This is the third in a three-part series on the advantages and disadvantages of print, broadcast and online publicity. The other two posts in the series are The Pros and Cons of Free Publicity in Newspapers and Magazines and The Pros and Cons of TV and Radio Publicity.
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Hands-down, online publicity ranks as my favorite form of publicity because it’s the most powerful and long-lasting. The list below should convince you.
You can create online visibility for yourself through a variety of formats. Promote yourself through a blog, a YouTube channel, a podcast, or an archive of email newsletters. In other words, YOU are the media.
It’s instantaneous. With print or broadcast publicity, you have to pitch your idea for a story and wait for someone to cover it. When you’re the media, you can write a blog post and publish it within minutes.
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You can repurpose your own news in a variety of formats. Take a blog post and slice and dice it into 20 tweets. Record it and turn it into a podcast. Create a slideshow and upload it to a photo sharing site. Turn it into a video, or a series of videos, for your YouTube channel. Take the same information and use it to answer a question in a LinkedIn group, or on a Q&A site like Quora.com.
You can target a niche very easily. Whether you’re promoting yourself, or you want to generate publicity in an online media outlet, you can find places to target within seconds. One of my very favorite ways of finding lists of blogs or news outlets is to Google “top 10 small business blogs” or “best marketing ezines” or “most popular mommy blogs” or “aviation magazines.” Chances are pretty good that a blogger already has compiled a list. If you’re an author and you want book reviews, you can target niches very easily at the wide variety of book review and recommendation sites.
It has staying power. Often, blog posts, online news articles, videos and other content live online for years and can be found by the search engines.
You can gather and analyze statistics. What’s the Alexa ranking of a news site you’re targeting? How many people have subscribed to the RSS feed at your blog? How many people opened the press release that was distributed through out of the online services? Which websites, news or otherwise, are referring the most traffic to your website? How many people retweeted your content yesterday? How big are the LinkedIn news groups that include your target audience? Promote online, and you have statistics galore at your fingertips.
Social media builds relationships. On sites like LikedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+, you can meet people, share valuable content with them, and encourage them to follow you. If you do it right, some of them will eventually buy from you.
Let Google do the work. Create great content, and the search engines will find it and deliver the content to whoever is searching for it. A service like Google Alerts will even send your content into the email of people who ask for it.
You can link to it. When you get publicity online, link to it from the Media Room or Press Room at your website. This gives you instant credibility.
It works for you round-the-clock. People can access articles about you, blog posts, video, etc. 24/7. With traditional media, like TV for example, a news show’s ratings will often determine whether or not someone sees your story.
Bloggers are often easier to pitch than traditional media. Bloggers are passionate about their topic, unlike many reporters who hate their beats and their jobs. Bloggers also have loyal followings. And they love to link to other blogs. Newspapers and magazines seldom refers to articles in other publications.
People can steal your content. If you’ve created Google Alerts for your important keywords, it should be fairly easy to find thieves who duplicate your content for their own websites or blogs. This happens to me occasionally, and I don’t always go after them and ask that they remove the content, either because the website looks like it gets little traffic, or I simply don’t have time.
You open yourself to scathing criticism whether or not your deserve it. Whether it’s a comment on someone else’s blog, or a book review on Amazon, the Internet makes it possible for anyone to say anything, often anonymously, and never have to face the consequences. Sleazy freelancers make money writing bad book reviews under fake names. Flamers go wild in the Comments section at blogs. And folks with a resentment against you can say whatever they please, for attribution or anonymously, even if their facts are wrongs. (See the next bullet point.)
Errors don’t have to be corrected. When you find a factual error written about you online, good luck trying to get it corrected. Most reputable bloggers will correct an error. But it’s often impossible to identify the owner of a website and obtain contact information. Errors can be cut and pasted into someone else’s article or blog post within seconds, multiplying the error. Others can link to articles or blog posts and never know that they include errors.
That’s my very long list. I know I’ve missed many more advantages. Please add yours below.
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