Running a Successful Online Business | Be Your Own PR Agent
Last week I wrote about the power of great photography as a key element in communicating your brand. Today I’d like to cover another (equally important) component in growing your online business – PR.
PR can do wonders for your online business but is also quite pricey – that is if were to hire a traditional PR firm. We all know that isn’t possible for many small online businesses. But how can you give your business the attention it deserves without having to spend an arm and a leg doing so? The answer is simple – Be Your Own PR Agent. Possible? Definitely!
In order to understand how to be your own PR agent, you should first understand what PR means and how to go about performing it. PR is about forming relationships with media people (editors, reporters etc and keeping these relationships alive). If you already have an online store, the second most important thing besides keeping a blog is having a Facebook and Twitter fan page. Why do you need them? Glad you asked!
Reasons why social media should be on top of your list:
- You will get a better understanding of your target market up close
- Your competition is already using Facebook and Twitter
- It will help you build online brand awareness – people will recognize you and your business when they consistently see it
- It will bring you more sales – you will be able to listen to your customers’ needs and address them quickly
- New customers will find you through friends’ referrals
- Social Media will identify you as the expert in your market
- Your brand will be a click away to interested editors
Now that you understand the importance of social media in a successful PR, let’s briefly cover a few tips on what kind of voice you should put out there when pitching your brand.
Believe it or not, you will be pitching your brand every single time you put something out on any of the social media platforms. So make sure you choose your voice correctly. Be true to your story – this is key! You may choose to be more involved in one social media site – say Facebook. How many times should you post? There aren’t really any strict rules about this. Keep in mind the reason you’re using Facebook. Is it to keep in touch, connect with your fans and customers? Help them solve a problem, make a decision, inform them? All of the above? That is great! Keep doing what you do and be consistent at it.
Besides “pitching” to your fans and customers, you will also be reaching out to magazine and blog editors. These are the people who will hopefully help grow your online business by shouting about it to their readers – which is HUGE! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when reaching our to them.
1. Keep it short, sweet and personal
We’re all busy people, especially editors. When pitching a product, keep it short and to the point. Send an email describing your product and the story behind it in one paragraph or less. They will get in touch with you if they are interested to hear more. Always link to your shop in a few sections of your email. Always title your email (for example: New Product/Mother’s Day Gift Guide) and don’t forget to address the editor by their first name.
2. Include 1-2 great pictures
Being short and submitting great pictures are key in achieving press. You can attach 1-2 pictures of the product. Editors are visual people so give them what they need to make a decision in the spot. According to Jena Coray, author of Tip Top Pitch Shop Kit (an e-book on all your questions on how to gain more exposure for your online shop) – many blog editors will decide quickly whether or not to feature your product based on the photographs of your work. Give them nothing short of perfect!
3. Build relationships
Make sure to thank the source/person who covered your product by sending a nice follow up email. Keep in touch with them. This will ensure they remember you when time comes for a new story and you might just get that email or call you’ve been wishing for.
4. Keep a press list at hand
This list should cover all the press contacts you’ve been working with in the past and new ones you wish to pitch your work to. Make sure to have all their information (publication, email, phone number, name) at hand.
5. Keep them up to date with the latest and greatest
If they featured you in the past, chances are they want to hear from you again. Keep them posted with the freshest products. Notify them of a new product launching soon. Always be catchy when pitching your newest idea. This will reassure them their readers would love your idea/product.
6. Be prepared
There’s nothing worst than getting a feature and having your website crash or run out of that product. Make sure you have the right photographs and information they’re looking for upon request. You don’t want to miss out on a press opportunity because you didn’t answer fast enough.
I hope some of these tips were helpful to you. If you have questions, or to share some of your own tips, please leave a comment below and I will try to address them to the best of my knowledge.
You might want to check out the following books on Press and PR:
Tip Top Pitch Shop Kit – by Jena Coray
Recipe for Press – by Amy Flurry
The New Rules of Marketing and PR – by David Meerman Scott
Also check out our videos on Running a Successful Online Business
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