Having a strong social media presence is essential for any business, and for digital marketers, this means having several platforms and channels that potential customers can find you on.
While there are many ways to utilize social media to gain followers and establish credibility, one of the most effective and inexpensive forms of online PR is online public relations. Better known as online PR, this is the digital marketing version of traditional public relations (PR), which aims to improve brand awareness and trust among stakeholders (i.e., customers, employees, business partners, the public, etc.).
Through SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, and Facebook Advertising, a business can target audiences and engage with them on digital platforms such as blog posts, podcast episodes, and videos.
Keeping up with all this can seem overwhelming, and that’s why many companies turn to digital PR agencies to help them navigate the often-complex world of online PR. However, even digital marketing novices can have a strong presence on social media thanks to easy-to-use, automated tools that can dramatically reduce the burden of managing multiple platforms.
The Rise Of Online PR
While offline PR has existed for decades, with the rise of the digital marketing era, it became easier for businesses to gain visibility through online tactics. Thanks to platforms like Google and social media networks, brands can now have a digital footprint that extends far beyond their website.
Not only do digital marketing platforms like Google provide customers with a search bar, they also track and analyze user behavior across various platforms (i.e., blogs, articles, product reviews, videos, etc.). This level of engagement allows businesses to gain a greater degree of credibility and trust with potential customers.
Types of Content For Online PR
Creating high-quality content for online PR is just as important as creating compelling content for other platforms. Through SEO and content marketing, a business gains the trust of customers and potential customers by providing them with useful, consistent information they can trust.
When brainstorming content for online PR, it’s important to assess whether or not the material will resonate with the type of people interested in your product or service. The following types of content work well for online PR:
- News articles – breaking news, popular articles about your niche, etc.
- Product reviews – whether you’re an individual product or a service that offers product reviews, such as a magazine or blog
- How-to guides – whether you’re showing someone how to complete a task or find out how something works, how-to guides are popular and always useful
- Case studies – examples that show how a business or brand has achieved great things, usually resulting from good strategy and planning
Creating engaging content that customers want to share is the key to gaining credibility and trust. A business cannot expect customers to share their personal information on a public platform like social media when the content they’re presented with does not appeal to them. This is why every piece of content listed above should be vetted by marketing and content strategists to ensure that it’s both useful and compels the reader to act, speak, or buy the product or service.
Why Content Marketing Is Key For Online PR
Even if customers are finding your product or service online, you’ll never know if they actioned on a blog post or retweeted someone else’s content. The simple fact is that they could have found out about your product or service through social media, and then followed the instructions or used the item to solve a problem.
While there are many benefits to a business having a website, articles published on blogs are often more effective than a vanilla webpage at improving SEO. Not only do they provide quality content that is constantly updated, but they also engage and hold the attention of customers who visit the site.
When developing content for online PR, it’s important to consider the platform you’re publishing on. For example, if you’re writing for a blog, it’s essential that you have something to say that is of interest to a target audience. While generic content like how-to guides or product reviews can work for multiple platforms, news articles are often most effective on blogs. This is because a business’ blog is usually a mixture of various topics, and an article on a single topic tends to be more engaging than a generic blog post.
Blogs can also be more effective than other platforms for gaining brand recognition. Due to their highly curated content and frequent updates, a blog can appear to be a trusted source of information on a variety of topics. This makes it easy for businesses to build an audience of interested parties who can then be engaged with via email marketing and mobile marketing.
The Difference Between Offline And Online PR
Many companies assume that offline PR is the same as online PR, but this is far from true. Offline PR refers to traditional methods of gaining exposure and promoting your product or service through traditional public relations (i.e., manual outreach, distributing PR leads, etc.).
While there are many similarities between the two methods of gaining exposure, they are actually very different. For example, in offline PR, the goal is to have the media reach out to you and to your organization to provide coverage. This could mean sending out press releases to journalists who can write about your subject matter, or distributing PR leads to publishers who can specialize in your niche.
The main difference between offline and online PR is that in offline PR, the public relations effort usually takes place in the newsroom, while in online PR, the effort is usually distributed across various platforms (e.g., content marketing, SEO, etc.).
While there are many similarities between offline and online PR, the differences are significant enough that businesses should consider the approach carefully. One of the most significant differences is that in offline PR, the public relations effort is normally distributed across various media channels and stakeholders, while in online PR, the PR effort is usually centralized through a digital marketing agency. This means that in offline PR, multiple channels must be monitored and updated frequently, while in online PR, a business can usually focus on a single platform – social media – and leverage automated tools to increase productivity.
Another significant difference between offline and online PR is that in offline PR, the media channels are usually tier-one media channels, while in online PR, the channels are usually tier-two or tier-three media channels. Tier-one channels are usually established resources that are trusted by potential customers and have a reputation for publishing high-quality content about a brand or industry, while tier-two and tier-three channels are usually social media channels that are open to the general public. These channels can be used to publish content about a brand or to engage with customers who have found your service or product via search engines or mobile search.
A business can utilize various tools to monitor and evaluate their online PR campaign. One of the more popular (and free) tools that can be accessed through any device is Google Analytics. This tool can be accessed through a website and provides information about online traffic, allowing businesses to track the success of their online PR campaign.