Building a Digital Footprint with PR

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Clients generally have big public relations goals. Usually, they are excited about their brand story and have huge (sometimes irrational) expectations of their PR efforts. While dream goals are beneficial, it’s essential to ensure they’re realistic.

Clients ask me, “Can you get me in Forbes, The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal?” more times than I would like to admit. Believe it or not, there is no secret handshake to get your stories placed here.

Grabbing the attention of top-tier media — especially if you’re a startup with little brand awareness to date — is not easy. Half the battle is in being seen as credible. Having a minimal digital footprint and lacking social media presence when someone searches for your company will sound alarms. Building a digital footprint is vital — it is your online reputation, after all.

What is a Digital Footprint?

A digital footprint, or digital dossier, comprises actions and online communications linked to a company or individual. A digital footprint is relatively permanent. Once the information is public — or even somewhat public, such as social media posts — the owner has little control over how others will use it. Effective PR efforts can help you create or improve your digital footprint by telling your story the way you want it to be told.

How PR Helps Create a Digital Footprint Built to Last

Most people don’t realize that, more often than not, PR is a long game, especially if you’re relatively new to the media. Building your reputation takes time. The best way to build credibility is through trade publications and local media outlets. These earned media opportunities are low-hanging fruit for companies just beginning to get the word out.

A well-rounded online presence should also include plenty of earned media wins. Gaining press coverage across a wide range of publications boosts your organization’s credibility and authority. Earned media is also crucial for growing backlinks to your website, which are fundamental for ranking in Google search results. Once you have a few earned placements to build your foundational digital footprint, you can start setting your sights on national media.

Paid media, shared media and owned media are other ways to build your digital footprint. Thoughtful paid media partnerships can be a powerful way to reach a relevant audience with a thoughtful message consistently. A well-executed paid partnership should always be mindful of the relevance and context. Paid social media campaigns can also be a powerful tool to amplify important news announcements and provide backlinks. However, paid placements can take away perceived neutrality, often becoming ethically questionable. Even worse, if not executed correctly, paid campaigns can annoy your target audience and turn them off to your brand’s story.

Shared media, such as your social channels: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and even Instagram, are perfect channels to connect with media professionals covering your industry. These are great outlets to share company news, industry updates and thought-provoking articles, ask for opinions or invite the press to events. Pro tip: Journalists’ inboxes are overflowing — a pitch to a journalist’s social accounts just might land you a story!

Owned media are inbound channels where your audience can find your company’s content — such as the news page, thought leadership-style blogs and podcasts. By offering coverage, news, and even media kits online, your content will become discoverable on search engines, providing both helpful content to your site’s visitors and support and context for journalists.

Just like earned and paid media, shared and owned media can also help build domain authority, thus increasing your digital footprint. A robust digital footprint will help raise awareness and strengthen your brand by building credibility.

All Good Things, In All Good Time

When your digital footprint displays professionalism, that online presence allows you to prove your expertise and stand out against your competitors. Most consumers research brands before making monetary commitments. If you do not have a synergetic online presence, your credibility and reliability can be damaged, especially if your brand does not appear and rank highly in the search results.

If you are ready to build your digital online footprint, reach out to Comprise! Our team has the expertise to craft the stories you want to tell about your company and communicate your message to the right audiences.

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