Seth Godin, an American bestselling author, marketer and public speaker once said, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” What differentiates one product and service from another in the market is not just the quality and appealing packaging, but how the seller relates with the customer. We live in a digitized world, and anyone can magically turn any dream into a multi-billion business simply by working behind a computer.
Old strategies have very limited space in modern-day PR, and the diversity of modern digital marketing might seem too complex for the faint-hearted. Competition is rife, and competitors will not hesitate to play dirty to get you out of the way.
Online reputation for brands is at stake because every second someone is sending a tweet to over 300 million monthly active Twitter users. As a small business, you obviously don’t want to confine yourself to the swimming pool; your eyes must be focused on the sea to swim with the sharks. To realize that, understand how to guard your brand, online and offline. To get you started, here are five highly recommended online PR strategies for small businesses.
1. Content is King
Online, content rules. It is king and should be treated like royalty. You might have invented software that can detect aliens from Mars or a robot that can deliver pizza to every homestead in your city, but if no one can read about your inventions, your efforts are wasted. The number one PR tool, whether offline or online, is content. It is acceptable to blow your own trumpet, but it gets better if someone else can do it for you as you enjoy the sweet music. From the product descriptions to press releases, ensure that you nail the content. If you are not so talented with words, you can always contract an experienced copywriter. Write blogs, share stories online, participate in forums, stand out as an expert, and gradually, people will start noticing.
2. Personalized Messaging
Avoid shooting in the dark because you never know what the bullet might hit. There are many tools that you can utilize to customize your messages for specific audiences. Smart publicists research and customize their content and marketing communications to each targeted recipient. You should be out of business if you still think mass press release distribution is cool. Identify ideal corporate communications channels and strive to boost engagements and identify ways to personalize your approaches.
People who flop first in life are those characters who insist on doing things the way they “know best.” You might be an excellent email marketer, but is it relevant to your customers today? Do you stick to some practices out of habit or because you're maintaining a sort of legacy? You might have a Master's degree in PR, but 95% of the things you learned in business school may not be able to add value to your small business online. Keep up with technology and focus on getting better every day if you are to realize higher returns in your investments.
4. Provide Value
People are not just interested in finding value for their money, but for anything else, especially time. In journalism classes, students are taught of the inverted pyramid where important information supersede the details. Respect other people’s time and offer them value for it. Also, while at it, avoid exaggerating. It will backfire on you.
5. Keep the Promise
In the excitement to grab people’s attention, you risk telling them what they want to hear and not exactly what you intended them to know. Don’t disappoint the online community because they are very generous with opinions, negative especially. If you promise a 50% discount on every purchase, keep the promise.
Finally, explore multiple channels, especially social media. Multimedia messages are highly recommended; plain text can be boring. Feel free to incorporate videos, pictures, infographics, and sound. Your online PR should be guided by a detailed strategy that you must adhere to.