Digital PR is at the heart of every successful business. It supports growth, boosts brand recognition, and increases your ranking in those all-important search queries.
And by incorporating storytelling into your digital PR strategy, you can take both to the next level. Read onto discover exactly what digital PR is, and how you can incorporate it with business storytelling to grow your brand.
What is digital PR?
Digital PR is just what it says it is: digital-first public relations management. It’s about boosting your online presence by connecting with journalists, industry publications, bloggers, and influencers through digital means. Examples of digital PR outcomes include gift guides, blog reviews, whitepapers, videos, or earned social media.
A digital PR strategy is vital for brands wishing to get ahead. As the SEO and digital marketing landscape changes, digital PR is the way forward for businesses who want to improve their SEO, expand their reach, and build a positive reputation online.
Specifically, digital PR creates the following:
- High-quality backlinks: Google places greater emphasis on links that are both safe and reliable. Reaching out to authoritative digital publications for press coverage gives you valuable backlinks that give your website credibility in the eyes of search engines.
- Positive reputation management: reputation is everything in business. With so many businesses online, consumers are cautious about the brands they buy from. Digital PR lets you share the good stuff you do with the world, enhancing your reputation online.
- Brand recognition: search engines prioritize a strong brand presence on search query results pages. Getting brand mentions across multiple authoritative websites is a good indicator for search engines (and your customers) that your business talks the talk and walks the walk. It gets people talking about your brand, and that’s the heart of digital PR.
- Social proof: in the same vein as reputation management, digital PR provides powerful social proof for your brand. When visitors to your website see that you’ve been mentioned in reputable media publications, it signals that you are a brand they can trust.
Digital PR isn’t just for big brands either. Even the smallest of businesses can benefit from a concerted digital PR strategy. E-commerce in particular is a fine example of this, as it’s a saturated industry with high competition that nevertheless is full of great digital PR stories and successes. Examining some of the many booming e-commerce businesses shows us exactly how digital PR can lead to brand uplift and amazing sales results — it’s all about finding that interesting story in your people, the supply chain, the industry etc.
Indeed, one need only look at the marketing strategy of online businesses built for profit and you’ll find that the most successful are those that look beyond SEO and paid ads. It’s usually the ones who’ve invested in storytelling and created a strong brand value proposition who come out top in the profitability stakes.
After all, brand equity is more than just the sum of its parts. The best brands embrace digital PR and outreach to create an organic marketing strategy that’s effective and futureproof. Beardbrand, for example, used storytelling techniques to create a strong public image that resonated with its target market, coining the phrase “urban beardsman” to connect its customers with the brand.
How can I use storytelling in my digital PR?
By creating a digital PR strategy that puts storytelling at its heart, you can reap the benefits ten times over. Here’s how.
Transform your press releases into stories
Press releases are the backbone of public relations. Brands use them to convey events, product releases, and business information to journalists, helping them write articles and meet their deadlines.
Journalists receive countless press releases in a single day, sifting through hundreds to find one with something that’s worth telling. So, if your press release tells a story rather than simply conveying a dry, uninspiring fact, it will stand out. And once you have press mentions, place them front and center on your homepage or on a dedicated press page and share them with your current and potential customers.
Most (if not all) press releases today are digital, giving you more space to tell your story. You could include individual social media posts, embed videos, or link out to customer testimonials to create a different kind of press release prepped for the digital age.
Share your customers’ stories
Your brand has its fair share of stories to tell, from behind-the-scenes glimpses of new product offerings to your business origin story. But perhaps the greatest source of stories are from your customers themselves.
Reach out to your customers and invite them to share their own stories. It might be about their experience with your brand, or how your product or service has impacted their lives. Encourage your customers to submit content across social media, forums and blogs.
Incorporating this kind of user-generated content into your digital PR strategy doesn’t just share your customers’ stories with the world; it also provides genuine social proof and enhances your brand reputation, with each powered by storytelling.
Create journalistic content that tells your story
While reaching out to journalists has its role in digital PR, it’s not a brand’s only avenue for coverage. Instead, you should look inwards at your own content strategy and the storytelling opportunities it affords you.
We are increasingly seeing brands become publishers in their own right. Many media companies today eschew highbrow journalism in an attempt to make news stories more entertaining and click-worthy. As a result, brands are stepping forward to position themselves as authoritative sources of industry journalism.
This is good news for your brand. Rather than relying on a third-party journalist to tell your story for you, create content that tells it on your own terms. You have complete control over your story, and you can tell it across multiple channels: your blog, your social channels, your email, and so on.
In doing so, you create legitimate content that puts your story first.
Work with influencers to tell your story together
Another valuable source of digital PR is influencers. Indeed, the clue is in the name: public relations is all about influence, and in the business world, certain influential bloggers or social media stars arguably wield it just as much as journalists do, if not more.
Influencers embody storytelling’s role in digital PR. Their content is (ideally) genuine and human, revolving around their interaction with the product or service they’re mentioning and their followers. And because a well-chosen influencer has an audience that is likely to be interested in your brand, an influencer collaboration delivers your story to the people that count.
Influencers typically occupy two or more social platforms, so use a mix of content to tell your story. A blend of blogs, social Stories, video, and other formats gives you and your influencer the space to flex your creative muscles and enhance your digital PR strategy.
This year, put digital PR at the heart of your business strategy, and embrace storytelling throughout. Follow the tips above, and you’ll be well on your way to a story-led digital PR strategy that turns your business into a brand.
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