What is Digital PR?
Digital PR is the concept of attaining editorial exposure in targeted online media outlets with the goal being to authoritatively influence relevant audiences of interest. By contributing time and resources to the creation and dissemination of informative content, ambitious individuals and businesses alike are able to build and maintain their online reputations. From the creation of resourceful articles with strategic positive brand mentions to the creation of non-branded how to articles that offer expert knowledge on a related product or service, digital PR is essentially an exchange of valuable content for positive reputation points.
Digital PR Pitching & Outreach
Outreach and PR pitching are the fundamental processes of effective digital PR campaigns. Contrary to advertising where an individual or business would pay to push a message to the intended audience, digital PR is earned media. It is based entirely on relationship building. In order to execute a digital PR campaign, a rapport must be built between a web publisher and the individual or business seeking media exposure. Ultimately, by convincing a web publisher that their ideas and content are valuable to the publisher’s audience, the individual, business, or appointed digital PR firm gains the trust of the intended publisher.
Once a mutually beneficial relationship is established, the digital PR agent will work to maintain an ongoing relationship with the web publisher so that they can continue to contribute content on a consistent basis. Unlike advertising where money guarantees placement, digital PR requires a lot of time, strategy, and effort. The payoff is the value of the ongoing relationship and the perceived integrity of editorial versus paid content.
The Landscape of Digital PR
Digital PR is as much about knowing which publishers to pitch as being able to engage and build the relationship with a specific publisher. Publisher election factors include but are not limited to the location of the individual or business, the industry they operate in, understanding the target audience and where they like to consume information. Some of the most popular publisher options are as follows:
Digital publications are recognizable web based versions of traditional print publications or they are well established online only media outlets. Examples: Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, Arizona Foothills, Arizona Business, BaltimoreMagazine.net, Mashable, The Huffington Post.
Online Trade Publications
Online trade publications are industry specific information sources that cover expert topics within a particular field of interest. Examples: Website Magazine, Internet Retailer, The Social Media Monthly, Streaming Media Magazine, Chief Content Officer.
Online newspapers are the web based version of prominent offline newspapers or the digital media asset of an offline legacy newspaper. Examples: The Wall Street Journal, AZCentral.com, Phoenix Business Journal, Sonoran News, The Baltimore Sun.
Blogs are the most prevalent type of online publication and they also have the greatest level of variance in quality and popularity. Blogs range from major media companies that cover a variety of topics to Mommy bloggers that tackle a single micro focused topic. Examples: ARS Technica, Techcrunch, FabulousArizona.com, Nickialanoche.com, Frontdoorsnews.com.
Press Releases & Industry Awards
In a similar manner to traditional offline Public Relations, digital PR also involves the production and distribution of press releases. There are paid press release distribution sites such as PRNewswire and Businesswire as well as free options like PR.com and PRBuzz.com. These digital PR distribution sites push a submitted press release into expanded networks of journalists and a variety of local and nationally syndicated news sites. Even though they are push messages from an individual or business (which are generally not as effective as inbound marketing), press releases are still very effective tactics for disseminating influential messaging and they are great tools for keeping the press and general public interested.
Many digital and online trade publications, online newspapers, and blogs offer editorial calendars that will list a variety of annual awards. More often than not, to be considered for any relevant awards, an individual or business can have their digital PR agency or representative submit an application. Nominations and awards are honors that can be publicized beyond that of the initial press. These honors serve as permanent badges of honor that help to build the reputation of the brand.
Digital PR – The New Frontier
The new frontier of PR has arrived. Digital PR offers a wider range of publisher options that broadcast at a significantly faster rate (sometimes immediately) than traditional print cycles. The advantages of being able to craft and deliver influential messages to your target market are extremely prevalent and very powerful. Digital PR is a reputation management tool that no business or ambitious individual can overlook.