It’s true, a good public relations strategy takes time to get rolling. But, if all the preparation and strategizing fall neatly into place, it’s a thing of beauty. While the wait time between seeding product, testing, and seeing the ideal piece of coverage go-live can feel daunting, it’s well worth it when those wonderfully crafted prose hit newsstands, computer screens, or mobile phones, becoming available for all to consume.
Earned media provides a host of benefits (which we’ve waxed poetic about on this blog before), but, perhaps the most overlooked quality of good coverage is the long-term benefits digital public relations provides.
The Longevity of Digital Public Relations
Longevity in a piece of editorial coverage can take many forms, but, in this blog post, we’re going to focus on the long-term benefits of an excellent piece of directly linked digital editorial coverage. Let’s fast forward through all the hard work of crafting and implementing a successful public relations campaign and cruise on over to the analysis portion.
Analyzing Referral Traffic
This is where our Account Executives roll up their sleeves and begin to analyze the referral traffic from a piece of editorial coverage: first the acquisition metrics, then the behavior metrics, and finally the conversion metrics.
It’s typical for referral traffic to spike and then descend again to a more stabilized level within a week or so, forming a jagged mountain of hungry potential consumers ready to jump from the awareness phase into the consideration phase of their journey. This is in line with how digital publications push out content, typically featuring new articles heavily on their homepages and respected sub-pages for a few days before following up with a newsletter plug.
Smart digital public relations coverage can provide long-term benefits beyond the initial “bump” in referral traffic.
If the publication audience is well-aligned with your brand’s personas, the behavior metrics will likely indicate a high degree of interest from your new website visitors. Increasing goal completions and conversion percentages indicate consumers are moving through their journeys, adding products to their carts as they speed towards the purchase phase.
And just like that, the cycle is complete….right? Not so fast! Let’s take a look at why some pieces of digital editorial coverage continue to stick around, providing a host of benefits beyond the initial digital public relations “bump” in referral traffic.
In many cases, a piece of editorial coverage may continue to send referral traffic to your website for days, weeks, even months to come. In rare cases, a particularly powerful piece of editorial coverage may continue to send referral traffic for years to come!
Why is this? Well, it’s a potent mix of audience alignment, great writing, and SEO impact. Let’s break it down.
The beginning of any good digital public relations strategy starts with a full understanding and analysis of your brand’s target audience. It’s pivotal that public relations practitioners work alongside your brand’s marketing team to dive into audience personas, analyze website audience metrics, review a brand’s social follower makeup and understand the full picture of who’s engaging with your brand. This understanding then needs to translate into smart editorial outreach.
It’s not always about high Unique Visitor per Month (UVM) numbers. Often, some of the most powerful coverage comes from smaller, more highly targeted publications.
Ultimately, this is huge and it may seem obvious, but working with writers and gear testers who put in the time to fully test, understand, and communicate their findings about your brand’s products goes a long way in bringing authority to the piece (if you’re interested in what goes into gear testing, look no further than here). This validation is at the heart of earned media and is often why a piece will continue to generate interest as it ages.
This also requires publications and gear testers to fully understand their audience and anticipate where interest is headed and where gaps in available information can be filled.
Now, let’s talk about how directly linked digital editorial coverage offers a host of SEO benefits that can enhance the longevity and benefits of the article.
First, it can help your brand’s SEO by providing high-quality backlinks. Over time, as your brand gathers high-quality backlinks from this type of coverage, you’re more likely to be elevated in search engine algorithms. Essentially, search engines see these trusted backlinks as endorsements toward the value of your website.
Second, directly linked digital earned media can provide greater search engine visibility within organic search results. Targeting highly competitive non-branded keywords can be challenging and often expensive for brands. As it turns out, digital earned media is a powerhouse at ranking for competitive non-branded keywords and specific longtail keywords, like “best tents for backpacking”. Additionally, the Domain Authority of well-respected earned media outlets is typically high, directly correlating to their likelihood of ranking higher on organic search results.
The Resulting Impact
When all of these benefits are packaged together, you end up with a piece of editorial coverage that keeps on giving. We’ll take a look at this example from Appalachian Gear Company, whose All-Paca Fleece Hoodie won Backpacker Magazine’s Editor’s Choice in October of 2019. Nearly a year and a half later, the digital review of the All-Paca Fleece Hoodie continues to send referral traffic every month to Appalachian Gear Company’s website. Additionally, Backpacker’s audience aligns well with Appalachian Gear Company, resulting in above-average behavior metrics from visitors being referred from the editorial coverage and these website visitors are converting at a rate that’s 2% higher than the site average.
Over time, as your digital public relations team strategically amasses earned media for your brand, a substantial amount of continual referral traffic is generated. This means your brand and products will begin to have a larger digital footprint, becoming easier to find as potential customers read reviews, do their research, and prepare to make a purchase. Ultimately, don’t discount the value in the longevity of digital public relations coverage. To learn more about how we can help your brand create a larger digital footprint, sign up for our newsletter HERE or contact us.