The value of digital public relations

4 minute read

Laura Dale

Public relations is among the most vital tools to build a company's trust and reputation.

In a world where citizen journalism has spread like wildfire and people are weary of whom they can trust, carefully considered, traditional PR that earns print and broadcast media coverage (in reputable media outlets) holds a huge amount of value. Digital PR (online coverage on media websites and industry specific resources) has a longevity that traditional PR doesn’t necessarily offer, and it can also establish or extend domain authority. The key to online visibility is integrating PR into a brand’s SEO strategy. So read on to see why you should value PR!

Companies often dip their toe into PR with a one-off project to see what media coverage can be gained without really understanding the value of ongoing PR and the breadth of work that can be done to help build brand awareness and reputation. This means that those companies who value PR are ahead of the game.

Why should you value public relations?

Traditional and digital public relations are about building brand awareness and reputation with the hope it will result in an action from the target audience(s). Both traditional and digital PR are about gaining media coverage in the hope readers will ‘do something’ as a result, whether that is getting people to eat in a restaurant, book a hotel room, lease a car, or buy a product. On top of this, a PR strategy should always help to drive a company’s goals.

Print and broadcast media coverage is hugely valuable, but their impact is often short-lived. Digital PR is different because most newspaper articles stay online and in search engine results forever. A news story might be posted on tens or hundreds of websites, dramatically increasing the chances that it is seen and archived, linked to or from, or that some of those sites (usually the bigger, well-resourced ones) will continue serving this content for years to come.

What’s so valuable about digital PR?                                                                                                                            

The ever-present nature of digital news is excellent for building brand awareness and reputation (providing it is good news!). The undisputable value of digital PR comes from gaining high quality backlinks into your editorial or copy. You can achieve this by getting content published on reputable media websites or on relevant industry resource websites – and requesting for them to include a link back to the relevant page on your website.

The core aim of adding backlinks to media coverage is to improve your Search Engine Visibility, to increase traffic to your site, and it’s an endorsement of your website to the powers that be (Google). In other words, digital PR can help your ranking.

So how does digital PR help your ranking?

Digital PR can improve the trust and authority of a website at both the page and domain level by earning links that point (back) to its website. These links represent an open endorsement of your website to Google and are widely considered to be a crucial ranking factor.

Digital PR can also help earn branded mentions to a website, which builds brand awareness and reputation (just like traditional PR). 

The bonus of digital PR is that it can also help create social engagement thanks to people sharing it on social media platforms, and this can help acquire links, promote brand awareness, and increase website traffic.

How do you approach digital PR?

Unfortunately, some media outlets will actively remove links from stories because they reserve backlinks for advertorial (where companies are paying for their content to be published). Earning editorial backlinks from media sites requires PR and SEO to work together to create the most attractive pitch possible:

  • A newsworthy story that is relevant to the journalist, delivered in the right way, at the right time. This is likely to be PR driven.
  • Something that is worth linking to. Editorial coverage does not in any way guarantee a backlink. To increase your chances of getting a valuable backlink, there must be something worth linking to. Try including a report, an app, a video, or a piece of content that the journalist wants to share with their audience. This is likely to be SEO driven.
  • A targeted pitch to individual journalists. This is likely to be PR driven.

At Chalk & Ward, our marketing, creative, digital, and PR teams work together to achieve the best outcomes for our clients. We believe digital PR and SEO go hand in hand. So, if you want to find out how we can help build your company’s brand awareness and reputation, and how we can help you to achieve your company’s goals, then please get in touch!

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