If you’re interested in improving the visibility or reputation of your brand, you might consider enlisting the efforts of a digital PR firm. But how exactly do digital PR firms work? What types of services can you expect? And how should you proceed with vetting and hiring the right PR firm for your business?
What Is a Digital PR Firm?
A digital PR firm is an organization dedicated to helping other brands manage their online reputations. The ultimate goal is to help your brand improve its relationship to the public – hence the term “public relations.” When executed successfully, a good PR strategy makes your brand more visible, more familiar, more trusted, and more desired. The end result is that you’ll generate more traffic, your customers will be more loyal, and you’ll look better in the eyes of clients, partners, and investors.
Businesses sometimes come to digital PR firms with different goals and different perspectives in mind. For example, one business may be interested exclusively in improving the visibility of specific products and services, while another is interested in mitigating the negative effects of recent bad news. Some are interested in a short-term partnership to accomplish a specific, immediate goal, while others would prefer a long-term partnership across multiple campaigns.
What Can a Digital PR Firm Do?
What exactly can a digital PR firm do?
Obviously, every digital PR firm is a bit different. If you explore different options, you’ll find firms with different areas of expertise, different ranges of capabilities, and different prices. Still, most digital PR firms can help you with the following.
Overall strategy and direction. When you first enter discussions with a digital PR firm, you’ll mostly focus on overall strategy and direction. In other words, what do you want to accomplish, and how are you going to maximize your chances of accomplishing it? Working together, your PR firm can help you put together a coherent, omnichannel strategy that can support your brand and help you achieve your goals.
Media monitoring. Most digital PR firms also practice active media monitoring. In other words, they constantly scan news articles and social media to flag mentions of your brand or products. Whether your brand and its products are being mentioned positively or negatively, you’ll hear about it, and you’ll have a chance to take action on it.
Market research. Effective PR requires significant market research, so you can understand who your target demographics are and how to effectively communicate with them. A digital PR firm can do this research on your behalf.
Competitive research. Competitive research, in the context of digital PR, is all about figuring out what your competitors are doing in the PR game, so you can analyze how it’s working for them. With this refined understanding, you’ll be able to plan much better campaigns for your brand.
Keyword research. If you decide to optimize for search engines (as you probably should), you’ll need your digital PR firm to help you with keyword research. This is the process of discovering and analyzing potential keywords to target, optimizing for both high search volume and minimal competition.
Search engine optimization (SEO). Keyword research is only the beginning of a comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, and your digital PR firm can probably help you with all elements of SEO. This includes onsite content development, technical onsite optimization, link building, and more.
Publisher relationships and pitching. Getting your brand mentioned in major publications is a huge PR win, so most digital PR firms invest heavily in building publisher relationships and issuing pitches for new stories.
Content development. Whether you’re developing news stories, writing content for your onsite blog, or collaborating on a bigger, more comprehensive piece, digital PR experts can help you with all aspects of content development and promotion.
Social media strategy and execution. Digital PR also focuses on social media strategy and execution. Which social media channels should you use? How can you reach your target audience effectively? How can you increase your following?
Customer communication. In some cases, digital PR firms can even help you with some elements of customer communication, such as planning an email newsletter.
Damage control. A single, sufficiently bad PR disaster can ruin your brand’s reputation. That’s why many digital PR firms have processes in place for how to effectively deal with bad press. Never underestimate the importance of damage control.
If you’re interested in launching a PR campaign, hiring a digital PR firm is probably your best move. Otherwise, you’ll need to hire an in-house team – which is often even more complicated and expensive. Consider your PR goals carefully, do your due diligence, and choose the digital PR firm that best aligns with your goals.