Online Public Relations
Pursuing strategic online public relations pays off tremendously when approached the right way. Media pitches and press releases are the two dominant forms of online public relations. While somewhat easy to master, they require the development of strong relationships with media contacts and distribution sources.
- Optimize public relations content for SEO keywords and phrases, etc.
Considering that your media pitches and press releases will be intended for online public relations platforms that have the potential to improve your rankings, it’s certainly not a bad idea to include relevant keywords and phrases in your content when it makes sense to do so.
- Write media pitches that position your company as an authority.
Media pitches are intended to present media contacts with opportunities to speak to industry experts. If a media pitch doesn’t demonstrate that your company and its spokesperson are uniquely suited to speak on the topic at hand, you’ll likely have trouble garnering responses.
- Ensure that press releases truly announce something.
All press releases will require approval from the distribution source your company works with, and approval is based in part upon the newsworthiness of your release. In other words, your press release is unlikely to receive approval if it’s not actually announcing something.
- Develop strong relationships with media contacts.
Online public relations will depend on the connections your company forges with various media contacts. These connections will strengthen when communication is frequent and when media pitches are well-written, informative, and offer media contacts something valuable.
- Link back to your main webpage.
Online public relations material can also benefit your SEO campaign through the inclusion of links back to your company’s website. This can be accomplished by simply hyper-linking your company’s name when first mentioned, or including a link to anchor text that’s relevant to something your company offers.
- Rely on a trending topic for your media pitch.
Every media pitch that is sent for distribution should be based on a topic that’s current and relevant; to ensure that your topic meets this criterion, lead with a relevant news article. This communicates to the media contact that others are also talking about your topic.
- Create a news web page on your company’s main site to archive all PRs and media releases.
An “In the News” page communicates to both your viewers and search engines that your company is relevant and referenced as an authority by third-parties.
Lead generation directly solicits leads (those who show interest in your product or service) on sales. To be successful, any lead generation campaign will need to oversee multiple lead channels at once.
- Ask readers to fill out forms.
Make online forms available that ask for a name, phone number, email address, and possibly a place of employment. Forms should be presented to interested visitors as a way to learn more information about something your company offers.
- Make enticing offers.
Visitors will be more likely to act on their interest in a product or service if they’re met with an attractive offer. A free e-book download is one type of popular offer that companies can use to provide visitors something in exchange for their contact information.
- Include multiple calls to action.
Making multiple calls to action on your website or throughout various forms of advertised content is key. A clear call to action can be the difference between an interested visitor leaving the page and an interested visitor following up with your business a second time.
- Invest in pay-per-click advertising.
Pay-per-click advertising (like Google AdWords, mentioned above) is also an effective way of generating leads, especially given that these advertisements are only shown to those who were already searching for keywords relevant to your business.
- Engage in email marketing.
Email marketing is still very much a relevant form of lead generation in the world of digital marketing, as evidenced by the consistent popularity of mass mailing services like MailChimp. The contacts on your company’s mailing list will have given permission to receive emails, and thus your emails become a way of sharing more about your products/services, and hopefully scoring a sale.
- Keep content concise and high-quality.
Consumers are more likely to act when the decision to do so is made easy. Presenting clear, high-quality content in lead generation material is one effective means of doing just that. It’s also important to keep web pages well-organized with an easily identifiable lead generation form.
Email marketing is still a very successful form of digital marketing and is particularly effective at securing conversions because it requires individuals to opt-in; in other words, you already know that your email recipients are somewhat interested in your company and are therefore more likely to make a purchase.
- Create your email list.
The first step to launching an effective email marketing campaign is compiling a sizable list of contacts. This can be achieved through direct invites to visitors of your website, or by asking for email information when customers make a purchase order. When requesting an email address, be clear about what your company will and will not do with this information. For example, you should reassure customers that you won’t sell their address to other marketers, that emails will only be used for promoting exclusive discounts and deals, or that individuals can opt out of the email list at any time.
- Get whitelisted.
This designation ensures that your emails won’t be placed in a recipient’s spam mailbox, and will instead always be delivered to their primary inbox. This is best accomplished through addition to a recipient’s address book, which you’ll need to explicitly ask for in your initial emails.
- Send strategically.
Be clear about the frequency with which you’ll send out emails, and follow through with this promise. This is primarily to ensure that you don’t annoy recipients by sending emails more frequently than you said you would.
- Consider personalizing your pitches.
If possible, consider the value of personalizing your messages to recipients based on what you know about their buying behavior. Rather than sending out a blanket promotion to a large contact list, it may be more effective to break up your email list into groups of recipients based on their demographic or buying behavior and send emails that more accurately align with these characteristics.
- Consider a newsletter.
Newsletters can be an alternative to traditional email messages, offering recipients more valuable information, or helping encourage more people to sign up for your email list. Newsletters should include announcements, updates, or interesting information relevant to your industry, in addition to sales or product descriptions.
- Keep in touch with auto-responders.
Signing up for an auto-response system is a more efficient means of keeping in contact with recipients on your email list, and doesn’t limit contact to just promotions (which can become annoying to some recipients). With an auto-response system, your company can automatically issue a series of say, 15 brief yet informative articles about a topic your company is qualified to speak on. When a customer signs up for your email list, he or she will begin receiving auto-response content at whatever interval your company deems appropriate.
- Analyze analytics.
How many people actually opened your email? How many clicked on a link within it? How many decided to unsubscribe to your email? Each of these questions can be answered with analytics, which, when analyzed carefully and frequently, can help you make impactful changes to your strategy.