While many businesses seem to be moving forward and embracing all things online including social media marketing, when it comes to getting results through public relations, there is still a widely-held belief that print coverage is better than online coverage.
Having a tiny, half column mention in a weekend paper often causes notable excitement for a business or client while a full story with photos included on a niche website doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
This could be credited to the fact that it is not easy to put a price on online editorial the way we do with print and with the far reach of the internet and content being freely available, circulation numbers are often only estimated.
Directors and marketing managers want to see the hard facts and know they are getting a strong return on investment and this is easier to achieve when a story is printed in hardcopy.
In reality, getting online coverage for your company can be much more effective than being published in tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapping.
Online content is available forever
Thanks to search engines, the article your company is mentioned in can be dug up and re-read by a new audience, months and even years after it is first posted online. If you’re published in a magazine, you may take a media clipping for your files but once that publication is off the shelf, the story dies, never to be read again. Online offers a much longer ‘shelf-life’ and your exposure is limitless.
Search Engine Optimisation
When you include links to other websites within your article there is the opportunity for the operators of those sites to link back to your article. What this means is visitors to other sites that would have otherwise never have know about your article, can now click on the link and be directed to it giving you an even larger audience. By posting your articles on your website or blog, it also helps keep the content fresh and new helping you rank higher on search engines.
Random Google Searches
By placing an article online and selecting a few really good keywords your story can turn up on Google searches, even when you don’t expect it to! By using key words about the topic you are writing about, for instance if you were writing about Twitter you could use key words such as ‘social media’, ‘marketing’, ‘web 2.0’, ‘tweets’ and then when people do a Google search about Twitter, they could stumble across your article and be directed to your website.
It is more likely for potential readers to stumble across your story when it can be found online rather than hidden in the back of a magazine somewhere.
The Internet is a BIG space
With so many websites, blogs and e-newsletters out there, there is an ongoing requirement for content. If you can provide interesting and helpful information that people want to read about and can learn from, you will find there is a never-ending need for articles. You just need to find the right niche that your piece can fit into and pitch the idea to the editor or blogger.
Accessing stories online is easy
Gone are the days where you have to make your way to the newsagents to physically pick up and buy a magazine to read an article. It is so easy to type in the URL of your favourite online newspaper or magazine, scan the headlines and pick the stories that interest you. It’s also incredibly easy to share links to stories you find interesting through email and sites like Facebook and Twitter. This idea of sharing stories with friends provides even greater scope for your article to be read.
About the Author
Catriona Pollard is director of CP Communications which provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that achieve positive media coverage, increased brand awareness and improved sales results.