Since the dawn of the digital age, the line between PR and marketing has become increasingly blurred. This is a good thing. After all, modern PR professionals and marketers have the same goal - revenue generation. The two disciplines work together to generate awareness, foster positive sentiment and drive conversions that lead to more sales. Earned media, press releases, article placements and other tools of the PR trade can turbocharge a brand’s digital marketing efforts by impacting website traffic, SEO and social media engagement.
PR has a direct effect on website traffic in a number of ways:
- Volume: The impact of PR on the number of website visitors can be tracked by comparing traffic on days when earned media mentions, press releases and contributed content are published, vs. days (or weeks) without this type of activity. Most companies see a direct correlation between PR action and website visits.
- Quality: Not all website visitors are created equally. Because PR is targeted toward a particular audience, it has the ability to attract the attention of the people who are most likely to buy. When done well, the visitor will arrive at the site with an awareness of what the brand has to offer and a positive feeling toward the organization. These are the visitors who are most likely to convert.
PR’s impact on search engine optimization must not be underestimated. In fact, search is one of the top justifications for investment in PR.
- Referrals from Key Publications: Quality back links from relevant publications should be a central part of any PR strategy. This will improve your site’s page rank and move you closer to the top of related keyword searches.
- Implied Links: Google has acknowledged that every time your brand gets an earned media mention, it counts as an implied link, even if the publication does not expressly link to your website. This improves page rankings and quality scores.
Content created as a result of PR, most notably earned media, is the fuel for social media.
- Audience Building: PR helps brands build their audience of social media followers by creating awareness and interest.
- Shares: People don’t share data sheets or brochures on their social media networks, but they do share articles from their favorite publications. Earned media mentions and contributed articles are exactly the type of content that is handed off from one potential customer to another.
Benchmarking the brand’s website traffic, search rankings and social engagement prior to PR campaigns and activities and tracking the results is an effective way to measure the impact of PR and demonstrate tangible results. Successful campaigns can be replicated and those that don’t move the needle can be re-evaluated. Brands that take this approach will boost all of the metrics that ultimately result in an improved bottom line.