Today is my 20th anniversary. Yes, you read it right, celebrating 20 whole years of marriage to my business partner and best friend. What a great day to write about the value of what you gain from working actively on your online public relations. You don’t see the connection? That’s okay. We’ll get back to that in a bit.
So what is online public relations?
Let’s start with traditional public relations, which most of us are familiar with. Traditional public relations is about feeding information that you want people to know about your company to key news sources. In the “old days” that was about writing a press release and faxing or emailing it to all the news outlets in your area (television, newspaper, radio etc.) or picking up the phone to make some pitches, and hoping they would find it interesting enough to publish or talk about. You were told it was a sure way to free press!
While traditional PR is still alive and well and getting someone to write about you is a great thing, with the internet we now have a whole new place to publish our public relations content. In the internet world there is an additional reason to publish press releases that is the difference between traditional and online public relations. The key difference with is that in order to get to the masses you no longer have to get to a large news outlet to be noticed. You can use the internet to get attention on the larger sites, but the internet is also a mass media tool itself that allows you to self-publish the content you care about and want people to know about.
Online public relations is primarily about reputation management, where you get to take a proactive say in what is being said about you online. It is all about promoting the good stuff about your company while making sure that if anything negative is being said about you, you have a strategy for responding as well as a lot of good press to counteract the negative. We all know from personal experience the power of a negative comment. Depending on who you talk with, you will hear that it takes anywhere from 3 to 10 positive comments to overcome a negative comment. Online the biggest issue is minimizing the impact of any negative comments or press you might have received, by putting out positive press on a regular basis.
So, why be actively involved in online public relations?
- You want to publish news about your company so that you can build up multiple pieces of positive content and have some input in directing your reputation.
- You want people to be able to find content about your company and then link to it which helps with your SEO (search engine optimization).
- Having online press releases out there and links to your website is good because it creates more web pages with your content on it, which directly drives traffic to your website.
Through companies like www.prweb.com you can create an online press release and have it distributed to thousands of media outlets online. The media outlets publish your press release on their site also, and are key sources that news hungry sites, journalists, and bloggers refer to. This means your press release has the potential to be seen by many more people. To learn more about the distribution check out their simple tutorial video here:
Key Misconception: If you write it, they will come.
Just writing a press release and sending it out does not ensure you free press. Although an online press release has its unique role online, there is an art to creating a press release that reporters or news outlets recognzie. Moving from traditional PR to online PR doesn’t change the truth that good writing that creates interest or value is critical to a successful press release.
Meanwhile, back to my anniversary...
While there is more to it, one of the values of online public relations is that it provides a great place to celebrate the great things that are going on in your company. How often do you pause to celebrate the achievements of your company or your staff? My husband is so excited about reaching 20 years of marriage happily that we actually put together a press release about it! You can read it here. You might think that strange, but this is part of how online public relations works. Something cool happens, you write a press release about it and tell the world. It is a positive impression out there that helps build your reputation.
What kinds of things are worthy of celebrating with online public relations?
- Company Milestones – Have you been around 1 year? Celebrate! 5 years? Celebrate again! 10 years? Worthy of not just a press release but a huge party! You get the idea. Maybe your company just landed its 100th customer, cleaned its 1000th home, or replaced its 500th transmission. Whatever the milestone, these are moments worthy of celebrating, not just with your employees, but with the watching online world
- Completing a great project – maybe you just built a house you can’t wait to show the world! Get permission from your client and write a press release about it. Celebrate them and celebrate your accomplishment. Be sure to include pictures and details.
- Signing a new contract – we all need new clients, so when you sign a new contract or have a new opportunity, ask permission and tell the online world! It is exciting news and it is right to celebrate it.
- Community involvement – Whether your company supports something as a group, or individuals in your company do something great to support the community, brag on it a little. Tell the world that you care about your community and that you give back as a company. It is a good thing to give and people love hearing about it. Along the way, you also get to promote the community activity that you care about so it’s a win/win!
- Celebrating an achievement or award – Did your company or someone in your company receive recognition or an award? That is a great reason to celebrate and to create some positive online PR for the company.
Ultimately whether you are just publishing content, building links, or collecting direct traffic, online public relations helps you take some control of what’s being said of your company. Now that’s something to celebrate about!
What is something about your company that you could celebrate using online PR?