How to use digital PR and cross-channel data to amplify organic growth


30 second recap:

  • With the right strategy, digital PR can help drive both brand awareness and organic performance
  • During an economic downturn, brand visibility is essential to maintaining long-term brand advocacy
  • The brands that will perform best are those that take a multi-channel approach to increase ROI, using data from other channels to inform their approach

While it’s tempting to cut spending during a recession, I believe it’s crucial that brands remain visible to maintain their advocacy, and digital PR is a great low-cost way to do this.

Future pioneering brands will be the ones that take a multi-channel approach to increase ROI, using data from other channels to inform their approach and ensure it resonates with the target audience.

With the current economic climate, brands and companies are understandably looking at every penny and will likely slash marketing budgets across the globe.

Companies need to be realistic about their growth trajectory over the coming months and ensure that every dollar invested in marketing is accounted for. While this could naturally lead to more investment in performance channels, such as paid media, this will result in an increase in cost per click (CPC). One way to still remain measurable but reduce costs is to get creative and focus your energy on getting attention rather than continuing to pay for every click and impression.

Consequently, I would say that Digital PR it’s one of the most important tools in your marketing toolkit, as, with the right strategy, it can drive both brand awareness and organic performance.

You’re missing out on a trick if you’re only using Digital PR to drive links

Digital PR is used to build relevant, high authority links to key category pages to drive search performance through organic growth. A focused strategy that closely aligns with your SEO goals will allow you to track ROI if you have the right measurement tools in place. This activity fuels lower funnel marketing activity as it helps garner demand, as increased rankings capture better traffic and conversions.

However, if you’re only using it for this purpose, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity further up the marketing funnel.

By ensuring brand-driven high-impact coverage in authoritative and influential publications, digital PR can also be used to drive research demand and brand awareness in the upper funnel. This third-party validation is the perfect way to build prominence, credibility, customer advocacy, and trust while driving organic performance through high-quality links.

However, to achieve both brand and performance, you have to be creating relevant and engaging content that your target audience wants to read and share. You shouldn’t create content “just for a link,” but consider broader business goals and make sure you’re actually targeting the press your audience is reading.

In summary, digital PR shouldn’t just be an “intent-driven” marketing discipline to boost rankings. It’s a discipline that can drive both demand and awareness while helping to capture intent-driven traffic.

Why brand visibility is even more important during a recession

Recessions are challenging and uncertain times, which is why it’s all the more important to continue to build visibility and relevance: as with tighter budgets, consumers are likely to become more selective and want to buy from brands they trust and remain relevant for They.

We have seen in previous economic uncertainties brands that maintain brand awareness and relevance, hold a larger market share and are able to bounce back more quickly. Mark Ritson’s marketing recession manual provides additional information and sources on this topic.

To use digital PR to deliver real brand performance, you need to make sure you build it based on as much cross-channel information as possible.

Cross-channel information sharing to deliver better ROI

While many marketers claim to work “cross-channel,” the reality is that many teams still work in silos, particularly between brand and performance teams.

To achieve the best results, it is essential to break down silos and gain data insights from each channel to develop an overall strategy.

For example, to drive organic growth, while it’s critical to start with key SEO insights, search volumes, brand traffic, non-brand traffic, relevance, and backlink count, you should consider other channels to maximize performance.

Another example would be that your PPC and paid research teams will have a lot of useful data that you can use to inform your organic strategy. What are the keywords that cost the most? You can tailor your efforts to improve organic rankings for these keywords, allowing you to spend less on those terms.

Your programmatic team will also have access to Display Placements reports which will provide insight into the publications and websites your in-market audience is visiting. This should then inform your target outreach list. From a paid social perspective, this team will have a lot of useful insight into what content works best providing valuable information for your PR brainstorming.

Further amplifying your Digital PR reach

You shouldn’t just work with other channel teams to define your strategy, you need to work with them throughout the entire process, to amplify results.

For example, if you generate a really great link piece to digital PR coverage, on a very credible publication. While this will drive SEO performance and some brand awareness, in order to maximize the opportunity and valuable third-party validation, make it work even harder by amplifying through paid social.

Mini Case Study: Maryland Cookies Use Public Relations to Reach Over 5 Million People

Maryland came to us because they needed to align PR, programmatic and paid social to drive mass awareness of their new Sugar-Free cookie and provide an immediate boost in new customer sales. Through an integrated PR, paid social and programmatic approach, we reached 5.3 million people across all channels. View the case study here.

We’ve seen in past campaigns that by using PR content as part of your social ads, not only can they actually outperform ad creative, but they can also help prevent ad fatigue and provide you with additional resources (which you can’t. No need to pay anything extra!).

Immediate steps to help your 2023 marketing plan

To be successful, it’s important to create a structure that helps bring all channels together.

In I travel farther we use the “4Ds”: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.

To discover

This stage involves asking all channels to provide insights and data based on their recent campaigns and learnings to date. It is recommended that you assign a customer manager who may be tasked with putting together a list of questions and an information document to ensure that the discovery phase is as helpful as possible. This will help identify where the biggest opportunities lie across channels.

To define

Agree on the best goal and goals based on the information provided by all channels. Create a comprehensive strategy that goes against them and drives maximum ROI.

Develop

Establish a clear roadmap, with roles and responsibilities outlined in each channel. While in the case of an organic growth strategy, SEO and PR will take the lead, it’s important that other channels are clear on ways they can amplify the business at each stage and what learnings they can also glean from the business to improve own own results in the channel.

Deliver

The marketing activity is activated. If it’s a digital PR campaign, for example, you can use influencer marketing and paid social tactics, along with outreach, to bolster the campaign and generate more buzz and engagement.

Reporting on the right metrics

Another benefit of working across multiple channels is that you’ll be able to report on many more metrics, giving you a more holistic and accurate view of ROI.

Building a 24/7 live reporting dashboard using tools like Data Studio will allow you and your team members to check and monitor progress at all times. This will provide you with a continuous cycle of insights to enable you to continuously improve your marketing efforts and deliver an overarching strategy that allows you to remain visible while also driving performance.


Beth Nunnington is Vice President of Digital PR and Content Marketing at Journey Further, a leader in Digital PR strategy for the world’s leading brands. Her work has been featured in The Drum, PR Moment and Prolific North. Find Beth on Twitter @BethNunnington.

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