Public relations is the practice of earning online exposure for your organization in any one of the countless online publications or platforms that serve the same audience as you do. Unlike advertising, you don’t pay the outlet to place your post or press release—if they feel your content is relevant to their audience, they will pick it up and post it, free of charge. Your cost, therefore, is limited to whatever it costs to produce and distribute the content to outlets that are likely to want to run it. No ad placement fees, in other words.
What is the Goal of Online PR?
The goal of PR is often to tell members of the public, prospective customers, investors, partners, employees, and other stakeholders about your organization or its activities or mission, and, often, to persuade them to develop a specific point of view about what you are offering or doing. Keeping your organization’s name in the public eye is a key goal of PR, as is cultivating a positive reputation for the organization, its management or its products. We’re talking about supporting the brand, here.
We’re also talking about generating better results for other aspects of your business’s online communications efforts, particularly in the areas of social media and search engine optimization (SEO). If you get this PR piece figured out, you’ll see content you created (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) in an online news outlet or blog, with pick-up in any one of a number of social media platforms. Online PR might still be supplemented with traditional PR, where you seek publication in actual newspapers, TV or radio shows and magazines. But the focus is on the internet platforms where your customers are most likely to show up.
Now, thanks to the magic of the internet, a PR company can get their clients millions of what are called “impressions” with a single press release. Would that be beneficial to your company? I’m guessing yes!
Your online PR aims to attract:
- Directories, associations and organizations
- Columnists and writers
- Social media users (Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, etc.)
- Websites & brand sites
- Web searchers
- And others of value or relevance in your industry
PR has three potential audiences: your internal audience (including your managers and employees), your external audience (including news and online outlets) and your government audience (which you are trying to influence in the area of policy).
The world of online marketing is complex and there are countless opportunities to get your message across — remember to include PR in your online marketing mix!