It's a jungle out there.
When it comes to the online world, we are all struggling to make a buck or two and it doesn't digital marketing has got us by the shorts when it comes to getting traffic for your website.
As a small business, everywhere you turn there appears to be the lure of social media advertising. Facebook and the like have got us in their sights, and you certainly don't have to be Clarins and appoint a top draw SEO for your digital marketing strategy of epic proportions.
They tempt us in by their clever ploys and false promises of how you can increase this and drive that to your business. You want to make money yet you can't afford to spend any and that old saying loops around in your head time and time again - 'if you're not advertising your business, you simply running an expensive hobby.' Grrrrr!
But there is a knight in the wings ready to carry you away to Sales land and it is called Digital PR. However, jumping into the world of public relations for your business isn't a walk in the park. Like most ventures (whether they are fun activities or as dull as spreadsheets) they are strategies that need careful planning and equally careful execution.
Simply firing a mass of press releases at any old journalist isn't going to make you stick. All it will do is put you straight in their trash folder. BUT, with some clever and very shrewd tactics, you CAN make your PR practice something to be proud of.
SEO: The big kid in the playground
It is the key to the world. Quite literally and even in digital PR, it needs to be the focus of everything you do. Think of Google as the kid in the playground you want to hang out with the most.
You know you have got to get him to like you first but it's difficult. It is a bigger kid, with equally bigger kid friends to hang out with, yet he is cool and can lift your status in the school no end. What's your first move? To to run up and shower him with praise, gifts, cash, corny jokes? No, he is smarter than that. You need to get him on side first and play him at is own intelligent game.
SEO is no different. You don't ask someone to marry you on the first date, so don't think that PR, of any kind is going to make you a star over night. It won't. That only happens if you are instantly connected to the Royal Family. As vaudeville comic Eddie Cantor once said, it takes 20 years to be an overnight success.
So, let's get right down to it, from Michelle Hatcher Media, we have been studying exactly what it is that makes websites glow with success and how you can start grabbing a few of these tactics right now (and we'll even tell you what the benefits are):
Tactic: Add in links in with your content to relevant internal pages and posts.
Benefit: The longer traffic spends on your site, the more it moves organically up the search results, thus generating more traffic and increasing the chances of sales.
Google wants to see your visitors hang around on your site and preferable visit more than just one page so make this easy for them but directing them to more pages. Why? Because Google is in the business of quality.
After all, it is it's own money making machine and is has a reputation to uphold. It loves good content, well maintained sites and lots of happy visitors. It makes sense.
Tactic: Focus on generating natural backlinks to your site
Benefit: Improves your credibility as an expert, thus gaining automatic trust from your visitors
A word to the wise, don't ever feel tempted to cheat by attempting to gain backlinks from dodgy tactics like handing over wads of cash for them. Google hates that (and will know you're doing it, don't ask me how) and will give you a smack on the back of the hand for doing so by marking you down the search results. Once you have annoyed Google it can be very difficult to climb back up again.
When constructing any piece of content, make sure what you link it to isn't about to jump out of the window and desert you.
Another good practice to get into the habit or is posting original infographics and images - these are easy to create on platforms such as Canva. Guest posts, interviews and staff blogs with quotes are ideal places to start if you are wishing to build good quality backlinks to your site.
The other advantage of that is it keeps the tone of voce fresh and interesting. Better than just one person out of your team writing the content all the time.
Also, when using links in your text, add in links to formative sites which are niche focused. Our favourite tactic is to link back to news items which are trending with News Now. That way it keeps your content up to date and relevant. It also means you have done your homework in terms of research.
Also, be consistent throughout your posts and website. Don't just stuff one post and ignore the rest of your blog. You need to allow Google to see that you are consistently building an authoritative site which is rich on content of high value to the visitor.
Tactic: Create well research content for your blog posts by reading the news
Benefit: Your brand identity will increase and so will your customer trust
Years ago when I first started out in Communications, I would spend most of my mornings sprawled out on the office floor surrounded by a wash of the morning's newspapers. We would scour the headlines and sub sections looking for content, inspiration and take part in a little known PR past time in those days - newsjacking (more on that on a blog post here). It is the PRs saving grace, or at least it can be at times when your mind has gone blank.
Linking, commentating or simply writing your opinion on a trending news item will boost your traffic, mark you down as someone who keeps their finger on the pulse and generally put you in a category of 'go to' experts in the field.
Just make sure that your news items are relevant to you and your content and lastly, be tactful - not all news items that are trending are going to be positive. Don't feel the need to jump on a trending topic that is highly controversial or political. So, the best way forward is to stay away from war, sensitive subjects and anything that is going to make your audience feel anything other than great.
Tactic: Take popular news topics and add your unique slant.
Benefit: Create the opportunity for the world to hear your expertise.
We all love to read something interesting and preferably, not something rehashed from another blog post, yet there are zillions of post out there who do just retype what they have already found. Now, I shall let you into a little secret: there is nothing wrong in reading an article and feeling inspired to write you own take. After all, I trust you not to just simply copy and paste over, can't I? Good, I thought so.
So, when you put fingertips to keyboard, remember to always add your own personal take on it. Add in your inspired thoughts, do a little research to back up your work and add in your links to your credible sources.
The world is full of opinions and posts about them. Yours of course are unique because they belong to you, so lets hear them rather than reprinting someone else's.
Long blog posts may be a pain to write, but put your back into a 1500 word article which mountains of supper high quality takeaways and little nuggets of informed data for your readers to share and it will pay you dividends for literally years to come because once it's online, it stays online, wouldn't that be fabulous?
Think of the wincing shots from your student days on FB coming back to haunt you....Yes, it's it out there, it sticks and will keep getting traffic forever more.
There is an old saying about dining out on such high content and trust me, on a good post, you will.
Tactic: Story tell through your About Us page and make use of it
Benefit: This page increases the likelihood of visitor purchases and trust.
Did you know that 92% of internet shoppers say they always check out the About Us page FIRST before they buy from someone new?
The problem with the internet today is that it's utterly soulless. Even during Covid-19 and we were shoved onto virtual gigs and online festivals for our limp entertainment, we still wouldn't have swapped our muddy wellies and cold damp tent in favour for a sofa and some headphones.
So don't be a spoilsport and come and join in the revolution called 'putting your face out there.' Online entrepreneurs often hide behind the cosiness and quiet of the website, but if you want people to stop off as they pass by and buy something from you, you're going to have to talk about yourself.
It is the best page to show off your achievements, your challenges, what you have overcome and how. Add in your social links and talk about how you have come to be where you are, who you are and what your aims and missions for your venture are. This is the page that gives you depth, character and the place where you brand should start.
PR isn't the easy way out
Before you decide that public relations is the easy option, think again. It takes more thought and consideration over marketing any day of the week, yet it cannot stand alone as one solitary practice. PR won't work without a marketing plan and an advertising strategy. The same goes for the other way around. These three sisters were always meant to work together, not apart.
PR isn't all about that one golden hit to the stars. It is a marathon not a sprint. Yes, it's cost effective where marketing and advertising will sap away at your bank balance, but whoa there tiger! It could, id done badly cost you BIG TIME.
PR isn't shouting loudly
To be honest, you ain't gonna do yourself any favours if you just shout loudly over the top of everyone else. If you think that PR is all about elbowing your way to the front of the queue, think again.
Still struggling with the concept of PR for your business? Don't worry, just jump on a FREE 30 minute consultation with us and we'll smooth the path for you. To book a time slot best for you call 0204 538 0811 or email email@example.com