One question that we frequently get when advising clients about online strategy is how to handle PR online. Companies with a lot of old-school PR experience are used to writing press releases and taking journalists out to lunch to plug them full of ideas, as recommended by Keith Ferazzi in Never Eat Alone. But what about social media, viral videos, and secret online blogging networks? Hasn’t PR changed with the advent of new media like Facebook?
In short – not really. Our advice is to never neglect the importance of offline and in-person PR.
There are a host of platforms and strategies which you can use as one tool in your PR tool belt. Do not be fooled into thinking that paying for online press releases can completely take the place of developing relationships with key industry players and media contacts. Today at Anant, we’re going to go over five of the best online PR tools and platforms out there today for any startups who are looking to ramp up their image, pageviews, etc. online.
Top Five Online PR Resources for Your Startup
1. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
Help a Reporter Out is a resource for reporters who need content. Often times, reporters are on tight deadlines and are starved for “experts” to quote as sound bites in their articles. When you sign up as a “source” on HARO, you receive daily emails from reporters soliciting expert opinions in a variety of areas, including Tech, Travel, Health, etc. If you are legitimately an expert in one of these areas and can provide valuable knowledge to reporters, you stand a great chance of being quoted in their pieces. When you get a quote, you often get a link back to your site or the site of your choice, and you gain a great deal of credibility in the process depending on who is quoting you. We have had success with HARO in the past for a number of our clients, and personal projects, and highly recommend you check it out. Plenty of deadline-crazed, content starved reporters for everyone!
PRWeb is the leader in online news distribution and online publicity. PRWeb “democratized” news distribution, transforming the “press release” from an expensive tool used by large corporations to an inexpensive yet highly effective way for organizations of all sizes to distribute their news on the Internet, increase their visibility online and attract customers. PRWeb is a service of Vocus. (NASDAQ: VOCS)
PRWeb is a paid press release distribution service with wide circulation and reach. PRWeb is a premium service, and they have a list of premium success stories, and are a Vocus company, just like HARO. If you’ve got hard hitting content or a major product launch, and a bit of a budget to work with to do a premium press release – this is where you want to come.
PRLog is like the free version of PRWeb. It’s a free press release distribution service, though it has premium options. PRLog has good circulation and if you are monitoring the web for competitive keywords in your niche, chances are that you will see press releases popping up from PRLog. If you have unique content or a launch to release, you may be able to get “Free” premium placement on their front page. Creating an account is free and relatively simple, and you just want to write your press releases in a format that’s catchy, and easy for journalists to copy and paste.
4. PR NewsWire
PRNewswire has a great small business pr service. They claim they have distribution in sites like AOL, MSN, and Yahoo. There isn’t a lot to differentiate PR NewsWire from the other options listed above, though they do have an excellent tips and advice, and case study section which would be helpful for small businesses to check out if considering writing their own press release.
Vocus is the parent site of both HARO and PRWeb. In addition to running one of the biggest online PR games around, they also have a monthly paid subscription service to help you monitor your brand and engage with new followers to build your audience that only runs $49.99/mo. When you sign up, you connect your Twitter and FB accounts, it will pull all of your data for you automatically, and then give you tips and advice on how often to update your social media accounts, and engage with new followers according to best practices.
So, is online PR important for your company? Yes. Is it a replacement for traditional offline PR? Absolutely not. This is a brief overview of five of the best tools out there for PR for startups, and if you have any additional questions about online PR or digital promotion strategy, please feel free to send them our way!