5 Key learnings from the Digital PR Summit

By Lizzy Green
19th April 2024

For the first of its kind, our Digital PR pack made their way to Manchester for a day full of lessons, insightful talks, and catching up with old friends at Digitaloft’s Digital PR Summit.

With notebooks bursting and full of inspiration, we’ve summed up the key takeaways from the day:

Working in tandem with SEO

At Wolfenden, we work very closely with our SEO team, so it was enlightening to hear from several speakers on the relationship between SEO and Digital PR.

The channels are two sides of the same coin and it’s important to remember that we’re all working towards the same goal – so of course our strategies need to be well-aligned. From setting internal objectives across the team to reporting together and celebrating our combined successes, there’s always space for more crossover.

Sanjay Purewal (SEO Manager at Cavu) made the fantastic analogy that SEO is like a house, with Technical SEO as the foundations, Content the walls and Digital PR is the roof on top.

Picture of a house with the foundations labelled 'Technical SEO', the walls labelled 'Content', and the roof labelled 'Digital PR'.

Without all three working together, the house falls apart.

Relevancy reigns supreme

James Brockbank (Founder of Digitaloft and the Digital PR Summit) raised the question “If Google didn’t exist, would you still want this link?”

Relevancy will likely always be a key talking point in the industry (in fact, it was mentioned at least in passing in the majority of these talks), but it can be easy to get caught up in chasing the numbers rather than focusing on whether the links you’re chasing are actually relevant.

Quality will always be more important and more impressive than quantity and is ultimately what will drive long-term success and future-proof brands.

Think about the bigger picture when reporting

Digital PR can sometimes be hard to quantify in reporting, especially when you want to consider metrics beyond simply the number of links you’ve achieved or the average DA of the sites – there is so much more value to our work beyond this!

In her talk, Sophie Brannon (Director of SEO at RushOrderTees) reminded us that there are so many other ways to report on the success of our campaigns. Think about the impact on SEO and the wider brand perception. You can measure this through the growth of your client’s website authority, branded vs non-branded, traffic, conversion and so much more!

This was reiterated by Stephen Kenwright (Aency Founder) talking about how he likes to use the increase in share of search within Digital PR reporting too. At Wolfenden we track market share of search – which looks at your overall presence within the search market – for all of our SEO campaigns. It was interesting to hear how something similar to this is done elsewhere and consider how we currently factor Digital PR performance specifically into our SEO reporting.

You can also track brand mentions with a simple formula:

Formula saying 'Number of mentions for brand' divided by 'Number of mentions of brands in category'.

You can also run surveys on brand funnels and then set KPI’s around them, such as an increase in brand preference.

Get to know the journalist

As a Digital PR, it’s always interesting to hear directly from journalists what they want and need from us so that we can learn how to work better together. And so, we were so excited when we saw that the Digital PR Summit would be hosting a Journalist Open Panel, with leading journalists from publications such as The Tab and Country Living.

The panel all agreed that one of the key ways for PRs to stand out amidst a crowded inbox is to leverage knowledge of existing well-performing content.

A journalist won’t cover the exact same topic in the exact same way twice. But what they will do is hunt for new or unusual angles that relate to successful stories.

So, familiarise yourself with high engagement content or trending articles from the key journalists and publications in your client’s sector. And leverage your client’s unique perspective.

Rules of engagement

One of the key things that journalists and their editors consider when it comes to picking up press releases is how many views it will get. Whether or not they personally find it interesting, ultimately it needs to be interesting to their readers too.

Expert comments with unique tips and hacks will likely always perform well as a hook, and if your story has the right data then you can probably expect a lot of views. But with social media becoming more and more of a consideration to newspapers and journalist, there’s also more pressure for cross-platform stories.

So, one technique shared by Harriet Stranger (Senior SEO Manager & Digital PR at Lottie) is to mention the cross-promotion opportunities of the release – can you reshare the story to your social media accounts once the story is live? Will it help boost coverage? This could be the difference between your release being picked up or not.

Thank you again to Digitaloft for hosting such an interesting and insightful day. We’re already looking forward to the next Digital PR Summit!

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