Saturday, April 19, 2008

Using Online PR to Promote Your Website or Online Business

Online public relations, or online PR for short, refers to ways of connecting with your site's or business' key audience with the goal of either building awareness and increasing exposure, building and maintaining trust to your image or brand, or communicating to your key target to solve problems or crises. Online PR works similarly to traditional PR, but using different PR tools.

There are several benefits to including online PR to your Internet marketing efforts.

1. You can send out your messages quickly to your key audience regardless of what your message is -- from breaking news to response to a problem or crisis situation,.

2. With the right set of online PR tools, you can directly connect with your target audience instead of simply just to non targeted groups through media outlets.

3. With online PR, you can easily evaluate your online PR campaigns because you are directly sending your message to your target audience. You can easily and immediately gather data from viewers, readers or listeners because you can have direct interaction with them through online PR.

4. If you are a small website or online business, you'll find that online PR tools and strategies are more accessible to you than the traditional or offline PR tools.

There are several online PR tools you can use for your public relations efforts, and these include:

1. Press Releases

You would use press releases for your online PR efforts similarly to how you would use them in traditional or off line PR. Although nothing beats manual targeting of quality media outlets and trying to establish relevant media relationships, distributing press releases or news about your site or business to news engines like Google News and Yahoo! News can be seen directly by people within your target market.

2. Blogs and Forums

Blogs and online forums are two great online PR tools you can use to establish and maintain your reputation or status as an expert in your field or an authoritative source on a niche. However, when using these two online PR tools, you need to use a "soft sell" technique rather than a blatant sales pitch. Some soft sell techniques include writing quality content and answering questions about your niche. You can use blogs and online forums to build trust and gain the respect of your target market, which will eventually generate traffic to your site or convert sales for your business later on.

3. Article Distribution

Another way you can establish your expertise in your chosen niche and build trust among your target audience is to write expert articles and then make them available online via the different article directories.

4. Search Engine Optimization

Commonly thought of as a marketing tool, search engine optimization or SEO is actually a narrow online PR niche. The purpose of this online PR tool is to build exposure and raise awareness about your site or online business through the soft sell approach via search engine placements. When done properly, SEO will bring natural traffic to your website or convert sales for your online business.

5. E-mail Newsletters

An e-mail newsletter or e-zine is an online PR tool you can use to directly communicate with your key audience or market. By regularly publishing an e-mail newsletter, you can maintain your image as well as make your key audience remain aware of your brand.

6. Podcasts and Webinars

Podcasts and webinars are regarded as the online counterpart of off line seminars. You can use podcasts and webinars to establish reputation and reinforce your expertise in your niche.

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