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PR for the Digital Age

Our Leeds digital agency was recently asked what is the difference between PR and Marketing? Ten years ago, the answer would have been easy; PR is all about driving positive brand reputation whereas marketing activities support the sales team. However, in the digital age, the difference is no longer that clear-cut. PR professionals are increasingly required to show how they support a company’s bottom line.

 

In recent years a new type of PR has emerged – digital PR – blurring the lines between public relations and marketing. Traditional PR still has its place and a well-placed piece of coverage is still important to the credibility of a business. “It demonstrates that you have been vetted and have passed the proverbial mustard with the media…” (Drew Gerber, Forbes Magazine). Having said that our digital agency in Leeds believes that traditional PR methods will only get you so far and embracing digital streams is now a must.

 

It used to be that, PR professionals used metrics such as ad value equivalency (AVE) to measure the success of a campaign. AVE refers to the cost of paying for space taken up by an earned media story, had it been an advertisement. While some agencies still use this metric, it is outdated and unable to calculate the true value of a PR campaign.

 

With most publications now online and many brands using their favourite social media platforms to promote their businesses, we need different metrics to measure the success of our activities.  Thanks to the internet we can now use deeper layers of data to measure the impact PR is having. In simple terms, through the use of referral links within a press release and Google Analytics, we can see where traffic is coming from and what that traffic is engaging with.

 

PR now plays a huge part in any good SEO strategy. A good story with a website link on an influential, credible site will do more for your search engine ranking than any paid activity. Additionally, Google uses an algorithm that looks for new content on web log files, so uploading PR stories in the form of blog posts will help move websites up search engine rankings.

 

We now have the opportunity to reach an audience that PR’s of the past could only dream of. The buck no longer stops with journalists and with ever more sophisticated online platforms and the emergence of influencers the real value of a great PR strategy is far greater than many businesses believe.