Guest post by Tom Shapiro. Tom is founder of Digital Marketing NOW, a full-service digital marketing and design firm that offers strategy, web development, design, SEO, paid search marketing, conversion optimization, display advertising, analytics and more. Shapiro cuts through all the hype and develops clear, differentiated marketing strategies focused on real results for his clients. Throughout his career, Shapiro has worked with a range of Fortune 500 clients, including P&G, HP, AT&T, Sears and Kraft Foods.
Want to expand your reach? Want to get your message in front a boatload of prospective customers? Want your content to be shared silly?
Marketing publications are falling over themselves expounding the benefits of social media. It’s true that social media helps you engage your audience and build relationships. Social is an important part of your marketing mix.
However, if you are looking to find new customers and propel folks who’ve never heard of you to start caring and sharing, then start focusing on a forgotten child in the social media era…digital PR. In a quick review of three popular marketing websites, social media topics represented 30% of all home page content and represented 36X more topics than PR. Why is everyone so obsessed with social media, yet forgetting that digital PR totally and completely ROCKS?
It might not have as many headlines as social media, yet digital PR has the ability to hit home runs for your brand. Digital PR is especially important in putting your content in front of massive numbers of new eyeballs. Along with the inherent credibility of being embedded in a trusted media source, digital PR can be valuable to any brand.
Consider this real-world example. A publishing company needed to promote a new contest. It focused heavily on social media, including various tactics on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, producing a solid yield of views, clicks and shares. However, it was the digital PR efforts that stole the show. Within a three-week period from the start of the PR efforts, the contest was featured in a range of websites with a total of more than 10.5 million monthly unique visitors.
The exposure was invaluable in getting in front of their target audience, and especially in getting in front of those who had never heard of the brand, nor the contest, before. And this is where things get interesting. It was the PR that generated the biggest social media bang. The PR placements rather than the original Facebook and other social posts generated the most social shares.
Digital PR provides you with a vehicle for reaching millions whom a social media-only campaign would otherwise miss. The reality is that a large percentage of the population is not active on social media. They may have social media accounts, but that does not necessarily mean that they use social media on a daily basis. According to the Pew Research Center, merely 13% of Americans use Twitter or read Twitter messages. In certain industries, that percentage is much less.
Social media is dominating the headlines these days. However, remember that although digital PR is not necessarily a media darling, it packs a powerful punch. Used correctly, the combination of digital PR with social media can improve and compound your marketing results many times over.