How to Optimize Your PR Strategy
In the past, public relations (PR) and marketing teams were separate entities with independent roles and goals—the PR team focused on media relations, while the marketing sought to connect customers with brands. However, the 21st century’s digital landscape has made it necessary for your PR and digital marketing efforts to align.
But how do you accomplish this? How do you optimize your PR strategy to the information era—one where a large part of your marketing is digital?
This detailed guide will answer that and more, chronicling the strategies you can employ to augment any PR campaign.
Interested? Let’s dive in.
Traditional PR and Digital PR
In the past, a publicist was a public relations specialist that focused on networking with producers, publications, journalists, editors, and writers to get their clients into legacy media, such as:
Traditionally, a public relations agency was limited to mainstream promotional activities like those listed above. But the internet changed everything when it created endless opportunities for online promotion. To that end, digital PR firms still utilize traditional PR, but now they give significant attention to their online efforts like social media and content marketing.
It’s important to note that although they’re now in closer alignment, digital PR and marketing are not synonyms.
Digital PR – Involves managing a brand’s reputation and using news to increase traffic and brand awareness. It lets people know:
- Your brand’s values
- What makes you unique
- What’s currently happening that they should be aware of
Marketing – Involves starting a conversation and directly promoting a good or service.
Regardless of the era we find ourselves in, the end goal for any PR expert remains the same—improve their client’s reputation, increase brand visibility, and drive sales.
And how do they accomplish this? How do they build their client’s digital presence?
How to Optimize Your PR Strategy
You can’t simply wait and hope for your brand to get noticed. You have to act, execute, and optimize along the way. To aid you in this process, we’ve compiled a list of tips that top PR firms use to drive brand visibility and create awareness.
Online Media Placements
If you’re struggling to draw in new users to your website and fill your retargeting pools, online press placements might be the remedy. These can be in the form of an online blog, magazine, periodical, or website. But what matters is that they will be viewed by a wider audience.
Getting new and fresh eyes on the brand is a great way to drive referral and organic traffic to the site. And, as a top-of-the-funnel channel, it supports overall brand awareness and can help introduce new potential customers (which you can then nurture through PPC, Paid Social, email and display).
While increasing brand awareness is the primary goal, online media placements can positively impact your digital marketing and PR efforts. They can also provide secondary benefits, including:
- SEO – Online media placements that include links and brand mentions are great signals to Google that you’re legitimate. Doing so supports your overall SEO strategy and builds up your backlink profile through organic, relevant, and quality third-party content sites.
If an authoritative site refers to your brand, Google perceives you to be respectable, and thus increases your domain authority. The higher your domain, the higher you rank. This means increased traffic, better click-through rates (CTRs), and more sales.
Traffic – When an article or media placement includes links to your brand, it drives referral traffic to your website. You can use Google Analytics to measure a media placement’s efficacy by studying key metrics like:
- Time on site
- New vs. returning visitors
- Pages per visit
- Number of sessions
Link building via PR media placement will help establish your credibility with both customers and search engines. And the more high-quality sites that you can entice to link to your website, the more site traffic you’ll receive.
Once you secure placement, be sure to then leverage it digitally so the content can live on forever. Down the road, they can be leveraged on social media and your website (with logos and links attached, further branding the piece).
Newsjacking is a tactic used by savvy brands to insert themselves into a conversation or news cycle that they had no business being in originally. It links your brand to topical news stories in order to gain media and consumer attention.
These days, the most powerful and cost-effective newsjacking efforts are done through social media, which is largely driven by memes, jokes, and constant plays on the original source material. Because of this, successful newsjacking often comes down to timing and wit.
What are some examples?
There are two simple ones that come to mind:
Oreo “Dunk in the dark”
On February 3rd, 2013, the power went out in the Superdome during the Super Bowl championship game between the 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. While the world was buzzing about the blackout, Oreo Cookie tweeted this. Within an hour, it had garnered more than 10,000 retweets and had spawned more than 15,000 conversations, with most praising Oreo’s PR and marketing team for being quick on their toes.
Even after the game was over, both consumers and journalists were talking about it, so much so that there were articles published about the successful newsjacking, such as Wired’s, “How Oreo Won the Marketing Super Bowl With a Timely Blackout Ad on Twitter.” Creating this tweet cost Oreo practically nothing—but instantly shifted the spotlight onto their brand and away from the stalled championship game.
KitKat and iPhone 6 plus “bendgate”
When the iPhone 6 Plus first came out, there was a rash of reports from early adopters complaining that the phone had bent in their pocket. So, as the news cycle started to blow up with online conversation centering on “bendgate,” KitKat inserted itself into the conversation with this simple tweet. In the space of a few hours, it already had 23,000 retweets, with many more people sharing and talking about KitKat’s playful jab at Apple’s recent debacle.
If you want to take advantage of every possible newsjacking opportunity, it’s important that you have someone on your team that’s on deck and who checks the following boxes:
- Is on top of the hot topics in the media and on social media
- Familiar with current memes
- Is creative and clever enough to capitalize on any opportunity that presents itself
Building Relationships with Digital Publications
Even though PR firms have evolved over time, a vital aspect of your PR efforts still involves building lasting relationships. These days, your focus should be on building affinity and creating a rapport between your brand and digital publications. And, by nurturing this bond over time, you can become the digital publications’ go-to resource on subjects related to your area of authority.
By growing your brand affinity and showing up more frequently in top tier, reputable publications, you can move PR to a middle-of-the-funnel channel as opposed to a top-of-the-funnel channel.
Social media is a powerful tool you can use to directly and immediately interact with your audience. But building an audience doesn’t happen overnight. As Forbes notes,
Having a social presence online for your company can be a great marketing technique to really bring in online traffic and create brand awareness. Think of it as more of a relationship- and community-builder, and less as a sales channel. The more you grow the relationships and engage your community, sales will naturally fall into place.
Although much of social media is free and fully at your disposal, you can boost your reach and PR efforts with Paid Social. This utilizes third-party tools to drive users (who click on the link) to your website. It also utilizes advertising and sponsored content to amplify how often your website shows up on third-party pages or feeds.
With Paid Social, you can send targeted media placements, press placements, or ads that act as customizable CTAs and are capable of driving traffic to your website and enhancing your PR strategy. Paid Social can help with:
- Building brand awareness
- Targeting customers
- Capturing leads
- Increasing your cross-channel effectiveness
Because it typically has a high CTR, Paid Socials can serve as a great cold prospecting tool on Facebook to introduce people to the brand.
Optimizing Your PR Strategy
When it comes to digital marketing and PR campaigns, just pitching product launches isn’t going to cut it any longer. Simply put, it won’t make you stand out amongst your competitors. To accomplish that, you need to optimize your efforts with strategies like building relationships, using Paid Social and media placements, newsjacking, and transforming your brand into a voice of impact.
But what do you do if you don’t have a PR company on your side?
That’s where Power Digital Marketing comes in. We’ve spent years establishing ourselves as a key player in the PR and digital marketing world. Thanks to our extensive network, we can leverage our existing contacts and resources to increase the success of your PR campaign.
What can Power Digital do for you?
To start, we optimize your PR strategy by:
- Setting up business profiling
- Publishing SEO online content
- Pushing Influencer marketing
- Creating online press releases
- Establishing relationships with online journalists
And that’s just to start. So, if you’re interested in finding out more, reach out today to request a Free PR Appraisal.
Twitter. Oreo Cookie “Power out, no problem.” https://twitter.com/Oreo/status/298246571718483968
Wired. How Oreo Won the Marketing Super Bowl with a Timely Tweet
Twitter. KitKat “We don’t bend, we break.” https://twitter.com/KITKAT/status/514817515177123841
Forbes. How to Get the Most out of Your Brand’s Social Media Campaign. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/02/11/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-brands-social-media-campaign/#3398c0fd5d37