Business Strategies: Taking Public Relations Online

The Internet has revolutionized the public relations industry. Small and medium sized companies are using the Internet to distribute, research and create news releases and newsletters that are more effective and newsworthy.

Nothing has changed the public relations industry quite like the Internet. Now companies have a low-cost, timely way to inform it's many audiences regarding company news. Two traditional public relations tools that have benefited the most from the Internet are news releases and newsletters.

News Releases and the Internet

One of the basic public relations tools is the news release. A news release offers companies a way to tell the media about company successes and other news worthy stories. Thanks to the Internet public relations professionals now can research and distribute news releases cheaper, faster and without leaving their office.

The success of any news release depends on whether or not the right person gets the information. A well-written news release about a high-tech company's great earnings can land on the obituary writer's desk and go no where. Not because the information wasn't important, but because the wrong person got the news release. Researching the right publication, editor and method of distribution is key. Some editors prefer email; others want to receive news releases by mail. Every editor and publication is different. The one thing most have in common is a web site. Many publications have web sites where they list their editors, contact information and editorial guidelines. Some even have forms available to submit your news release directly from the web site. Public relations professionals can even research a reporter's most recent bylines to see if their story might be right for that particular reporter.

Some tips when emailing a news release to editors:

- Never send a news release as an attachment. Most editors will not open attachments from unknown sources for fear of viruses. Send as a plain text file.

- Never follow-up an email to a reporter with a phone call to find out if they received your emailed news release.

- Never send out a group email that lists your entire media list in the header.



- Add your news releases to your web site so editors can find your information quickly. If you have a press kit and graphics include that on your web site too and provide the URL in your news releases.

Another way to distribute news releases is using the Internet is an online news wire. An online news wire does the research and provides a company's news release to publications based on your specifications. A good online news wire service to start with is PRWeb. PRWeb provides news wire access to small and medium sized companies. Their service is free. Companies can upgrade their services and distribution with a small donation.

E-Newsletters

Newsletters are another important tool for public relations professionals and the Internet has made them even more popular. Public relations professionals know that newsletters are four times more likely to be read when compared to a traditional advertisement. As a result, readers tend to find newsletters more credible and informative than advertisements. Simply because of their format, newsletters are an excellent tool to provide more in depth information regarding a product, service or person.

Because of all these great benefits public relations professionals have relied on newsletters for a long time. Now, thanks to the Internet, publishing and distributing newsletters is more affordable. The Internet eliminates printing and mailing costs. Public relations professionals who chose to use e-newsletters can offer customers full-color images, links to related sites and topics, and more timely product updates.

When creating an e-newsletter, remember to keep the information timely and newsworthy. It's important to keep your product or service in front of your customers, but it should also be valuable to your consumer. Without valuable information your newsletter could become annoying and reflect poorly on your company.

Always remember to create an "opt-out clause" in your newsletter. This gives the recipient the opportunity to decline receipt of your newsletter and request to be deleted from your distribution list. This is a courtesy and a necessity. The last thing you want is to have your newsletter considered SPAM and blocked on many servers. You many also consider offering a free subscription to your newsletter from your web site. Also, sales and service people in your organization can ask if customers would like to be included on your distribution list.

Thanks to the Internet, traditional public relations tools are even better for distributing information. The technology allows any company, large or small, have an effective, affordable and high quality public relations program.

© High Speed Ventures 2011