Those in the digital PR industry work closely with journalists, bloggers and influencers to share success stories, data campaigns and thought leadership to promote brands and businesses.
Some people train in the sector of communications and PR for years, so opening the doors to this whole platform at first may be a little daunting. However, once you’ve mastered the basics, the benefits can be immense, and your business can start its journey to becoming a well-established brand and household name.
Why is PR necessary?
Here are just a few of the many reasons as to why small businesses should really make time for digital PR:
1. You can still go far with a small budget
Some agencies spend a fortune on the likes of a media database, overpriced web developers and influencers who can charge a fortune for their product placements. While all of these are great assets are to have, and may save you some time, they aren’t completely necessary. You can get some excellent priced web developers that would do a great job, for example, Illustrate Digital.
If you’re thinking about producing a data campaign, there are plenty of sites that allow you to collect free data, unless you wanted to use your own. All you need to do is sit down and think about the current trends and what journalists would want to read about and then collate your data to create a newsworthy story. It’s therefore important to always stay on top of industry news so that you can spot opportunities for you to contribute your voice to the mix.
You don’t necessarily need to invest in a highly expensive database either. Browse a few articles that are similar to what your data will be on and take note of the journalists. Can you find them on Twitter? If so, ping them a direct message and say you’ve got some new research suited to them. You never know, they might send their email over and decide to share your content. The chances of getting your content shared will always be higher if the content is detailed, well-researched and of high-quality.
As for using influencers, aim for the small, yet relevant. Many large influencers ask for free products as well as large fees (usually so their management can take a cut). Micro-influencers (up to around 50k on Instagram) are usually grateful to just receive a free product in exchange for promotion, and if they do charge a fee, it certainly won’t be as high as that of a celebrity with millions of followers.
2. Making your business easy to find
The more authoritative publications and websites that link back to your site as a source, the more likely it is that you will rank better online for certain terms. Having top sites link to your business site, is their way of saying ‘this website is trustworthy, boost them up’.
Backlinks are an extremely important search engine ranking factor, of course, as well as thinking about other SEO elements. Pushing a load of great data out to someone at The Guardian or The BBC and having them link back to your website would do absolute wonders for your business.
Of course, the higher you rank on Google, the more likely your business will be found. Nobody has time to scroll to page two or three of search engine results pages these days so your major aim should be to get straight to the top.
3. Becoming a household name
To put it bluntly, to become a household name you need to appear everywhere. Try and get your name on as many great magazine sites, newspaper sites and information sites as possible. Checking up on #JournoRequest can sometimes lead to some great opportunities, so take a look on Twitter to see if there are any journalists that you can talk to. They might use your expertise in one of their articles.
4. Having control of your message
Sharing the data yourself will allow you to take control of the message. You’ll be able to put data together with your own commentary in the press release, therefore sharing your own view on things. Sometimes, a journalist could spin it to a more negative story but as long as you state the facts in your release, then you’ve done your job.
For example, ‘35% More Brits Have Taken Up Exercise in 2019’ could be the angle you put out, although, a newspaper could spin it and say ‘65% of Brits Say They Do No Exercise’. While you’ve sent it out in a positive manner, they’ve created a negative story from this to gain that ‘shock-factor’ and hopefully get more readers.
5. Will ultimately make you money
I mentioned in point two that having strong websites link back to your website will help your website rank better in Google. Of course, this will help you be found better which will ultimately result in more conversions.
If one of your press releases are about a new, interesting new product and it gets picked up by press, then obviously that product will be seen by thousands of people across the country. You never know, some of those readers might come to your site to buy your innovative product.