The radical changes in the media landscape have also left their mark on companies and organizations’ press and public relations. Classic PR as we know it is still present but is becoming less and less critical. This is mainly due to the rapid growth of the new online media, which goes hand in hand with the dwindling importance of traditional print media.
Classic PR mainly consists of the targeted distribution of printed press releases on many topics of interest to the public. While large companies have their departments for press and public relations, these tasks are taken over by the marketing department in small and medium-sized companies – if they exist. It is not uncommon for the CEO to personally take care of PR matters in small companies. Classic press releases are company news prepared in a journalistic manner and are sent in printed form by fax or digitally to various press agencies or directly to the editors of daily newspapers and magazines.
Unlike classic press work, Variant 2.0 concentrates primarily on the many new channels of Web 2.0. The aim here is to be discovered by as many multipliers as possible, such as operators of news portals, bloggers and online editors. This is done, among other things, by publishing press releases on online press portals and sharing content on social media.
The focus is less on a specific format and more on reaching as many people as possible in the defined target group. This becomes particularly clear in social media, which has become a natural part of online PR. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Facebook, Xing or Twitter – it’s about the strategically targeted dissemination of news, which must be designed so that as many readers as possible feel addressed and spread the content.
What Constitutes Online PR
The new possibilities of Web 2.0 open up new opportunities for press and public relations to present company news. Both online editors and journalists in the print media no longer only rely on the reports coming from the press agencies in their daily work but also use search engines and online press portals to find topics and research. Of course, they are also active on social media.
Opinion-forming online – and this is becoming increasingly important – does not only occur in the online editions of Handelsblatt, Spiegel, Focus & Co. but also in countless forums and blogs and social media network communities. It is no longer just about technical questions or network issues, but the entire range of topics from politics, business and society. Some now speak of social media relations when they mean PR related to social media.
The new communication structures on the web offer freelancers new opportunities and prospects in PR. Deadlocked structures in public relations are history, and reach generated today through the targeted use of social media in public relations – no longer through rigid distributors and structures.
Many editors and bloggers looking for exciting news use search engines like Google to find news on specific topics. Search engines have their logic of consideration, which is reflected in the order of the search results listed. A PR manager does not need to know all the intricacies of search engine optimization, but he should be able to apply the essential rules when writing a press release.
Tips And Tricks
Anyone who wants to do online PR must first ask themselves 5 W questions: Who do I want to reach? Where are my target groups active? What topics are you interested in? What image does my company have on the internet? How do I best present in which medium? This is important so that press releases and other company news achieve good coverage and successful online PR.
Structure Your Online Press Release Correctly
The texts should be written in an exciting and reader-friendly way. In any case, it should offer the readers added value. The old journalistic rule “first things first” must be observed. The text should consist of a headline, a teaser that summarizes the most important things and encourages further reading, and a structured text divided into paragraphs. At the end of the press release, the so-called binder contains contact information and brief information about the company. Purely advertising self-portrayals and empty phrases without added value receive little attention and should also be avoided in online PR.
Focus On One or Two Online Press Portals
It makes sense to concentrate on one or two selected press portals and share the news published via links on social media by sharing the link on the Facebook page or tweeting about the news. The press releases are not only read by multipliers such as editors and bloggers and disseminated if interested but also by customers, competitors, business partners and other people who are interested in the topic.
Pay Attention To Search Engine Friendliness
Firstly, the published texts should be “unique”, and secondly, they should contain the main keywords. Plagiarism or slight modifications of published texts have a terrible chance of being found in the search engines because the search engine interprets them as duplicate content. Posting the same wording press release on several portals does not make sense. If the portal operator allows this, this would result in Google classifying the page as less critical (it already has the same or similar text in its index) and giving it a correspondingly low weighting.
The press portals themselves should be carefully selected. Keywords are essential to know which search terms users should use to find the text. If possible, these keywords should also be mentioned in the text, but under no circumstances should the reader be overwhelmed with them because the search engine will interpret this as keyword spam. The rule of thumb is 2 to 3 per cent. A keyword can appear up to six times in a 200-word text, although spelling variations and synonyms can also be used.
Use Social Media Correctly
In addition to online press portals and blogs, social media has developed into the most critical platform for distributing company news. Here the PR manager can post information together with the social media manager on the company’s profile page. However, the selection needs to be well planned and requires knowledge of the communicative practices on the company’s fan or profile page. A sure instinct is required here because it largely depends on whether the “fans” or “followers” share the news release. Many stumbling blocks are lurking on the internet. Social media monitoring has become an essential part of PR work.