of the gate.

In the second case, if you’re anything less than a globally-recognized B2C brand, the chances of getting in front of your very specific prospects, on your terms, on the media’s turf, and then making magic happen, are vanishingly slim.

In traditional PR, you have to get lucky. In digital PR, you make your own luck, optimizing for Google’s search algorithm and engaging prospects in another, much more important time and place: when they search Google for the solutions you provide.

Digital PR leverages the tools of PR for the benefits of SEO. You make news that benefits the media and disarms gatekeepers, you earn attention that manifests as links, and you perform better in search, across the board. Digital PR agencies like Digital Third Coast, use quality content to secure such media coverage and links that search engines love to see.

“Digital PR leverages the tools of PR for the benefits of SEO”

How digital PR link building works

Digital PR link building is the practice of producing newsworthy stories and data to earn attention and links from mainstream media publications.

Whereas other link building and content marketing strategies are quite limited in terms of the quality of links they can earn, digital PR link building tactics are uniquely capable of earning the most coveted links in the world—links from the mainstream media.

While you’re not producing sales-focused content for your target audiences, this type of link building tactic establishes thought leadership, earns brand mentions, and drives referral traffic to your website via the digital PR campaign you produce.

Why are media links so desirable?

The authority of a website and the value of a link earned from it are equally expressed through a metric called domain authority. Websites with the highest domain authority are the most valuable link building targets. Though it’s important to note: link building strategists don’t discriminate against links from lower-tier websites. As digital PR professionals, all links are warmly welcome.

Mainstream media publications tend to have some of the highest-ranking domains of all, based on their traffic and legacy. And it’s extremely difficult to be featured in these publications. This is where digital PR is superior to traditional PR—since we’re not trying to influence or convert prospects on the spot, we have the freedom to produce stories that are more relevant and interesting to journalists.

We tend to see higher placement rates from these non-promotional stories. Each one of these helps strengthen a website’s overall visibility in Google searches. Websites start to see improved rankings in organic search for keywords they’ve targeted as part of their SEO strategy.

Which brings us back to the hidden value of media placements. They’re not just good for your brand, they’re excellent for your website.

[Click here to learn more about digital PR best practices and tools to help with your strategy]

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