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What is Reactive Digital PR and How Can It Be Used for Link Building?

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What is Reactive Digital PR and How Can It Be Used for Link Building?

Can reactive digital PR actually help you build links? What the heck is reactive digital PR? Find out who and how this specific strategy is for.

Over the past ten years, we've observed a growth in the number of agencies and in-house teams who utilize "digital PR" in place of their digital marketing strategy, with the goal of generating links that have an impact on the performance of organic search.

In essence, the SEO sector began to adopt strategies that the PR sector had been employing for decades and use them in the digital sphere.
This featured items like:

  1. Establishing connections with journalists.
  2. Enhancing the value of contacts in "black books" for use with various clientele.
  3. Adding hooks and storylines to the content.
  4. Press releases are used to attract journalists' attention (and not just for spammy link building!)
  5. Use survey results to inspire articles and tales.
The development of content marketing as a link-building strategy and this together gave rise to the digital PR sector we have today.

For a long, the majority of digital PR activities involved building massive, "hero" campaigns that may need weeks or even months to prepare and deploy.

These are still quite active, but over the past 18 months, reactive digital PR has emerged as a new strategy.

Reactive Digital PR

Reactive digital PR is when you see a chance to get media and links for a company and act swiftly to take advantage of that chance.

It depends on another person releasing a story that corresponds with the industry you work in (often a journalist or news outlet).

Next, you respond to that narrative. Planning how to take advantage of the chance can be challenging by nature.

The goal of proactive digital PR, in contrast, is to push messages that your target audience may not have otherwise heard.

Is Reactive Digital PR Suitable for All People?

Absolutely not.

The success of reactive digital PR depends on a number of variables.

This method might not provide you a decent return on investment if these elements are a problem for your company.

When contemplating using reactive digital PR, consider the following instances.

Topical Relevance in Time

Naturally, news stories about some industries appear more frequently than those about others. Some news cycles will be predictable and repeatable, allowing you to anticipate when opportunities for reactive digital PR will come your way.

For instance, it's almost assured that the following will be covered by the news cycle repeatedly:
  1. British government budget releases and their effects
  2. The top toys each year and Christmas gift guides.
  3. The property market and changes in pricing.
There are many more, but hopefully you get the point that certain subjects will be covered in the news frequently.

Reactive digital PR may be difficult if you work in a sector where, to put it frankly, not much changes or occurs in terms of the news cycle.

It won't be difficult, but you might need to lower your expectations and avoid expending excessive amounts of time or money.

On the other hand, if you work in a field where the subject is regularly discussed, you'll inevitably have more opportunities to use reactive digital PR, which means you might decide to spend more.


Speed is crucial for reactive digital PR, as the term and process suggest.

There are times when you have to respond to an opportunity in a matter of hours or, at most, days.

Even if you are quick, other people trying to react swiftly might overpower you. There is little likelihood that the technique will help you if you are unable to react swiftly in the first place.

To make reactive digital PR effective, you should ideally have a high amount of autonomy from the business and important stakeholders.

When creating content or making comments for a story, try to avoid lengthy approval or decision-making processes by committees.

Reactive digital PR can still be effective even if you don't have complete autonomy if you have a stakeholder on your side who recognizes the importance of moving swiftly and can give you the approval you need when you need it.

Set reasonable expectations

Reactive digital PR is a brief, focused project that has the potential to generate a lot of links, but it is not likely to have the same impact as a hero campaign that goes viral.

Of course, this is possible, but most of the time, thanks to reactive digital PR, you'll end up with dozens of connections rather than hundreds.

As a result, your stakeholders (and you!) need to grasp the differences between this technique and other forms of digital PR and link building before engaging in it.

Similar to how different technical SEO adjustments will have varying degrees of influence on organic search results.

A stakeholder team that is aware of this and manages expectations is necessary.

All things considered, reactive digital PR might not be the best option for your company if you have worries in any of these areas, or it might be something you should try out first before investing a lot of money.

Opportunities Reactive digital PR is likely to give you the chance to take a number of actions that could result in publicity and links.

These are more likely to occur without the requirement for massive amounts of information, but they are not mutually exclusive to the chances that larger, hero-style campaigns may bring.

Feedbacks on recent news articles

There can be instances when a journalist needs some more authority from a professional in the field to support a current piece they are writing.

When such occurs, they might tweet anything with this kind of hashtag or employ tools like HARO or ResponseSource.

By keeping an eye on these places, you can identify instances where your in-house experts could make a comment that includes a brand mention or, even better, a link.

As you establish a rapport with the journalist, they might come directly to you in the future for additional comments. It can also be an opportunity for you to establish credibility in this field.

Information on a certain news item

You may occasionally utilize reactive digital PR to create content for journalists to use as support for articles they may be considering publishing on a news topic.

The main distinction between hero-style campaigns and your content creation process is how rapidly you can customize it to the news item or topic that is currently trending (or will be very soon).

The goal is to identify a trend that will probably be covered in articles over the next few days or weeks and to create content that journalists may utilize to enhance the worth of articles they already have planned.

Your writing should be straightforward, simple to create, and give fresh details to a developing news narrative.

Frequently, this will be some data or a straightforward graphic.

Updates to Current Stories

After a news story has been published, journalists frequently update it.

This is especially typical for breaking news, as additional details are discovered that can be added to the article.

You will get the chance to improve on an article that has already been written and published by a journalist.

This can be challenging, so only attempt it if the information or commentary you have to share will actually benefit the tale.

If not, the journalist is probably going to respond negatively.

What Results Can You Expect From Reactive Digital PR

As previously said, use this strategy to establish expectations. It won't always produce the outcomes of a more extensive, deliberate hero campaign.

It's difficult to forecast, though, as with most things.

Keep in mind that your time and resource commitments should be in line with the outcomes you anticipate.

Even if you spend 15 minutes on reactive digital PR tasks and only receive one link, you are still getting a good value for your time.

Additionally, keep in mind that with this kind of activity, you're likely to receive a mixture of regular links, nofollow links, and brand mentions.

While you can try your best, it's not always possible to convert a brand reference into a link.

Again, this isn't a major problem because getting a variety of findings is quite typical and expected; but, communicate to stakeholders up front that this is likely to be the case.

How to Get Ready for Digital Reactive PR

Even though reactive digital PR is challenging to plan for, there are a few strategies to stack the deck in your favor so that you have the best chance of profiting when the opportunity arises.

1. Accessible specialist with opinions
Plan out who to contact in your company for professional opinions on the main subjects you want to cover.

For tiny companies, this might only be one employee. Different specialists for different topics may be employed by larger firms.

Discover who these folks are and let them know what you want to do, whichever it is.

From here, if they are on board, you may make plans to talk with them directly if comments are required and convey the need for feedback to be received as soon as feasible.

It's also important to remember that you need their viewpoint!

Although it may sound unusual, they should ideally have strong enough opinions to be noticed by a journalist covering that subject.

Although you don't necessarily need to know where they stand on an issue, you should probably be aware of it in the majority of cases.

It's also crucial to keep in mind that you require their opinion!

Despite the fact that it may sound strange, they should ideally have strong enough opinions to be noted by a writer covering that issue.

In most circumstances, you should be aware of their position on a matter even though you don't really need to know it.

If you are able to do this and produce information related to the day of the year, you can pitch this content to journalists beforehand and possibly be featured in their stories.

Already approved assets

For reactive digital PR, speed is crucial.

Preparing assets before you need them will help you avoid content production and sign-off delays.

Instead of waiting for it to be approved and delaying you down, you may pitch content right away when the time comes when a major issue is in the news.

One approach to accomplish this is to conduct a 30- to 45-minute phone interview with one of your subject-matter experts on the issue at hand.

This might result in a treasure of information and feedback for reactive digital PR.

It's not for everyone, but reactive digital PR can be a terrific way to increase links and attention for a brand.

If you go ahead with it, make as many plans as you can in advance and be ready to act fast when possibilities arise.

  Nov 15, 2022       by eguaogie-eghosa       159 Views

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