The art of web savvy public relations, or PR, in this digital age is the art of crafting a thoughtful strategy that allows your business to connect with your audiences (customers, prospects, vendors, investors) in meaningful win-win ways.
It is no longer enough to just put up a website that says what you want to say and have people beat a path to your door. Okay, maybe it was never that simple…
In today’s online landscape, you need to be thoughtful in the planning, strategy stages and asking the FIVE KEY questions below.
Stay focused in the execution of your PR strategy and you can create a road map from where the right customers live or “hang out” (online or off) that leads them to your door. Best of all, along the way they will have already gotten to know you, have learned to trust your information, and have pre-qualified themselves before they need to buy from your business.
1. Who is my audience, who are my customers, who are my prospects?
This question is crucial. So often we are caught up in the running of our businesses, that we don’t step back and focus on who is buying, who might buy, and who is not buying and why? You may have primary customers and a niche of secondary customers with a specific need or interest that you have not been targeting.
If you say everyone, then you are missing an opportunity to focus and differentiate your customers and your business.
- If you sell children’s toys – parents are your target audience
- but do you sell tot toys or tween toys
- Or do you sell toys with 50% recycled materials that appeal to the “green” parents
2. What three to five topics related to my products or services are of interest to my customers?
Too many businesses still focus on the messages THEY care about, and don’t bother to look out the door and see what their customer wants to know about. Examples: for a massage therapist – often people want to know how to beat stress, relaxation ideas, healthy living – not just the finer points of massage.
For a personal fan/space heater company – how to stay cool in summer, warm in winter, how to position a fan or space heater for best results.
3. Do My PR & Marketing Materials Match the Needs and Interests of My Customers and Prospects?
Look at the answers to the first two questions and compare them with your existing materials: your website, your blog…(you do have one don’t you), and most crucially your online social media activity. Even your signs, stores and frontline staff need to be aligned with your messaging.
If you become a resource on these topics of interest to your customers, you will attract the right people who want your service or product. Really. Especially in the US, our culture is built on research and a quest for more information and knowledge. If you make it easy for them to learn what they need to know, they build trust in your business, and will come back for more.
Ask yourself, am I doing the things I need to do, in a genuine authentic way, to get my customers and prospects to know and like my business?
4. What Do They Read and Where Do they “Hang Out” Online?
In order to position your business in the mind of the consumer, you need to put yourself in their shoes. You need to reach them where they spend their time.
- Do they read traditional newspapers and magazines or the online editions?
- Are they active or social media users or passive consumers and on which sites?
- Do they read blogs and which ones?
- Do they attend trade or consumer shows?
This helps both decide where to spend your time building a social presence online, and helps you find the right publications to pitch for coverage.
5. What is My Plan, and How Can I Execute this Strategy Effectively?
Take the answers to the above questions and use them to formulate a PR plan. Craft a strategy that will enable you to reach your customers and prospects where they hang out, with information they want. Ask: what tactics tools & staff do I need in place to execute this plan well? How will I measure success? Too many companies jump into PR & marketing without a plan.
Feed what you’ve found back into all aspects of your business…strategically. Make your website and social networking activity about serving your customer’s needs and providing useful information.
Be a resource. If your PR strategy is well executed and you “hang out” where your customers do online, provide useful information, and follow it up with more of the same on your own site and in stores…they will click, call and buy.
Summary: If you do it really well, the people you reach with your Savvy Web PR will leave word-of-mouth bread crumbs along the route for their friends to follow. They will share your story and product with others, give you shout outs via social media, give good reviews and testimonials, and maybe refer a friend.