As online shopping grows, effective PR for your online retail business can place you at the centre of trends and create buzz for your products, whilst broadening your audience and driving up sales.
Different products and niches will, of course, influence the way in which you conduct PR for your business, but there are a few common strategies and principles that are effective and we’ve compiled them into a list of 5 tips to help your e-commerce business grow, especially if it’s consumer facing.
1. Start small with product reviews from bloggers
In-depth published reviews of your product and brand increase its credibility and recognisability. Increased credibility can lead to increased media attention in the long run so having several reviews helps push your product.
There are a few things to look out for when choosing which blog you want to promote your product, though. First off, realise that there is a usually a trade-off for just picking the blog with the largest audience size. Smaller, niche blogs that are completely dedicated to the same topic as your product tend to be safer to choose as, despite having smaller audiences, their audiences are much more in-line with your business and will have a more dedicated readership.
Also if your product is within a blog’s area of interest it is much more likely that the blogger will be happy to review your product/write about it. Generally, larger blogs will cover more topics than smaller ones, which means that it may be more difficult to get your product on the blog and you may be reaching the wrong target audience.
Also, start small to test reaction to products, so that you can tweak any messaging. You may only have one chance with the big boys so start with the smaller targets first.
2. Try and get your product reviewed in a video format
Getting reviews that are not just formatted as plain text and images can be helpful not just to generate more diverse audience interest around a product, but also as a way to make future pitches to journalists more enticing and interesting. YouTube is full of vlog and review channels that want to use your product as the subject of a video.
Again make sure to research the YouTuber that you want to have to review your products, make sure they have a good audience size and consistent view count so that a review video will not be ignored by their viewers.
Also, decide if you want a segment in a video or an entire video about your product. Consider the past uploads of the channel when doing this, as for some channels a video dedicated to a product review will be easily the best option. Take into account the video style and production quality of a YouTube channel and give them some freedom to personalise their review of your product. If the review is done in their authentic style the audience will have more incentive to trust your product and find out more.
3. Keep a continuous social media presence and make it interesting
So whether your site is big or small, developed on WordPress, Magento or one of the alternatives to Magento Enterprise, such as Shopify, making sure your social media presence thrives is an important part of good PR online. You need to be actively posting on multiple platforms and creating interest around new products. Diversifying, that is making sure you are reachable on all the main social media platforms is paramount. Make sure to post about new press releases, reviews and any articles written about your products to increase the circulation of news surrounding your products. Responding publically to consumers often on social media is a good way to build up trust between your business and your consumers as good customer relations are key in building a strong audience.
An active social media presence can generate huge amounts of audience interest, so try to make your posts interesting. An infrequent joke, for example, will often get a lot more shares or retweets than a post about a news article. Your audience should be able to get important information about your products without being flooded with spam about sales and such, so keep posting regularly and at an even pace when not building hype for new products.
4. Have an organised target list of publications you want to pitch press releases to and keep in touch
You need a target list which contains names and contact methods of the publications that you want to have review or write about your products or your site. All the information you will need about a publication you will need is usually freely available on their contact page. Make sure to find relevant publications and try to order your list by size, grouping larger outlets, midsize outlets and small outlets separately. Keeping this organised will make it easier to pitch product review press releases to appropriate audience sizes.
When you begin to pitch to the outlets you have listed, make sure to start with small or midsize ones. As mentioned before, having mentions from smaller websites is a great way of making it easier for larger outlets to find your product credible and more likely for them to write about it…and testing out your products/offer before hitting the big boys/girls.
After an outlet publishes your release, make sure to stay in touch with them. Remember, this is not your last press release, and so keeping in contact with people who trust and know about your business can be an easier and safer way to generate future publications. Maintain the connections you have and keep them interested in future releases you have. Pay attention to niche outlets, as on the off-chance they make comments about your products you can hop on that chance to begin communicating with them about exactly that product.
5. Make enticing pitches to journalists
Journalists need relevant stories that offer value to their audiences, so they filter out and ignore a lot of pitches that are simply not interesting or worth anything for their audiences. Also if your pitch is not relevant for their publication or if it’s just a bad pitch then you are wasting your time. Target only relevant publications and develop a better pitch.
To make your pitch interesting, don’t just focus on the product, try and pitch the journalist a good story. Maybe discuss the latest developments relevant to your product or the latest trends in the sector that relates to your business. It is fine to explain to a journalist how your product is a story in itself, but it is important to remember that certain types of material will get more or fewer clicks, depending on where they will be posted, and the journalist knows this. The journalist is also concerned about their reputation and audience relationship and so they will try to avoid advertising presented as news as this is a common way of destroying trust.
Sending a journalist a video review is much more likely to grab their attention than plain text emails. Journalists that have to sift through walls of text to find good pitches are often relieved by the breath of fresh air that is a video clip. Images, diagrams and text just are not the same.
We hope that these tips are useful, and if you want to talk to us about promoting your e-commerce business, please get in touch.