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Unveiling the Power of Digital PR: A Blueprint for Retail Brands in the Relevance Era

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The digital media landscape is ever-changing and, as such, it can be hard for time-poor marketers to keep up! Google is regularly updating its algorithm, (with nine in 2023 alone), not to mention the fact a cookieless future is looming. On top of that, competition between retail brands is fierce, intensified by economic struggles. As such, brands are increasingly battling against each other for lower CPCs and their target audience’s attention.

When seeking to grab the attention of your audiences, paid media is an excellent strategy. But how do you get your audiences to stay longer and prolong the engagement?

By being, and staying, relevant. 

How Relevance Propels a Global Sustainability Brand 

Whether you’ve purchased a pair or not, you likely know about Allbirds. Since its launch in 2016, Allbirds set out to differentiate itself from big-name companies by focusing on three important principles: comfort, simple design and sustainable shoes, made from nature. Four years later, they became a billion-dollar sneaker brand. 

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The brand’s commitment to sustainability, eco-friendly materials and simple yet stylish designs resonated with a very specific community — Silicon Valley tech professionals, including legends like Google co-founder Larry Page. And it’s no surprise. The company unapologetically marches to the beat of its own drum and invests in a well-rounded marketing mix

They are a prime example of a brand that invests in engaging and meaningful content, that entices their audience and stops them from scrolling. They know that it’s not enough to just be relevant in that moment, they continually fight to maintain their relevance. 

That’s where an organic growth strategy comes in, to complement and aid paid media campaigns by future-proofing businesses through useful and engaging content. Whether that’s through organic social or earned media, these tactics help them improve salience and stay front of mind.  

If you’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars on marketing content designed to capture attention, then make sure you’re leveraging it and sharing it across every platform you can with a holistic strategy. 

Leveraging Data and Digital PR to Navigate Blind Spots 

All retail brands have access to lots of useful first-party data and information that can help inform its marketing strategy and navigate blind spots. 

Taking a combination of performance data SEO KPIs (rankings, traffic and revenue) and brand metrics (brand uplift, engagement and messaging), you can optimize your integrated marketing strategies, ensuring each channel is working harmoniously and not cannibalizing one another. 

We did this for the much-loved British heritage brand Marks & Spencer, which sells its products across many regions, including the U.S. 

We worked with them to utilize SEO opportunities with search peaks, seasonality and customer buying behaviors to create evergreen angles for our content to ensure maximum reach and exposure. As this was the first time the business had utilized a digital PR strategy, to ensure a fair assessment we implemented a Control Group analysis to compare the performance of the website targeted with link building to untouched control sections so we could accurately measure the difference in growth. As a result, we drove over 3,000 keywords to page one with over 200 high-quality linking pieces of coverage. 

My 5 key tips on staying relevant: 

  1. Know your audience: Use data and insight that outlines who your target audience are and informs what type of content is going to make them stop scrolling, engage and, most importantly, share with their friends and family. 
  2. Be authentic: Stay true to your brand proposition — all content, whether that’s owned, earned or paid should have a single red thread running throughout it that’s aligned to your key messaging.
  3. Tap into trends: Monitor trends and sentiment across the news and social platforms to ensure your content is timely and topical. 
  4. Make it meaningful: Create content that’s genuinely useful and engaging, that’s written with your target audience in mind but that also references your commercial keywords to help Google rankings. 
  5. Optimize for integration: Develop an omnichannel strategy to maximize the content and creative you develop, ensuring its reach is maximized to deliver the most ROI possible by ensuring it’s shared via social media, email marketing, PR and onsite. 

In summary, your target audience wants content that is relevant to them, and the good news is, that’s what Google wants too! John Mueller, a Google representative, said in 2021, “We try to understand what is relevant for a website, the total number of links doesn’t matter at all.” 

Ultimately, it’s not enough to be popular, and be the biggest, noisiest brand — you also need to be relevant.


Beth Nunnington is VP of Organic Media at performance marketing agency Journey Further. With an impressive track record spanning over a decade, she has garnered widespread recognition in catapulting brands to unprecedented heights of visibility and credibility. Equipped with a wealth of innovative digital PR strategies, Nunnington empowers businesses to amplify their content reach and harness the immense power of organic traffic.

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