The integration of digital media into everyday life has reshaped how society functions, evolving how consumers get their news, how they shop and how they build relationships. The Internet is continuously changing, and it is important that your public relations strategy keeps up with the pace.
Consumers have grown to demand more than traditional PR techniques to conduct research and interact with companies. Brands must react by developing a comprehensive digital public relations strategy to engage consumers, drive sales and remain relevant in an increasingly digital-focused world.
It’s time to reevaluate your approach to PR, or risk falling behind.
What Is Digital PR?
Digital PR is the connectedness of digital assets—like search engine optimization, social media and paid advertising—to increase content outreach and exposure. To grow your brand’s online visibility and authority, digital PR expands content reach by appealing to how users behave online.
Regardless of the industry you are in, consumers have similar patterns in online behavior and leverage the same digital resources to research credibility and discover options. Unlike traditional PR, digital PR connects directly with consumers and taps into popular information outlets to offer the information users want to see. It combines complimentary digital tactics to develop comprehensive content plans that reach users where they are most engaged and help create more complete profiles of audience segments.
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To generate the digital exposure your brand needs to grow, leverage traditional PR tactics in new ways. Shift your perception of content from a simple tool used to express value to a digital medium for outreach and amplification. With the right strategy, content can increase visibility though publisher outreach by connecting with influencers and building relationships that open new opportunities.
Content can also be used to generate authority through brand recognition and search visibility with well-optimized posts, focused around niche keywords.
Unlike traditional PR, digital PR can measure media more effectively by attributing traffic and new opportunities directly to individual campaigns. Additionally, as digital PR puts more control directly in the consumer’s hands, it allows for real-time response management that can develop relationships, spur engagement and drive better results with consumer-focused content.
To develop a strong digital PR plan that gets users engaged, utilize the principles of dialogic theory of public relations. The theory explores how one can only exist in relationships with others, be it an individual person or society in general. This is an interesting concept and can be applied to content creation and outreach in public relations.
Dialogue has the ability to change the dynamics of the organization’s public relationship by placing emphasis on the word relationship. Creating a relationship implies that there is trust and open communication between both parties. When you develop content, think about the dialogue you want to create to represent your brand.
Also consider the digital tools users have already built relationships with to deliver content in the most effective ways. Use the following four techniques in line with this theory to develop your digital PR strategy and create meaningful connections.
1. Be Conversational
Instead of the more traditional method of speaking at consumers, engage in conversation with users to build brand advocacy and increase trust. If customers express concerns online, respond. Social media provides a great opportunity for brands to do this and should be at the forefront of your strategy.
2. Create Useful Content
Write valuable and niche-focused content focusing on what the consumers in your individual audience segments actually want to know. Not only will this help drive sales, it will help influence organic SEO and search visibility within specific target markets. Leverage keyword optimization in your content to create a better experience for searchers and helps elevate your brand's exposure through SEO.
3. Stay Relevant
The last thing consumers want to see when they visit your website, social media pages, and blogs is outdated content. Stay relevant and create a content calendar to help hold your team accountable and keep your brand active. Leverage a variety of mediums and keep your content engaging and visual.
4. Keep Users Coming Back
Rather than having a traditional sales-focused call to action, think about what consumers really want to see. Get rid of the “click here to buy” mentality and make more valuable calls to action that offer more relevant information and content.
While traditional public relations methods like press releases and media coverage still have their place in the marketing world, brands need to adopt an all-encompassing digital public relations plan to stay visible in a digital world. Be committed to having open and meaningful conversations with consumers to create a better user-experience and return on your investment.