Things Entrepreneurs absolutely must learn about PR and Digital Marketing

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Most business owners and startup entrepreneurs find it difficult to market their companies via social media platforms or digital channels. They may be outstanding developers or great sales people, but that doesn’t mean they have any experience as far as digital marketing and public relations are concerned.

If you have recently launched your company, here are some things you definitely need to know about digital marketing and public relations so that your company receives the best chance to become competitive within a target niche:

1. First of all you need to understand how important web search actually is. I won’t start offering you instructions on how to use a search engine, but I have to ask you this, do you fully understand how they work? For a fast and solid introduction to SEO (search engine optimization) you should probably check out Search Engine Land’s video. Afterward, you should be able to understand how to position the website of your company to rank better for relevant search terms.

Also, did you know that search engines actually gather a lot of related information on various search trends and the behavior of consumers who use mobile devices? This way, many business owners and startup entrepreneurs are able to have a competitive advantage and a better understanding of what potential customers and target audiences are searching for. By having a better understanding of these things you are able to tweak your marketing messaging so that it becomes not only more relevant, but also more engaging.

Nowadays, thanks to the internet, business owners and entrepreneurs alike are able to find a multitude of tools such as Site Explorer which helps them find out which websites are linking to a corporate site. A lot of SEO specialists have decided to use this type of programs, given how much search engines, such as Bing and Google value high-quality links. Also, such programs have other great features: by using Site Explorer for example, business owners are able to determine which online publications or blogs are linking to their website or to that of their competitors. This information helps them create a media list of relevant bloggers or journalists to contact.

If you decide to ignore search engines and the data they possess, you are making a huge mistake. In fact, they are a great source of intelligence, which will help you both to base and to boost your marketing strategy as you try to grow your company.

2. Understand that social-media marketing comes with a high-degree of sophistication.

Entrepreneurs or business owners who do not possess the necessary marketing experience tend to operate under the misconception that a highly successful social-media program won’t cost much. Also, if that weren’t enough, they start to have unrealistic expectations, hoping that every little social-media update they post or blog about will go viral in a matter of minutes. Far from it.

We should also acknowledge that organic reach via social-media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter has plummeted as more and more companies join these networks in hope that they will be able to at least catch a glimpse of their wares. They should focus on adopting more sophisticated tactics such as designing compelling videos and images that will be exactly the content that people are waiting for and engage with.

Aspects such as design work, competitive intelligence, tactical execution and success measurement will require not only effort and time, but also money. And if your company’s website is not able to gain any significant organic traction, you have to invest your time and resources into social media advertising programs so that your target audience becomes aware and familiar with the services and products your company provides.

A high-quality digital execution will cost a small fortune. No question about it. That is why you need to set aside some funds to ensure that it becomes a reality.

When most people spend money on Twitter or Facebook’s advertising programs, they just think of the return on investment (ROI) which translates into how many leads it brings. You also need to consider and see how much money you would have spent if you had to use call-centers or even employed customer-service agents.

3. Also, you need to be aware that PR pitches will constantly require savvy and context. Nowadays, the line between PR and marketing are pretty much blurred. And we have to thank social media for that. In the first few stages after a business has been launched, entrepreneurs and business owners tend to adopt a hybrid solution between marketing and PR services so that they are able to spread their message.

However, a lot of business leaders believe that PR pitches is an extremely easy task for someone who has a lot of contacts at news outlets. They just believe that sending out a couple of emails means that the very next day their story will be picked up by Business Insider or that Bill Gates will be calling trying to purchase their business.

And while journalists have a limited number of stories to write, they have a large variety of pitches they can choose from.

Find out how the public relations process works and pinpoint and extract interesting stories about things related to your company. A launch of the newest feature of your product that your company just released isn’t all that noteworthy; unless you own Apple and the news will go on to affect the lives of millions.

A press release about your company should include a hook that shows a journalist why readers might be inclined to read and care. Great PR is not just about contacts, it’s about context as well.

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