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Leeds Digital Festival 2021 Digital PR: What, Why and How

by Victoria Tidmarsh Victoria Tidmarsh


  • Posted on Tuesday 26th October, 2021

We were so excited to be back as part of this year’s Leeds Digital Festival line-up, this time with a crash course on what Digital PR is, why a brand might need it and how we do it. 

Digital PR seems to be the hottest topic on everyone’s lips this year, and from a brand perspective, it can be quite confusing trying to figure out whether it’s for you or not. And at the same time, we wanted to give some insight and inspiration (but no secrets) to our friends at other agencies.

So, if you couldn’t attend then fear not…here’s a recap of the key points.

Hatch Leeds Digital Festival


Think successful PR is just about coverage? WRONG!

Customers expect more. Brands want more. Agencies need to deliver more. No longer is it sufficient to simply pop your press cuttings into an email with a pinch-of-salt reach figure and move onto the next campaign. Nowadays, PRs need to be digitally savvy when it comes to insight, outreach and reporting. 

That’s what we do here at Hatch. We cover metrics across a huge range of deliverables, everything from SEO and brand impact to engagement and conversions. That’s what the finance folks on the brand side need to see…tangible ROI. 


What’s the point in Digital PR? 

Well firstly, print press is dying *pretends to be shocked* 

This isn’t new news. While print absolutely still has its place, 73% of Brits now get their news online. Add to that the fact that more than a quarter of retail sales are now online, the most obvious thing is to cut that customer journey down and speak to them where they’re going to act. 

Plus, SEO and PR are in a beautiful but complicated relationship. If you get it right, Digital PR can be a huge contributor in improving search rankings, website engagement and ultimately, sales. Much cheaper in the long run than spending ££££ on PPC. 


What do journos want? 

I’m a massive believer that building relationships with contacts in the media is still the key to being good at PR. Yeah you can create whizzy tools and mock-up fake products but there is still huge skill in knowing who you should be speaking to and what they really want from PRs. 

Online journos in particular will have KPIs of their own, and if you can help them achieve them you’ll be onto a winner. Think dwell time – they need people to stay on their articles as long as possible, so hook them up with some sweet, sweet video content. Or maybe they’re writing for SEO, in which case make sure your press release is written in a suitable way for them to use as easily as possible. 


But, how? 

So you get why Digital PR is great, but now you need to know how to do it. Well, I can’t give too much away (come chat to us if you think your brand might suit Digital PR!). but here goes…

Data, data and more data. Understand who your audience truly is, learn what they’re interested in, find out what publications and platforms they engage with most. Look into trending topics, industry reports and new Tik Tok dances – honestly, you never know! The key is to have your finger on the pulse and not make assumptions. Audiences value authenticity more than most other things and it’s important your PR ticks that box. 

After you’ve done all that, make it newsworthy. That’s right…tell a story with it. All the creative in the world won’t ever stop storytelling being the most important job of a PR team. 


We really enjoyed presenting at this year’s Leeds Digital Festival. Big thanks to everyone who attended! See you next year.