Posted: Mon 8th Nov 2021
Having your business featured in and endorsed by the press – both print and online – brings many benefits. But what are they, exactly?
Here, we take a closer look at online (digital) PR specifically, and how it can support your sales and marketing strategy – from improving your SEO to building customer trust.
What does ‘online PR’ mean?
Online PR (public relations) is any type of press that is featured digitally. It could be:
Online publications work on a very quick lead time, ranging from daily to weekly. That means that you can pitch something to a journalist and be featured the day after, if your story is the right fit.
Building credibility and trust in your customers
PR plays a key part in building customer trust.
In today’s world, we’re bombarded every day with information and content from different social media channels. PR is arguably more relevant than ever. Many people still trust what the press publishes as opposed to what’s being said on social media, for example.
Having your business or product featured in the media essentially means that a third party is endorsing you – talking positively about your business, rather than you talking positively about it yourself.
So, while it’s obviously crucial to promote and communicate your business through your marketing, having that endorsement from the press is incredibly powerful.
Being featured in the press repeatedly will make you look desirable to potential and current customers and demonstrate that you’re a viable business.
Driving more traffic – and data – to your website
Being featured online means consumers can click through and learn more about your business straight away. Those instant click-throughs make it easy for busy people to browse and potentially buy from you, either on their phone or laptop.
Bear in mind, though, that PR isn’t a direct driver of sales, and a piece of coverage doesn’t necessarily lead to sales instantly. However, capturing those potential customers is invaluable.
They might sign up to your newsletter, which means you can nurture them through clever and engaging email marketing, before they buy from you and become a loyal customer. The key is to get potential customers in your sales funnel. PR plays a big part in this, alongside your marketing.
Continuous website traffic
Aside from instant click-throughs, the great thing about being featured online is that the press mention exists on the internet as long as the feature does. So, an article you were featured in five years ago will still drive website traffic today.
A wider digital footprint
Today, most customers will begin their buying process with a search. Just think about how often you Google a product or business before you decide to buy something.
Let’s say you’re on the lookout for a new coffee company to subscribe to. You’ll likely type something into Google like ‘Best coffee subscriptions UK’. Then the results appear, which will be a mixture of businesses and review sites, but also online press articles.
As a result, having your product featured in online articles will boost your SEO and give you a wider digital footprint. You’ll likely be more visible on Google, which makes it easier for customers to find you when researching new businesses.
It’s marketing’s best friend
Do you have a solid marketing plan in place? That’s brilliant. But what about PR?
If you’re neglecting your PR, you’re not making the most of your overall business strategy and you’re missing out on tons of opportunities.
Marketing and PR share the same main goal, but have different strategies and executions. They both play a key role in the buying journey – from discovery to purchase.
Once you have potential customers in your funnel, they’ll go through a number of different touchpoints – from the awareness stage, to consideration and eventually decision. (A touchpoint refers to any way a consumer can interact with your business.)
And these touchpoints (depending on your business) can include everything from:
but also media coverage. So, if you’ve been doing marketing and PR alongside each other, you’ll be able to strengthen your funnel, moving potential customers through the buyer journey.
Increasing awareness to reach new audiences
PR’s primary role is to raise awareness. A long-term PR strategy – where you pitch to the relevant press on an ongoing basis – will allow you to be featured in publications repeatedly.
That means that you’ll be able to reach audiences that you perhaps wouldn’t have connected with if you weren’t featured in that specific publication.
Having new people discovering your business also lets you test your audience. You might think you’ve nailed your target audience. But you’d be surprised how often a publication whose readership may be not within your target audience proves to be quite successful in terms of website traffic – and, eventually, sales.
For example, your core customers might be aged between 18 and 24. So, you might not pitch to publications with a slightly older readership.
However, remember that an older reader might be on the lookout for a gift for a younger family member. And if your product appears in that publication, you might win new customers who wouldn’t have found you otherwise.
Getting started with online PR
Hopefully, this has given you a good overview of how digital press coverage can strengthen your marketing and sales strategy.
As with any other areas of your business, you’ll have to do PR over the long term before you start seeing the many benefits it can bring.