Online PR Basics – Big Public Relations Help for Small Business

Online PR is giving businesses – including small business – a boost in ways traditional public relations never could. PR pros who know how to use it are prospering, and so are their clients.

small business owner testimonial

The new rules of marketing and public relations require some new skills, but they play to two key strengths of PR professionals and savvy business owners – writing and building relationships. Regardless of the communications channels, the basics remain constant – strategic direction, good writing, good stories, targeted audiences and measurable objectives.

A Small Business Online PR Success Story

The news releases mentioned in the box at right was distributed via an online distribution service only. No email, snail mail or fax. It was published on more than 150 websites nationwide within two hours, including many Websites for newspapers and broadcast stations.

The widespread visibility led to the story being picked up by a leading trade publication for a feature article. Added benefit: many more links back to the client’s site to boost search engine rank. That’s the power of online public relations.

Decline of Print and Broadcast

Let’s consider what’s going on.

  • More and more people are getting news online.
  • Traditional print and broadcast media are losing audiences and shutting down.
  • Advertisers are going where the people are – online.
  • The Internet levels the field – small businesses can be big online.
These are compelling reasons for public relations to be online, too. Not as an add-on to a traditional approach, but as part of a new integrated approach to serving small business clients.

Print and broadcast media channels aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon. Radio didn’t replace newspapers, television didn’t replace movies. New communications channels tend to augment more than replace. But the Internet may displace more than previous innovations because it combines the basics of print and broadcast with interactivity.

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Ascendancy of Internet Defines Online PR Mix

Some public relations professionals consider the Internet mainly another way to do research and pitch journalists. It’s that, but much more. It’s a proven way to reach audiences directly, with or without the participation of journalists.

It’s a channel that provides immediate feedback and a level of measurement unavailable with traditional media. It’s a place where public relations, marketing and customer relations overlap, which makes online PR a powerful way to serve small business clients.

Search Engine Marketing – Genesis of Online PR

We can thank Internet marketers for developing the basic tools of search engine marketing. SEM is the dark art of promoting Websites by increasing their visibility in search engine rankings through paid and organic search results. Paid ads, such as Google Adwords, are a staple in paid search strategies. Each ad of about 10 words incorporates a single keyword or a keyword phrase that people are actively searching for with search engines.

Keyword Research

The good marketers research each word and phrase painstakingly, constantly testing to see which words get best results. When you’re paying each time a surfer clicks on a tiny ad, your keywords must be good enough to entice people to want to learn more. We use the same principle in online public relations, working the search engines for high organic listings based on keywords used in all forms of online content.

You can get the fundamentals of keyword research methods and the best tools to use on the Keyword Research page of this Website. For detailed information, you’ll want to read the pages about online press releases, article marketing, online newsletters, small business Websites, blogs and social media to see how keyword research plays an integral role in each.

This page is the best place to go for a quick overview of each of these basic tools all in one place.

ThePRDoc also has developed an online course designed especially to help busy business owners and professionals master the basics of online PR.

Small Business Marketing with Online PR covers the essentials in 10 minutes or less per day over a two-week period.