Public relations is integral to business perception, credibility, customer trust and curating a strong, competitive online presence.
Digital public relations has evolved from the past methods of using a company spokesperson, publishing a few press releases from time to time, or issuing a corporate statement to respond to negative press. Rather, public relations in the modern online business space is a proactive method of building those essential reputational assets from the ground up and shaping how visitors and consumers view your company.
The Importance of Public Relations for Online Businesses
The transition from offline to online is extremely relevant to modern businesses because all of those communications that were, in the past, largely in-person or through costly print media have shifted to digital.
Public relations done right can be an important part of developing an online presence, particularly in high-competition industries where brand awareness is pivotal.
Here’s how it works:
- Everything you publish online, through social media, your own website, or a third-party publication is available to a vast audience. One exceptional press release or industry thought piece could multiply your visitor numbers many times over.
- Search engines love multiple types of content, backlinks from authoritative news platforms, and high click-through pieces. They will boost these when ranking your website and deciding where it appears on the search engine results pages.
- The more exposure you have online, and the more clicks, likes, visitors, follows, and conversions you achieve, the more that effect snowballs. It adds greater weight to your company’s credibility and how many people Google decides present your website to as a solution for their search term.
Building public relations into your marketing strategy is an effective way to maximise reach, scale your business, and cross-post quality content across multiple channels to achieve fast quantifiable growth.
How Does Public Relations Increase Sales Revenues?
The ultimate goal of any online project, whether a promotion, marketing campaign or public relations exercise, is to increase profitability and revenue.
One of the benefits of public relations is that you can secure a significantly better ROI than most other communications techniques, with the potential for thousands of hits, click-throughs and sales. That aside, public relations is about building a brand narrative and cultivating a reputation that ensures customers trust your company, engage with your content, and want to be a part of what you do.
Any marketing without the backing of an assertive PR campaign will have glaring gaps because, without that credibility behind you, the results will always be mitigated by sceptical customers, abandoned baskets or simply those buyers who won’t purchase from a business they have never heard of. Using added value content (not necessarily always about sales) compels customers to stay connected, follow your socials, and be vested in the company by presenting the right messages that make them feel part of the club.
Social proof is another powerful element of public relations, but that’s a topic for another day!
Why Brand Credibility Is Key to Modern Business Success
Let’s talk credibility, what that means in a real-world sense, and why it is crucial for companies that want to carve out a niche for themselves and secure market share that would be impossible for a competitor to snag.
Credibility means that your audience:
- Believes that what you say is true – e.g. if you say your product is ten times faster than anyone else’s, you need customers to buy into that as a fact, not speculation.
- Considers your brand prestigious – when you are considered the best in your field, you have a significant head start over everybody else.
- Trusts that you are competent – you break down barriers to conversions by showing that if you promise next-day delivery, it will happen.
The challenge for many growing businesses is that credibility has to exist before you can make a sale or is influential in converting wavering buyers who aren’t yet convinced.
Lack of trust is a key issue for companies that see consumers put off by any element of an online transaction. For example, if you only offer credit card checkouts and don’t accept PayPal, a dubious shopper is highly likely to go elsewhere if they aren’t 100% confident that your brand is authentic and will fulfil their order.
Public relations builds a platform of credibility by linking your company with authoritative news sites and media outlets, expanding the visibility of your content across multiple channels, and leveraging quality backlinks to improve domain authority, and therefore, your position in search engine rankings.
Linking Public Relations With Sales and Marketing
Public relations isn’t a standalone methodology and connects with every marketing campaign and promotion to solidify your messaging and reinforce the success of each project.
Most customers who discover your business will usually do so through a third party, such as a feature in a digital magazine, a news article in a publication they follow, a mention on social media by an influencer, or by seeing positive reviews posted by friends or family. The best approach is to trace the typical customer journey and track their experience at each stage, from the first touch point to discovery, becoming a potential prospect through to being a qualified lead – and eventually a customer or client.
If that sales funnel starts with a vigorous public relations exercise and ends with an immersive, quality website equipped with all the right messaging and trust signals, you can quickly expedite the funnel and improve your sales revenues. Using a consistent tone of voice connects marketing and public relations, emphasising the USP or benefits of using your product or service and ensuring you control the narrative and how your target audience thinks about your company.
For more information about public relations in the modern business space and how to utilise this tool to boost your own credibility, revenue, conversions and online visibility, please contact the experts at Brand News.