The role of Digital PR in ecommerce growth
Since early 2020, the eCommerce business has boomed. For retail, managing multiple lockdowns and restrictions, turning attention to digital presence has been a must for many industries. In fact, companies that thrived in the past two years are those that prioritised eCommerce.
In order to communicate with customers, continue selling and maintain a business during the pandemic and beyond, it is important to consider a digital-first approach. So, a digital marketing strategy has to be factored into your traditional marketing plans.
Digital marketing can include many different channels, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email marketing, paid adverts on social media and search engines, and digital PR. While it can appear daunting, not all retailers need to spend lots of money in every single area of digital marketing.
Depending on your goals, focusing first on specific channels to drive traffic, grow brand awareness and, ultimately, increase sales. In this article, we will look at the role of digital PR for eCommerce, what it is, and how it can grow your online businesses.
What is Digital PR?
Digital PR is a branch of content marketing, falls under the umbrella of digital marketing and sits in the overall marketing strategy. It is an evolution of traditional public relations (PR). PR centres around targeting strategic media outlets and pitching to publications, in order to secure ‘press’ for a particular product, person or place. In return, this raises brand awareness.
Where digital PR differs is that it focuses on online publications for coverage, and building links. It’s all about building valuable relationships with journalists and publications, in order to gain high-quality coverage and authoritative backlinks from reputable websites. This then improves your site’s SEO and will lead to more traffic and awareness.
Unlike simply writing and circulating press releases, digital PR could include creating linkable assets. These could be copy-based assets, like reports or articles, or more visual, like infographics and videos. These assets then get pitched to journalists and industry publications and, if accepted, means you have created a backlink to your website.
Why is Digital PR important for eCommerce businesses?
There are a few link building strategies that can earn you high-quality coverage online. Digital PR is one that can help you achieve links at scale – as well as a whole host of other benefits, including:
- Authority links from top-tier publications
- A competitive advantage
- Links that drive traffic
- Increased brand awareness
- Positioning as an industry expert
- An opportunity to build trust
- Increased social engagement
How to get started with digital PR for your eCommerce business.
Before writing a press release and sending it speculatively to any and every website’s general enquiries email, it’s important to really plan your digital PR strategy. There is a lot of research and relationship building that comes before pitching and then creating the content. Here, we will guide you through the steps to take to build a digital PR strategy that grows your eCommerce business.
Finding your target publications.
Before you start creating any digital PR content, it’s important to do some research and put together a ‘hit-list’ of websites and online publications that you want to target.
The first area to consider is industry publications. By landing backlinks here, you can establish yourself as a leader in your industry and really certify your authority. This can be particularly good for sharing business or product innovations, reports or company news.
However, it’s also good to put digital PR efforts into direct to consumer (D2C), which saw a huge accelerated growth rate in 2021. Look at where your target and existing audience are spending their time online.
Now you have your list of publications, begin forming relationships with key journalists who are responsible for editorial. This doesn’t mean sending them a press release straight away.
Strong relationships with journalists often take a while to ‘warm up’. Start with sending an introductory email that is personalised to them, and the website or publication they work on, rather than just a copy and paste job. People skills are a must in Digital PR. It’s all about building valuable relationships with journalists. Putting time into building relationships will mean you are more likely to land quality backlinks.
When you’ve sent a few emails and built a rapport, ask what they’re working on, or what kind of articles they are interested in. Once you know if they are open to pitches, you can suggest a piece for them, giving a clear idea of length and when you would be sending it. When they accept your pitch, it’s time to start creating your content.
Just like personalising emails, instead of having one article that you send to every journalist that accepts your pitch, it’s important to create unique pieces of content for each publication.
This way you can tailor the tone of voice, style and length of your content to reflect other content they publish. You’re more likely to get your content published if it feels authentic and native to the target publication.
Spend time perfecting your articles, and try not to be too ‘salesy’ when it comes to adding your link. It’s important not to shoehorn your link into an irrelevant article. The best links feel natural and not forced.
Once you start landing articles, that doesn’t mean the digital PR work is over. Dedicating time and budget to a long term strategy, and having link building as a core part of your digital marketing strategy will mean you can maintain your increased authority and organic traffic.
This could mean regularly updating your target publications by keeping an eye on what your audience are engaging with, staying up-to-date with industry news and undertaking regular competitor analysis.
Keeping digital PR in mind when considering your digital and overall marketing strategy will help you to highlight when to pitch articles and what to write about. This could mean timing it around product launches, events or other marketing and promotional activity.
While creating and managing a digital PR strategy can seem time-consuming, it is vital for businesses to grow in the eCommerce landscape. Alongside other digital marketing channels, digital pr and link building can help your business to stand out, and ultimately, increase your sales in a digital-first marketplace.
If allocating time within your digital marketing team to ongoing relationship building, pitching and content creation seems impossible, consider working with an agency that specialises in link building and digital PR strategies to work alongside your business to get results.
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