Industrial Public relations has never been a real priority for small to medium sized industrial and manufacturing firms. And for good reason. It was difficult, time-consuming, and most of all expensive. The returns simply didn’t justify the costs. But with the advent of online PR resources, the benefits of public relations can be enjoyed by just about any firm, regardless of size or advertising budget.
In fact, many online resources are free.
Of course, since time is money, I suppose free isn’t exactly the right term for it. There is effort involved. But it isn’t difficult, and it can provide long term increases in web traffic and ultimately revenue.
Now, the first prerequisite for an online PR campaign is to have a good web site. If your web site can’t do the job of convincing people to buy your particular good or service, all the internet promotion in the world isn’t going to help. But if you’ve performed the first step of industrial marketing and updated your web site so that it’s informative, interesting, easy to navigate, and—most importantly—gives your potential customers the information they need, then an online PR campaign is a logical next step.
Internet Public Relations: The New Medium
The old PR mediums were print, radio, and events such as trade shows. Now, public relations is mostly done online through blogging, social media, article marketing, internet press releases, and other web 2.0 sites. It can be as simple as searching for blogs and forums relevant to your industry and posting on them. It can be as sophisticated as having a full time PR employee doing blogging, Facebook posts, writing articles, and issuing press releases as well as social bookmarking sites such as Digg and Delicious.
The choice is up to you. You can involve yourself in online public relations as much or as little as you want. I suggest you start simply by searching for blogs related to your industry, start reading, and start contributing. Make sure you put a link back to your site in your profile. This will help your SEO efforts greatly, which is one of the major benefits of online PR.
Industrial Public Relations: Tracking Your Online Reputation
Once you throw your company out to the online world,it’s important to monitor the reaction you get. Some easy tracking strategies is to set up Google Alerts in Google reader while subscribing to RSS feeds which include your own company name. You can also check online review sites, such as the BBB and Yelp to see what people are saying about your firm.
Industrial PR: Taking the First Step
Here’s a way to search for online forums in your niche. Copy this phrase and paste into Google’s search box, making sure to replace the text “Your Market Niche” with the term you want to search for, like industrial painting or metal stamping.
site: .com inurl:blog “post a comment” “Your Market Niche”
You’ll get a list of blogs on the subject that allow commenting. Check the sites out. If you find one you really like, bookmark it and come back often to read and comment. If you find you like this, expand a little. Try writing an article and posting it to Ezinearticles.com. Once you do that, it’s time to submit press releases. Are you launching a new product, hiring a new employee, changing offices? These are all newsworthy events. So tell the world about them using online press releases. Some online resources for industrial public relations include:
If you get this far, congratulations. Now keep going. Create a blog on your market niche. Get a Facebook fan page, a LinkedIn profile, Twitter, Flickr, Myspace, Ning, Disqus, and more. Create videos and post to Youtube and Flicker. The sky is the limit. And remember, it all helps build your online presence, which not only helps enhance your online reputation but will help grow your business.
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