Search, Social Tactics Critical To Online Visibility
The communications landscape is changing faster than ever. The quest for greater online visibility and influence is driving the integration of marketing, public relations and public affairs, which puts a premium on strategic planning and opportunism. Those changes will accelerate as information technologies continue to converge and new channels fragment the media world even more. Harness these powerful trends and turn your most challenging issues into valuable opportunities on Main Street, Wall Street and Capitol Hill.
According to a leading PR strategist, staying ahead of online marketing trends is a full-time job. Just about the time you figure out the game of search, social media and other convergence opportunities, they change the landscape with new communication channels and new technology.
- Does your website have a blog? Adding a blog (web log or dialogue section). This is an area to provide added value to your customers and prospective customers. It also gives you fresh information to post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond. The more that you post good, unique content, the more that Google, Yahoo! and other search engines will reward you by featuring your business higher and more frequently within search results by prospects who are looking for a business such as yours.
- Does your website have analytics? Do you know how many people are visiting your site every day? Do you know what pages or posts these visitors are viewing? Are these views generating inquiries and orders? Analytics give you the insight necessary to fine tune your messages and your offers so that you maximize visitors and sales.
- Social Integration and Sharing. As you will see on this web post, we include the share bar above and below the information displayed to remind visitors to share the information with their network of contacts. The sharing links also make it quick and easy to send the information on to friends, family and associates. The share bar should include the most popular social and sharing options, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Also, research your top competitors on social media. What are they saying and doing? Don’t be left in the dark. This is public information.
- Are your visuals powerful, professional and simple? As in old-school advertising and marketing, you must grab the attention of readers and walk them through the information presented. Old-fashioned, low-quality images are a turnoff that position your business as old-fashioned and irrelevant in today’s fast-paced digital world.
- Are you using video? Images can help grab attention, while videos can help tell the story and put your story into different channels, such as YouTube. Videos can be very brief and very detailed, depending on the task. Even video shot from your cell phone can be powerful if you have an important message. As with photos and graphics, however, a video can send out the wrong message, so be relevant and respectful of your audience and their time.
- How do you stack up against key competitors in your market? Rate their web sites on the above factors. See what other insights you can gather from their site.
- Take the Google test. Conduct a market search just like a prospective client does. Enter a few key words, such as your home town and words that describe your business. For example, my clients might search Denver PR firm or PR firm Phoenix. Experiment with several searches to see who dominates this powerful platform. If you aren’t showing up on the first page of search results, you have work to do.
- When was the last time that you were featured in local, regional or national news? Earning media coverage is one of the most powerful tactics that a business can pursue. People trust third-party news, it positions you as a leader and it can feed your online outreach machine. Posting news coverage to your social accounts in a meaningful way can move the meter in many ways. Do you have a system for spotting and creating news? Do you have any media relationships? Start building a list of potential news opportunities and pitch them to the right reporters and editors.
- Do you have a current marketing plan? Not one from five years ago. Failure to plan is planning to fail.
If you answered no to any of these points, it might pay dividends to reconsider and regroup.