What does having a digital impact (or a strong digital footprint) look like in today’s technology-driven climate?

While some might think it’s about having a really strong social media presence, or potentially going ‘viral’ with an idea or story, genuine digital impact is rarely ever so straightforward or tied to one platform alone.

Rather, digital impact in 2022 is all about having a strong, online omnipresence that allows for your audiences to find and reach you in amongst a pool of competing brands, content, and platforms. We know from our previous exploration on the topic of Digital PR, that your online brand identity is key. However, for this new series we want to take it one step further and discuss the true secret sauce – and that is how to turn this online brand identity into a strong digitally impactful brand.

This week, we will explore Digital PR in more depth, but over the coming weeks you can expect deep dives from the Agent99 PR team into topics such as leveraging social media and owned channels, auditing, and benchmarking, and how to utilise SEO and SEM to create a wholly integrated digital presence.

To recap, what is Digital PR?
Public Relations in and of itself has many tangible benefits for a brand or individual, with earned media playing a large part in helping build awareness, driving website traffic and growing databases. While traditionally, PR-driven news stories can be measured through volume, reach and quality of messaging to the right audiences, Digital PR on the other hand, works to provide longer-term outcomes. It does this through earning a digital reputation and online authority for your brand, that creates a wider omnipresence, engagement, and visibility. This is done through the use of backlinks, shares and engagement, SEO and digital measurement – all of which are possible through the execution of ‘traditional’ PR methods.

How does Digital PR contribute to a strong digital presence?
Over the last 10-15 years, it has been remarkably easy for brands to build websites and online channels and use sneaky web development and SEO strategies to help their sites rank high in Google’s search. However, what we’ve noticed at our PR Agency is that Google has really started cracking down on these strategies and instead is placing top priority on high-quality, fresh, and relevant content/websites that fill a gap or solve a need people have within industries or interest areas.

We know that only 4% of website users will actually continue past the first page of searches on Google, so ensuring that your brand website is on that first page, is essential. And this is where Digital PR comes in.

Google is looking to other high-reaching referral sites (such as news outlets, blogs, or social media pages) to determine whether your brand website is authentic and helping serve this need for searchers. So, if you can get your brand mentioned in the right place (like a PR article generated on a news site like News.com.au), this will tell Google that a high-reaching news site is endorsing you and therefore you can be trusted. Which in turn, will push you higher up the search ladder.

How do we ensure that PR strategies have a digital impact?
The great (and not so great) thing about PR is that it is an ‘earned’ medium. Unlike paid or owned channels, we don’t get final control over the message or content. And in this, it means that we are also unable to control how strong the mention or backlink to your brand website can be. However, we do have some pretty cool ‘tricks’ up our sleeve as a Digital PR agency.

To ensure that our PR campaigns have a digital component, we are always prioritising online media (in addition to print and broadcast), as this is how a digital footprint is built. We will always work alongside journalists to ensure that our clients’ brand name is front and centre and where possible, we will always provide a key reason they should link back to the brand’s website. Whether that’s an e-commerce channel, to receive free additional content, or to book services, ensuring that a PR story has a reason to link back to your site, is essential. Sometimes this can’t be achieved, due to some media publications having certain affiliate policies or editorial restrictions, but where possible we ensure each PR story is message-rich so that Google recognises that the media publication is endorsing your brand and associates it with a positive sentiment and referral.

What does a Digital PR campaign look like?
Take for example one of Agent99’s long term clients, Vanessa Stoykov. If you were to type her name into a Google Search engine right now – you would see pages of news articles featuring her financial advice and tips from leading publications such as News.com.au, Savings.com.au and The Courier Mail.

While it may not be evident initially, every single one of these media articles is working behind the scenes to build credibility for Vanessa (both offline + online). Offline, it is telling a consumer that she can be trusted, and so if someone searches for her business looking for expertise, they will see that she is credible and well-regarded by some of Australia’s top media outlets. From an online perspective, a majority of the articles from our last media campaign included backlinks to Vanessa’s website, which led to a 540% increase in website traffic during the campaign period. Our PR efforts led to a strengthening of Vanessa’s Domain Authority score due to strong referrals from outlets such as Daily Mail, Yahoo Finance and News.com.au.

A Digital PR strategy might just be the thing your brand is missing in today’s competitive landscape. To find out more about our services, contact the Agent99 team today.