Public relations is the sharing of information about an organization, product, or persons with the public. Digital public relations is PR on steroids because of the global boombox that is the internet. Digital PR has an additional benefit – when you successfully share information with the public through news and blogosphere channels, it often leads to better search results for the company because Google rewards links and shares. Better search results mean better business results for a company. This is why SEO and digital PR are now intrinsically linked.
Unlike static advertising, digital PR is about two-way communication and the dynamic process of sparking connections and purposeful conversations between press and public. Because of digital, that conversation is more dynamic than ever. It’s an evolving storyline of opinions, additions, and innovations as people gain more ways to engage in the narrative through online channels. Digital PR is also about content democratisation; the realisation that any user engaging with a digital brand, by sourcing, showcasing or sharing information about it, has a part to play in the meaning of a brand or reputation. Digital brands are brave, new beasts.
While it used to be fairly straightforward to garner placement and attention by applying robust SEO to mediocre copy, the new algorithms are now punishing low-budget content operation. Today’s focus – made more visible and audible by digital PR — is fixed on a mix of relevant content and best practice SEO to spark interest and create a narrative that engages press and public. Done right and with technical prowess, your brand’s voice is heard in precisely the tones you intended, and often with enduring SEO value.
So, content is still King, and PR is now the quality barometer to ensure that the online press has good information to share with the public – information that is intriguing, humorous, timely, important and sharable. Demographics and data are more vital and available than any time in history, which is essential for allowing digital PR professionals to better understand and measure consumer behaviour, the networks they frequent, and the messages that compel their engagement.
One of the myriad challenges for brands is establishing a recognisable, credible, consistent voice while remaining agile enough to respond to the ever-changing tones and contexts of different online channels. Good digital PR acts as a gatekeeper and navigator of how, when and where a brand makes its voice heard. Your audience is ever-changing and failure to identify the strongest elements of the group will make your messaging meaningless or missing from key conversations.
The payoffs of effective digital PR are substantial: increased brand awareness, better organic search results, and a higher proportion of online real estate that isn’t paid placement. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re game for the intensive, ever-changing, and at times experimental nature of the new PR. But remember, the audience is online and demanding you play or be played. Game on.