Online Public Relations

Our initial beginnings, all those years ago, were centred on the principles of online public relations; delivering great campaigns for appreciative and innovative clients to raise awareness, get people talking, grow your inbound links and build brands.

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Achieving coverage in the online world

Now, the focus for the vast majority of our work has shifted. We are no longer targeting print publications as our primary goal; our sights have moved to set firmly upon online media and their communities. Seeing as virtual windows are often the only shopfront for many e-commerce and online businesses, or certainly a big aspect for those who spread the business between the on- and offline worlds, we know that the most direct way to drive traffic, enquiries and sales is through targeting online publications and achieving coverage in the virtual world.

The dynamic of the media

The development in the way that businesses function and what they want is not the only change; over the last decade that we have been in the business, we’ve seen a huge change in the dynamic of the media. There are very few publications that have larger readerships for their physical copies than their online versions; reflecting the fact that the public turns online to read their share of the news.

Online PR Strategies

Not only do people read stories online, but they also share them. Talk over the breakfast table while perusing the weekend papers is all well and good, but how about when that discussion can be broadcast to tens, or even hundreds, of people – all at once? Such is the power of social media! The fact that news outlets often feature their own active and well-respected social media accounts, through which they will also tweet or post their stories, means that the initial hit can be far more wide-reaching; plus, readers will be able to share the stories with their entire network in seconds, just through a couple of clicks.

Social media sites are growing in popularity every day, with the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at the global forefront, and new social media platforms appearing every week. Social media marketing does not just relate to networking sites, it also incorporates blogger outreach and influencing online social and industry commentators.

This encourages the buzz that we are always looking to generate with our campaigns and helps clients not only get bang for their buck, but also tune in to the discussion around the campaigns by monitoring the comments, likes and shares that come from their news.

Designing an online PR campaign

Although many clients understand that online public relations is a different practice to the traditional PR variety, it can be confusing when putting a campaign into reality. Many companies are used to sending out their Christmas stories in the middle of September if not earlier, usually while sweating through an Indian summer and feeling a million miles away from the snow and John Lewis ads of December. When we suggest Christmas stories in our campaigns, even as late as Christmas Eve itself, they are often rather doubtful. Hasn’t everybody gone home by then? Of course not, journalists work 24/7 every day of the year, particularly when it comes to national news and certainly of the online variety. Media publications usually have set online staff, dedicated to filling the interweb with all kinds of weird and wonderful stories every day – so we need to cater to that.

Adhering to the online audience

Furthermore, when planning an online PR campaign, it’s important to recognise that the content needs to adhere to the online audience. The way in which readers consume news in hard copy is different to their online behaviour. Of course, it depends on the site in question and the nature of the story, but a general rule is that, while traditional print-focused campaigns are more centred around in-depth and serious pieces, online news must be more concise and attention-grabbing. A campaign must contain angles with strong enough hooks and headlines to warrant thirty seconds of the visitor’s time to scan the page, and ideally relatable, shocking or emotive enough that they will want to share it too.

There are all kinds of ways to do this, many of which include having fun with tools, tricks and types of content that just wouldn’t be feasible for print-orientated campaigns; things like video and micro-sites.

Introducing sticky content

Mixing up the type of content is not only a great way to snare attention and ‘gamify’ the news process. It’s also a rather savvy trick to snare the interest of the journalist, as well as the reader. Many news sites are turning their attention to ‘sticky’ content, anything that will keep readers on their site for longer. This is another objective which print and online journalists don’t have in common; print journalists aren’t able to know how long people are spending flicking through their pages, while online ones will be all too familiar with these kinds of analytics.

As a result, we love to pepper our online campaigns with a mix of different content formats, from guerrilla marketing and videos through to concept images and interactive infographics, and even incorporate several with just one cross-platform campaign (take a look at our Safe Driving Playlist & Drunk Driver Stunt, it’s one of our best). These work to drive coverage, mentions and links; the deciding factor of what makes an online PR campaign a success.

Future proofing

The future of news is more and more smartphone friendly; not only online but via new apps and technology. In recent times, we’ve seen huge national publications such as Sky News, the Daily Mail and Vice use Snapchat for news stories, as well as the likes of Vogue and Cosmopolitan using WhatsApp. We keep our finger on the pulse to find out all about the new developments and can build your campaigns with these channels in mind.

And even more benefits…

The benefits of online PR extend way beyond driving traffic, raising awareness, building brands and encouraging ‘buzz’, but also to contribute hugely to boosting a site’s rankings through its SEO purposes. That’s a whole other story - Read about it here!

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If you want to take a different approach to getting noticed, then we have the skills and experience to help you. Get in touch now to find out how we can help your brand grow.

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