Get the Word Out
You are well on your way to creating the foundation of a great PR program. In Step 7, we outline additional ways for you to get the word out!
In addition to sending out monthly press releases, there are other things you need to be doing to increase business awareness and sales through public relations efforts. Some of these include the following:
Offer Current Information
Add current information about your business products, services and leaders to your website on a regular basis. Review it often and make sure it lists your company’s newest information.
You want site visitors, and the media, to know that you are aware of current industry trends and news and that your company is active. Plus, you want to convey a feeling of credibility and expertise to new visitors and regular customers.
Attend pertinent club meetings, events and presentations in your local area. Tell people about your products and services and share your passion for your business.
Volunteer to speak about your industry at various organizational functions. Not only will you get in front of your target audience, but you may be quoted as a speaker in a local paper.
Reporters usually cover important community events so if you are a part of the activities, you significantly increase your chances of getting some free publicity. And even if press members do not attend, you will build some valuable business relationships in this networking process.
Send out press releases and announcements on a monthly basis with your current contact information. This will help to remind key audiences and media members that you are still doing business and have great news, information and success stories to tell.
Make it as easy as possible for media members to know the products, services and expertise you have to offer. And provide current contact information so that they know how to get in touch with you at deadline time.
Keep Your Eyes Open
As your business grows, regularly look for good customer case studies, innovations, financial and employee growth stories, and unique information that you can turn into a new story, event or announcement.
If you follow these guidelines, you will start hearing from the press. Be sure to respond to their requests quickly and provide appropriate photos, documents and information when requested.
Then, you’ll need to wait. And please don’t get discouraged if your quote or business mention is cut from a story. Due to late-breaking news, length, editorial changes, or other situations out of your control, this is just part of the publicity process. But if your story is published, be sure to send a thank you to the reporter to help build your relationship.
A Quick Note About Search Engine Optimization
You’ve probably heard a lot about search engine optimization (SEO) lately. And it’s a very important part of your public-relations efforts. Why?
Once you have all of your content organized that you are going to use in your media efforts, it’s essential to “optimize” it for the search engines. This just means you want to create content that the search engines can find online. But don’t worry. You can start using SEO with a few, simple steps…
1. Conduct research.
Look at your Web analytics and see what words people are actually using to get to your site. Make a list of those keywords. In addition, add the keywords you would use if you were a potential customer looking for your products and services online. Also include the terms competitors are using, brand names for your products, geographical terms, and any other words you think are pertinent.
2. Add the keywords to your content.
Now that you have a database of keywords, simply add them to your content. Use them in headlines, titles, sub-titles, links, videos, quotes, social-media entries, etc. And note that you only need to use a few keywords for each piece of content! Remember, you want your content to flow and provide value.
Write for your customers, not the search engines.
After all, no one likes to hear repetitive words, and the search engines will actually rank your content lower if you use too many keywords.
3. Monitor and test.
Once your content is finished and posted online, check your Web analytics and the search results to see how it is doing.
Are people clicking on this content?
Is it showing up in the search engines?
If not, change the content and test it again. Search engine optimization is all about providing valuable content, monitoring it and constantly testing and changing it to get the best results.
SEO is Part of an Overall, Content Management Strategy.
While this is a quick shortcut to help you start using SEO, note that SEO is not just about adding keywords. If you really want to have high search-rankings and provide the most valuable information to your customers possible, you need a full, content-management process.
This involves an editorial calendar, extensive research, writing content relative to your company’s overall, marketing goals, adding the appropriate coding to your Website, and having an expert, SEO content strategist on your team to manage the process. Then, you’ll build buzz and see better results for all of your PR, sales and marketing efforts at once.
Getting Publicity is Possible.
You can use public relations activities to significantly build credibility and increase sales for your new business without spending a lot of money. Many new business owners have feature stories written about them after making just a few phone calls and pitching a great story. And by posting a press release with SEO keywords, you can see site traffic increase quickly. But please don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. More often, it takes persistence and time to build brand awareness and create media relationships.
Remember, good publicity results from a lot of research, planning and action. But once you set goals for yourself, and follow through with a plan, appropriate written materials, targeted story pitches, and pertinent event-participation, you will see successful results.