This article was contributed by Melissa Lobo of Project Female.
Implementing an effective online public relations strategy is not as simple as it may seem. It will require a lot more than a couple of tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts to drive clients to your business.
Online public relations may not be directly related to an increase in sales, but it plays a key role in building a brand’s authenticity. Statistics indicate that it takes up to thirteen exposures for a potential client to recognize a brand.
In order to capture the minds of clients in the current competitive environment, relevant content generation, strategy, and engagement should be taken into account when planning the public relations tactics to use.
Listed below are some of the best online public relations tactics that will certainly attract clients:
The first and most effective public relations tactic we suggest is identifying the right news outlets for your business line.
There are small online communities of industry enthusiasts seeking partnership and networking opportunities.
The fact that these focused communities may know about your brand should not be an excuse to overlook them.
Use the platforms to further promote yourself as a PR specialist.
Once you get these communities, become active on them by submitting bylined articles, (these are the ones you write yourself), commenting on different posts or submitting white papers.
This will boost the awareness among the people who should know your brand the best.
Your company, as a group of public relations professionals, will also be at the forefront of several key media players and new audiences that you could have never considered before. This awareness will breed interest that can be translated into sales.
Press coverage, endorsements and word of mouth have for decades relied on third-party credibility as one of the most effective public relations tactics.
Regardless of your target audience, the best way to reach out and gain credibility is through the use of influencers who can inform others of the reasons why they appreciate your products or services.
The rise of social media platforms and several self-publishing networks, enable brands to collaborate with influential individuals with great clout within a specified niche. However, not just any influencer with a huge following cuts it for the job.
Choose influencers whose style, audience and aesthetic matches with that of your brand. This will avoid misrepresentation of the brand’s image.
Offer free public relations advice related to your niche
Individuals who are new to a particular niche or industry will at first start off by searching for information from the internet.
Why not be the bearer of the advice being sought?
You can together with your team of PR professionals, create how-to webinars, forum threads with quick tips and educative blogs. To add, guest posting is also a great way to gain exposure!
Doing so builds mutually beneficial relationships and helps maintain a positive image of your brand in the industry. Also, constantly update the information created to reflect any changes in the niche.
Today, prominent figures across the world like Rand Fishkin are using this as a great public relations tactic, through the provision of weekly knowledge sessions that draw in thousands of viewers.
Sharing advice or knowledge may sound like you’re giving away key industry secrets in return for very little.
However, your audience will end up trusting you and will consider your brand a leader within the niche.
Building trust takes time, and, one of the ways to do it faster is by appearing to be an expert in the niche. Once your audience believes you know what you’re doing, clients will start streaming in.
I know you might be wondering how this is possible digitally.
As early as the 20th century, press releases meant engaging and involving print media in releasing key news or any other important information about a brand.
Today, in the digital era, this has totally changed.
The internet has made the previously exclusive reporter-publicist relationship accessible to anyone across the world who seeks to build it.
While the traditional public relations specialists from the Public Relations Society of America hint that press releases alone make for a weak strategy, the new and innovative digital objectives bring a different definition of success.
Today, brands can have newsroom sections within their websites, which make announcements easily accessible to curious visitors and interested journalists.
If this strategic communications process is done in the right way, the section becomes the brand’s own news outlet.
Small businesses can even take similar courses of actions to be successful in the PR campaigns!
When creating any form of press release online, the content should be well-optimised. Use the right keywords and at the same time ensure the readability of the content is maintained.
The main objective of a press release is to disseminate information to the general audience and sway public opinion.
Once you get good Google rankings, your brand can easily be approved under Google News, which will attract visitors interested in your niche. These visitors can easily turn into clients.
One of the best things about using digital PR is that the ROI is measurable, unlike the traditional means.
Digital press releases allow a brand to target the relevant journalists, consumers or influencers and at the same time gain valuable backlinks through outreach.
Create videos telling your story
Social media holds the future of public relations.
The feature that can best be used for public relations purposes in social media is video storytelling.
Once you master the art, your business’s image will go from ordinary to impeccable within a few weeks.
Ever since Snapchat started the disposable storytelling feature using videos and became surprisingly successful, social media such as Facebook and Instagram have all joined the cause to get a piece of the pie.
Based on your agency’s agenda (generating leads, sales or simple awareness), the video creators should generate content that reflects it. Also, choose the right platform that will best reach your target audience.
As you apply any of the above-listed tactics, keep in mind that the steps are not entirely free or easy to implement. It requires real thought and significant investment in time, energy and sometimes money to witness any returns.
You have to also be patient; it may take a couple of weeks or even months to realize any results of the public relations campaign executed. However, always keep in mind that some things are worth the wait.
Also published on Medium.