Online PR is very similar to traditional PR in the sense that it’s about influencing people rather than buying placement for brand content. The influence could result in a story in a magazine, newspaper or blog. It could also result in other online pick-up, including social media.
Typically, when people talk about traditional PR, they are referring to traditional media: newspapers, TV, radio and magazines.
With online PR, traditional media brands may still be a target, but often online PR targets online properties, along with an array of other platforms and networks, from search to social. This online approach influences:
- Columnists & traditional writers (just like traditional PR)
- Bloggers: personal & professional
- Websites & brand sites
- Twitter users (based on their followings and interests)
- Social media users: Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, SU, Reddit, etc
- Awards, events and exhibitions
- Directories, lists and organizations
- Web searchers
The outreach for online PR may be both direct & indirect. The business can employ hashtags and keywords alongside email and snail mail. At the heart of both traditional and online PR is story-telling. This is never going away; story-telling and quality content help position stories for absorption, both online and off.
Approaching Online PR
There are a wide variety of tactics and proportions — with some favoring search while others favor placing online content as editorials and guest blogs. Online PR incorporates journalism, creative writing and story-telling, sales, media, SEO, social media, community management, customer relations, web design and on and on.
Online PR efforts can have media or influencer outlets but can also be seen directly by potential customers or the consumer market. Online press releases may direct small amounts of traffic to a brand or corporate website. Typically those distributed releases are displayed as search results, which consumers may find for medium and long tail queries.
Online press release distribution options include:
- Business Wire
Nevertheless, don’t confuse online press releases with quality back links used by Google for PageRank and ranking improvements.
Other online PR best practices incorporate real-time marketing efforts, reputation management (via alerts tracking campaign performance, building brand buzz and addressing corporate crises), viral and word-of-mouth marketing and influencer marketing.
For instance, finding and connecting with influencers can help give a B2B brand or product release a big boost. Yet first you need to engage with that influencers’ social network and show interest in their content and the industry area they focus upon.
Related reading: Influencer Marketing in the B2B arena
The B2B using online PR tactics will want to explore related:
- Industry websites
- Niche or topical websites
- Influential social media accounts
- Media-sharing websites & social networks, including Youtube and Flickr
- Forums: Topic-focused, industry-related and niche
- Twitter feeds
- Google Plus: events, hangouts and other groups
- Linkedin: news and groups
- Social media & bookmarking websites
- Personal blogs with niche audiences
Related reading: B2B Social Media Marketing Statistics 2016
When used correctly (and consistently), companies can extract many unique leads out of online PR efforts. After all, online PR is simply an extension of the inbound marketers efforts to have the right messages seen by the right people in the right context.