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Meghan Payne
July 24, 2019

Melt Mixer: Travel experts share their digital PR insights

Melt’s second event of the year brought together experts from across the travel industry to discuss the challenges of digital PR in 2019.

Melt invited an expert panel to Brown’s Hotel in London on the 10 July to hear what they had to say about the state of digital PR.

To kick it off, we asked: “How important is digital PR to your wider strategy?”

The collective response was “vital”.

In particular, the panel agreed that one of the main benefits of digital PR is its ability to generate a natural, earned link profile. In turn, this increases referral traffic, positive brand representation and helps build authority signals for Google.

All of these key benefits seem to be SEO focused but is Digital PR an SEO or PR matter?

The details

The panel, which was moderated by our co-founder Ian Brooks, covered a range of topics, from where digital PR sits within their own organisations to how they measure the ROI from digital PR campaigns.

The panel included:

  • Anja Jordan (Director of Growth, Culture Trip)
  • Will Weeks (Director of Marketing and Technology, Day 8)
  • Helene Hall – (CEO, Melt Digital)
  • Rich Kimber – (Head of Content, Melt Digital)

Long-term benefits versus short-term wins

The panel confirmed that digital PR is integral to their respective businesses but how are they implementing the strategy?

Day 8’s Will Weeks explained that it’s about setting expectations with senior stakeholders that digital PR requires long term investment if you want ongoing results.

This means that when you’re coming up with new campaign ideas, you should ideally be looking at themes that don’t go out of date quickly. After all, something that is evergreen has more of a chance of success– you can revisit the outreach throughout the year and it doesn’t lose value immediately after publication.

“There is still room for one-off campaigns when it comes to seasonal or event-based content,” added Melt Digital’s Rich. He noted that while it might have a shelf-life, it can still be a win from both an SEO and a brand equity perspective – especially if you’re jumping on things that are topical.

How can you create link-worthy content?

Creating data-led campaigns is a reliable way of ensuring that you’re creating something unique and insightful – which journalists don’t have the resource to do themselves.

Will suggests using a brand’s internal data if available. This naturally associates your brand to the campaign, making it harder for journalists to exclude a link/brand mention. Journalists are aware that credible coverage needs to cite the source of the information and if you are that source of data, it’s far less likely that the journalist will exclude your brand.

“The more data you can get the better,” said Anya from the Culture Trip. This could mean cross-referencing multiple sources of data. Consumer surveys add value here as they make your content more consumer-friendly, which you’ll want when it comes to outreach– journalists’ value relatable and easily accessible stories.

Challenges for 2019?

GDPR poses a challenge when it comes to collecting data for campaigns. Teams have had to pivot their data capture methods as data has become harder to access. This can be a problem particularly when it comes to the use of user data– users have to be entirely sure where their data is being captured and what it’s being used for.

Another challenge highlighted by the panel was the increase in media paywalls. Content behind these creates a roadblock for users when it comes to viewing your content and ultimately, this creates a hurdle for your marketing and SEO performance.

“Paywalls can make it much harder to get earned content as you’re much more likely to be diverted to their sales team,” said Will.

Where does digital PR sit within your wider strategy?

Digital PR sounds like both an SEO and a more traditional PR strategy but where does it sit?

For the panel, digital PR’s main benefit is SEO. Increases in traffic, site visibility, and rankings are the easiest to grasp, measure and report on. In terms of internal budget, it might sit within the content budget, but the reporting side leans heavily on SEO.

And the future?

As a service, digital PR is going to morph and change alongside SEO explained Melt’s CEO Helene. It’s at the beginning of its journey and we can only expect it to evolve and grow.

“We can also expect to see the merging of traditional and digital PR,” added Will. There is more that each service can learn from one another. This optimisation and merging of teams is still to come in businesses but will be key to a successful future for PR.

“We’re always going to need links and some kind of coverage – this is essentially how the web works,” Will concluded. So, isn’t it time that your SEO team got more involved?

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