The Ultimate Guide to Digital PR for eCommerce Businesses

During the heyday of traditional media, big brands with big budgets dominated public relations (PR). Along came the internet, and it leveled the PR playing field. Now, businesses of all sizes can create positive press around their brands and influence how the public perceives them.

Digital PR creates brand awareness, improves visibility, generates sales, and builds relationships with key stakeholders like influencers, customers, and strategic partners.

In this guide, I will show you how to leverage digital PR for your eCommerce business. You’ll learn the benefits of this PR strategy and five simple steps to get started.

What Is Digital PR?

Digital PR is the use of online tactics to ensure a brand’s positive reputation and increase its visibility. It’s much like traditional PR. The key difference is the outreach method.

Conventional PR involves traditional media outreach through newspapers, magazines, events, radio, and television. On the other hand, digital PR utilizes internet strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media. 

Because digital PR is online, it generally has a better reach. There are over 5 billion Internet users worldwide, after all. Compare that with the number of people who consume traditional media. For instance, a person spends only an average of three hours watching TV per day.

Plus, when implementing a digital PR strategy, you have multiple marketing channels at your disposal – social media platforms, industry publications, podcasts, blogs, influencer campaigns, search engines, and more. You can also engage with your audience and build personalized relationships with customers. Also, digital PR content is easily shared.

That’s not to say you should discard traditional PR entirely. The best professional PR services will tell you it’s always a good thing to have a mix of both traditional and digital PR strategies. This way, as a brand, you cover all the bases.

But since this is an article on digital PR, read on to know the specific benefits it can give your eCommerce brand.

Types of Digital PR 

Marketers can conduct digital PR in three ways. Let’s talk about each briefly. 

  • Link building – This digital PR strategy involves inserting relevant links to the brand’s web pages in guest posts, directories, press releases, and articles.
 digital PR

The screenshot above, for instance, shows an article published on Forbes detailing the features of LARQ’s newest product, its smart-home pitcher. Notice how the article links to LARQ–which pitched the story to news outlets—twice in the first paragraph. This is a classic example of link-building. It’s great for PR since it can help boost LARQ’s SEO. We’ll talk more about the connection between links and SEO in the next section.

  • Social media – This PR digital marketing strategy involves creating content or using influencers to promote the brand.
online PR

The screenshot above shows a collaboration between Elgato, an audiovisual technology company, and influencer Matthey Heafy for PR. You can leverage the power of influencers like Elgato did to boost your brand’s reputation.

  • Press release – This digital PR strategy involves writing and posting company-related news on the website.
digital PR strategy

Coca-Cola, for instance, has a Media Center section on its website where the brand posts its press releases for media outlets to pick up. The screenshot above shows an excerpt from one of those press releases. This is a great strategy since brands can easily shape narratives with press releases for PR.

Why Digital PR Is Essential for Your Brand

The leading benefits of digital PR for your brand include increased brand visibility, credibility, organic search traffic, and e-commerce conversion rates. Let’s look at them one by one:

  • It Enhances Brand Visibility

PR digital marketing introduces your brand to new audiences through search engine results pages (SERPs), online editorials, and influencer marketing campaigns. When your website ranks high for a specific keyword or a third party mentions your product, more people become aware of your company.

  • It Improves Credibility and Trust

Influencer shout-outs and quality links from high-authority websites don’t just increase brand awareness. They lend you the trust they have cultivated with their customers. So, by associating with your brand, their audiences will likely trust you. Furthermore, backlinks from reputable digital publications like Forbes or HubSpot boost your E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) by presenting you as an industry thought leader.

  • It Increases Website Traffic and Yields SEO Benefits

In addition to building customer trust, high-quality backlinks increase your credibility with search engines, which can affect your position on SERPs. Google uses links from prominent websites to determine the quality of a piece of content. These links tell Google that your website is a reliable authority for target keywords and should receive maximum visibility.

PR digital marketing

The above chart shows a positive correlation between web traffic and the number of referring websites. It shows the importance of a good eCommerce or SaaS link-building strategy. As influencers/online editorials mention your brand, your SERP rank increases. As a result, more people will visit your website. 

  • It Generates High-Quality Leads and Drives Sales

An increase in traffic usually translates to new leads. But not all leads are created equal. You want qualified leads with a high chance of converting. Digital PR puts your content in front of the right customer, ensuring you get quality leads. 

5 Steps to Building a Winning Digital PR Campaign

Now that you know what digital PR is and its benefits, let me show you how to create a winning online PR campaign.

1. Set Clear Objectives

Before you design your campaign, you must be clear on what you want to achieve. Outlining your objectives helps you focus your efforts on the right channels and allows you to set appropriate PR KPIs to measure success.

The main goals of digital PR include

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Increased brand visibility
  • Increased number and quality of backlinks
  • Improved brand reputation
  • Relationship-building

As you set your objectives, be sure to use the SMART method of goal-setting. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

For example, if your online PR goal is relationship-building, your goal statement should read something like this: Increase Facebook audience comments by 10% in six months. This statement highlights who you’re building relationships with, how you will engage, a timeline, and a metric for success.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

After you define your goals, you should identify your target audience. Depending on your campaign, they could be the press, the general public, and other stakeholders.

Developing comprehensive audience or buyer personas helps create a complete picture of your target customer. They include demographic information like gender, age, employment, and education. But these don’t tell the whole story. You also need psychographic data about the customer’s interests, values, and worldviews. The more information you include, the better your online PR campaign performs.

 digital PR

Here’s a great example of an audience persona for a beauty brand. It includes the ideal customer’s values about products, beauty regimen, media, and brand consumption.

Be sure to segment your audience and run targeted PR digital marketing campaigns for each group. The PR persona for publication editors isn’t the same for investors, influencers, or the general public. Their goals, pain points, and values are different. If you send a single message, it may not resonate with one or more stakeholders.

For example, customers don’t care how to plan to recover stock value after a PR crisis, but investors do.

3. Develop Compelling Content

Examples of PR digital marketing content include articles, press releases, videos, infographics, and podcasts. You can identify the content that will resonate with your target segments using your ideal customer profiles.

The content you create will determine the success of your digital PR campaign. For instance, media houses prefer data-driven campaigns with statistics and insights. Top-tier publications will likely share your content if it is ground-breaking research with statistics and quotes from industry leaders. Data-driven content is also an effective way to get high-quality links from high-authority websites.

online PR

For instance, The New York Times ran a three-part documentary by Birkenstock called ‘Ugly for a Reason.’ The documentary explored the evolution and biology of feet, featuring anatomy, biomechanics, and orthopedics experts.

On the other hand, creative campaigns with eye-popping visuals or ‘meme-able’ content are more likely to go viral and catch the general public’s attention.

digital PR strategy

In 2019, Lego launched its #RebuildTheWorld campaign on Twitter. It generated thousands of impressions and improved brand sentiment by 35%.

Another way to create compelling online PR content is newsjacking. This practice involves monitoring trending news items and creating relevant content around trending topics.

PR digital marketing

The parent company of CVS Pharmacy announced companywide wage increases during national debates over the minimum wage. News outlets like Business Insider and CNBC picked up the story, helping the brand stand apart from its competitor Walgreens.

Newsjacking is an effective PR technique. You can leverage any news story, including those around your competitors. Using social monitoring software like Google Alerts and competitor research tools to discover competitor keywords, you can create quality content to rank for those searches.

In addition to the type of content, you must consider the platform for content distribution. An unboxing video by an influencer partner will perform better on Instagram than on Twitter. You can also repurpose your content to suit different platforms. For instance, you can turn your video tutorial on TikTok into an infographic for Twitter.

4. Implement a Multi-Channel Strategy

Today’s customers are spoiled for choice. They have multiple channels from which to consume marketing messages. These include email, social media, mobile, and even offline channels like billboards. As a result, businesses must adopt a multi-channel approach if they hope to maximize outreach.

Which digital channels are popular?

 digital PR

This graph shows the leading digital channels for marketers are social media, websites, and email.

Multi-channel PR enables you to meet potential customers where they are. They are everywhere. Multi-channel PR also allows you to run retargeting campaigns, keeping your brand at the top of your customers’ minds. That could explain why multichannel customers spend three times more than their single-channel counterparts.

Implementing a multi-channel digital PR strategy, however, can be expensive. So, for your PR digital marketing, start with those channels in your audience personas. Whichever platforms you choose, incorporate your brand guidelines for a unified online presence. The customer should have the same brand experience on your emails, landing pages, social media, etc.

5. Monitor, Measure, and Adapt

Brand monitoring is a crucial element of digital PR management. Social listening tools allow you to track brand mentions and identify a potential PR crisis before they damage your reputation. In addition to brand sentiment, you can monitor customer trends and stay ahead of your competition.

Measuring your PR digital marketing campaign is vital to knowing whether it is a success. The specific metrics you use depend on your digital PR strategy goals. For example, the search volume of your domain names can help you measure the brand awareness generated by your campaign.

Additional digital PR strategy performance indicators include web traffic, search engine rank, conversions, social media shares, and ROI.

These can help you in tracking online PR campaign performance.

Digital PR Tools You Can Use

There are many tools you can use for your online PR. The tools can help you automate everything from your content creation to your campaign performance evaluation. Here are some tools you can use as part of your PR digital marketing strategy:

  • Generative AI – to create your press releases or other online PR content
  • Email software – to automate your outreach for link building purposes; to analyze how your email outreach fares
  • Accounting Software – to measure financial impact and return on investment.
  • Google Analytics – measures search traffic, including source (i.e., organic, paid, referral traffic)
  • Social Media Analytics Tools – monitor engagement, reach, and impressions
  • Social Monitoring Tools – track social mentions
  • SEO Tools – show referring domains
  • Surveys – measure customer sentiment

Using insights from the analytics tools above, you can adjust your PR digital marketing strategy. For instance, if you discover that email marketing drives more organic traffic than influencer marketing, you can divert more effort to optimize that channel.

Implement a New Digital PR Strategy for Your eCommerce Today

If you’re not using digital PR to enhance your brand visibility, you’re missing out on a cost-effective way to reach customers. A digital PR strategy helps in SEO and improves visibility, enhances credibility, boosts traffic, and increases quality leads. 

Developing a successful digital PR strategy is simple. You have to be clear on your goals and target audience. You have to create content that people will want to share and distribute across multiple platforms for maximum reach. Finally, listen to what people are saying about your brand.

Depending on your budget and time constraints, you may handle your digital PR strategy yourself or outsource it to an agency. If you handle it yourself, you have control over every aspect of your PR digital marketing campaigns. However, you’ll need to invest a lot of time and effort. PR agencies, on the other hand, can take care of everything for you, although they incur additional costs. Whichever strategy you choose, the key takeaway is this: Get started with online PR.