The trend of small businesses relying on internet marketing to gain exposure and reach potential customers has been around for several years. The measurable nature of internet marketing and the fact that the available instruments are very affordable make this new marketing approach very suitable for the relatively limited budget of smaller businesses.
This last year, however, there is another online instrument used by small businesses to boost credibility, and that instrument is online public relations. Unlike internet marketing in general, online PR relies on third-party sources and the generically produced content they put out.
More Tools to Utilize
Online PR – and public relations in general – is not something that can be done overnight. It is very different to placing an advertisement or running a social media contest. For online PR to be effective, real relationships with online media and influencers must be built. In the old days, smaller businesses didn’t really consider investing in such relationships for various reasons.
Today, however, there are plenty of tools that can help businesses connect with key opinion leaders as well as the right media. HootSuite, a popular platform for managing social media activities, now has a built-in tool designed to find leads and discover relevant social media influencers. Social media as a whole also creates plenty of opportunities for businesses to reach out to industry leaders.
There are also tools designed to distribute press releases to the right online media outlets, as well as independent publishers or bloggers. Instead of having to send out releases and other information manually, businesses can develop comprehensive relationships with key individuals from one unified platform. Experts believe that this is where the trend started.
Support from Online PR Specialists
The PR world is moving towards helping small businesses make their online PR efforts as effective as they can be. Measurable metrics and analytics tools provide the perfect combination that bridges the gap between observable impacts of online PR and the budget constraints small businesses usually have to deal with.
On the other hand, more masters in public relations online programs have classes in online PR. These up-to-date programs are creating future specialists with an online public relations degree from reputable names such as Kent State University, ready to join the market as either in-house PR officer or a specialist in a PR agency.
A Growing Trend
Public relations create something that ads cannot: credibility. When viewers see influencers talking passionately about a small business’s product in a vlog or writing about it in a blog post, they tend to trust what the influencers say more than when they hear the same message from paid advertising or placement ads. This makes the value of online PR relatively higher, causing the return on investment to be higher as well.
Small businesses know this. They are taking advantage of the immense online PR opportunities currently available to develop a stronger online presence and credibility at the same time. This trend will continue to shape the market for years to come, which is good news for those working in the PR industry.