Public relations is an essential component of a business’s marketing campaign and overall reputation. An excellent public relations strategy can create a positive public perception of your brand using various methods.
A good reputation is vital in every business. When people think highly of your company, they’re likely to transact with your organization. According to global communications and marketing firm Weber Shandwick, business executives worldwide credit 63% of their company’s market value to their respective company reputation. (1)
In this blog post, you’ll discover a few ways to optimize your PR strategies while understanding what your PR is and what your main objectives should be in crafting an effective digital PR strategy.
What is public relations?
Public relations, or PR, refers to multiple components that elicit a favorable public image for a specific organization. These elements may include community, media, public relations, corporate social responsibility, crisis management, and consumer education. Depending on the nature of the business or organization, the strategy may focus on one or more of these often-overlapping subjects. Simply put, a business’s public relations strategy is instrumental in shaping public opinion about the brand.
What’s the difference between marketing and PR?
Marketing and PR are often used interchangeably. This is partly because of the evolving social media landscape, which changed how traditional PR is carried out. Technically, though, the two have slightly different objectives. While marketing aims to promote or sell a product or a service, PR focuses on creating and maintaining a brand’s credibility. (2) (3)
In the past, publicists or PR specialists had to maintain a network of contacts in the media to land significant spots on print, television, and radio broadcasting companies. However, the digital age and the advent of social media have blurred the line between PR and marketing. (2)
How does public perception affect your brand?
In the current digital landscape, marketing experts can’t perform their tasks without thinking about impacting or contributing to improving the brand. Pitching your products and building your brand reputation are two closely interrelated activities. If your company can’t provide high-quality or sustainable products, don’t be surprised if you can’t expand your market share. (2)
This is especially true among the younger generation—millennials and gen Z—who prefer brands that resonate with them. A 2020 Consumer Culture Report conducted by public relations agency 5WPR showed that individuals belonging to this generation—a whopping 83%—prefer companies that match their values. The same study revealed that 65% of millennials claimed to have boycotted a company with opposing views on a specific issue. (4)
As the company will ultimately serve a specific target group, studying their behavior and preferences is crucial before crafting an excellent digital PR strategy. But what makes an effective digital PR?
What makes a good digital PR campaign?
A good public relations strategy merges traditional PR components and current digital practices, for instance, a robust online presence. Whereas conventional PR works are limited to media promotions, digital PR has provided seemingly endless opportunities to promote a product, service, or cause. As such, digital PR firms focus on social media and content marketing efforts while not forgetting about old-school practices. (5)
A good digital PR strategy can effectively communicate brand values, the company’s unique proposition, and updates on the company, product, or service. These messages must be conveyed strategically, driving traffic to your site, enhancing your authority, and enhancing brand awareness. (5)
- Set clear objectives
Credibility, authority, and an overall favorable reputation can propel a business to greater heights. Before reaching this status, organizations will have to spend a lot of time and effort providing top-notch products and crafting an effective digital PR and marketing campaign.
Keep these primary objectives in mind in creating a good digital PR strategy:
- Promoting thought leadership: Being a thought leader means providing relevant insights and displaying credibility in your chosen field. Business executives aim to achieve this status to help their organization or a specific cause. It takes time, effort, patience, and forward thinking to be considered an expert in your niche. If you’re relatively new in the business, reach out to industry experts or influencers to help uplift your brand. Check out this blogger outreach guide for valuable tips in optimizing your efforts. (6)
- Building high-quality backlinks and driving organic traffic: Quality backlinks refer to links culled from trusted and high-authority websites, as validated by users and search engines. Link credibility is often gauged by how many people read, comment, and react to specific content. If you’ve got valuable content with credible sources in it, more users will read it, increasing your search rankings. As more users read your content, the likelihood of availing of your services increases, resulting in more significant revenues. (6)
- Improving brand awareness: Creating a breakthrough product wouldn’t mean anything if no one knows about it, even if you’re already an established firm. This is one of the reasons why you need to create fanfare when launching an e-commerce business, product, or any venture for that matter. You can make your content visible to the people who matter in the industry and in your business with good PR. (6)
Knowing what your objectives are can help you craft your core messages better. Setting clear goals can likewise determine which specific platform will post your PR content to get the best results.
- Enhance your brand’s website
Your website serves as your company’s face. Apart from making it visually appealing, make sure it stands out from the rest and reflects your brand values. Below are a few suggestions on how you can improve your website to capture online users’ attention:
- Choose a professional design (2)
- Use high-quality images (2)
- Learn how to make catchy leads (2)
- Strive to keep readers’ attention (2)
- Align your site with your brand identity (2)
- Integrate a powerful call to action (2)
- Upload valuable content regularly
- Focus on improving user experience
More than aesthetics, a company must also focus on prioritizing web accessibility, especially for mobile users. Millions of mobile users worldwide use their smartphones to use the internet or search for products and companies, among other functions. To ensure that users can access your site without any issues, ensure your website is ideal for viewing on these devices.
- Intensify online presence
Like any good marketing strategy, all public relations content should get maximum exposure online (and offline). Apart from enhancing the company website, businesses can increase their presence in the digital realm using the following strategies:
- Create online news releases: Product launches, awards, recognitions, partnerships, product recalls, and any updates about your company can be sent to online media outlets for re-publishing. Make sure to highlight vital and interesting facts or look at angles that amplify human emotions. Never resort to making fake news, though, to gain global attention.
Additionally, master the art of creating attention-grabbing headlines, summaries, or leads. Take heed of the anchor text and keywords, and work on proper link-building. Accompanying visuals can enhance your PR releases, which should include your brand logo. (8)
- Send your PR content to others: Traditional PR work entails sending press releases to media outlets for publishing requests. You can still send copies of your PR content to other niche sites, online magazines, and blogs. The aim is to distribute it to a broader audience. But do place the link of the article or other related content on your website to drive traffic.
- Link building: As mentioned, link building can further boost brand credibility. If you can convince more high-quality sites to link to your site, you’ll have better performance in terms of site traffic and search rankings. More users become aware of your brand values with better brand visibility—generating leads and, eventually, increased revenue. (5)
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Like link building, SEO-driven digital PR can improve site traffic and search performance. Its main elements include high-quality content, strategic keyword use, internal and external links, and vital metalanguage attributes. With these elements, your target audience can locate you more accessible online. (8)
- Focus on social media
There are more than 3.6 billion social media users worldwide as of 2020, representing 49% of the global population. This figure will likely reach about 4.4 billion in 2025. Simply put, social media is a potent tool in reaching out to a vast audience. Maintaining social media presence is a must-have in today’s business, no matter the size. (7)
To make your PR campaign on social media effective, ensure your account is as engaging as possible while sending out messages about your brand values and other updates. Additionally, make sure to post new content daily. (2)
- Don’t forget customer service
As public relations strive to maintain relationships, especially with potential and existing clients, make your business is focuses on the customer across all fronts. For instance, be responsive to queries or use chatbots to accommodate questions and requests 24 hours a day and seven days a week. (9)
Most importantly, know how to react to negative and positive customer ratings on various online platforms, especially social media. A consumer survey conducted by SEO firm BrightLocal in 2020 found out that 40% of potential buyers avoid buying from a business with negative reviews. (10)
Having a negative review can be damaging to your reputation. But how your company responds to a negative review can help regain your status. Train your staff to handle complaints and disgruntled customers swiftly and in the most diplomatic way possible.
The bottom line
A great PR campaign requires knowledge and practices to optimize the brand’s presence and exposure in this digital age. And while publicists still craft press releases for distribution, the current approach capitalizes on specific social elements—such as brand values and online tools like SEO and link-building—for a successful campaign.
Applying the points discussed in this article will give you a better idea of crafting your messages and where to place your PR release to optimize your efforts. When done right, a PR strategy, paired with top-notch marketing efforts and a phenomenal product, can grow your client base in no time.
- “Reputation Accounts for 63 Percent of a Company’s Market Value”, Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/reputation-accounts-for-63-percent-of-a-companys-market-value-300986105.html
- “How To Optimize Your Digital Public Relations Strategy In The Digital Age”, Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/12/28/how-to-optimize-your-public-relations-in-the-digital-age/?sh=1619db3d730b
- “The Difference Between Marketing and PR”, Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-difference-between-marketing-and-pr
- “Report: 83% of millennials want brands to align with them on values”, Source: https://www.prdaily.com/report-83-of-millennials-want-brands-to-align-with-them-on-values/
- “How to Optimize Your PR Strategy”, Source: https://powerdigitalmarketing.com/blog/how-to-optimize-your-pr-strategy/#gref
- “2021 Digital PR Strategies, Examples and Functions”, Source: https://www.archeredu.com/hemj/digital-public-relations/
- “Number of social network users worldwide from 2017 to 2025”, Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/
- “Digital Public Relations: E-Marketing’s Big Secret”, Source: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ907250.pdf
- “5 fundamental ways to improve your public relations strategy”, Source: https://www.agilitypr.com/pr-news/public-relations/5-ways-to-improve-your-public-relations-strategy/
- “Local Consumer Review Survey 2020”, Source: https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/
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Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Media and Digital marketing sector, Passionate about innovation and bringing the future into new business solutions.