How to Use Digital Public Relations to Win Friends and Influence People
September 17, 2013 - Posted by Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg
In case you hadn’t heard, the world of online marketing is changing. The tactics you used so successfully to drive traffic to your website just a few short years ago now produce only lackluster results. It’s challenging enough to keep up with the constant changes in Google’s search algorithm, or the updates to various social media platforms…but toss in the expansion of a whole new branch of online marketing, and the sheer amount of new information to digest can be overwhelming.
That’s why Marketing Zen is here to help! Today we’re going to explain the brave new world of digital public relations: how to reach out beyond the limits of your own website and social media accounts to gain access to brand new audiences.
Basically, the gist of digital PR is reaching out to online influencers, and building a relationship with them, so that they become willing to share information about you and your company with their own readers and followers.
There are many ways of going about this. The first step, however, is always the same: determine which influencers would be the appropriate ones for you to reach out to. And how do you decide this? By identifying the audience for your business, and then looking for online influencers who are already reaching people in that demographic. If you sell clothing for moms-to-be, look for pregnancy bloggers. If you sell organic food, look for foodies with a following online.
Once you’ve determined who you want to contact, your next step is to decide how to approach them. What exactly do you want from this potential new relationship? Would you like them to share a link to your site with their Twitter followers? Or maybe you’d like them to blog about you? What you want will determine how you approach them.
To get an influencer to retweet something you’ve sent out to your followers on Twitter, one great tactic is to mention that person in your tweet! Comment on content they’ve created, in the context of something you’re discussing, and mention them by name. That way, chances are they’ll see it and retweet it. Then, any of their followers interested in the topic you’re discussing might hop on over to your feed to see what’s being said. You might even want to use your tweet to start a relationship with that influencer – send them a message letting them know how much you enjoy their tweets or their content. A relationship like this can lead to even more opportunities for digital public relations.
If you’d like to go for that in-depth relationship right off the bat, read several of your chosen influencer’s blog posts. Once you have a good feel for the way they operate, send them a personalized email expressing your appreciation of their content, and explaining why your business corresponds with their interests. Then you can ask them if they’d ever be willing to blog about your company, including a link to your site…maybe you can send them a sample of your product to review. Or, you could even ask them to let you write a guest blog post for their site. Remember, though – this all needs to be framed in the context of building an authentic relationship. Generic emails requesting a link back will end up in the trash, 100% of the time.
You can also make use of press releases to spread the word about your business. You can send them to sites such as PRWeb.com, or even send them directly to journalists who cover your industry. Approach the journalists in a similar way to the way you would a blogger – send a personalized note explaining why your press release fits the topics they write about, and maybe even suggesting a unique angle they can use to make it an interesting article.
Reaching out to online influencers is quickly becoming the new normal in the world of digital public relations. If you’d like help branching out into this new arena, feel free to give us at Marketing Zen a call. We’d love to help your company expand its reach online.