Online public relations and traditional p.r. both aim for the same end: putting a name in favorable light in order to attract business. But the means have changed. Online p.r. is executed at a faster and more far-reaching pace than its predecessor. Efforts are now directed to an online audience via industry-specific websites and niche blogs. The once-one-way transmission of information across traditional media has now evolved into a multi-channeled, social media-driven exchange of communication.
If you’re not already integrating online p.r. into your marketing strategies, or if you are already doing so but failing, you are missing on a huge opportunity to grow your business. Read on to find out how you can get on the right track with a basic, three-pronged approach.
Identify yourself. Who are you as a company, a business, a name? What are your goals? Who is your target audience? Once you’ve determined how and where you want your target audience to see you and what you want to get out of this strategy, you’ll be able to direct your efforts effectively and efficiently. This will also help you determine which online p.r. or reputation management service to enlist in your marketing initiatives.
When persuading potential customers to buy your product, you must take note of this key principle: subtlety. It’s practically the same principle at work as when you are approached at the store by a knowledgeable, witty sales associate who knows when to swoop in to give his suggestions and when to step back to allow you to decide for yourself what to buy. Sooner or later, you find yourself trusting this person; when he makes a pitch, you welcome it and probably give in.
Doing this online means creating content that is genuinely interesting, relevant, and built around an angle that highlights your product without forcing it on readers. Whether you’re creating a press release, a web page article, a guest blog post, a status update, or even a tweet, make sure that it is optimized for search engines so you can obtain maximum visibility amongst your target market. Intelligently crafted, optimized content compels readers to learn more about you, increasing the chances of a sales conversion.
By creating a social media presence and engaging your target community online, you can represent your company in a direct, immediate, and (for most social media platforms) free way that no singular marketing material can. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other platforms provide avenues for you to promote your name, share press releases, announce product launches, and connect with existing and potential clients. Sure, detractors may also use these channels to air complaints, but then you can be in control of the situation by participating in the dialogue and addressing negative feedback, leveraging them to your advantage.
The beauty of online p.r. is that it doesn’t just promote and protect your brand by building a wall of one-sided content that repels naysayers and competitors; it also gives you a “voice online,” as Trond Lyngbo posted in SEOmoz.org. “Every day, a journalist brings up a failed product or service, sometimes giving scathing critiques. How do you respond when it’s online? It’s actually easier than you might think, and easier online than in print or TV, because you can address this criticism immediately.”
These three steps may seem simple enough to understand, but to execute them is a different proposition. Look for online p.r. or reputation management experts to see if they apply a similar approach in their strategies. Combine your vision with their tactical expertise and you’ll soon reap the benefits of a successful online p.r. campaign.