The basic premise of online and offline PR is about getting an engaging message in front of target customer groups. The reality though is that online press releases if done properly can deliver wins on multiple fronts. While an offline release is designed to get out a message, create buzz and interest etc a well planed & executed online PR story can deliver targeted web traffic, gain high search engine rankings, build powerful back links (great for seo) as well as having the potential be picked up by other news sites, blogs, TV, offline press etc.
The possible advantages of online vs offline here are clear however in reality there are some problems with online PR. For one the sheer volume of content online is huge and increasing exponentially by the day so how do you make your content to stand out from the crowd and how do you get it on front of the right audience. Some tips below on How to create a highly effective Online Press release
Clearly identify your audience & speak to them
You should already have developed online customer profiles as part of a wider internet marketing strategy. If not then visit our See our guide to online market research guide. This digital profile should have identified things like the keyword research relating to your audience, sites they visit, where the spend time online, preferred communication channels etc as well as demographic information such as age, sex, geography etc.
SEO – Based on all of this information you should know the best keywords to use when optimizing your article for search engines. Make sure your keyword is in your title and probably mentioned again within the copy itself, possibly also incorporating related keywords within your article content.
Engagement Message– make sure you speak to your audience through your content and make it as relevant to them as possible based on your profile knowledge of your audience. Highlight any pain points you know about related to your audience, empathise & offer advice, solutions etc. Reference relevant topics, sites & media again based on audience profiles to build
Clearly define your goals
Generate interest, buzz, viral spread. Increase brand value – journalistic style. Informative information and angle or a different take on something, info graphics links, controversial, topical, facts, quotations. Generate leads through your press release. free giveaway, eye catching,
More sales – more lie sales letter. Present a big problem your audience face, provide a solution, create urgency or scarcity – selling out fast, limited stock etc
If you are trying to build brand awareness, generate interest in your website/products or generate leads then the key to this is to provide helpful but incomplete information which draws the end user back to your site to find out more, connect them to you via social media or whatever mechanism you are using to engage the visitor further
Use Association with big events, topical issues
Associating you content with real world events and topical issues can be a great way to engage audiences and potentially help your article to go viral. Yu can use the sites below to find out what hot, what is topical and where the buzz is.
Google trends – http://www.google.com/trends
Twitter trends – http://trendsmap.com
YouTube trends – http://www.youtube.com/trendsdashboard
Top 5 PR Strategies
The article below by guest blogger Danny Brown discusses the need for good media relations in Press release Distribution as well as the importance of online monitoringof your brand, your market etc
I’m Danny Brown, owner of Press Release PR, a boutique PR agency specializing in search engine optimized press releases and promotional campaigns for the Web 2.0 world. Manoj has very kindly asked me to share some of my thoughts while he is on vacation – hopefully I don’t bore you all too much!
So much has changed in the public relations industry in the last couple of years it’s easy to get lost in the crowd and forget what the role of a PR agency or professional is. With the growth of online news outlets and Web 2.0 offering an instant information hit, the traditional “PR way” is having to adapt or lose relevance.
However, there are still some traditional ways of working that are just as relevant in today’s Web 2.0 world when it comes to effective PR strategies, no matter if it’s a predominantly online or offline campaign.
One of the age-old prerequisites for good PR is making sure the media picks up the campaign. It doesn’t matter if it’s a single press release or a full-blown PR blitz – having strong ties to the media will give you an immediate advantage, particularly in this day of blog power.
Journalists and especially editors are busy people and don’t have time to look at every news or media release. However, have one on your side and you’ve immediately got an inroad into getting the media attention your story needs. So how do you get the media on your side?
It’s all about credibility – you need to make sure your story is newsworthy first. The best way to ensure this is to make sure your news is timely and interesting. Having a newsworthy story is half the battle in getting a media source interested. The next is to call your desired media source directly to introduce yourself and explain why your news will be of interest to their readers.
If they’re not free to talk at that time, offer to call back (or even meet) at a more convenient time. Meeting someone face-to-face is one of the best ways to build trust – and if your story is indeed newsworthy and you offer first bite at future releases, you’ll stand more chance of building a strong media contact.
Know Your Market
PR is probably one of the fastest changing markets around along with technology – you need to know what’s happening around you to be able to act immediately to keep your clients ahead of the game. Use everything at your disposal to keep abreast of the latest news.
Web 2.0 offers a fantastic portal to keep up-to-date with what’s making the news – podcasts from the big newspapers via the likes of iTunes, blogs from the top people in your niche and Google Trends and Google Alerts are just some of the ways you can ensure you’re at the head of the information queue. Use them, because it’s almost guaranteed your contemporaries are.
A recent report from the UK suggested that as many as 79% of British PR firms don’t have an online strategy. In today’s predominantly online business world, I find that to be just a little scary. There’s no quicker medium than online for breaking a big news story.
Social media giants like Facebook, Digg and Youtube are now being heavily used by PR agencies for their clients. Viral marketing and video campaigns are just two of the ways that businesses are reaching a wider audience.
Blogging is another vital cog in the online promotion of a business. Where else can you have a medium that allows instant interaction between you and your customers, or potential customers? Additionally, a blog allows you to offer a more personal side to your “business speak” and can help you connect to your key audience in a way that would have been almost impossible before.
Monitor the Web
As much as social media and Web 2.0 offers a wonderful tool for any PR campaign, they’re only as good as you make them. You need to know what’s being said so you can act, or react.
For example, say you have a new product on the market and, for whatever reason, it receives some negative reaction in the blogosphere. If you’re not monitoring the situation, then you won’t be able to come out with any answers to the negative questions being asked.
This is where the likes of Google Alerts comes into use. Monitoring any news on your product niche will soon let you know of any reaction to it, positive or negative. With the most influential bloggers having the power to instantly make or break a product or story, you have to be on top of your game and be ready to build on positive news or counter negative news. Consumer created content is the fastest growing medium on the web today – make sure you use it to your advantage.
There’s no better PR strategy than local awareness. Consumers especially are more likely to buy into a product or idea that gives back to the community – just look at how successful eco-friendly businesses are compared to non-green competitors.
If your business can offer something to the community as a result of your new product or service, you’ll be in a far better position to receive positive PR. Look at fast food giant McDonald’s – no-one can deny they have come in for a large amount of stick over their menus. Yet their campaign to provide homes and support to underprivileged children is not only a worthwhile cause, but an excellent example of using positive PR to overcome negative views.
As I said at the beginning of this post, the public relations industry is changing. The growth in online business means there’s no longer barriers between local and international customers, and PR companies/agencies now need to come up with solutions for this new online world.
The ones that have embraced the web and technology are already reaping the rewards. The ones that steadfastly refuse to move with the times? Well, it’ll be interesting to see if they’re around this time next year to plan their next PR campaign…