There is a huge shift taking place in the land of Digital and Traditional Communications.

It’s been going on for a while too. The lines are becoming blurred as traditional and modern marketing practices and ideas are merging.
The result: Digital PR & Content Marketing
For those in the digital space and SEO in particular, Digital PR is an evolution of Link Building. The emphasis on links is decreasing in favour of quality metrics and ensuring a brand is positioned on the right platforms, in the right way. No more links for SEO sake, instead, delivering placements for visibility’s sake. As a by-product, generating links that support SEO goals.
Whereas, in the “traditional” space, it’s an evolution enabling brands to be published online, not just the printed media. Long-standing PRs are beginning to embrace Digital PR, some even going solo to pursue it. New Communications job descriptions are asking for candidates to have experience in digital content creation and social media. The PR contacts platform ‘Response Source’ even includes Domain Authority as a key metric (which is the classic SEO go-to for measuring the value of website). PR campaigns previously intended for print, are being amplified through digital channels to increase their effectiveness. As a by-product, they also generate links that support SEO goals.
They’re basically all doing the same thing and that’s awesome.
It’s all semantics, really.
Take a look:

There are too many similarities to ignore.

Ultimately, the function of PR, be it digital or offline, is to generate exposure through third-party media. This is done through some version of storytelling.
PRs are undoubtedly veteran storytellers. They’re the ones who really get people and how to craft a story narrative. They have the heritage, the credibility, the media contacts. Whereas, SEOs and Digital PRs are really good at the nerdy stuff. Extracting data, pulling lists, automating processes, building databases, and measuring performance.
SEO’s and Link Builders have learnt to be resourceful problem solvers and adapt to an ever-changing landscape.  Many Digital PRs (those of Link Building background) are proactively adopting traditional ways of working and changing the way they pitch campaigns to clients to align with offline media practices.

What does all this mean to clients?

This melting pot of methodologies conjures a number of important questions.

  • Who should you work with?
  • Do you need more than one agency?
  • Which should you prioritise?
  • Who should get the most budget?

The answer will depend on the business priorities, their circumstance, budgets, infrastructure and so on.
However, the great news is that you can have it all!
To build links, you have to invest in a calibre of campaign that has the potential to engage, excite or inform people. Having done that, why wouldn’t you report on coverage and brand awareness as a core KPI?
Likewise, to get coverage, PRs have to captivate some of the most sought-after journalists on the planet. Why wouldn’t you want to harness that value to boost your presence on Google?
If you’d sooner get in the local papers, work with an agency who have those relationships and can guarantee such exposure. If you care more about being seen on industry sites, thought leadership blogs and social media influencers, then work with an agency who have those relationships and can guarantee such exposure.
It’s up to you, the client.
Whoever you choose to work with, just make sure they can deliver on all your expectations and priorities. If you work with multiple agencies, make sure they’re signing off the same sheet, which is easier said than done. However, when everyone works together, they can split the investment and share the results. Or combine the investment and amplify the results!
As time goes on and the lines will blur further. Digital agencies will get stronger at driving local press stories and press agencies will get stronger at driving online thought leadership pieces. Both will get better at reporting across all verticals. We’re in the midst of a massive skills exchange and will eventually become one and the same.
Exciting times!
If you’re interested in SEO, Digital PR, Influencer Marketing, Content Marketing or any other discipline of Digital Marketing in Northern Ireland, get in touch today. We create bespoke packages tailored to our client’s individual needs and budgets.