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Online Public Relations

Online Public Relations

Handling your press online is pertinent. From press releases to managing inquiries as a crisis occurs is something we assist clients with daily. Online public relations performs essentially the same function as traditional public relations in that its main goal is to influence the audience of your business and put a certain image in their mind of the organization rather than persuading them to purchase something. Traditional public relations usually involves television, radio, stories or articles in newspapers or magazine, putting out press releases, hosting press conferences, and holding events for the organization.

Online public relations is similar in all aspects but transformed to better fit an online audience. The same media brands used in traditional public relations are often used in online public relations. Online public relations differs in the fact that it has changed in order to more effectively handle real time news, influence, and analytics.
Online public relations and reputation management go hand in hand and we help clients and corporations of all sizes with their PR strategies. You cannot have one without the other and neither are effective if its counterpart is missing. Online public relations often deals closely with digital marketing and communication techniques and works to change, improve, or alter the image that consumers have about your organization.
Because of the vast power of the internet and its wide range accessibility, online public relations and reputation management effects are often seen directly by the audience rather than being broadcast to a larger, less targeted market. This makes the content about your organization online that much more important and shows that what you put online needs to be positive and influencing content.

Successful online public relations strategies intersect with search engine optimization and involve a range of content and involvement with various internet entities such as:

• Search Engines (Google, Yahoo, Google Text, Google Places)
• Social Network (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
• Photo and Video Sharing (Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr)
• Online Publishers (Blogs, Niche sites)
• Customer Service (How-to sites)
• Syndication (Directories, articles, affiliate links)
• Own Brand Properties (Company website, company forum, company blog)

With all the different ways an organization can utilize online public relations, one of the most successful tactics is using search engine optimization. By having the organization be one of the first links in a search engine of the relative industry, this builds trust among the audience and strengthens the organization’s reputation. Search engine optimization is achieved through other public relation tactics such as affiliate linking, generating positive content, and being talked or written about by notable media outlets online.

A very new but important facet of online public relations is utilizing the supremacy of social media. Social media is one of the most common uses for the internet and it is a place where people feel comfortable to voice their opinions and share their experiences. This is extremely helpful when the opinions or experiences are positive as the audience you are targeting is generating the content itself.

There is a downside to social media and it involves the same idea but where negative opinions and experiences are shared and promoted. It only takes one voice to take down an organization’s reputation. Public relations and reputation management professionals work diligently to prevent this type of content from being generated but there will always be one unhappy person wanting to share and promote their negative experience. Experienced reputation management professionals will work to minimize the damage from the negative content but promoting all of the other positive content surrounding the organization. If the negative content is severe, where it is inaccurate, false, or defamatory, a public relations and reputation management team will have the content removed through legal action or suppression techniques.

Efforts of online public relations can often be seen in the form of the organization’s overall reputation. It is also imperative that an organization monitors their reputation, particularly online, and responds appropriately. This act of monitoring and responding to online content is called reputation management and is just as important as online public relations. Reputation management looks at what is being said about the organization and proactively reacts to the ever changing online environment. It also involves crisis management which is essential to controlling difficult situations before they change out of control.

Positioning your organization as an industry leader is important in the realm and ultimate goal of reputation management and online public relations. Generating positive content and providing quality stories or articles helps push aside negative or inaccurate content and placing the organization as a trustworthy and reputable leader. To create this type of position and move your organization’s position closer to the top, many tactics can be used such as:

• Having a quality website with positive content
• Showing up in search engine results
• Being linked to by trusted and reputable resources
• Highlight organization achievements
• Becoming a part of and engaging with the niche community
• Promoting a company blog
• Partnering with affiliate or industry blogs
• Producing innovative content for the industry

Online public relation’s is not a one-size-fits-all formula. It is important to consider the organization’s overall marketing strategy and goal and determine if the organization will benefit from the use of PR through the internet. Using the appropriate tactics and targeting a specific audience will benefit the organization and produce invaluable results in the form of happy clientele as well as a bolstered bottom line.

Understanding how online public relations works and affects your organization will provide instrumental information and insight into how your audience thinks, feels, and acts. Using the information and sights gained from positive public relations will help an organization better manage their reputation. Utilizing online public relations will provide more than just generating interest in your organization, it will help build a professional name and positive image of the organization online and offline. Having a trustworthy reputation will benefit the organization directly through more sales and positive responses, ultimately pushing the organization to be an industry leader.