PR, and its media relations aspects in particular, can be great for getting your name in the headlines, but you're missing a trick if you're not using your online assets to extend its reach.
The dawn of digital has made it easier than ever to connect with key audiences and in this guide, we'll illustrate some simple ways to complement your PR by making proper use of digital channels.
When your company, or a project you're involved with, achieves coverage in the press, your first port of call should be your website.
We'd advise against publishing cuttings of articles in their entirety or copying and pasting (or even manually writing them up), since you might fall foul of UK media law and Google tends to take a dim view of content that's duplicated.
Instead, we'd recommend posting a quote or snippet, particularly if your company is mentioned. Or if not, a simple introductory paragraph will suffice. From there, you'll want to include a prominent link to the article in question (provided it's online).
John Smith & Company featured in Telegraph article on logistics
We're delighted to have been featured in a recent Telegraph article on logistics, where our MD, John Smith, weighed in on the importance of supply chain efficiency:
"Supply chain efficiency improvements are possible in virtually any type of business and the number one way to drive these enhancements is to survey individual elements," he said.
You can read the full article here (<- this would hyperlink to the article).
If the coverage was the result of a press release you sent out, it's understandable that you'd seek to re-post this on your website.
Indeed, many larger organisation have online press hubs, where all their press and public-facing communications are available to peruse. However, if you're just sticking it on the 'news' section of your site, we'd always recommend a quick rewrite.
Press releases tend to be info-dumps aimed at getting the point of the story across quickly and concisely so that journalists can identify whether it's newsworthy or not. And as such, they tend not to make great web copy.
Similarly, it's common to submit releases to online directories as a matter of course these days and again, when re-posting on your site, this could be construed as duplicate content and negatively impact your search performance.
While you could post it on your site before sending it to the press (to give time for search engines to 'read' it and properly attribute it to you), this can negate the possibility of giving exclusives to preferred publications. This process can also take a couple of days, so by the time it gets to the press, they might consider it 'old' news. There's nothing worse for a journalist then to receive a press release only to find it was posted on the company website and shared to the masses moments, or even days, before.
In press releases, companies tend to refer to themselves in the third person, so when doing a rewrite, aim for friendly copy that's a bit more human and acknowledges the story is being told by a staff member.
The beginning of a press-release might read something like:
John Smith & Company Wins Generic Industry Award
John Smith & Company, a Manchester-based chocolate fireguard manufacturer, has won a Generic Industry Award for its work on the Really Big Project.
John Smith, managing director at John Smith & Company, said:
"Winning this award underlines the hard work we put into the Really Big Project and I'd like to commend the efforts of our team, who really went the extra mile."
While a web re-write would go along the lines of:
John Smith & Company Wins Generic Industry Award
Posted By John Smith
We're delighted to announce we've won a Generic Industry Award for our work on the Really Big Project.
Winning this award underlines the hard work we put into the Really Big Project and I'd like to commend the efforts of our team, who really went the extra mile.
The payoff: Re-posting your news in this way helps to extend its reach and bolster your site's news offering, which many companies frequently neglect.
Google loves fresh content, so keeping your site regularly updated should be something to constantly strive for.
Similarly, by properly optimising titles to include key phrases related to the news at hand, you can significantly increase your chances of appearing in organic (i.e. non-paid) search for related queries.
It'll also further your PR aims by highlighting your involvement to prospective customers visiting you on the web, which they might miss if they're not within the readership of the offline publications you've reached.
If you're still neglecting social media as a channel – no matter what your industry – you're sorely missing out. To paint a picture of its ubiquity, let's delve into some key statistics:
- 30 million people in the UK are on Facebook
- A quarter of UK internet users are on Twitter
- LinkedIn surpassed 15 million UK members in 2014.
While we've written loads about how you should being using social on a day-to-day basis, for the purposes of this guide, we'll focus on how these three key channels can help give your PR a leg-up.
Facebook: As with your blog, you should be posting links directly to coverage (rather than your website posts on coverage) whenever they're available online. And don't be afraid to repeat your posts several times (although be sure to spread them out a bit).
Facebook's recent moves to tighten its algorithm means that brands have a harder time than ever reaching their audience organically (i.e. without paying). As such, don't expect an individual post to reach much more than 10% of your entire follower base on a really good day.
Images and videos (especially videos uploaded 'natively' via Facebook) also tend to be given the most 'weight' in the network's eyes. So if you can, be sure to bolster these news posts, as well as general day-to-day social activity with these whenever possible.
Even if you don't have any coverage to share, if you're attending a meeting or visiting a project site, don't miss out on the opportunity to share some snaps or multimedia content.
If any other involved parties are involved, be sure to tag (mention them) if they maintain pages on Facebook. They'll receive a notification and are likely to share your post – providing an easy and effective way to extend its reach.
Twitter: Just like Facebook, you'll want to tweet links to coverage, but you'll face constraints in terms of how many words you can fit into a single tweet. This limit will be further reduced if you include images, video or 'tag' lots of people (i.e. include their user name or 'handle' in the tweet).
While Twitter keeps its cards close to its chest, last year it confirmed it would be introducing an algorithm to present the tweets it deems most relevant to users. Its introduction might be confined to segments of test users and for the most part tweets still tend to be presented in a chronological order.
This means, just like Facebook, you shouldn't be afraid to repeat posts – especially if you've got a reasonably large (say 1,000+) follower base. But again, try and leave a few hours between these.
While Twitter doesn't apply the same kind of 'weighting' as Facebook, tweets with images and multimedia tend to generate more engagement (shares, favourites, et cetera). So be sure to include these whenever possible.
Even if you've got a dearth of 'hard' news to talk about, you can bolster activity and show audiences what you've got going on by tweeting when you're out attending meetings, project sites (or any other applicable outings) and – once again – tagging any other parties that are involved (provided they're present on Twitter).
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is somewhat limited in terms of what a brand page can achieve, but you'll still be able to post links to coverage, write a brief intro (about 522 characters) and 'tag' any other businesses with a LinkedIn Presence on there.
However, if you can get the buy-in from your team, you can potentially achieve much more. As well as being able to share the post from the company page and/or repost the link as a status update, individual LinkedIn profiles can publish to groups they're in and use its new publishing platform to fully re-publish the post.
This will notify all their LinkedIn contacts and let them read it without navigating away from LinkedIn.
While the above tips have hopefully provided some food for thought, if you've got any questions or want to offer your own two cents, be sure to leave us a comment or fire us a tweet – we always want to hear from you!
And if you're looking for more tips on social media marketing, be sure to download our free eBook guide today: