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PR & eCommerce: A Match Made in Heaven and How to Leverage It to Help Your Business Grow

PR & eCommerce: A Match Made in Heaven and How to Leverage It to Help Your Business Grow - Duct Tape Marketing

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Every business craves for publicity, irrespective of its size and stature. If done right, it is an absolute gold for any business, online or otherwise. However, it remains a mystery to most businesses. For instance, many believe PR is separate from affiliate marketing. But in reality, they are complimentary and need each other.

For an eCommerce business, it is utmost important to communicate with shoppers on a regular basis to create mutually beneficial relationships. For example, while online retailers can leverage PR (via social media) to understand the “temperature” of their target audience, shoppers find PR helpful in terms of gathering information about the brand. In short, PR is the ideal tool not only to inform and guide buyers but also to engage them in the best possible ways.

With proper PR, you are more likely to convert your traffic to become first-time shoppers and even and possibly to lifetime buyers. Here are 3 PR strategies to help you improve your eCommerce outreach. Before we get there, you must know the benefits of investing time and money on PR strategies.

PR and eCommerce – A Match Made in Heaven

PR is much different from paid media (such as online advertising) where you have control over the messages you distribute. Journalists have their own networks and they are bound by trust, so it is necessary for the journalists to present stories that are relevant and offer value to their audience. The trust would immediately evaporate if the readers find the news presented is just another form of advertising.

Moreover, positive publicity is much more precious than advertising – it improves the brand image and brand value. News stories get archived, shared and remembered for long, so the impact on sales by being featured in a TV segment is much higher than being featured in advertisements during commercial breaks. For instance, if your business gets featured in a news segment on The New York Times, the impact on existing and prospective customers would be much higher than being featured as a sponsored ad on a particular.

It is a dream for most business owners to get featured on the top media channels, but getting attention from the journalists can be the toughest endeavor. But when done in the right manner, the benefits can be massive.

Jet.com did a great job to attract the attention of the journalists. Even though a start-up, Jet.com wrote a story about the new business beating all the odds by establishing itself and becoming a major competitor for the eCommerce giant Amazon.com. The story got a lot of attention from the readers, including some of the journalists and eventually, their story was published on ‘The Washington Post’. And all they did was cultivating the loyal customers through their content.

So by doing PR the right way, you can not only retain your customers but also reach the desired place.

PR & eCommerce: A Match Made in Heaven and How to Leverage It to Help Your Business Grow - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit clerk

You can find more successful eCommerce store PR stories here.

Now that you understand how important PR can be for your eCommerce business, let’s get into the details of the top 5 PR strategies.

PR Strategies to Improve eCommerce Outreach

Here is how you can leverage PR for increasing your eCommerce outreach:

1. Helping Journalists Create Stories

Journalists are always looking out for inspirational and interesting stories so that they attract even more attention through their publications or media channels. So by helping the journalists to write compelling stories, you can get the desired attention towards your eCommerce business.

HARO, a short form of ‘Help A Reporter Out’ is a platform where the journalists engage in finding out sources they need to complete their news articles.

PR & eCommerce: A Match Made in Heaven and How to Leverage It to Help Your Business Grow - Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit haro

By signing up as a source, you can look out for journalists who cover a topic related to your niche and offer interesting stories about your new products. For instance, if a journalist is looking for information regarding exciting new product launches for New Year, you can discuss your new products that will be launched during the New Year and how they will benefit the journalist’s reader.

So you get the desired coverage while the journalist gets something interesting to write about.

2. Writing for Niche Blogs that Attract Media Attention

This particular tactic is known as ‘trading up the chain’. It allows you to create a high-quality piece of content for a blog that attracts the attention of the larger blogs and media outlets. Once your eCommerce business is up and running and you have emphasized on the most interesting aspects, you must then start looking for blogs that have a large reach, especially the media sources. Then you write an engaging content related to the niche of the blog and submit it to publish.

Remember, writing an average post will do no good, you must write an interesting or newsworthy post. For instance, Stacey’s Snacks is a very popular branded blog (with about five thousand hits daily) that deals with various kinds of recipes. So, businesses selling kitchen tools and appliances can write interesting recipes for this blog and strategically include the kitchen tools and appliances to promote them.

So it is quite possible that journalists covering food-related topics would refer Stacey’s blog and feature one of your posts in their publication.

3. Reaching Journalists through Social Media

No matter how amazing your business is journalists will be least interested in writing about them if you fail to engage them. So before pitching a journalist, it is necessary that you build a relationship with them and this can be best done through social media.

As social media becomes the primary source of news updates for the Americans, more and more journalists leverage the various social platforms. A large number of journalists also look at social media channels for every article they research. In fact, studies reveal that Twitter is the most popular social channel among readers and journalists. So by leveraging your products and services (or your eCommerce business as a whole), you can grab the attention of the journalists as well as their readers.

But remember, you can’t just jump into a conversation with journalists or their followers on social media. It is important to understand which journalists are interested in developing a relationship with your brand and the ways to approach them.

Here is how you can engage journalists on social media:

  • Follow journalists who cover niche topics
  • Tag journalists to posts that would interest them
  • Don’t just tag anything you come across; that would annoy everyone
  • Choose the platform carefully – Talking business on LinkedIn is fine, but it is a strict no-no for Facebook! You get it

By successfully engaging journalists on social media, you can influence buyer decisions and improve sales.

Conclusion

In this immensely competitive world, you can’t afford to make PR mistakes. So it is necessary that you understand the strong connection between PR and eCommerce and design strategies that would help you reach out to a larger audience and improve the bottom line.

Mansi DhordaMansi Dhorda works at E2M – A Digital Marketing Agency. A social media enthusiast, she is well-versed in content marketing and other internet marketing niches. You can interact with her on Twitter.

Three Ways PR and SEO Can Be Best Friends

Three Ways PR and SEO Can Be Best Friends - Duct Tape Marketing

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Not so long ago people would have called you crazy for suggesting that PR and SEO could be friends. After all, SEO was all about gaming the search engine algorithms to push your websites higher than they deserved to go. You did this by finding loopholes in the system. For example, you wrote lots of guest articles without really caring about the quality, just so that you could backlink to your website. Or you used strange language constructs that didn’t flow, but more closely matched what people were likely to type into a search engine.

In other words, you would do what would make Edward L. Bernays, the little-known father of PR, roll over in his grave. After all, PR is all about reaching out to customers and creating positive relationships with them, something these tactics absolutely did not do.

A modern era

With the latest Google tweaks, such as Penguin and Panda, that has changed. They’ve made a lot of the practices to boost your standing less effective where they haven’t eliminated them entirely. What’s more, they’ve made it clear that Google is on the warpath to irradiate any future tricks found to manipulate their algorithm once they find out about them. That means that sooner or later all your hard algorithm cracking work will be rendered useless.

And so people have started looking at alternative strategies to boost SEO more in line with what Google wants, and what Google seems to want is to bring SEO and PR far closer together, as good PR practices now boost SEO as well.

This has served to make the two friends in a number of ways.

Content is King(dom)

The first way the two practices have come together is that they now both require something to ‘sell’. They both need good content. That, in itself, is not enough (content isn’t king, it just gives you a kingdom) but without it, neither will get anywhere. After all, it doesn’t matter how hard you push something, if people don’t want it, then they’ll go looking elsewhere.

For that reason, SEO has swung around to the PR way of thinking and has started creating better content rather than large amounts of it. For obvious reasons, as there’s already more than enough content on the internet that is little more than other websites regurgitated and that’s not really what people are after. What they want is high-quality and original content that tells them something new. And it is that kind of content that will draw traffic as well as push you up in the Google ranking.

Admittedly, this has made it harder for many websites. After all, getting people retype what’s already on the internet just with different links could be accomplished by average freelancers or bloggers sitting at home. The quest for new ideas and new content, on the other hand, is both a far more labor intensive and costly enterprise. Therefore don’t be surprised to see many mom and pop sites go under in the months to come, even as companies with the manpower and the resources to compete continue to expand their influence.

The internet really is no longer the land of milk and honey.

The Social Media Alliance

Through the before-mentioned Google tweaks, PR and SEO have come to agree in another area and that is social media. Again, it has been SEO that has changed directions here, as suddenly likes, shares, and re-tweets matter to them as these now also affect ranking in Google search algorithms.

For that reason if you want to rank well you’ve got to boost your social media profiles. That alone might not be enough, however. After all the spending on social media advertising, last year increased by 33.5% even while the percentage of new users climbed by a little under 5%. That means that each dollar spent will have less value.

The way many companies are trying to sidestep this is by looking at jumping onto trends before other people do, in the hope of riding the wave and getting greater attention for their content than they otherwise would have. There are a lot of tools for this now so be sure you use them, as many allow you to not just look at trending topics overall, but also per category and industry.

The Referral Relationship

In PR, the drive to create good press has always been an important one and now SEO has joined them in this regard as well. This is because referrals from high-quality websites have become a fantastic way to boost your rank in Google. But as cold-calling is (and never really has been) a very effective technique, more and more companies are aiming at building and maintaining long-term relations with high-ranking websites including the newspaper.

Here as well a slew of new tools are also available to websites – the most interesting of them is possibly Help A Reporter Out. Here journalists can state what kind of source they need for an article and then companies can offer their services, in return for a link back and – possibly – a longer term relationship, which can be beneficial to both sides.

Conclusion

What Google is pushing for with their algorithm changes is to make it so that if you want to stay ahead in the SEO ranking system you have to actually give users what they want. Do this successfully and you will rank high, fail and you’ll slide down as the algorithms get tweaked against you.

And as they make these changes, the customer gets a better user-experience on the Google search engine, making the company’s reign at the top even less unassailable. In effect, it’s like a ratchet that will constantly wind up more tightly and thereby twist SEO and PR closer together until one day they aren’t just friends but they are one and the same. I can’t help but wonder if that means that in some years that means I’ll be writing articles about in which ways SEO and PR still differ?

Rick RiddleRick Riddle is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with content management, self-development, and personal finance. Connect with Rick on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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