Reputation management has always been a hallmark of PR.
But when it comes to tangible benefits, as in money in the bank and new business, PR has struggled to prove its value.
Generating positive media coverage in targeted publications, grabbing the attention of new customers and making a company look desirable – ultimately leading to new sales – has been happening for years.
But with no fool proof method of showing this in the past, PR has developed a reputation in some boardrooms as a shadowy function, full of spin and fluff, and little substance.
Digital PR is changing this as it not only brings the best parts of traditional PR (media engagement and reputation management) but pairs it with the Inbound methodology of attracting audiences and converting them into customers, while using analytics to measure results and prove ROI.
For all the benefits it brings, public relations has historically held itself back by limiting its mandate to media relations and generating coverage.
Considering that the biggest strength PR has is being able to tell great stories and produce content that both informs and entertains, efforts can quickly be wasted when nothing is done with the content that is created and placed in the media.
Digital PR makes this content work harder by gaining Earned media placements, but then uses the same content on Owned channels like a blog or social media; or amplifies the content by using some Paid media strategies to make the content reach an even wider audience.
Your digital PR campaign could focus on a great piece of research – which you can host on your website behind a form.
By creating stories from this research and placing them in targeted publications you can earn valuable links back to the report – boosting your online search visibility while also gaining the contact details of prospects downloading the report.
Using your Owned media you can then nurture these prospects using blogs, whitepapers or eBooks to demonstrate your industry expertise and show your audience that you understand their challenges and, more importantly, can help them overcome them.
All of this can be boosted further by adding some Paid media into your campaign, either through sponsored LinkedIn posts or further promoting of a popular tweet to a bigger audience.
The use of analytics platforms – like Google Analytics and HubSpot – has opened up an entire raft of opportunities for public relations to prove its worth.
Using analytics, consultancies can categorically show how links gained from Earned media have driven traffic to a website and whether a prospect who came to the website from an earned link eventually became a customer.
Similarly, a prospect who arrives on a landing page via a social media post or after reading a blog can be tracked back to the work done by a PR agency, clearly demonstrating to a board how PR has generated new business.
There is no question that public relations has reached a turning point when it comes to needing to prove ROI within the board room and luckily analytics and other reporting tools are making it possible for them to do that.
Effective digital PR can make your promotional efforts go further by not only gaining you vital coverage in the publications your audience reads but also by attracting, engaging and converting this audience into customers, not only to boost your business’ reputation but bring in new business at the same time.