June 7, 2024 |

Digital PR isn’t alchemy but it comes close. 

Businesses that use it as part of their marketing strategy usually see a marked improvement in search engine rankings, especially if they’ve hit a glass ceiling in spite of their best SEO efforts. 

By combining newsworthy content with keyword objectives, brand positioning and strategic link building, they boost their visibility online and their reputation, which translates into leads and loyalty. 

As a fast-growing digital public relations agency, we put together this guide to share all you need to know about digital PR best practices, its benefits and how it elevates your SEO strategy.

What we’ll cover:

What is digital PR?

Digital PR drives your online presence while shaping your brand image. It’s becoming an increasingly popular strategy for both B2B and B2C companies that want to improve their position on Google.

Digital PR specialists use tactics to secure coverage on credible news sites, with links back to your website. You need to give journalists a genuine reason to link to your content – so digital PR stories tend to be data or research-led, and based on topics business leaders are talking about, or even what people are discussing in the pub. 

Achieving organic and external links from high-traffic websites helps to boost your search engine rankings – which is critical for traffic, engagement and leads. Where digital PR differs from traditional link building strategies is that the content stands up on its own as a news story.

Journalists love data-driven studies like the annual leave report that we created for PeopleHR which resulted in over 30 links and mentions from the likes of Sky News, Tech Radar, and Business Today. Or it could be a relatively straightforward advice piece – useful content like this tooth decay tips-led article written for our client Until, a flexible workspace provider.

“Journalists will be impressed with a campaign that has multiple hooks, whether that’s topical or original,  because it will appeal to a broader audience. Data is always very well received, but journalists are cracking down on poor quality data that doesn’t quite match the story. Give them something new and unique that’s backed up with supporting evidence like research or expert commentary.” 
Rebecca Peel, digital PR account director

The Difference Between Digital PR & Brand PR

Good digital PR is rooted in brand PR. Content needs to reflect the brand’s values, enhance its reputation, and pass the editorial scrutiny of journalists.

Brand PR specialists place newsworthy content – like thought leadership from experts, company results, new products and recent hires – in print, broadcast and online news outlets. 

Digital PR also involves reaching out to journalists at relevant publications but its goal is to secure both links and coverage. This is why original content, hosted on your website, is so important in digital PR – you need to give journalists a reason to link to it. The content might be a research-led blog, compiled using publicly-available data from trusted sites like the Office of National Statistics (ONS), or companies’ proprietary data. Or it could be an interactive tool, like a cost calculator. The content is then optimised for relevant keywords, and contains links to relevant product pages.

Digital PR Best Practices

Behind every great digital PR campaign, there is a winning digital PR strategy to keep you on track.

Define the goals of your campaign

What do you want to achieve? Whether its increased visibility, lead generation, customer loyalty, or an improved reputation (more on this below), you need to define your goals to understand how your digital PR campaign will deliver on your business targets.

Identifying your Target Audience

Knowing who your audience is means your campaign will be relevant and impactful. You’ll have a good idea of who your target audience is so make sure you use language and topics that will resonate with them. Digital PR campaigns look a bit different to other types of content – so it’s important that you don’t alienate your audience.

Media Outreach

The next step is to create press releases – tailoring them to the type of publication you want to target. A good campaign offers numerous opportunities to secure coverage and links by repositioning the story for different audiences; including business, consumer and trade verticals.

Utilise Tools

Using tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush and Google Analytics, you can measure engagement, outreach, sentiment and audience insights to find out how your campaign is performing and make any tweaks if necessary. 

Social media tracking tools are easy to access and provide data like follower growth, demographics, impressions and reach. You can also check the number of likes and shares, and read comments for further insights. Monitor and track your mentions in the press, responses to pitches, and feedback from journalists to judge the success of your media outreach.

Is Digital PR a part of SEO?

Digital PR evolved from brand PR, marketing and SEO. 

While SEO works to raise your rankings in search engines, it’s digital PR that keeps you there and gets you recognised. As we all know, the higher you rank on Google, the better your visibility and clicks.

Technical SEO to improve site speed, mobile optimisation, navigation, followed by on-page SEO, which looks at optimising content, leveraging keywords, and internal link building.

Quality content, along with strategically placed keywords, as part of SEO will get you ranking higher. But, competition for keywords is fierce, so links are essential to building trust and pushing you ahead of competitors – which is where digital PR comes in. 

Newsworthy digital PR campaigns will naturally attract links from reputable websites. Google recognises this, and is more likely to rank your site higher than competitors’. Over time, you increase your domain authority (DA)  which helps you to continually improve your position. 

Digital PR is the most sustainable way to get organic, high-quality links. You could go down the route of purchasing them, but these links will often be from inferior websites that will ultimately drag your ranking down.

The latest Google updates are also cracking down on search-engine first content, and prioritising relevant and helpful content, which makes digital PR that much more valuable. You will need to demonstrate experience, expertise, authoritativeness or trustworthiness, otherwise known as E-E-A-T, which means content can’t be AI-generated, irrelevant or poor. 

“Once you have optimised your website from a content and technical perspective, it’s external links that give you an edge. Backlinks (particularly those earned via editorial) show Google that your content is relevant and useful, and in doing so will provide a deserved boost to your wider keyword rankings. It’s important that continued investment is made to ensure that these rankings are maintained, particularly in competitive niches where search results are volatile.”
James Watkins, head of digital PR at Tank

Are Digital PR and Link Building the same thing?

Digital PR is a modern approach to link building.

Link building is an SEO strategy purely focused on getting backlinks. This may be through content marketing, fixing broken links or offering other sites better content to link to. Digital PR, on the other hand, shapes your brand with compelling content relevant to your audience, where links are a welcomed by-product. 

It uses many strategies to present you as credible and authoritative. 

Digital PR specialists collaborate with influencers and industry experts to get people talking about your brand or products. They regularly monitor the news and jump on popular stories to improve your visibility, and promote your events, business news or content online. 

Digital PR experts also foster good relationships with journalists to put your expert commentary into articles and publications. For example, we secured coverage for home improvement specialist, Eurocell in Homebuilding magazine with an expert comment, which was hyper-relevant and timely. 

What does Digital PR include?

Digital PR specialists deliver attention-grabbing campaigns, and their work is wide-ranging.

It involves elements of both brand PR and SEO. For example, similar to brand PR, digital PR specialists will come up with creative campaign ideas, research trending topics and themes, find data to support their findings and contact the press to get them placed in online news sites. They also build strong media lists and keep a track of the links and mentions achieved. 

Similar to those who work in SEO, they also optimise content for keywords, track keywords and monitor search engine performance. 

What are the benefits of Digital PR?

Visibility: Digital PR will get you seen online, whether that’s through your search engine ranking, media coverage or on-page content. 

Reputation: When news sites and Google recognise the credibility of your brand, so too will potential customers.

More website traffic: Earned links help to drive up your position on search engine rankings and generate more traffic.

Lead generation: Funnel leads to your website thanks to your high position in search engine rankings. 

Improved SEO: Earned and high-quality backlinks can boost your SEO efforts and improve your search engine rankings. 

On trend: With newsworthy content, you can stand out from competitors and comment on the latest trends affecting your industry. 

Measurability: The performance of your digital PR campaigns can be measured by impressions, clicks, website traffic, engagement, links, or mentions. You can then measure your return on investment. 

Read more about the benefits of digital PR.

Why choose Digital PR as your link building strategy?

Digital PR is the best way to get organic and high-quality links to your website, because you’re offering content that has real value to your audience.

With newsworthy content, you give journalists a reason to link to your site, helping to drive traffic and ultimately rank for certain keywords. 

Find out how digital PR can support your business.