Digital PR is like an onion — it has many layers that are constantly evolving and changing. It’s difficult to keep track of the latest trends, let alone decide on a strategy.

The good news?

While digital PR strategies have evolved significantly since the early days of blogs and social media, many of those early concepts still work today.

Today, we’ll explore digital PR tactics that have stood the test of time. These are the tried-and-true methods that will help you earn quality links and promote your content in 2024.

But first, let’s start with the basics.

What Is Digital PR?

Digital PR is the process of using digital channels to build relationships and earn coverage for your brand.

This can be done in many ways, but typically includes:

  • Creating shareable content
  • Pitching stories to the media
  • Creating and managing an influencer program
  • Doing research and analysis

The goal of digital PR is to ultimately earn coverage that will help you achieve your business goals. This might be anything from increasing brand awareness to building quality backlinks from authoritative sites.

What are the benefits of digital PR?

There are many benefits of digital PR, but some of the most common include:

  • Increasing brand awareness and reach:  By appearing in high-profile publications, you can significantly increase the number of people who are aware of your brand.
  • Building relationships with influencers and reporters:  Digital PR can help you build relationships with the people who matter most to your business. These relationships can be extremely valuable, both in terms of promoting your content and getting feedback on your products or services.
  • Improving search engine visibility:  Digital PR can help you earn high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites, which can improve your search engine visibility and organic traffic.
  • Generating leads and sales:  By promoting your content in front of a large audience, you can generate leads and sales for your business.

What are the challenges of digital PR?

Like any marketing tactic, digital PR has its challenges. Some of the most common include:

  • It can be time-consuming:  Creating quality content and pitching it to the media takes time. And if you want to do it right, you need to be prepared to put in the work.
  • It requires a strategic approach:  There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to digital PR. You need to take a strategic approach, tailoring your tactics to your specific goals and audience.

It can be difficult to measure:  Measuring the success of your digital PR campaigns can be tricky. But if you’re not tracking the right metrics, you’ll never know if your efforts are paying off.

Effective Digital PR Tactics for Modern Marketers

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at some digital PR tactics that still work in 2024.

1. Communicate Clearly and Frequently

Your marketing message needs to be crystal clear.

More than ever, your customers are getting information from a variety of sources and are living on a digital diet of non-stop content.

If you don’t provide information that’s both relevant and easy to understand, you won’t get very far and you could damage your brand in the process.

That’s why communication is key.

Whether that’s releasing blog posts on a regular basis, setting up a strategy for responding to comments on social media, or communicating with your customers via email newsletters, you need to make sure that your audience knows what you stand for.

Regular communication is also incredibly important when it comes to building your brand’s reputation.

You can’t expect to go months or years between posts and then magically rebuild your reputation when you need it most.

If you want to be seen as a thought leader in your industry, you need to be active and engaged on a regular basis.

2. Grow Your Audience With Video Content

Video is one of the most important forms of content for brands to embrace.

In the past, audiences may have only watched the occasional TV ad or movie trailer, but now, thanks to the internet, they can view content on demand.

This means that brands are competing for the attention of their customers with a wide range of other video sources, including TV and YouTube.

As such, it’s important to get in the game and create content that gets your message across in a short and engaging format.

You can use video in a variety of ways, including creating product or service overview videos, short explainer videos, interviews with industry experts, or a wide range of other options.

In addition to growing your audience, video marketing also offers excellent ROI and can help you to significantly increase your site traffic.

3. Leverage Influencer Marketing

If you’re a smaller brand, you probably don’t have the funds to throw all-in on a massive advertising campaign, which is where influencer marketing comes in.

Influencers are individuals who have amassed a large following on social media, usually by blogging.

You can find them on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and even Snapchat.

With influencer marketing, you’re partnering with these individuals to promote your brand, usually in exchange for payment or free products.

The best way to find influencers is to research your target demographic and the platforms they’re using.

Once you’ve identified influencers, you can reach out and see if they’re interested in partnering with your brand.

4. Incorporate Paid Media With your Organic Strategy

Paid advertising is not a dirty word.

It’s a necessary part of marketing, especially for smaller businesses that don’t have the funds to throw around on an organic strategy.

That’s not to say that you should only use paid advertising and forget about your organic marketing efforts.

In fact, the best digital PR campaigns use a combination of paid and organic marketing strategies.

Paid ads are the most effective when they’re aligned with your organic marketing efforts.

If you’re using platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can create ads that appear in the feeds of people who may be interested in your brand.

If you’re using Google, you can use what is known as ‘Google Ads’ to place ads next to search results that are relevant to your products or services.

Besides, by building momentum on a particular story with paid ads, you can significantly increase the reach and impact of your overall campaign.

5. Show, Don’t Just Tell

Visual content, such as graphics, images, and videos, is much more engaging than text-based posts, which means it will get more shares and attention from your audience.

Visual content is great for numerous types of posts, including blog posts, Instagram stories, and even content that you share on social media.

Visual content also has another benefit: it’s more likely to appear in Google Images, which means it could help you to rank higher in organic search results.

If you’re not using visual content as part of your digital PR strategy, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to engage your audience.

Some effective visual content formats include:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • GIFs

Moreover,  don’t forget that you can also use data visualizations to make your content more engaging and shareable.

Just make sure that your visuals tell a relevant story or convey a specific message that’s in line with your overall campaign goals.

6. Generate Newsjacking Opportunities

Newsjacking is the process of creating content that’s based on current events or news stories.

The goal is to capitalize on the popularity of a particular topic to promote your brand.

If there’s a major news story about a new product launch, you could create a blog post that compares the new product to one of your own.

Or, if there’s a hot topic in your industry that everyone is talking about, you could create content that offers a unique perspective on the issue.

For example, McDonald’s lost the Big Mac trademark a few years ago. Burger King used this opportunity to create a newsjacking campaign called “Not Big Mac’s.” The campaign generated a lot of attention and was a big success for Burger King.

Burger King's "Not Big Mac's" campaign

Oreo’s Area 51 tweet is also an excellent example of newsjacking in action.

Back in 2019, people were talking about raiding Area 51. Oreo jumped on this opportunity and created a tweet that went viral.

Oreo's Tweet on Area51

As you can see, Newsjacking can be as simple as creating a tweet or as elaborate as creating an entire campaign.

Even though newsjacking can be an effective way to get attention for your brand, it’s also risky.

If you try to newsjack a story that’s too controversial or sensitive, you could end up alienating your audience or, worse, getting negative press for your brand.

So, before you try to newsjack a story, make sure you understand the risks and rewards involved.

And, if you do decide to newsjack a story, make sure your content is respectful, well-researched, and informative.

7. Get Creative With Your Distribution Channels

Most businesses focus on the same few distribution channels when they’re promoting their content, such as their website, social media channels, and email list.

While there’s nothing wrong with using these channels, you’re missing out on a major opportunity if you’re not getting creative with your distribution.

For instance, you could use a B2B database, like Apollo or Lusha, to find people using a particular technology. Then, create a piece of content showcasing how your product or service can help is better or more efficient.

You could also use a service like HARO or Muck Rack to find journalists who are looking for sources for their stories. If you have something relevant to say, you could get your brand featured in a major publication.

You might also want to monitor Twitter to see if journalists are looking for any sources to quote. Journalists tend to  use Twitter a lot to find sources for their stories.

You can use Twitter’s advanced search to look for hashtags like #journorequest or #PRrequest.

Using Twitter's advanced search to look for hashtags

The direct method also works.

Simply search for “Looking for [your keyword],” and you’ll find people who are looking for what you have to say.

Looking for founder stories

There are endless possibilities for getting creative with your distribution channels. The key is to think outside the box and identify opportunities that will get your content in front of new audiences.

8. Package and Repackage Your Content for Maximum Impact

It’s rare that one single post can be relevant to all of your readers, and even if you publish the best blog post in the world, there will always be some people who don’t read it.

That’s why you need to repackage your content so that it appeals to as many people as possible.

One way to do this is to create a list of blog posts that are related to each other and republish them as a single piece of content.

You can also take a single blog post and turn it into a podcast, video series, or a live streamed event.

The key is to find the core of your message  and then package it in a way that will resonate with as many people as possible.

Parkdean Resorts, for example, created a remarkable infographic about pizza sales stats

Instead of just publishing a bunch of boring stats, they turned the data into a picture of a pizza. This made their content much more shareable and visually appealing.

Parkdean Resorts infographic about pizza sales stats

Keep in mind; the information they used was already there. All they did was present it in a different, more impactful way.

So ask yourself, how can you repackage your content to make it more visually appealing, or to appeal to a different audience?

The answer may be as simple as changing the format, or it could be a complete overhaul.

The important thing is to keep experimenting until you find the right mix.

9. Data-driven campaigns

Modern journalists love data-backed stories. It gives their publications more credibility and makes them more shareable.

By creating data-driven campaigns, you can get your brand in front of lots of people who might not have heard of you before.

The million-dollar question is: How can you get all the data?

Let’s explore a few methodologies:

a) Use existing company data

Do you have any data that would be interesting to the public?

For example, a few years ago, Buffer analyzed their social media data to see which times were the best to post on Twitter.

Buffer's post on "Best times to post on Twitter"

This was an interesting study because it offered valuable insights to their audience. And because Buffer is a well-known brand in the social media space, their study was picked up by some big publications.

b) Use data from credible institutions

Using free or low-cost sources of data is another great way to create data-driven campaigns.

The key is to find a unique angle that will make your campaign stand out.

For example, if you’re in the fitness industry, you could use data from the CDC to create a campaign about the importance of physical activity.

If you’re in the travel industry, you could use data from the World Bank to create a campaign about the benefits of traveling.

Some other popular institutions might include:

  • Office for National Statistics:  The UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics.
  • The Pew Research Center: A nonpartisan think tank that provides data and analysis on a variety of issues.
  • YouGov: A global public opinion and data company.
  • WhatDoTheyKnow: A site that allows you to request public information from government bodies.

For instance, eCommerce store Christmas Trees created a campaign based on the most popular Christmas-Themed baby names in the UK. They got the information from the official UK government website and presented it in a unique way.

Boohoo’s Wedding Colors analyisis is another great example.

Boohoo’s team used Google Trends to find the most popular colors among bridesmaids in the U.S. They presented the data in an easy-to-understand way and created a story around the findings.

Boohoo's post on the most popular colors among bridesmaids in the U.S.

August is a popular month for weddings in the US, so this was a great way for Boohoo to get their brand in front of people who were already planning their big day.

c) Surveys and polls

If, for any reason, you can’t access the data you need, you can always create your own.

One of the most popular ways to do this is through surveys and polls.

Even though surveys might be expensive and time-consuming, they can be well worth it if you manage to get some great data that you can use to create a campaign.

For example, you could create a survey about a particular topic and then use the results to create a blog post or an infographic.

You could also encourage your fans and followers to submit their own stories, photos, or videos related to your brand.

Not only will this help you to promote your content, but it will also give you an opportunity to engage with your audience and get feedback about your brand.

For instance, let’s say you run a blog about fashion.

You could create a survey about people’s favorite style trends and then use the results to write a blog post on the latest fashion trends among Gen Zers. You could then pitch that story to fashion bloggers and journalists.

Bloggers always appreciate fresh content, and by packaging your survey results in an interesting way, you’re more likely to get press for your brand.

Just consider that journalists generally want a dataset of at least 1000+ people, so make sure you have a good budget and timeline before starting your survey.

5 Common Digital PR Mistakes To Avoid

Digital PR can pay off massively when you have all your ducks in a row. But there’s also quite a few areas where you can make mistakes. 

Here are some of the main ones you need to watch out for.

Sending generic pitches

Journalists are very busy, especially at some of the biggest publications, even more so than the average content manager at a SaaS firm for example

So you really need to factor in this busy-iness factor, when emailing them. Even the best story in the world won’t be noticed, if you can’t compel them enough to take your email seriously. 

Here’s a few tips:

  • If the subject line is highly generic and not compelling enough, they are highly likely to skip it and ignore your email altogether. Email subject lines also get truncated, so ensure it’s also concise.
  • Take your journalists vernacular to your advantage, and use terms like “Revealed”, “Uncovered”, or other words you think will resonate. Even use your key statistic or finding, if you can squeeze that into your subject line.
  • Is there an angle to make it relevant to a famous celebrity or brand? This can help as many verticals within a publication have a well known name they like to cover.
  • If your email is not clear, it’s a generic sales pitch, it’s misleading or it is completely irrelevant to their beat/ publication – they’ll close it and probably trash the email.
  • Target it as much as you can. Digital PR outreach does tend to be less personalized and “templated” but you can segment the batches according to the location – so use the region/city/town/state as a semi-personalization method. 

Ignoring SEO best practices

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of landing large media links – but if they aren’t combined with good SEO practice, their impact will be dampened. 

So make sure you have a good internal linking set up – because media links will most often be to homepages or linkable assets, and then you need to be able to have that link equity flow through to other pages. 

On top of that, see if you can squeeze in some keywords in your article, in the headline, or close to your link. Now, it isn’t always going to be under your control, but it will give you an edge. 

Here’s a traffic screenshot for one story in the Metro that we secured for a client. That one article ranked for a couple of keywords, which helped drive some referral traffic –  and because the article actually ranked for something, it kept the story more current for a bit longer. 

traffic screenshot for one story in the Metro

Neglecting social media

Companies often silo their social media strategy away from their link building and digital PR strategy – but there’s no reason not to combine the two.

A few things you can do:

  • Social media works really well for amplifying your content, as you can reach, and engage more with your audience. So ensure to make it as shareable as possible. Anything that is very visual, or encourages user generated content (like a selfie), really helps lift the PR campaign. 
  • Sharing it on social media, can itself drive more traffic, and encourage natural links. Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and even dark socials like closed Slack communities or large Whatsapp groups could even be suitable, depending on the story and content.
  • Tools like Buzzsumo can give you insight on how popular a keyword or topic was, in terms of social engagement – and this can be a very strong indicator of how much interest there was in a story. You’ll get insights on what did work, what didn’t, and what you might be able to do to make your story perform better.

Forgetting to align with your goals

What are your overall goals, when running a digital PR campaign?

It’s important to keep this in mind, and understand why you need to do it, and if it’s going to get you there. 

If you have very specific commercial pages or keywords you need to rank, and your higher priority goal is to rank for those to bring revenue in – you may be better placed to focus on link building activities to more moderate authority sites.

And if it is about building overall authority, brand reputation and brand awareness – make sure the stories and PR campaigns being run, actually align with that, and can deliver your key message to your target audience. 

Digital PR campaigns where the consistency or coherence is off, won’t be as valuable, and you’ll essentially only be using it for its link building effect. 

Not evaluating results

As with any other activity, it’s important to continue evaluating your results. Make sure to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) objectives,

By doing so, you can assess if it is driving traffic, building brand awareness and branded search, (or whatever goals you have set). 

And if it isn’t achieving those things, you can go back to the drawing board on the campaigns, to see what needs tweaked. 

Final Words

With so much competition for attention online, it’s more important than ever to use smart digital PR tactics to promote your content.

By using the strategies and tactics we’ve outlined in this article, you can get your content seen by more people, build links, and improve your search engine rankings.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today and see the results for yourself!