The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Digital PR

by | Mar 3, 2021

Digital PR is a marketing tactic that businesses use to increase awareness of their brands online. Executing this strategy can help you build a stronger reputation, form connections with high-authority websites, and develop relationships with influential people. Digital PR can also connect you with your target audience in a powerful way.

As John Mueller of Google said regarding digital PR, “It’s just as critical as tech SEO, probably more so in many cases.”

As a digital marketer, you may be thinking, “How can ANYTHING be more important than SEO? It runs the world!”

Well, yes, it does that. But digital PR works in tandem with SEO and content marketing. It’s a vital piece of the puzzle to successfully do marketing in 2021 and beyond.

Digital PR involves networking with authoritative bloggers and influencers in your niche. If you execute a strong strategy successfully, you can build quality backlinks, score valuable social media mentions, and boost your SEO website rankings.

Ready to learn more? We thought so. Let’s dig deeper by covering how digital PR differs from traditional PR, why this strategy is vital for small businesses, how PR can help you boost SEO, and what it looks like in practical form.

What is Digital PR?

Essentially, the purpose of digital PR is to improve your brand’s reputation and increase your visibility online. You can do this by connecting with your target audience and conversing with them through content marketing, SEO, social media, and influencer outreach.

Digital PR can help you accomplish several things:

  • Gain quality backlinks from customer reviews, online publications, and high-authority websites.
  • Share content where your target audience is (social media channels, podcasts, and blogs).
  • Gain five-star reviews, and use them to your advantage.
  • Get featured in local publications like online newspapers, blogs, and sponsored events.

Digital PR vs. Traditional PR

Digital PR helps you reach a much larger audience than you typically can with traditional PR. Traditional PR focuses on making essential connections offline to build your reputation and brand awareness.

While a digital PR strategy may involve blogs, podcasts, and email outreach, traditional PR involves physical channels like press releases, print media, and networking with journalists for publication placement. TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers are all examples of traditional PR.

In the past, businesses could find PR success by promoting their businesses on these offline channels. Things are different today, however. While print isn’t dead, online marketing undoubtedly continues to steal readership and revenue from the print industry. Smart PR experts have shifted their focus to online outlets.

The 7 Best Types of Digital PR

Digital PR experts seek opportunities to interact with target audiences online. Tactics can vary based on the type of business, who their audience is, and where their people spend time online.

Some digital PR techniques include organizing and optimizing interviews, online press releases, customer reviews, and business profiles. Our top recommendations, however, are listed below.

1. Guest Blog Posts

By writing and publishing articles on other companies’ websites (guest posting), you can build quality backlinks, get in front of a larger audience, drive relevant traffic to your site, and establish yourself as a thought leader.

2. Online Publication Features

Look for authoritative sites – like Forbes, WSJ, Inc. Magazine, and Harvard Business Review. Publishing an article on a top press or publication site and backlinking to your website can boost your domain authority and overall SEO rankings.

3. Virtual Summits

Speaking at a virtual summit is a way to establish credibility and become an authority in your field. By sharing valuable content and educating consumers on topics of interest, you’ll gain new exposure and build your audience.

4. Online Conferences

The benefits of speaking at or attending online conferences are like those of virtual summits. You can make connections and build lasting relationships by connecting with people in a way that you can’t through static online content.

Network with attendees via text, live chat, or video. Send follow-up information after the event to lead interested parties straight to your website.

5. Podcast Interviews

Appearing as a guest on popular podcasts that speak to your target market is another smart way to expand your reach. Share your brand values, personality, and industry knowledge to build trust and interest. Ask the host if you can add a bio to the published podcast with a backlink that leads to your website.

6. Case Studies

Case studies are stories of how your customers found success working with you. They contain factual data to back up processes and results. They can position your business as a leader, educate consumers, increase your credibility, and connect with your target audience. Publish them on your website, blog, and landing pages. Share them on social media for greater reach.

7. Expert Roundups

An expert roundup post is a collection of interviews or quotes by influencers in your industry. Influencers should be well known in your market and have something valuable to offer your readers. Roundup posts get expert opinions on relevant current topics.

For example, I could write a post about content marketing called “50 Blogging Hacks by Top Industry Experts.”

Expert roundups will help you build authority and respect in your industry. You’ll not only get to collaborate with some of the top dogs in your niche, but you’ll also have the opportunity to link to high-quality websites and mention influencers when sharing posts on social media. In return, they may share the link with their audience and be open to working with you again in the future.

How Digital PR Boosts SEO Results

Before covering the SEO benefits your digital PR strategy can help you achieve, let’s look at how marketing, PR, and social media differ. We’ll also cover how they can all work together to achieve the best possible results.

The Differences Between PR and Digital Marketing

Online marketing and digital PR overlap. Your PR strategy should fall under your overarching digital marketing plan. Marketing focuses on generating leads and sales, while public relations focus on building a positive brand image online.

You can’t have one without the other. Without PR, your brand may not have the visibility and recognition to generate enough revenue. Without marketing, your PR strategy will fall flat because you won’t get the results (leads, conversions, and sales) that come from good marketing.

PR helps you share your brand mission and unique value proposition (UVP). It enables you to build a loyal audience and make valuable connections. With marketing, you’re trying to nurture leads and ultimately sell those leads a service or product.

Both strategies complement one another. Start building your brand up with digital PR. You’ll prep a solid foundation so marketing can later sweep in and effectively convert.

The Role of Social Media in PR

Social media is an effective channel for building a robust digital PR campaign. It can help you reach and connect with target consumers and influencers in your industry. You can also research your target audience and competitors to learn what content types are the most engaging. Offering free, valuable content will help you build trust and authority online.

When publishing new content on social media, ask your audience to share it to expand your reach. Be sure to respond to comments, messages, and questions promptly to build relationships with followers. Responding quickly and kindly will show consumers that you care about them and listen to what they have to say. Social media will help you build your brand and reputation – two top goals of PR.

SEO Benefits of Digital PR

When setting goals for your digital PR and online marketing campaign, focus on achieving some of these outstanding SEO benefits.

  • Improve your SEO rankings.
  • Generate leads.
  • Boost sales.
  • Grow your website traffic.
  • Gain exposure with your target audience.
  • Boost referral traffic.
  • Improve your brand image.
  • Expand your reach and digital footprint.
  • Establish authority in your niche.
  • Build trust online.

Why All Small Businesses Need Digital PR

PR is all about relationships. So are small and local businesses. Where will your business be without customer relationships? It probably wouldn’t exist.

PR focuses on building relationships based on trust between your brand and customers. It helps you reach the right audience on different channels so you can form connections.

Every small business owner needs digital PR to position their brand as an authority in their market while simultaneously boosting organic traffic from search engines. It’s a proven recipe for success!

PR is essential for small business growth. Getting positive brand mentions and strong backlinks will boost your website authority and credibility. SEO will build over time to help you gain more traction organically online. The more shares, mentions, backlinks, and other types of engagement your content receives, the more SEO juice you’ll get from Google and other search engines.

How to Execute Your Digital PR Strategy

You have several options for executing your PR strategy (in conjunction with your overarching marketing plan).

  • DIY: If you want to learn digital PR yourself, consider taking one of the courses listed in the next section to learn how to get the results you want.
  • Hire a digital PR agency: Hiring an agency to take care of your online PR efforts is a smart way to take the job off your plate and place it in the hands of experts.
  • Hire employees: Another option is hiring employees who specialize in the digital PR space.
  • Hire freelancers: You could also outsource the role to a freelancer who provides digital PR services for a living.

Top Courses in Digital PR

Here are three top-of-the-line courses that can train you or someone in your business to take your marketing to the next level.

  • Online Digital Marketing Training: This course covers more than just PR. It also dives into using social media marketing and SEO to drive traffic and boost leads and sales. It’s an on-demand, self-paced course to bring you up to date on the latest skills and trends.
  • Digital PR 101: DigiPR offers a course that gives you an overview of what PR looks like in today’s world. You’ll learn how to incorporate PR techniques for maximum results in your business using a five-step process.
  • Digital PR Freelancer Training Course: Pitch & Profit (my personal favorite) offers a PR program to train an employee, assistant, or freelancer FOR you! They’ll learn how to guest post like a pro, score podcast interviews with top brands in your niche, and much more. This course is designed specifically for small virtual teams.

Get Help with Digital PR

Pitch & Profit is a digital PR agency specializing in guest posting, publicity, and content marketing. We train writing assistants and VAs to build quality backlinks and approach digital PR using today’s best practices. Are you ready to boost your reputation, expand your reach, and boost your rankings online?

Learn more about our awesome training course!

Dayana Mayfield loves publicity and content marketing and how they work together. She's been featured in Business Insider, Forbes, YFS Magazine, Thrive Global, StartupNation, and countless co-marketing opportunities. Her story pitches have landed startup founders and small businesses in dozens of online publications. Grab her SEO + PR checklist to learn how to rank your small business in Google search using digital PR --> pitch.st/checklist

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