Why small businesses should invest in online PR
In a post-lockdown world, it’s clear that many of us will be living and working more remotely for some time. That means more people surfing the internet and browsing social media, and fewer people walking past traditional advertising points such as billboards, shop fronts and picking up magazines. Now is the time to invest in online PR and reach your customers where they are.
What is online PR?
Online PR includes:
- Creating useful and engaging digital content, like lifestyle guides and ‘how to’ style blog posts, for customers
- Engaging with your audience on social media
- Using Search Engine Optimisation and Pay Per Click advertising
- Email newsletters and promotions
- and media relations with digital press.
In this blog, we’re talking about the benefits of online PR for small and localised brands. However, when you’re adapting your PR activities to include digital it’s important to get the basics right.
Your website needs to be ready for your customers otherwise you will fall at the first hurdle. This means making sure it is mobile-ready, loads quickly and all the links work.
People have very short attention spans when they are online. If they can’t find what they are looking for within a few seconds they’ll leave your site.
How digital PR can benefit your business
The benefits of digital PR are many. Here are just a few to whet your appetite:
It’s super targeted
Online PR techniques allow you to target your ideal customers using their demographics and their interests. This means you can avoid wasting money on showing PR messages to people who aren’t your ideal client.
Here’s how some digital PR activities target your customers:
- Social media advertising is incredibly sophisticated and can deliver your adverts to people who match a very detailed description in terms of age, gender, location and the type content with which they already engage.
- Pay Per Click advertising works in a similar way, harnessing the wealth of knowledge Google stores about people’s location, demographics and previous searches.
- Optimising your website for search engines (Search Engine Optimisation) by creating webpages and content people are looking for will help make your company more visible online.
- When people are searching for your business online, they’ll find not just your website in Google but also all the news stories that have been published about you online. Those stories often stay live for months, if not years, whereas stories in traditional print like newspapers and magazines quickly become scrap paper.
Create a community around your brand
People like to buy from real people and take recommendations from their peers. That’s why building a community around your brand is so valuable.
Something that you can get running without cost is a Facebook group. This is a powerful online PR tool where a lot of the sales work is done by your loyal customers talking about how they use your products.
Here’s our guide to Facebook groups for businesses.
When you’re dealing with digital PR it’s very easy to track and measure results.
Social media business accounts give you insights into the audience you’ve reached and how many people took action, such as engaging with your posts or visiting your website.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console also tell you how people are finding and interacting with your website. This can all be measured against digital PR activities.
You can also set up trackable links so you can measure the success of promotions on other websites and in emails.
When you’re on a carefully considered PR budget you want to track and account for the success of every penny you spend.
It’s easy to set spending limits on PPC advertising and social media adverts. And, if you want help to create content and manage your social media channels this could be more cost-effective than you think.
Amplify PR is a Southampton-based PR and content marketing agency that runs online PR campaigns for a range of clients. Talk to us about our digital PR services.