The benefits of digital PR are clearer than ever. Is your company taking advantage of the online communications revolution?
By William Furney, content marketing manager, Reachology
If there’s one thing the last almost two years have taught the people of the world, it’s that the internet is vital to the way we live, and work. The devastating pandemic — cutting through lives and economies — brought the online world even more to the fore, as it became the essential lifeline for every aspect of our lives.
Suddenly, businesses that once thought they could get by with the minimum of an online presence — maybe just a basic website — were left floundering, as customers rushed to rivals who had long since realised the importance of doing business via the internet. And so, amid rolling lockdowns and shuttered businesses, it became a global game of ditial catch-up with digital PR and marketing that’s going on to this day.
Has your business taken full advantage of the digital revolution,and PR evolution, or are you also struggling to keep up? Are you reaching out to potential new customers in the place they’re most likely to spend large amounts of time, on social media, search engines and popular websites? Have you developed a sizeable and growing following online, of people devoted to your brands and eager to learn more?
Digital PR: the new marketing normal
The seismic changes happening online during the last couple of years mean no business can now afford to disregard the internet and focus solely on their physical presence and personal interactions with their customers — as they come to a store, for instance. And it’s not a case of ending a brick-and-mortar prescese and going entirely online, by opening an ecommerce store, because the digital and physical worlds complement each other, with each benefiting.
So say you have a clothes store and are planning a sale — how do you get the word out, apart from signs in the shop window? The traditional method might include placing adverts in the local papers; but printed newspapers are in decline (graph below, from July 2021), with many people now preferring to get their news online. Using digital PR tactics, you could work up relationships with journalists at online newspapers covering your area, and discuss stories about your business that may interest their readers.
Perhaps there’s a quirky item that’s going on sale in your store — or you could add or create one — that would catch the eye of journalists and they’ll write a piece. No business is too small to even get the largest of national media coverage, as this gimmicky story in The Sun (Britain’s biggest newspaper: circulation 1.2 million; readership: around 33 million) shows:
Even if you think The Sun might be too downmkarket for your company and its brands to appear in, bear in mind its massive coverage and the potential for further growing your audience. Your story might well be picked up by other media and generate further interest and articles. With the stampede of companies vying for consumers’ eyeballs online, no business can ignore such valuable exposure.
It’s certainly not easy to land this kind of coverage in the national press, and many smaller companies may have neither the time nor the expertise to attempt such an advantageous feat. Instead, they might hire a digital PR agency that has the media contacts and knowhow to get coverage for their clients. They will create effective digital PR strategies that get online traction, build audiences and help businesses grow their customer base, and sales.
Other benefits of digital PR
Getting the word out about your company is essential to getting ahead of rivals, but there’s also the issue of cost, measuring the results and working out the return on your PR investment. Traditional PR was expensive and it was hard to quantify how effective it was, but the new digital version has a far lower cost and you know how well a strategy is performing right down to each individual click.
And so digital PR is available to companies of all sizes, including those just starting out, and is not just confined to big corporations with large marketing budgets. Small- and medium-size enterprises can choose how much they want to spend on their online marketing endeavours, and tweak their budgets according to how the campaign is doing — lowering paid-ads spend, for instance, while increasing activity in another area of this complex marketing discipline, like media outreach.
Now, even though the pandemic persits, the heightened online habits that have been with us for the last two years are almost certainly here to stay. Audiences, and customers, are built around them, making digital PR the ultimate tool in reaching out and engaging with people everywhere.
Want to know more about the benefits of digital PR for your company, or to devise killer PR strategies? Get a free initial consultation with the experts at Reachology now.