If you’re reading this then you’re probably an entrepreneur or part of the small business community – perhaps you’re planning a new business venture yourself – and you know your way around the web. Like many startups, your business may be web-based and rely on the internet for engaging with customers. It makes sense, then, that your PR and communications activities should be online and interactive, targeting current and prospective clients where they consume their information. It’s all about raising brand awareness and generating leads. Digital PR can win you more business, and here’s how:
Targeted digital media releases
The chances are you’ve sent out a press release or two, perhaps to launch your company in the market or to introduce a new product upgrade. Some of you will even have included multimedia content like images and videos and added links to your company website and social pages. This will improve the odds of readers engaging with the material and continuing on to your company pages, increasing the chances of conversion.
Think also about how you distribute your release. Don’t take a scattergun approach and send news out on any old newswire – no matter how hard their sales team try to convince you you’ll get impressive coverage and SEO benefits to boot. The truth is they’re wrong. The kind of low-quality, duplicated coverage this will achieve can, in fact, damage your SEO performance. Concentrate instead on great content targeted at the right people. Do your research and contact the publications and people who will be interested: quality over quantity always.
Optimise copy with keywords
If any copy that you post online – whether it’s a media release, your website text or company blog – is not written with relevant keywords in mind, you’re missing a trick. You know the space you work in, and what your customers are searching for online, so use these keywords in anything you produce to help your pages climb the all-important Google search rankings. There are free tools online to help you find the best keywords – the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool is one of the best.
Social media isn’t just a nice digital afterthought to boost the odd blog post; it should be an integral part of your online communications plan. Communities like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and increasingly Google+ and others, are networks for engaging with your customers and with the major players and influencers in your market. Not only do these networks drive traffic to your website, but social shares are becoming an increasingly important factor in Google rankings. They’re also the perfect platform on which to start conversations and shout about all your shareable digital content.
Don’t miss the blog
Don’t guard your expertise jealously. It’s good to share, and no more so than when you’re a business with expertise and insight that can help people – especially your customers. Build your business’s reputation as a market leader, or your profile as an influencer, with a well-executed, well-maintained blog. It can be built into a company’s website, positioning the brand directly as the guys in the know, or it can be a separate website, building its independent standing while still acting as a lead generation tool. Prospective customers can be directed to the blog where they can learn more about your offering and be impressed by the wealth of knowledge you have on the subject.
Guest blogging on other relevant and influential sites is another great way of extending this network and boosting brand reach. Stuck for ideas as to where to guest blog? Check out where your competitors have cropped up online and get in contact with that publication offering your expert opinion.
Get on video
Video is one of the most engaging forms online content can take. Concise and eye-catching, it gets your message across with power and efficiency. It also boasts impressive click-through rates and lead-generation potential, so it’s a hugely valuable part of any integrated online communications campaign. Commissioning a video production company can be pricey, but with the impact, it can have on a new or growing company’s development, it’s often an excellent investment in your brand.