In a market flooded with competitors, technology, and services, it’s pretty tricky to know what’s going to work for your brand to grow. Several traditional practices and methods like advertising, public relations, and marketing help brands promote and protect the image of the company, its products & services, and policies.
Public relations is one of the oldest forms of strategic communication used by companies to promote and protect their image, products, and policies in the eyes of the public. Traditional PR uses various channels like newspapers, television, radio, magazines, etc to generate brand awareness, change public opinion, and deal with a crisis. PR has evolved significantly over the last few years, paving the way for creative writers and marketers to merge; establishing the newly found digital sphere known as digital PR.
Marketing directly promotes products and services persuading potential clients or customers to buy them, and the evolution of the Internet has given rise to digital marketing. As more and more consumers spend time on social media and other online platforms, digital marketing has become a necessity for all businesses.
Interestingly, the jump from traditional PR and marketing to digital PR and digital marketing respectively has come with various hurdles. And, that’s not surprising given the amount of online footprint that is already present.
- About 64% of marketers actively invest time in search engine optimization
- The most in-demand digital PR services were content creation, outreaching/engaging with influencers, and social networking strategy.
- Hubspot research has found that 74% of global marketers continue to invest in social media marketing
But what is it you need for your brand; digital marketing or digital PR?
Overlaps and Distinctions
The end goal of both digital practices is somewhat similar: build brand awareness, engage with relevant audiences, and demonstrate expertise & leadership. But it’s the way the goal is delivered that’s different.
Strategies like search engine optimization, social media marketing, search engine marketing, influencer marketing, etc are all practiced by both digital PR and marketing professionals. What differentiates them are the following:
- Channels: One of the main differences between digital marketing and digital PR are the channels used to accomplish what they set out to do. Both are purely within the online sphere, but digital PR overshadows digital marketing as its marketing channels also include online media platforms like e-magazines, review sites, blog sites, online news wires, etc.
- Reach: Digital marketing is obviously mandatory to boost your brand to a larger audience but, imagine the traffic digital PR can fetch through valuable links coming from genuine and established platforms like news e-magazines and blog sites.
- Trust and Credibility: Digital marketing through organic methods are tricky these days while advertising is not always trustworthy. Digital PR can build trust and credibility for your brand without breaking the bank. The major advantage Digital PR holds is that it helps you get traffic from credible sources and people tend to believe a known reviewer rather than an ad that says “Buy this red pajama”.
- Direct Communication: Both digital marketing and digital PR focus on targeted audiences but it’s pretty difficult to hold on to a relevant audience through organic digital marketing tools whereas stories/online coverage of your brands in digital publications, blogs, e-zines, and other content-based websites directly serve the audience you want to target. Digital media opportunities ensure your brand doesn’t ever lose the mind space of your target market
- Conversion – With a strong digital PR strategy, there is a higher chance that investors or potential business customers get to know about your brand, products, or services through digital media. B2B customers, especially, look out for services/products in digital media as the credibility factor is high on review sites and news channels.
Apart from these few differences where digital PR does tend to stand out, there are many overlapping areas such as search engine optimization, social media optimization, online advertisements, influencer marketing, etc. Both digital PR and digital marketing are interwoven and a good combination can bring very good ROI.
The industry has changed drastically and must evolve into a great mix of Digital PR and digital marketing.