PR Secrets for Your Online Business

Apart from Facebook and a few other IPO notables, dot.com IPOs no longer command the attention they did in the wild west of the late 1990s, and youthful billionaires, although still newsworthy, are no longer the big stories they were even two years ago.  These stories will continue to garner press, but they are not enough for a company to build a media presence around. The days of easy media are lost to the end of the 20th Century.  Already the 21st Century is a more demanding, more media-savvy time.

When dot.coms were still the rage, many internet companies turned to celebrities, hoping that by partnering with Whoopi Goldberg or Cindy Crawford, or some professional sports star, some of the stars’ fame and sheen would rub off on their online business. These companies were aware that the media love celebrities; and it is a star’s fame often that drives the media like moths to the proverbial flame.

But soon, even the celebrity factor began to wear thin; amazingly enough William Shatner survived as an online spokesperson, but overall internet companies found themselves faced with the same question that brick-and-mortar companies have faced for years: after the initial fireworks have cleared, how does a company consistently develop engaging and credible stories that will interest the media?

This is where public relations, specifically media relations and media placement come into the picture. When it comes to marketing a dot.com business, e-commerce site or internet product, a company must now broaden its scope to include an effective, story-driven media campaign. Unlike advertising, effective media relations can validate and legitimize a company – and for a fraction of what a comprehensive ad campaign costs.

This is not to say that when marketing an online business advertising and public relations are mutually exclusive. The two have different tasks to perform and one reinforces the other. Both can be vital to a successful overall campaign.  But in the 3.0 world of marketing it’s a mix of social media marketing and traditional PR that offers the most successful form of marketing.

During the dot.com heyday, many e-commerce companies did advertising overkill which cost-wise had a tendency to kill their business; most ignored or under-utilized the immense power and effectiveness of a well-targeted media relations campaign. Many figured that the more money they threw into an ad campaign, the more successful they’d be.  Few did their homework, thinking out of the box, and developing unique, compelling hooks and distinctive story ideas.

Meanwhile, the media began suffering from a bad case of dot-com burnout, which continues to this day.  It’s no longer enough to simply send out press releases announcing that a new site has been launched. Every day, thousands of press releases and pitches flood the email, snail mail, phone and fax lines (yes there still are some of those) of every media outlet in the country.

If a company wants to be noticed, or heard above this deafening roar, it better to know what each particular media outlet wants, understand each particular outlet’s demographics, and know how each editor or producer likes to be pitched.   Marketing has come full circle.  Once again it is all about the story.  Successful public relations comes down to having a credible, effective, engaging and instructional story to tell.  And that’s good news.  It means that the smallest, most cash strapped company has a chance to shine.  It simply needs to be creative.  When it comes to PR and pitching the media, remember, your story is your fortune.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

Craig. “Advantages of Having an Online Business.” Photo. U2. NET. 29 Sept. 2010 18 Apr 2012. <http://www.uk2.net/blog/advantages-of-having-an-online-business/&gt;

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About anthonymora37
Anthony Mora began his media career as a journalist and magazine editor. In 1990, Anthony formed Anthony Mora Communications, Inc., a Los Angeles-based public relations company that has placed clients in: Time, Newsweek, 60 Minutes, CNN, USA Today, Oprah, The New York Times, Vogue, and other media. Anthony, who is the author of “Spin to Win," has been featured in: USA Today, Newsweek, The New York Times, , The Wall Street Journal, The BBC, CNN, Fox News, and other media outlets.

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