In an increasingly digital age, PR and online reputation fit together almost seamlessly. Last month, my firm Igniyte published a blog giving an in depth introduce to what PR is and how it is evolving to keep its place in the modern world.
Combined, online reputation management (ORM) and PR can do brilliant things to boost the public perception of both individuals and brands. But what can be difficult is to separate one marketing tool from the other. After all, aren’t online PR and ORM the same thing? To give a clearer idea of what’s what, there are a number of techniques popularly used to achieve success with both strategies.
Managing your online reputation
The best way to look at this is to understand that any strategy you embark on for ORM is about creating, building and sustaining platforms you can control. For example, you are completely in control of your own blog as you – and you alone – are free to add and edit content as you wish. This is a key distinction of ORM, enabling you to make the best use of the assets you own.
You can influence your online reputation by:
- Creating websites which allows others to find your company, understand what it does and how you can help them
- Launching social media profiles that are regularly populated and updated with targeted content that’s relevant to your audience – it’s important to ensure a steady stream of inspirational content is delivered to your followers to keep their interest
- Search engine optimisation (SEO) – ensuring that all of your content (across every asset) is optimised with key words relevant to your business It’s important to think like your customer here and understand that, if they’re not already aware of your business, they’re likely to search for you by a specific key phrase. For independent building firms for example, customers will likely search for “builders in Yorkshire” to find a company as opposed to “Smith builders ltd”. Understanding key words helps to ensure customers find you first, as opposed to your competitors.
Public Relations (PR)
The difference with PR is that it involves working with influencers, journalists and the wider public to share positive news about your brand. Because of the additional stakeholders involved, you won’t necessarily have full control with this strategy.
For example, if you write a press release announcing your business is expanding and send it to your local paper, the journalist will likely use only the information most relevant to their readership. With owned content you can set the message and tone. It pays to be able to achieve both.
Other examples of PR activity are:
- Conferences and events, offering opportunities for your company to network and share expertise with either similar firms or interested parties. These can be excellent ways to make connections and relationships across your field and beyond
- Outreach strategies. Essentially the process of approaching influential bloggers and writers to let them know about any projects or initiatives which may be of interest. The aim is to encourage people with larger and more varied followers to talk to their community about your business in a positive light
- There are other ways to connect with the media other than releases, for example, news alerts provide top level information about a development in your firm, while picture captions offer journalists visual content It’s also important to be prepared to respond to any negativity surrounding your firm or industry to. In this case, crisis statements are a useful way to share all relevant, potentially sensitive, information in one place and to ensure the media are given all the facts in the first instance rather than compiling their own news independently without your input
Overall, both ORM and PR are needed to build and sustain a positive brand reputation. Set your brand up for success by empowering and promoting it through what you can control – with the strongest ORM available, and have a PR strategy running alongside it to engage stakeholders, influencers and the public with all of the great things about your products and services.