Online PR in action
Smaller businesses often have high expectations when it comes to visibility. They need value for money when they invest in communications. They also appreciate that more and more opportunities come from the web.
Press releases may look like an old-fashioned way to communicate, but in reality they are a way to arouse interest towards a given company or product. On the other side, press releases can also boost web traffic.
A journalist's job is completely dictated by the whims of the readers. The objective of any publication is to appeal to a given audience. Before writing anything at all, you need a good "story". By story I mean a piece of interesting information. A good story must be current and communicate something special and different.
E-Mail press release
What do journalists expect? A good press release should take the following points into consideration:
- Clear and cogent content: the message(s) you are conveying need to be clearly structured and formulated as well as tailor-made for those who are supposed to read.
- Direct delivery: journalists only read what they are interested in. Their questions and doubts need to find a quick answer. On the other hand, they expect contacts they can call while carrying researches on given topics.
- Relations to the media are based on mutual trust, which is a long-term process. PR managers who are able to deliver quick and serious pieces of information become pivotal in the success of PR activities.
The distribution of a press release through the e-mail is particularly advantageous: it is fast, it can easily be saved, copied, searched and edited. Besides, it can be sent from anywhere and at any time to the desired recipient(s).
As a general rule, the e-mail subject should be short and significant.
The content of the e-mail should not be too long, either. Usually, journalists prefer short unformatted texts. Although HTML mails might look better, they also might easily become an obstacle: copy, paste, etc.
The basis for the successful distribution of press releases are personal contacts. Mutual trust improves co-operation. Follow-up of your media work should preferably take place by phone or personally.
Web media archive
A media archive is of paramount importance for journalists so that they can find anything they need in a single section of your web page. A good media section should include the following chapters:
- press release archive (the latest communiqués should be placed at the top and by ordered by date)
- pictures and logos (in high resolution)
- list of events and sponsoring
- some general background information on the company (company presentation, chronological history, etc.)
- investor relations (annual reports, financial statements)
- relevant clippings from the press (e.g. interview with CEO)
- case studies, white papers, best practices
- press contact (name, telephone, e-mail)
Monitoring and measurement
Keep an eye on the media from your distribution list. You could subscribe to a clippings service, which makes life a bit easier. However, you need to keep in mind that they are not 100% reliable: a good service usually covers up to 80-90% of your target media.
In some cases, when you are on good terms with journalists, you might receive links or copies/photocopies of your press release directly from the publications you have been distributing your material to.
It is also very important to keep an eye on your web statistics and measure the traffic load to some of the pages of your site including web site referrals and key words visitors have been looking for.
Here are some interesting publications that might help you in your online marketing activities.
- Damian Ryan - Understanding Digital Marketing
- Ryan Deiss & Russ Henneberry - Digital Marketing For Dummies
- Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya, Iwan Setiawan - Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital