Digital PR vs Traditional PR: What You Need to Know

Is digital PR really any different than traditional PR?
In many respects, digital PR and traditional PR aim to do the same thing – keep your brand top of mind and in a positive light. What sets them apart from each other are the aspects of a brand’s reputation that each focuses on, and the different methods they use to achieve this.

Depending on your business goals, traditional PR may be helpful, but in the ever-evolving online world, digital PR is becoming increasingly necessary. Digital PR supports your other digital marketing efforts by establishing your brand as a thought leader in your industry, and continuously builds your brand authority and recognition across digital channels.

Read on to learn how digital PR differs from traditional PR, and how your brand can benefit from a digital PR strategy.

Traditional PR
Traditional PR centers on crafting and sharing your brand’s public-facing story. This is done by making media contacts and fostering ongoing relationships with them, leading to story placements in print or digital publications, interviews, and invitations to events — all of which can help build a positive story about your brand.

Your story may include your brand’s history, recent changes to the business (usually announced through press releases), the company’s involvement in the community, and the brand’s response to both positive and negative feedback from consumers.

A traditional PR team will typically reach out to a journalist, magazine editor, or other media gatekeeper to gain access to their outlet. Typical methods of disseminating information using traditional PR include press releases, magazine stories, newspaper mentions, corporate sponsorships, industry event booths, and radio, television, or online interviews.

Traditional PR methods work best when:

  • Your target audience involves a niche group who are avid readers of a specific magazine or newspaper.
  • The product you are promoting works better with face-to-face interactions at an event or conference.
  • Getting your message on to a huge national or regional platform using print and radio is prioritized above having specific reach metrics.
  • You need crisis communication to respond publicly and appropriately to a situation that could damage your brand’s reputation.

Brand-building with traditional PR can be very effective, but if you only use traditional avenues and neglect digital PR tactics, you could be restricting your reach. If you’re looking for a way to get your brand’s name out there more quickly, across a wider network, and with the ability to see exactly how it impacts your audience, digital PR is the right choice for your next campaign.

Digital PR
Digital PR centers on building your reputation as a recognized thought leader and influential authority in your industry. This is done by establishing relationships with influential online publications and personalities to increase brand awareness and positive impressions. Like traditional PR, digital methods are designed to reach your target market — but with a few key differences and unique added benefits.
Digital PR leverages blog posts, SEO, social media, influencer relationships, and content marketing to create a robust plan for campaign deployment. A single digital campaign will leverage high quality content and combine all relevant avenues of online outreach.

The content produced for a digital PR strategy is centered around topics that interest your target market (those they search for and interact with online), and topics for which they often seek an expert’s thoughts, ideas, or advice. A digital PR strategy is all about positioning you as that expert.

You may want to invest in digital PR if your campaign requires:

  • Placements that share your unique expertise or industry knowledge on blogs, social media, and publications your audience reads.
  • The ability to reach niche communities that often congregate online.
  • Direct, two-way communication with the public via social media platforms and blog comments.
  • Engagement metrics available from social media platforms, Google, and blogging platforms to generate specific ROI reports.
  • Ongoing relationships with individuals who are directly influential in your industry, such as influencers, bloggers, and online experts.
  • The opportunity to continually repurpose and re-share branded content and promote curated content across different channels.

The results? Easily shareable content, an immediate connection with your target market, and metrics that can inform your future campaigns for ongoing success.