The other day a former classmate who is still in school (poor, unfortunate soul) sent me a message on Facebook. She was doing a little research on agencies in the area as she is preparing to graduate in April. She did the normal networking intro and questions and then she got to the crux of her email:
“I’ve got to be honest with you, Logan — I have no idea what the devil online PR is. Is that like regular PR, but all online?”
And then I realized I had some thinking and writing to do.
The Internet has hailed in a new generation of public relations, marketing and online lead generation companies, and with them has come revolutionary ideas about how to effectively reach publics. While most traditional PR methods still rule strategic planning, the specific channels for reaching them have evolved and are no longer limited to only newspapers, radio, and television. Suddenly, the “new” media of online newspapers and social media are now the traditional media, and there is a whole array of channels through which PR practitioners and marketing professionals can send their messages.
That still doesn’t answer the question though. Keep reading — we’ll get there.
Let’s start with defining public relations. Simply put, public relations is the art of establishing and maintaining relationships between businesses and their publics (for the purpose of staying on topic, we’re going to ignore one key aspect of PR – image management). So … we go have tea and crumpets with our clients’ customers and call it good? Well, it’s a bit more than that. Public relations, in my opinion, is all about placement — placing clients in the public eye, and more specifically, in news outlets. But what is the purpose? Most of the time, it’s lead generation. Sometimes it’s reputation management (I thought we weren’t going to talk about image management…), but even that boils down to the bottom line: money. In other words, we place our clients in the news and in the public eye mostly so people will see the good work they’re doing and then want to do business with them.
With so much news going online, how do PR agencies get their clients in the public eye, and in a position where they can actually generate leads for their clients? Here enters search engine optimization (SEO). PRMarketing.com was born from such an agency, SEO.com, and has combined the science of SEO with public relations. All of a sudden, we’re killing two birds with one stone: while placing clients in the news, we also focus on using the elements for which search engines scan when people run searches. Examples: Infographics, links within websites, social media activity, and topic-related keywords in both website content and press releases. And just like *that,* we’ve not only gotten companies into the public eye through press coverage, but those companies’ sites are also showing up on the first page of search engine results.
That’s what sets PRMarketing apart: no one else touts the results of PR combined with a progressive knowledge and understanding of search engines’ behaviors.
So, that’s online PR: it’s traditional PR, with all its media outreach and image management, combined with strategic online placement.
PR will never be the same. And now I have something to send back to my friend.