PR: The Art of Not Being a Jerk
PR stands for public relations, and it’s something no business can go without. You depend on the public to keep your company running, whether through their purchases of your products and services, or their views and sharing of your content. If they get the wrong impression of your business, or worse, view it in a bad light, then you can say goodbye to fat and stable revenues. The whole point of PR is to ensure that consumers see your business exactly the way you want them to, and to protect your brand’s reputation at all times.
But achieving good PR isn’t as simple as some believe it to be. Sure, it all starts with not acting like a jerk. That’s true enough. But it takes some smarts and strategizing to show the world that you’re not a jerk.
In a lot of ways, the web has made it much easier for businesses to manage their reputations. You can use a variety of online hubs, including e-mail, social media, web page advertisements, shareable content, and more to present your company and its latest developments to the masses. But just as easily, the internet can enable rapid reputation damage. Did something bad? You can bet that the story will be shared countless times, commented on by countless people, and emblazoned forever in the archives of the internet. These days, you’re lucky if your blunder doesn’t become a full blown meme, shared alongside the likes of Grumpy Cat and Conspiracy Keanu. Thankfully, good online PR can prevent such disasters from happening, and provide effective damage control if they do. Because no company wants to go down in history as the Bad Luck Brian of brands.
So, what exactly does online PR consist of? Here’s our list of the most common tools and techniques.
This is a time tested way of debuting news and promotions, and a basic part of any PR strategy. A press release is an official statement released to news and media hubs, providing key information which journalists may use to write their own article features about its contents. A good press release is written to provide all of the details a journalist and reader would want to know (who? what? where? when? why?), while still being short enough to read quickly. There are many press release distribution services that can spread your press releases far and wide on news sites all across the web. But that isn’t the only way to use your press releases. You can take action by contacting journalists directly, sending them your press release and a coverage pitch.
Social Media is one of the biggest PR tools for modern businesses. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all of the other sites, there are an ever growing number of social media venues companies can use to connect with current and potential customers. It’s fantastic because it allows you to communicate directly with consumers and generate buzz around your brand. We’ll go more into depth about how social media is used for PR purposes in Chapter 8.
Content marketing is basically just making really awesome content, and then basking in your brand’s immediate graduation to the next level of coolness. Okay, so maybe there are no such things as coolness levels, at least not officially, but creating great content pieces and distributing them over the web is just about the best way to gain credibility and respect among the public. This can be done by making a viral video that establishes your company’s reputation in remarkable way, creating hilarious shareable blog posts, and even challenging consumers to create their own content focused on your brand.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to PR than the above, and we’re happy to clue you into some specific techniques for managing it successfully. In the next few chapters, we’ll discuss how PR works with SEO, PPC, and Social Media.