How PR Could Be a Secret Weapon for Your Online Business
Over the last ten years or so, the world of business has seen a remarkable transformation. Where once the world relied upon mail order, the telephone, and ‘snail mail’ for correspondence, we’re now very much living in a ‘real time’ world. Email and social media can have us connected to practically anyone in moments. This online boom has resulted in the creation of countless online-only companies who would not exist without the web – but that doesn’t mean that the age-old promotional tools won’t work for them… far from it. With more and more online marketers entering the e-tail space each day, let’s take some time to look at why the secret to their success could actually lie in public relations. We’ve already seen how to create a PR plan, so instead we’ll focus on the benefits of PR for online businesses – after all, it can often be a whole different animal.
The difference between online and off
Perhaps the best place to begin is by thinking about the differences between online business and those that are solely bricks and mortar. For many, the primary difference has to do with reach: offline companies are often very local, and focus their services on where they’re based in the world. Contrariwise, online businesses frequently offer their services worldwide. The reason? Simple. The web is very much a global phenomenon. It’s never been easier to provide services to someone without ever meeting them – making international business easier than ever. From a PR perspective, this means a shift in gears. From deploying a very locally focused campaign to creating something that will appeal to a global audience. That’s not always a simple thing to achieve, but it can be done by harnessing the right channels in the right way.
Building effective PR from the inside out
Public relations is all about projecting the right public image. For customers and prospects, this can help encourage sales and boost your reputation, but it’s not always about external factors. You can easily create a positive company image by treating your existing staff members in the right way. This works in a number of ways. For example, by offering perks and benefits such as presents for your workforce, you’ll cultivate good morale, which can lead to a better reputation via word-of-mouth and websites such as glassdoor.com, which allow staff to anonymously review their employer. It may seem like a small thing, but such positive feedback can be a huge boon for PR – especially for online marketers. After all, there’s no better review than from someone who has nothing to lose. PR tactics such as this can help you to lead and motivate your company in all-new ways.
Managing your reputation
You may have heard of the phrase ‘reputation management’ when speaking of online PR, and for good reason. This is the process by which online companies can ensure that their company is viewed in the best light on the internet. Because it’s so easy for anyone to hop online and write a review of a company – even if it’s not true – it’s vital that you as an online marketer are prepared to tackle this. It can be done by encouraging positive reviews from happy customers to counter-balance the negative ones, and through SEO strategies these results can be eliminated somewhat from search engines. Reputation management is just one string to the bow of public relations for online businesses, there are many more.
Quick and simple PR for online business
There are a number of quick strategies that you can employ right now which can make a difference to your online PR. For example, adding a testimonial page from happy customers can give new ones the confidence they need to buy from you. Additionally, asking peers (but not competitors), if you can add a guest post to their blog or website can raise the profile of your business. Or you could sponsor one of the many online competitions to try and drum up some awareness of your brand. You can also build effective PR through maximizing your use of keyword phrases and terms in your text. Whatever you do, remember that the internet is a treasure trove of PR possibilities, and as an online business, the sky really is the limit!
Follow these simple guidelines and you too could discover just how much of a powerful secret weapon online PR can be. Remember that not all online businesses have twigged to these benefits – so jump in with both feet and build that reputation!
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