What is Digital PR? | Varn’s Approach

10th January 2023

Getting traction online can be tricky without the right approach, but with a bit of creative thinking, generating online awareness can be done for even the most seemingly ‘stuffy’ brands. 

Digital PR is very important when it comes to SEO, links are crucial to the algorithm for Google, and other metrics like social mentions and branded mentions are great for building your brand online. 

Digital PR and creative content outreach is one of the key pillars of Varn’s full service approach to SEO, and covers a wide range of tactics and strategies around research and competitor analysis, content creation, and digital PR/link building. 

Here we take a closer look at digital PR and why it is crucial if you weren’t your business to succeed online and your website to rank well in search engines. 


What’s the difference between digital PR and traditional PR?

There are a few key differences between digital PR and traditional PR even though they are often two complimentary channels. 

Digital PR is a term which typically applies to more online activities and covers but is not limited to the following:

  • Social media outreach
  • Online mentions 
  • Backlinks to your site (the big one for SEO)
  • Long term and repeat content outreach and creation

Traditional PR can often work as a stand-alone push and in many instances targets traditional media like print and television advertisements and placements. The ways that you measure success are also more apparent than with traditional PR. 

Whereas a television campaign or print media advert may have reached a certain target demographic, tracking the actual numbers of people that saw it can be difficult and tracking the revenue impact is often even more challenging. 

Whilst the tracking and right KPIs need to be set up in advance, measuring success is often easier with digital PR. 

Brand mentions social media interactions and link coverage are all easier to track and set key performance indicators against. Other follow-on metrics can also be used like ranking increases when looking at SEO and the potential increased revenue impact from these increases in SERP performance. 

What is the process for digital PR? 

Once you have content to reach out with (be it survey data, products, commentary or infographics) it is time to put together the target publication list. We work with the client to understand their ideal placements and tie it in with data on sites that we know move the needle when it comes to SEO value. 

Before we start with the outreach, we ensure we have a list of ideal target rankings that we want to improve. You need to drive the right keywords to the right pages, which is why developing a proper keyword map is crucial, this is typically done as part of the Technical SEO onboarding process in the form of an audit. 

Once we have developed the list we work through it in our quality control process then start with the outreach. Leveraging a tool like Buzzstream is great as you can scale the outreach and gain better insights into how each campaign is performing. 

After that comes the outreach, email scheduling software helps you greatly scale up the efforts, from that we can then get a more targeted plan together to get placements on sites depending on the individual publications content guidelines and tone of writing.

After the outreach, we report on the links attained and over time are able to measure the impact on rankings. If we are working on an ongoing campaign, then these reports are more regular and can help build up a better picture when it comes to the digital PR impact on SEO in terms of rankings. 

The diagram below shows one of the key differences in the method of outreach for digital and traditional PR. Whereas with traditional PR you want to get the content in front of the right audience straight away, with digital PR you are just as concerned with getting coverage on high-authority websites and increasing your rankings within Google. This way you are able to interact with potential customers when they are browsing content, but more importantly when they are seeking out relevant services that you want to rank for. 

How to measure success? 

When it comes to measuring success with digital PR, the following metrics are great to have within your reporting toolkit: 

  • Social mentions 
  • Likes, comments and interactions 
  • Link coverage 
  • Earned media 
  • Referral traffic from links 
  • Ranking increases 
  • Revenue that can be attributed to increase in rankings 

All of the above are great ways to measure the success of campaigns, of course the ultimate aim is to build revenue and grow the business in a profitable way, but with more top of the funnel activities like digital PR having the above metrics to benchmark against is a great way to show the value of campaigns to clients and senior management. 

Some of our digital PR case studies 

Digital PR is a great way to create noise in your industry whilst also benefiting your SEO, at Varn our approach to digital PR is as transparent as it is effective. We always report on campaigns, and some get amazing results, others a slightly more muted, but we are always up front with performance. 

Some of our favourite case studies include the Thought Clothing Black Friday survey push and the Festival Bag from Paper Bag Co. These are examples of two great digital PR tactics: 

  • Survey/data outreach
  • Unique product outreach 

The above tactics are great for getting a large hit of links from news relevant sites and also consistent links to support your SEO over the long run. 

Get in touch to learn more 

Digital PR is a growing industry and is a very important part of a strong ongoing SEO strategy. If you would like to learn more about digital PR and the benefits it could bring to your business then get in touch with a member of the Varn team. 

We have put together campaigns in the past which have driven great results for clients both in terms of coverage and impact on SEO. Our campaigns are set up with performance in mind, which is why we are trusted to deliver on our promises. 


About Varn

Varn is an expert & specialist SEO search marketing agency. Technical SEO * AI & Data Analytics * Offsite SEO * Paid Search

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