Brand building is just the start of bigger things to come. How people perceive your business matters – it can increase sales and reinforce your reputation. Negative perceptions, on the other hand, can do great harm to your business.
These days the extension of your online brand and reputation management is as crucial as it is in the real world.
Whether we like it or not, with the advent of social media people will be talking about us online. And two, the possibilities this word of mouth online presents – are endless.
Online PR is therefore about building and managing your brand and reputation online by creating relationships with the right people and linking up to them. Where possible, engaging in convesrations that are taking place about your business (because they will take place whether you like it or not) can potentially provide huge benefit to your brand, and increase your sales.
So just why is online PR so important?
It’s quite simple really. If you care about your business – then you should care about creating and maintaining a good reputation online. The web has changed the way we live, the way we communicate and the way we do business.
Once driven by the offline world, now we need to go where our customers are and the fact is, most of them are online. However with trust being as important an issue as its ever been, a good reputation plays a big part in closing the deal. And social media gives you the ability to create a seal of approval and build a reputation that can last forever to counteract this issue. A blinkered view of the online world could have the opposite effect.
An even bigger advantage in building that reputation because by getting other reputable people to talk about and link back to you, you increase your visibility. Think of it as networking with your niche.
Getting relevant links back from websites and other internet channels also increases your search engine ranking!
Tradespacer, Antonia Chitty (AC PR) who has used online PR extensively for her business recommends it, “I use online promotion for my business and it gets great results. The wonderful thing is that you can post a call to action with a link that takes people straight to your website: this can lead to much better response rates than in print media. I’m writing this while in the middle of an online campaign to promote www.themumpreneurguide.co.uk and it is really gratifying to see how many people are responding by visiting the website within minutes of receiving an email, and going on to make a purchase too.”
Spelling out some of the benefits of online PR. Here’s what’s in it for you ….
- You become aware of what’s being said about you and by whom.
- Millions of consumers are turning to the web first for news – if you have news, it should be online as well as offline.
- When news websites and bloggers talk about or reference you, it not only increases credibility, it gives you a link back to your website which helps your search engine optimisation and ultimately your ranking.
- By being part of the conversations taking place online, you lead the conversation rather than being the butt of it.
- By building relationships with online bloggers and influencers, you are helping build your own reputation.
- A reputation built online has a longer lifespan. An offline press release for example, has a limit to its lifespan it only lasts as long as that issue of the newspaper lasts (if you get featured). This is not so online, once you get a link from a valuable source, it’s there till someone manually takes it down.
I’m convinced! How do I build my reputation and traffic? Online PR takes a bit of skill to get it right, so here are a few things to consider when drawing up an action plan.
- Do an audit of how you are currently perceived. Google yourself, and take note of what Google suggests people are searching for with your brand.
- Research your audience online and how you can reach them. Spend some time researching where your online audience hangs out – forums, blogs they read, communities they participate in.
- Find out who the stakeholders/influencers are within your space.// Identify who sets and challenges the trends within the scope of your own business and then prepare to build relationships with those people. Tip: bloggers and influencers need to be approached on a one to one level – not with a press release.
- Setting yourself up as an expert is key – so brush up and make sure you blog often and that your blog works (so people will want to reference it or link to it)
- The search optimisation bit works when you get a link from a reputable website back to your own – so aim to build these up.
- Learn how to write an effective online press release that you can distribute online to PR websites.
- Add a place for press releases, coverage etc…. have a look at ours for ideas.
- Finally don’t forget to use those all important and relevant keywords when submitting an online press release to get the maximum benefit of tying in your reputation and your search engine ranking!