As the world spun into the digital revolution 10 years ago, a seismic shift in marketing and PR strategy took place. Some traditional PR tactics – namely newswires and the like – crossed over the digital divide, converted into ones and zeroes. However, for the most part a whole new set of tools had to be developed. In the Wild West days of the Internet — I’m talking about the Altavista/AOL chat days – only a few knew how to use this brave new world of the Internet for effective PR. Now, nearly two decades into a commercial Internet, the tools are not only developed, they are sophisticated, they are everywhere, and they are (mostly) free.
At its heart, digital PR is a set of strategies for talking about brands online to make them more noticeable to Google. Here are the top ways to do that.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO has risen to become one of the most effective tools for online brand recognition. As the Internet grows past a billion web pages, search becomes more important in delivering information to consumers. As a result, making brands more recognizable by top search engines has become a key tactic for digital marketers. The keyword is: content. Search algorithms recognize a variety of content including press releases, images, videos, and news articles and use that information to rank sites in search results; the more valuable content you can associate with a brand, the higher that brand will rank, which opens them up for more opportunity to direct traffic to a site and convert.
In some ways, blogging can fall under the SEO umbrella, in terms of creating valuable content for a brand. Blogging also serves as a more traditional way of reeling returning customers back in and attracting new ones. A company blog with well-publicized posts goes a long way towards building a brand in the digital space. Sharing via social media amplifies that potential and a blog gives businesses a platform to interact with other bloggers, guest post on other blogs and reach readers that may have never read the company blog.
Once the buzz has settled down about the efficacy of social media for online marketers, we can see it for what it really is: an ingenious way to use the power of people to get a message out. Using social media to promote posts on the company blog or advertise a promo code to a select group of loyalists (fans on Facebook, followers on Twitter etc.).
None of these tactics are effective alone. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a whole lot of blogging, tweeting, “liking”, hashtagging, guest posting and optimizing to float a brand to the top of the crop. Although you need all these tools to be successful, the astute marketer will not shirk any one of them, like the camera-phone that is neither a good camera nor a good phone. Each one of these tools must be applied to the greatest possible effect in order to achieve the task of being recognized on the Internet.