All too often it seems that Digital PR is pegged against Traditional PR as an either-or approach, and clients believe they need to employ only one at the expense of the other. There is often a feeling that one needs to go either “all traditional” or “all digital”. This is then further perpetuated by agencies fighting for their specific cause. Eventually, this results in clients falling short of the potential PR success they may have experienced had they opted to integrate the two approaches, and enjoyed the unique benefits of each.
The Danger of Dichotomy
Dichotomous thinking, also known as all-or-nothing thinking, is a common characteristic of perfectionists. Ironically, however, it’s also often a frighteningly counterproductive habit. Not enough time left in the day to start and finish that task? May as well leave it for tomorrow, right? Wrong. Just because it can’t be completed today doesn’t mean it couldn’t be started today. And starting today will have you reaping the rewards tomorrow. While most of us understand that the journey from beneficial to harmful (and subsequent consequences) exists on a spectrum, and not each in their own neat boxes, the temptation to engage in this “do it all now or not at all” style of thinking gets the better of most perfectionists.
However, as we do more of “life” online (shopping, working, socialising etc.), our online and offline worlds are becoming increasingly intertwined. As a result, Digital and Traditional Marketing are becoming increasingly intertwined as well. And this makes placing these approaches in neat little boxes and selecting one PR form over the other a rather dangerous, limiting call. Why? Because for all the fundamental similarities between Digital and Traditional PR, there is one massive added bonus that Digital PR offers brands and Traditional PR does not: search visibility.
The Value of Visibility
While Digital PR offers what Traditional PR does (albeit to an online audience), it also simultaneously offers excellent online visibility benefits when effectively executed. As Google’s algorithms change constantly, posting backlinks on loads of low quality sites doesn’t get your site ranked highly anymore. Today, it’s all about online presence (which is, ideally, akin to omnipresence).
This isn’t to say that references and traffic from a variety of other sites isn’t valuable. Rather, impact lies with citations that are organically gained as a result of value provided (i.e. genuinely beneficial content). It’s about finding traffic where you can and driving it back to your site. It’s about giving those online what they want, as effectively as possible, and ensuring what they want is you.
Google’s got game. As their search algorithms become more advanced, they become more holistic. And it’s effective Digital PR that serves to create a credible, present, active brand online.
In doing this, Digital PR is actively future-proofing the online visibility and presence of a brand, regardless of changing algorithms and the like. Why? Because the mentions, references and links to a brand are genuine. They are from genuine publications and sources. Essentially, what makes Digital PR the powerful tool it is, is its ability to shine a bright, genuine spotlight on a brand. And genuine will always count for something.
Another added benefit of going digital? By mentioning and linking to a brands site, a call to action is presented. Not only this, but it’s a call to action that requires minimal effort on the part of the audience. The website is a click away. And once a brand has a customer on their site, the brand has them where they want them.
What are the Key Characteristics of a High Quality Citation?
Referrals to your site are a major factor in how Google ranks web pages. However, it’s important to understand that not all referrals are created equal. The following factors all contribute to a high quality link:
Now, let’s look at an actual example of what would be considered to be an authoritative mention or citation through the use of Content Marketing and promotion of said content with effective Digital PR and Networking.
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Two Heads are Better Than One
This is not to discount the massive value of Traditional PR. Traditional PR still reaches many target audience members who are not actively present online. Many of the most talented PR practitioners are trained and are currently working in Traditional PR. But what is valuable to note is that digital is an eco-system whereby success in any digital area is influenced by the actions of a number of groups. The most successful campaigns are often those that embrace the grey area between digital and traditional, and where different departments are able to work together to optimise content on various platforms for maximum exposure.
What does this require?
- Harnessing the knowledge that stands to be gained from those who are experienced in the field of Traditional PR.
- Working closely with those in SEO who can serve to further increase online exposure.
- Allowing Digital PR to influence and work in conjunction with other departments. The purpose of this is so that traditional content can be optimised for online consumption and additional SEO opportunities are created where there may not have been.
The Final Product
In a nutshell, this is an integrated approach whereby each cog in the machine works with one another, as opposed to in opposition, while learning from one another in order to achieve the final goal in the most effective way possible. In order for the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts, it actually needs to consist of different parts.
This is why it’s essential to consider all aspects of marketing and use them in combination with one another. And while all branches of marketing should ultimately be employed in conjunction, the naturally integrated nature of online visibility within Digital PR makes Digital PR a powerful marketing resource, and an invaluable branch of modern marketing.