This month’s OggaDoon Experts guest blog is by Kayleigh Töyrä, Creative Director and Founder of Seeker Digital.
As print publications announce closures and influencers on Instagram become millionaires thanks to lucrative brand partnerships, the world of PR is becoming ever more digital and diverse. But is digital PR an industry in its own right, or is it just another PR channel? Where exactly do SEO agencies fit in? And how do brands and businesses stand to benefit? Here’s the lowdown on outreach and digital PR, including some tips on how to make it work for you.
What comes around…
Digital marketing is obsessed with re-inventing itself.
From a dozen daily “SEO is dead” articles, to “76 content marketing mistakes you don’t even know you are making”, anxiety levels are reaching their peak. As 2018 looms on the horizon, marketers everywhere are scrambling to declare what the tactic of the year might be. Outreach and digital PR may be up there as a contender — it’s certainly causing a stir in search circles. (The first UK outREACH conference was hosted by Verve Search in 2017).
But, wait a minute….
Isn’t digital PR just PR, but online? Isn’t it the same thing as influencer marketing? Isn’t it just another form of content marketing? Isn’t it just link building?
In some ways yes — it’s all of those things wrapped into one.
Outreach and digital PR is a complex, yet deceptively simple marketing tactic that can be adapted and leveraged by a wide range of industries and brands. It’s an amalgamation, even culmination, of years of digital, content, and PR trends.
Is it good for SEO?
Getting mentions, features, and backlinks from relevant news publications is an awesome vote of confidence for brands and businesses. An authoritative site with a tonne of relevant traffic is a great place for a business to be featured. SEOs know this, so many search agencies are starting to do PR as part of their outreach packages.
This is different to spammy ‘press release link building’. The syndicated, low quality press release of days gone by has stalked off to die somewhere. These poor excuses for PR are not what modern digital PR is about — now it’s all about telling awesome stories and putting the users first.
The media do not care
Speaking to journalists and editors, there seems to be a consensus that they are not too concerned about who’s pitching to them. Whether a story comes from a brand, a content marketer, or a PR agency is irrelevant to them — journalists just want a good scoop.
They will spend time performing due diligence on sources, facts, and any claims made — but the actual origin of the press release is less of a concern.
Tips for pitching to journalists and editors:
1. Get your facts straight and include relevant (preferably exclusive) data
2. Make it EASY for the journalist to publish your story. Like REALLY easy
3. Don’t waste people’s time with irrelevant stories and poorly written pieces
News flash: No one cares that much about you. So don’t make the press release about you. Just don’t.
Influencers — the new ‘it’ crowd?
Digital PR and outreach encompasses influencer marketing — working with online influencers like bloggers to create branded content.
Perhaps the most important thing that determines the success of a digital PR campaign is its sphere of influence. You want to reach out and work with people who have a powerful voice in a relevant niche. Looking sideways is also a good idea — there might be some fruitful cross-over.
Creativity is the word of the day.
Micro-influencers — these are people with a smaller reach, but ultimately audiences who are more engaged and committed to them. A smaller, more engaged niche audience is going to be more open and perceptive to any marketing messages.
A word on content
Content makes the world go round. Or at least it keeps the wheels of outreach turning. Quality content, storytelling — whatever you want to call it — great content will open doors.
Rather than sending out dozens of press releases, brands are now investing in high level content projects and assets, and then simply directing interested parties their way. It can be a better way to spend your content budget. Think big and explore formats like ebooks, podcasts, interactive maps, calculators… Your content, like your brand, shouldn’t be flat.
A great digital PR campaign has an irresistible ‘hook’ or kernel built into it that seamlessly links back to the brand — an artificial ‘bridge’ will result in the wrong sort of coverage.
Relationships rule
As in traditional PR, existing relationships are a great way to get a conversation off on the right foot. But even if you are only just warming up, engaging and listening to people is always a good idea.
Digital PR is probably more democratic than print circles, and thanks to social media there are multiple ways to build relationships. I’ve heard a journalist say they’d accept pitches through Snapchat! It’s worth a try…
Go global, think local
Having done outreach in a few languages across the globe, I have some advice for anyone seeking to take their strategy global:
1. Cultural norms and email etiquette differ WILDLY. Some niches are more cosmopolitan, others much more stand-offish. It’s worth approaching with caution and gauging initial responses before agreeing to running a campaign
2. Sponsorship fees vary from country to country, so budgets need to be flexible and adaptive
3. You need to be very good at a language for this to work — there are loads of subtle linguistic nuances, even in simple email. Outreach is an intellectually challenging and strategic discipline — even more so in your third language!
Digital PR DIY-style
As a brand, digital PR success hinges on multiple factors. It’s hard to bash out a blueprint for digital PR success and send you on your way. Every industry, every niche, and every content asset has its own unique path to success.
In essence, you have to invest time, effort, and money into your brand and the digital stories you tell. Unless you really commit to the concept of content marketing and outreach, your results will be patchy at best.
An outdated website, thin content, and lack of credentials will have people running for the hills. Don’t give people the opportunity to question your legitimacy – spend time building up your brand before reaching out.
Whatever you call it, however you do it — to quote Nike — just do it. Get out there. Tell your story. Get featured. It’s not as hard as you think, and it certainly won’t get any easier if you sit and do nothing. Embrace the digital age and dip your toes into the wonderful world of outreach.
Want to know more about digital marketing, and how guerrilla approach to marketing could make a difference to your business? Download our free eBook.
Kayleigh Töyrä is Creative Director & Founder @ Seeker Digital
Specialising in outreach and creative content, Kayleigh can be found furiously typing away and consuming her body weight in hot beverages on most days. Currently running a search agency in Bristol and curating a new blogger community.