As an online PR agency, we're constantly being asked for tips about public relations online (specifically, how businesses can fully leverage their web PR). There are a million things that you can do to increase your online exposure. So much so, in fact, that it's much easier to list out all of the things that you shouldn't do when running your web PR campaign. (Plus, it's about 1/5 as many words to type out. It's Friday, I'm allowed to slack off a little.)
So, what are the cardinal "don'ts" of public relations online? These are the top seven — and they're all things that just about anyone can avoid:
- Keep your social media marketing a secret. If your company is marketing with Facebook and Twitter (and it absolutely should be), make sure you make it easy for people to find you. This means putting little Twitter and Facebook icons on your website, regularly encouraging Facebook fans to follow you on Twitter and vice versa. The more people you have in your social networks, the more effective your web PR campaign will be.
- Keep your website design, even if it looks like you built the site on GeoCities in '97. When it comes to public relations online, your best asset (or worst enemy) is your website. It's your digital storefront — you should keep it clean, inviting and professional looking. If your website hasn't seen an update since last century, it's time to step up your game and fork over some cash for an upgrade. It may not be as expensive as you think, either (SEO enhancements and minor changes can be made for just a few hundred dollars, and can make all the difference). If a design makeover isn't in your budget, you can at least make some revisions to your web content writing, incorporating keywords and distinct calls to action.
- Ignore free online PR tools. We recently blogged about 9 free online PR tools businesses can take advantage of, and they're really useful. If something is free and makes your life significantly easier, why wouldn't you want to use it? From analytics tracking to , there are a lot of great free online PR tools that just about any business can utilize to help spread the word about their products or services.
- Never set goals. Whether you're running sweepstake promotions, encouraging people to sign up for your newsletter or just trying to increase site traffic in general, setting goals for yourself is really important. When you constantly challenge yourself to do better, it's almost impossible not to improve on one level or another. Without a goal in mind, there is no challenge.
- Ditch your spell check. Whether you're communicating using 140 characters or 140 pages, spelling, grammar and decent sentence flow is always important when it comes to web content writing. This is especially important in social media marketing — if you're perceived as spammy, you will get flagged, unfollowed and unfriended. You'll never be viewed as an expert in your field if your web content writing is riddled with errors. Still have questions? Check out our post listing 10 web content writing rules.
- Become a hermit. You'll never get backlinks or shout outs by being antisocial, so throw on a tiara and become a digital prom queen. Reach out to bloggers who write about your products/services/industry, comment on their posts and link back to your site. Seek out thought leaders who have influence in your field, and then build a rapport with them. Online public relations is all about who you know, so do whatever it takes to become popular (short of sullying your reputation under the bleachers during halftime).
- Update infrequently. Marketing with Facebook and Twitter doesn't work when you don't put effort into updating your social media accounts — the same goes for your website's blog. The reason why we're so effective as an online PR agency is because we put a ton of effort into it. Web PR only works when you work it, so make sure you're putting in the time. In terms of actual hard numbers, you should update your blog at least once per week. Social media marketing is a little different — with Facebook, you can get away with as little as one status update/week. Tweets should be sent at least once every couple of days.
Know of some other web PR don'ts that we missed? Feel free to list 'em in the comments section.