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Interactive PR

Related pages

Interactive public relations (PR) has two key components:

  • Using the power of the web to go beyond traditional media; and

  • Using PR to establish and participate in a direct dialog with customers and prospects.

Traditional PR was about sending press releases to journalists hoping they'd write about your product or service, and schmoozing editors over the phone and at industry get-togethers. Basically, you tried to establish credibility for your message by getting the mainstream or industry media to cover you.

Interactive PR is about using the web to establish a dialog with the marketplace, and is often utilized through an interactive agency. It enables you build credibility directly with customers and prospects as well as through traditional media and new media outlets such as blogs, podcasts, ezines and portal sites.

Blogs and social media sites let you establish a public, online dialog with your customers and prospects that builds credibility for your company if managed properly. The market is probably already talking your company, products and/or services on these sites. Recognize that you can't control this interaction, but you can participate and help shape the conversations by being straightforward, honest, and avoiding overt self-promotion and hype.

Among the elements of interactive PR are:

  • Optimizing press release content for search engines. Make sure press releases include relevant keywords and phrases, and include additional keywords using an online press release distribution service such as Marketwire or PRWeb.

  • Promoting social bookmarking links. This means including easy-to-use "Add to My del.ico.is," "Add to Newsvine" and potentially other social bookmark site links to your press releases, and tagging your releases on Web 2.0 social tagging sites.

  • Establishing new media relations. Research, contact, and get to know the influencers in your space. This list has always included the industry press and analysts, but now also includes bloggers, podcasters and writers of ezines and portal sites.

  • Developing a blog strategy. As a start, find and read influential bloggers in your market; searching on Technorati is an excellent way to discover important blogs relating to your topic, gage the importance of each, and monitor conversations about your company and competitors.

    The second level level, once your comfortable with the blog environment, is commenting on existing blogs. You can mention your company, but make sure your comment contributes to the discussion and isn't purely self-promotional.

    The third level is contacting key bloggers and inquiring about opportunities to guest-blog (many bloggers appreciate content they don't have to write themselves, as long as it on topic, helpful and not excessively self-promotional.) Finally, if you're willing to make the time commitment, start your own blog.

  • Distributing press releases over the web. All of the major wire services do this now. PRWeb, my personal favorite, is cost-effective and widely picked up by online news sites and blogs.

  • Building an online press room. Make sure your website includes an area just for the media (old and new), and contains content such as your latest and archived press releases; company logos in various formats and sizes; photos of your product and key executives; a corporate fact sheet; and bios of your management team members. And of course, your contact information.

  • Automating your monitoring of press coverage, branding and trademarks. Use Google Alerts for Keywords or another online monitoring / current awareness service to track mentions of your company/product/service/ brand online, as well as keeping up competitors and related companies in your market.

  • Checking online editorial calendars. Published editorial calendars and the online versions don't always match up, and online publications frequently only use the (sometimes frequently-changing) web version. Check the online editorial calendars of key publications periodically to discover opportunities to contribute content.

  • Podcasting. According to MarketingSherpa's Business Technology Marketing Benchmark Guide, 78% of technology buyers say they have listened to a technology-related podcast more than once. There are an increasing number of podcast production and podcast promotion tools available,

  • Producing webinars. Like podcasts, webinars are an excellent way to share thought-leadership content online. Choose the web conferencing service that best meets your need and budget.

Related pages:

How to Develop a Web Marketing Plan

Why Write a Blog for Business?

How to Create an Effective Business Blog

Search Engine Optimization Basics

How to Write Effective Email Newsletters



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