Here’s how digital PR can make smaller brands stand out from their GIANT competitors.

Many long-established brands have become so popular that they’ve cemented their status as household names. Here in the UK brands like Boots or Tesco will be instantly recognisable to anyone you speak to. Over the years, they’ve grown even more well known thanks to a combination of their growing number of physical stores, streamlined online strategy and word of mouth.

Big brands have a huge advantage in the world of digital PR, too. They’ve had the time to build up their online presence and will often rank at the top of online searches for their chosen keywords. A simple Google search for ‘groceries’ will instantly bring up Tesco as the first result.

For smaller brands taking their first steps into the world of digital PR, comparing themselves to larger and well-established brands in the same industry could prove daunting. After all, how do you compete with a brand with millions of high-quality backlinks and a plethora of interesting PR-led content? 

A small skincare store hoping to compete with the likes of Beauty Bay or Space NK, not to mention a whole host of other big industry names could struggle to make themselves stand out. But it is possible to cut through the noise, and this is where digital PR comes in.

 

Be Bold

Standing out online means being bold, and digital PR campaigns are the perfect way to achieve this. A successful creative campaign can generate a lot of online buzz, drive social shares and most importantly, push you up the search engine rankings. Journalists typically receive hundreds of emails every day, so you need to make sure they’re taking notice of you.

Take a look at the content that your competitors are offering, and you’ll get a feel for the topics and themes that perform well in your industry. Then start thinking about how your brand can offer something new and different. 

Here are some great examples of bold and cheeky digital PR campaigns that have helped smaller brands stand out from their competitors:

 

  • For Easter 2022, adult toy manufacturer Ricky launched a chocolate Easter egg containing a collectible sex toy. It’s a very cheeky campaign that perfectly matches the brand.

 

  • Name a bin after your ex for Valentine’s Day! A business waste company perfectly captured the wishes of everyone who has ever uttered the phrase “throw the whole man out” with this genius idea.  

 

  • Could you be living near a serial killer? This interactive map campaign by Online Mortgage Advisor looked at how close you could be living to places where the UK’s most famous serial killers once lived. Creepy but cool!

 

  • Earlier this year, UK area review site iLivehere conducted a survey to find England’s worst places to live, with Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire taking the top spot (sorry Aylesbury residents!) Stories with a negative spin often prove extremely popular – after all, complaining is therapeutic!

 

These campaigns generated a tonne of backlinks on high quality news websites and hundreds of social shares by providing interesting content that got people talking!

Bold digital PR campaigns are a great way to help your brand stand out from larger competitors who may have stricter rules about content and more hoops to jump through in terms of getting riskier ideas approved. 

Keep in mind though that anything you create should match your brand image and tone of voice. 

Running a campaign on unrelated or loosely related topics runs the risk of alienating your customer base, and building links on sites that are not relevant, which probably won’t help your search rankings in the long run. Don’t be afraid to be a bit cheeky – but keep your cheekiness on-brand! 


Stay Ahead Of Current Trends

Keeping on top of current trends and reacting to them as they happen is a great way to get your brand name out there and help you stand out. In the world of digital PR, we call this newsjacking.

To give yourself the best chance of spotting current trends, you should be taking notice of Twitter, TikTok and the news agenda. Data resources such as Google Trends, Buzzsumo, Statista, and YouGov are also invaluable for gathering trends data. 

Some great examples of trend-based newsjacking include:

 

  • Bridgerton: Regency period drama Bridgerton was all over our Twitter feeds this year, with many brands running campaigns based around the hit show. This campaign by baby accessory and clothing brand Bella Baby looks at Bridgerton-inpired baby names.

 

  • Custard Toast: Custard toast recipes were trending on TikTok earlier this year, with people from all over the world sharing their favourite ways to make this sweet treat. Our team at NORTH created a simple reactive campaign based on this for our client, HelloFresh responded to the trend with their own take on the popular recipe.

 

  • Love Island: Whether you love it or hate it, Love Island always gets people talking. This campaign by CRO company LoveUX looked at how much money cast members were set to earn from Instagram ads.

 

Most trends happen pretty quickly, but if you prefer to plan a reactive campaign ahead of time, keeping track of industry awareness days is a great tactic. There are dedicated days to suit almost every industry, from International Burger Day to National Clean Air Day.  

You don’t even need to develop a full campaign to add something to a current trending story. If you find a story that fits your brand, offering journalists an expert quote or opinion could help you stand out and position you as a thought leader in your industry.

 

Use Visual Appeal

Visual campaigns are a fantastic tool for brands that want to stand out online. Creating an asset that is both interesting and visually appealing can really help your brand get noticed by displaying information in a way that encourages people to take a closer look.

All About Gardening used data to reveal the most popular houseplant in every American state, and displayed the findings in this eye-catching map graphic:

We all know how important it is to stay hydrated. But Pantone and Highland Spring took this one step further, developing a ‘urine colour scale’ to help Brits keep track of their hydration levels!

Build Links On Niche Websites

When measuring the value of backlinks, brands will typically favour well known mainstream news sites with a high readership – and with good reason. Whilst it’s true that you want as many eyes as possible on your digital PR campaigns, you shouldn’t overlook niche industry websites as a great way to get your brand name noticed.

Niche websites tend to have a smaller readership, but it’s more likely that the people visiting these sites will be interested in your product or service and will be more likely to engage with your content and share it online. Think about the types of niche publications that regularly feature content related to your industry. For example, a gaming brand might want to look at sites like Den of Geek, or Gaming Bible.

Making your brand stand out will take time and effort, but digital PR is one of the best methods to help you achieve this. Through employing a targeted strategy of bold campaigns, visual assets and niche link building, smaller brands can cut through the online noise, climb up the search engine rankings, and really get people talking!


To find out more about NORTH and our digital PR services, get in touch with us today. We’d love to hear from you!