In previous centuries, the term ‘PR’ meant Public Relations, but these days that term hardly reflects the range of activities that come under the title...
PR really means harnessing the power of the media, which itself is changing out of all recognition. In the days where the printed word in newspapers and magazines was the most sought after means of transmitting your message, the process of issuing a press release was pretty formulaic.
However, in today’s digital world it’s all about speed and relevance. Hungry digital publications need fresh content as often as they can get it so that they can increase their readership and monetise the advertising revenue. It’s a tough business for those publishers, and if you can help them, then you may be able to help yourself as well.
The aim is to try to create a story that becomes popular and somehow relates back to your e-commerce site. The word you are looking for is ‘viral’ and it’s the holy grail of the PR world. Sending the editors a release about your latest product is unlikely to gain much traction unless you are already established as a market leader and while it might make you feel good to send releases to 10,000 digital editors, don’t bank on much coverage.
So how can a humble ‘e-tailer’ trying to sell his products make this happen? Well sticking with our example from previous traffic-related articles of an e-commerce shop selling pet jackets, let’s assume that you have a stunning, unique product. Wouldn’t it be great if you could produce a picture of Taylor Swift sharing some whipped cream with her Mum’s Great Dane while the big fella wears that standout doggie jacket? Or how about a video clip of Jennifer Lawrence with pet pooch Pippa walking through the streets of New York wearing one of your best selling canine numbers? Imagine the instant coverage of the material and also, imagine the traffic and sales conversions if you can link back such images to the relevant product page on your site!
Nobody said it would be easy, and it may be a numbers game. Celebrities know their worth, and most try not to give free publicity to others. But they have to wear clothes, eat food, drive cars and walk their dogs – so if there is a photographer around when they do, you can be sure they’ll be ‘papped’.
And once that picture hit’s the media, its fair game to use it. So your job is to pick the celebrities, find their agents, talk to the relevant TV shows and send them free stuff that they just might use.
Then keep a close watch on all the media outlets and hope!
Of course it can be a more scientific process than that. You can establish relationships with their management and ask them what they would like. Then they might even send you a picture that you can use. Try to establish yourself as someone who can be approached for props or other material – film and TV producers need this stuff too.
But remember, it’s a constant process. One of the benefits of the digital age is the ability to provide instant gratification. However, that ‘gratification’ disappears just as fast and is yesterday’s news before the end of today!