What is Digital PR and Why is it Useful for Law Firms?
In short, Digital PR is a strategy used to increase brand awareness using online methods of communication. It’s similar to traditional PR but offers the opportunity to reach a wider audience that can’t be reached with only offline tactics.
Even though Digital PR is all carried out online, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ process, so it is still ever-changing. PR experts are constantly looking at improving marketing strategies to benefit the client's aims in effective targeted ways.
One of the main aims of digital PR is to rise up the ranks on search engines like Google in order to receive more traffic. The way to do this is to build the website’s domain rating (DR) by obtaining quality links back to the site. By increasing the validity of the website through Google's eyes, the site will shift up on the search page.
Why is this important? Because, if you’re ranking #1 on Google, you’re likely to make 10x more than a competitor who ranks #10. Think about it, when was the last time you paid any attention to the sites after #4? We’ve previously discussed the importance of SEO for law firms if you still aren’t convinced.
There are various strategies to help this process along as, unfortunately, it doesn’t happen overnight (boo!). Streamlined aims and chosen tactics are vital to the success of a Digital PR campaign, but it’s equally important to measure the success of the campaign along the way.
How is Digital PR Success Measured?
Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that there are various metrics that could be used to measure the success of a campaign. The type of metric used to track success depends on the initial aims of the campaign. For example:
- Having x amount of mentions through press releases
- Increasing the number of followers on social media by x amount
- Increase DR rating by x amount
Of course, these aims would have to also explain how exactly to achieve this and include some sort of time frame. But these examples are just to highlight how we choose a metric to measure success.
An agency (such as Conscious) carrying out work on behalf of various clients doesn’t always have access to sales records to be able to monitor whether any PR work has had a direct impact on sales figures. Therefore, we use metrics that we can access and assess with ease to know exactly what impact the chosen tactics have had.
There is no guarantee, in the world of PR, that what you do will be a real success. But, when it does pay off, the results can be very valuable for a law firm. This is why measuring the results of a campaign are key for future ideas and processes.
As an agency, these are the three metrics we are most likely to monitor and assess during the course of any campaign:
1. Number of Press Articles Published
One of the most effective ways to measure a Digital PR campaign's impact is by looking at the number of articles journalists have written up and posted based on your initial press release emails.
The press release initially sent usually contains information and links back to the client’s website, drawing attention to the latest statistics on services provided by the law firm, i.e divorce stats.
A PR expert would monitor mentions of the client’s name through Google and keep a record of any publications of the information or story sent in. There are various tools available to PR practitioners to help stay on top of mentions, including Google Alerts and Ahrefs.
2. Brand / Client Mentions Online
Brand mentions are the number of times a client’s name is mentioned online, either in the form of a mention within an article, blog post, a custom hashtag, or mention on social media, within a certain period.
Raising awareness of a client’s brand name and services means the PR team are achieving goals of strengthening a client’s reputation and reach. Brand mentions are great, but it’s still important to look at how and where the mentions are happening to ensure it’s all in a positive or informative light.
3. Website Backlinks
A backlink is a URL that points back to a client’s website. Backlinks are used to measure the effectiveness of PR initiatives and can be easily tracked using tools such as Ahrefs that can show the before, during, and after effects of campaign initiatives. Backlinks can be achieved through blogger outreach style links, PR campaigns, and various other methods.
A rise in the number of backlinks from targeted outlets increases website referral traffic from users towards a client’s website. It will also boost the DR of the site, thus increasing search engine rankings and, by default, traffic. When targeting is done well, this can increase potential sales.
4. Increase in Traffic
Another way of measuring PR’s success is through the client’s website traffic before and after the campaign. It’s important to note spikes in traffic and relate to the source to know exactly what has worked well in driving traffic to the site.
Getting users to click through a link is often a difficult task but, if done in an effective and targeted manner, can work out well.
All aims are measurable, so you’ll never be left wondering if something worked or not…
Ultimately, success is measured by whether or not the initial aims of a Digital PR campaign were achieved. Digital PR is often perceived as a ‘risky’ approach to marketing but, as mentioned, the results of a PR campaign can be far more valuable than other marketing strategies.