The media landscape has changed dramatically in the last few decades as online news and online PR gain greater recognition.
Removed from printing presses, final deadlines and predictable news cycles, online media has totally transformed how people engage with news and, as such, the opportunities and advantages for online PR have increased.
While both industries still find value in traditional print avenues, moving content online creates much more opportunities for brands, businesses and organisations to get in front of the media and ultimately their customers.
Likewise, links, analytics and real time web traffic monitoring have made it easier for online PR pros to prove their worth and show the real value of the work they are doing. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on the value of PR in the online arena.
- Having a positive effect on brand value through link building.
Earning links back to your business’ website via respected news websites and blogs is a great way to improve your search rankings, especially when coupled with SEO text and key terms. Obviously, this is not something traditional PRs can aim for and is an area where online PR offers extra value in its proposition.
Not only do you secure the coverage (with a much higher readership potential), but also the opportunity to be discovered by your customers with one click, helping increase your rankings online and get in front of a bigger audience.
Also, don’t be fooled if someone tells you print journalists can always add your website’s url at the bottom of a print story, you’d have to catch them on a bad or busy day for this as it’s generally viewed that this adds nothing to the story and, significantly, looks ugly on a printed page.
If you’re still not convinced by this, our work with DronesDirect.co.uk might change your mind
- Reader impressions – how many people have read the coverage?
Anyone working in the media – plus a few others – will have heard of ABC figures.
These print based sales figures reveal how many copies of a particular newspaper have been sold during a particular time, with a readership estimate based on the predicted number of people who will read a copy of that newspaper.
What these figures don’t tell you, and can’t tell you, is how many people have actually read the particular story your company has appeared in.
Let’s be blunt about this, anyone who tells you different to the above is not being honest with you.
Online however, you can find out exactly how many people have read that story and properly measure it’s impact (more on that later).
The simple truth is, print media is still slowly declining and most news organisations are looking how they can move their entire operation online – just look at the independent – and, while this is sad for traditionalists, it opens new doors to getting yourself known to a much bigger audience.
- Traffic referrals – how much traffic is coming directly from that PR work and how does this translate to sales and revenue?
Back in the day, PR success was measured in something called advertising value equivalent, in essence, how much would your business need to spend in advertising to get the same amount of column inches.
This (thankfully now mostly redundant measurement) was useless for a couple of reasons.
One, as with the ABC figures you never actually knew how many people had seen the story. And two, you could never know how much business could be attributed to the article appearing in the paper.
However, online PR can tackle both of these issues by giving you the chance to one, use analytics to see exactly how many people have seen the story and two, track conversations on your website directly back to the first enquiry – including a link back from a news story online.
This is vitally important, especially for B2C retail and consumer clients who want to see how PR activity is impacting sales.
At PR Agency One we are experts in measurement – it’s just one of the things that sets us apart – and using e-commerce packages integrated with analytics, we can attribute your final sales to any given traffic source.
Our client One4All knows all about the benefits of this approach thanks to the work we’ve done with them. You can find out more about that here
Some agencies might think that’s a bit complicated, it might seem like magic to a few others but here we just call it OneEval (you should click here at this point if you want to find out more about how we can do this for you).
Also, this metric is invaluable for being able to show which search terms and websites are performing best in terms of generating revenue, helping you better target your wider marketing and future PR activity.
- Trackable sharing – who’s talking about/sharing the article?
Getting in the news is great (just ask our clients who are in the news quite regularly), but PR shouldn’t stop there and tracking how news is being shared and talked about is another string to the online bow.
Let’s take Twitter.
Through pingbacks, shortened link APIs and good old social monitoring, it’s really easy to see who’s tweeting about an article. Most blogs and websites also include social sharing tools such as “Like” or “Tweet” buttons which can display the number of times the page has been shared or liked on Twitter and Facebook.
Packages like Google Webmaster Tools, Open Site Explorer and Yahoo! Site Explorer can tell you which other sites link to a particular blog, or even a specific article. We often use this when presenting the value of coverage to clients, as it is an easy to understand metric.
- Your reputation and how you rank against the competition
Often now the first place a potential customer will go to find out about your business in online your reputation, profile and how you compare to the competition in this arena are vital.
It’s always been possible to get a sense of your reputation and what people think of you against the other people in the market, but online PR can be much more accurate and, more importantly to you, more proactive in improving your reputation.
Using measurement and tracking we can create a framework of your strengths and weaknesses online; revealing potential weaknesses and also areas for improvement that can be easily fixed.
This online analysis can also be used to benchmark you against competitors, determining where they rank against you in the online world and more importantly why. Using historical data we can put your current positioning into context and figure out a strategy to get you back on top of the pile.
Does all this sound good?
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