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Traditional PR vs. Digital PR: What’s the difference?

Traditional vs Digital PR

Traditional vs Digital PR

PR is evolving. As an industry, Public Relations is one that is continuously in a state of flux. At its core, PR methods (both traditional and digital) rely on creating mutually beneficial relationships between brands and their audience, helping to create opportunities for visibility and to gain publicity for the fantastic work that you do!

However, there’s been a change over the past few years as the digital landscape continues to expand. Traditional PR methods are now having to make room for the rise of a social media driven world, heavily impacted by the changes that Google has made to its search algorithm.

It’s no longer enough to get your name in the paper and it’s not enough to make a few calls from the press office. The industry now needs to start paying attention to building in a digital PR strategy. But what is a digital PR strategy? What will you be doing that’s different to the traditional ways we conduct PR?

What is traditional PR?

Traditional PR utilises advertising methods such as newspapers, magazines, books, billboards, TV & radio to reach their target audience. This still remains a useful and effective marketing tool. These are platforms all generations consume content on regularly.

Yet, return on investment for traditional PR campaigns is hard to measure. If you can’t calculate a return on your investment, how can you be sure how much money you should invest in these channels? For example, if you placed an ad in a magazine – you can find out how many magazines were sold you sold, but you can’t say how many people actually saw or engaged with it.

What is digital PR?

Digital PR targets audiences and boosts a brands presence online. You can reach a larger range of audiences that are unattainable with traditional methods.

Most people can access the internet and social media platforms from anywhere is a great advantage for brands. About 62.5% of the world population have access to the internet. That’s around 4.95 BILLION users worldwide. Unlike traditional PR, digital PR is easy to track through analytical data and engagement metrics.

What are the benefits of Digital PR?

Digital PR has several key benefits for brands, including:

  • Helps brands build greater visibility online
  • Puts you in front of your target audience exactly when they are looking for your products of services
  • Demonstrates brand authority and expertise to a mass audience
  • Increases website traffic, especially from referrals (backlinks from other sites)
  • Generates backlinks to your website increasing your domains authority
  • Boosts opportunities for your audience to engage with your brand
  • Supports other media efforts such as Paid Media and SEO
  • Offers easier tracking and data analysis

Digital PR is increasingly being used to enhance businesses ability to compete online and solidify them as leading experts in their given sectors.

What are the challenges of Digital PR?

Like all marketing tactics though, there are some limitations. There are two main factors that consider here. One limitation is measuring return on investment (ROI). Sometimes it can be difficult to predict digital PR results due to the nature of the tactic.

Secondly, digital PR can be very time consuming. Campaigns can take weeks if not months to plan and implement. Without being able to guarantee results, it can often be challenging to get buy in from stakeholders to take the leap.


Traditional PR vs Digital PR

Key differences

Traditional PR’s aren’t digital natives

Traditional PR professionals have more than likely developed their skill set to manage reputations, build relationships and most importantly to gain space in print media. As the tide increasingly shifts and digital becomes the source of most people’s information consumption, it’s vital that traditional PR’s learn what digital channels are accessible to them and how to expand into these sectors.

Digital PR agencies are more aligned with what’s going on, the importance of domain authority and are well acquainted with how to gain links that add value to other areas of digital marketing, such as SEO. They’re digital natives who live and breathe social media, craft stories for online audiences and see the value in smaller but more powerful influencers in helping build a brand identity.

There’s been a change in the channels

Although most digital PR agencies will have some understanding of traditional forms of media coverage, there’s much more of an emphasis on the channels and methods of reaching an audience.

While traditional PR may have been more heavily focused on media outreach and publications, in a new age of digital there’s a whole new realm to explore. Bloggers. Vloggers. Youtubers. Micro-influencers. These channels are packed with PR potential which can be hugely beneficial to help share your brand message.

Social media has gone into overdrive across the past few years, with new platforms regularly popping up and opening up new avenues to engage with your audience. Snapchat. Tik-Tok. BeReal. Each platform offers unique ways to interact with your customers that just simply didn’t exist before.

It’s easier to keep tabs on how you’re doing

Traditional PR, especially that which focuses on print media, is often difficult to track in terms of results and return on investment. Comparatively, there are an abundance of useful tools to support digital PR tracking and data analysis. You are able to create a more extensive and detailed view of where your story and value is being utilised.


How does digital pr support SEO

How does Digital PR support SEO?

After Google’s Penguin update way back in 2012, backlinks are still seen to be one the biggest parts of their ranking algorithm. By securing high-quality placements on top ranking websites, a digital PR agency can make your messages much more attractive to Google and other search engines.

Visibility and ranking on search engines will be improved when you gain high-quality backlinks from high-ranking sites. Getting good PR coverage, from a strong site, will have a positive impact all round.

Top tip: We would definitely recommend ensuring your website is technically sound and fully optimised to target the correct keywords before investing in Digital PR. If you have key landing pages that are blocked and not crawlable, no one will actually be able to see your content in search. The same goes for keyword targeting. If you are ranking for keywords that aren’t relevant, you’re not going to see the rewards Digital PR can bring you.

Which is better? Digital PR or Traditional PR?

Ultimately, there is still a place for traditional PR when it comes to connecting industries with their audience. Whilst results can be limited, if that is where your target audience is, then absolutely use these methods to reach them.

Digital PR builds on the impact of traditional methods or PR. By exploring opportunities to target your audience via online channels, you will discover many additional benefits for your brand. Campaigns do not need to be huge and expensive. Nor do you need to create the next viral PR stunt. Small and simple campaigns that reach your intended audience can be powerful in their own right.

Considering how to build digital PR into your overall marketing strategy is well worth your time. With more people sourcing information and content online, you could be missing out on a fantastic opportunity to share your brand.

Complement your marketing strategy with digital PR

Want to chat? We’d love to talk all things Digital PR with you! Get in touch today to speak to our team. For regular digital marketing news and updates, follow us on Twitter.

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