Every marketer needs to be aware of the differences between PR and advertising. We've blogged about the differences before - click here to find out the fundamentals. This post will more specifically look at digital PR.
PR has the goal of enhancing reputation and deals with editorial media coverage rather than ads. Unlike advertisers we don't pay for coverage.
Traditionally PR has been involved with communicating positively with an identified target audience with a tailored message to appeal to that audience.
The end goal of PR has traditionally revolved around managing and enhancing reputation with the aim of persuading customers, investors, and partners.
Generally speaking, advertising seeks to return direct sales for your investment by placing your brand in front of defined potential and existing customers.
For e-commerce brands operating predominantly in a digital marketplace, the lines between PR and advertising and the associated benefits can become somewhat blurred.
You need to ask yourself what is the best method to employ to achieve your goals and which will be the most cost-effective in providing the best long-term ROI.
How have the two evolved?
Because digital PR generates links that increase your brand’s ranking in search and drives traffic directly to your website, the lines between PR and advertising in the digital age have become somewhat blurred.
Paid online advertising involves advertising on a given platform such as Google or Facebook and paying for clicks of your link, driving potential customers to your site.
Customers know they have clicked on an advert - it is a somewhat superficial transaction that promises the benefit of sales should the potential customer convert.
If keyword research and targeting is done properly, paid advertising can be effective, but can also be very expensive if corners are cut leaving you paying for traffic that isn’t going to convert.
Traditional advertising in print, billboard, and TV sought to do more than just directly drive sales - it sought to give the consumer a feel for the brand and its values through words and images.
Whereas paid advertising on online search platforms is entirely transactional. When the campaign has ended you either have the sales or you don’t - there is little to know about the long-term benefit, so you need to pay for another campaign to keep feeding the pipeline.
Digital PR on the other hand has evolved towards the benefits that only advertising previously provided.
A digital PR campaign is still involved with managing reputation through the creation of long-form content containing positive, relevant messaging but the use of links within this content allows digital PR to rank you at the top of the page in search where your paid Google advert would be.
Effective digital PR involves creating valuable and relevant content that journalists want to publish.
The more widely your content is published across your target media and indeed beyond, the larger your digital footprint becomes.
Not only will you receive the reputational benefit from being associated with great content that your customers want to consume, but you will also become known as a trusted supplier of relevant information, particularly when high-value media titles start to publish your stories.
Then there are the links within your content that will be published along with your stories‘ giving you the position in search that paid advertising would give you but with the benefit that this position has been earned through your brand being a provider of quality content.
‘Link Building’ has shifted from simply an SEO tactic to becoming an integral and highly valuable part of a digital PR strategy.
Modern digital PR provides the benefits of building reputation and trust while also driving traffic via links in stories and boosting your brand’s ranking in search.
Furthermore, your content will remain online for a long time allowing you to continually build on your success.
Digital PR isn’t a short-term solution but it is one that can be highly cost-effective because unlike advertising you aren’t solely engaged in lead generation with the need to pay for every lead - you are building an online presence that will allow potential new customers to find you for many years to come.
If you decide you’d like some extra help with coming up with a digital PR strategy that will help you to build reputation and rise up the search rankings do contact us to arrange a free idea planning session.