Over the past decade, public relations as we all know it has changed dramatically. The days of emailing (or ( gasp) faxing) your press release to a reporter and then following up with a quick call are long gone. Modern-day public relations have evolved into a multi-channel effort that combines the talents of your public relations and digital marketing professionals to get your message out.
While getting your company news to reporters is still critical, in the digital world you have the power to deliver your message directly to the masses, unfiltered and in your own words.
This article will give you a quick overview of how your traditional public relations can leverage digital to get your brand’s message out faster and help it reach further than ever. In future pieces, we will be examining some of these areas in more detail, as well as the art of pitching journalists digitally.
Digitize Your Press Release
All company websites should have an area to post their corporate news. This can be a standalone section or a separate category on your blog.
If budget is not a major concern for your organization, having a virtual press room is ideal. A virtual press room gives reporters one-stop shopping for any information on your company that they may need to write their story. Aside from your press releases, your virtual press room might also include logos, executive bios and headshots, corporate fact sheets and white papers.
If budget is a concern, use your company blog to post your releases. With a little creativity, your company blog can be almost as good as a virtual press room. When posting a release, be sure to include keyword tags and also tag any images you may post with the release.
Even if you have a virtual press room on your site, you may still want to post your release to your blog if the information is important enough. Through RSS and email subscribers, your news will reach even more screens by posting it to your blog.
Whichever direction you choose to go in when you put your release on your site, it is important to take steps to ensure that your release can be found. Make sure that:
- You include social buttons so readers can easily share your news socially;
- The release includes keywords to help search engines find it;
- The page your release is posted on has, at minimum, basic optimization for search engines;
- Your website’s sitemap is regularly submitted to the major search engines to ensure your release will be included in search results.
Online Press Release Distribution
To ensure your release gets out to the right journalists, I recommend using an online distribution service. There are a number of services out there that will distribute your release to whomever you target and also to the various search engines.
Services like PR Newswire and Marketwire aren’t cheap, but they are worth it. By distributing through these services, you can have peace of mind that your release will reach the reporters it needs to get to and will be optimized for and submitted to news search engines like Google news.
Tweet and Post Your Release
Wherever on your site that you decide to post your release, be sure you can easily link to it for social sharing. Tweet and post your release wherever you have a social presence.
This isn’t a one-size-fits-all effort. You should create your message based on the platform you are sharing it on. For example, Facebook and Google+ are more visual and releases with a captivating image generally garner more interest and engagement than straight text.
In contrast, on Twitter your tweet should be more direct and to the point, given the limited number of characters you have to get your message out.
Each social network has its own style and you should work with your digital team to ensure your post is optimized for that network and its followers.
Activate your Evangelists
Generally speaking, your employees are your best advocates online. When you post a news release, circulate it among your employees to ensure they are up to speed on the company’s news.
Each employee has their own social circles and social networks of choice. They may even have a sizeable email list.
If the news is big enough, ask them to share it with their connections and make it easy for them to do so. Share the link and maybe even a few content suggestions for a good tweet, post or email.
How You Can Accomplish All This and Still Make News
It should be clear to you by now that a successful public relations campaign in a digital world takes a lot more manpower than it used to. You need experts in both public relations and digital marketing working closely together to ensure that your message gets out not only to the right journalists and opinion-makers, but also directly to the public.
The amount of resources required for PR today is often more than many companies can handle internally. That’s where wedü jumps in.
Let us create and execute your digital PR strategy while you focus on creating the news. Our agency is uniquely structured, in that our PR division is actually a division of our Digital Marketing Team. This gives digital exposure to our PR pros and visa versa.
This cross-pollination of two much related departments has paid off hugely for our clients and can be a great asset to your public relations efforts.
Contact our team today to get our public relations and digital minds thinking about your digital PR strategy.