I’m one of those PR professionals who started out pitching to the media when there was no internet, email was a new-fangled toy enjoyed by a few (mostly for chat rooms) and images had to be biked to publishing houses. In fact, it was the most exciting part of my day if we could use the ISDN machine!

When people ask me about online PR, I have the same thoughts as I did when the Internet came along and lunches stopped from going long into the afternoon and evening, as journalists had to be back in case a story broke over lunchtime.

For me and for the clients I worked with, the main thing that changed about PR then was that everything got faster and there were more opportunities as editorial teams worked on both printed and digital mediums.

Nowadays, things have changed again. There is a focus on online PR as magazines and printed publications debate the content of their online sites and whether or not it should be paid for.

One of the brilliant things about this opening up of online opportunities is that, for clients who can take advantage of getting some coverage online, they will get a link back to their website. These links back to websites get big thumbs up from Google. (Other search engines are available!)

When you consider online opportunities, they might not be the traditional editorial routes, you have been aware of. Here are some pointers to get you thinking.

  •  Is your company featured in any directories? Look for the sites that you register your company with. They will want company name, address and telephone numbers and maybe a paragraph of info on your business. Don’t pay for your listing. From setting up Padua Communications three years ago, we still regularly come up on sites such as FreeIndex (http://www.freeindex.co.uk/profile(padua-communications)_296433.htm) in search engine results.
  • Have you written any articles that have been published online? Did you make sure you had a link to your website from the bottom of the article? Have a look and see if there are an opportunities for your business with any of the sites on this list – http://www.vretoolbar.com/articles/directories.php
  • Popular Blogs – are there particular blogs that are well read and regarded in the sector in which you work? Reach out to the blogger and see if they might be interested in you submitting a post for their blog or ask them to write a guest post for your site. Alternatively, comment on some of their postings. But beware; make sure you read the blog before you start any activity to ensure it fits with not only what you are doing but what the blogger’s readers are interested in too!
  • Forums are a great place for you to share you opinions and show your expertise on topics. Have a look and see what forums or community groups you can get involved with. LinkedIn Answers is a good place to start and may give you some ideas on topics you can comment on.
  • Online news and magazine sites: To get published or a mention in online news and magazine sites, you are looking at a more traditional PR role. The publication or website will have an editorial team headed up by an editor, content editor or website editor. If you’ve not done PR before, have a read of our blog posts on press releases and what’s involved before pitching a story.
  •  Networking sites: Perhaps you might belong to an association or networking group that has an online networking functionality on its website? If you are but you’re not featured in their directory, find out how you can be. Often these organisations have forums that you can take part in as well. Some sites offer different types of memberships where, depending on the level you take up, you can submit just a listing or events and press releases as well. Take a look at findnetworkingevents.co.uk as an example.

Hopefully that has given you some food for thought. If you’re really stuck for content ideas or your marketing activity for 2013 needs a push up the proverbial, why not drop us a line at hello@paduacommunications.com