With countless online stores vying for attention, it's crucial to differentiate your brand from the rest and make your brand seen.
One of the best ways to achieve that is through public relations (PR).
PR has the potential to raise brand awareness and drive sales. After all, public relations help brands establish direct communication with a larger audience and foster meaningful relationships.
However, for PR to give you these results, you must do it correctly. In this post, I’ll explore four essential tips for harnessing PR's power for your eCommerce brand.
Table of Contents
1. Develop a compelling brand story
Crafting a captivating brand story is a powerful PR tactic to help your eCommerce brand make a lasting impression. According to research, 55% of customers are more willing to buy from a company if they enjoy the story behind it.
To succeed as an eCommerce brand, finding your brand narrative is crucial. Find that story that showcases your brand’s unique personality. It should also highlight your values. Will you go for a rags-to-riches story? Or is it better to emphasize your company’s legacy throughout the years? With a good brand narrative, you can enhance your brand's visibility and the quality and effectiveness of your brand's communication.
For instance, Hiut Denim emphasizes the company’s humble beginnings in its promotional material.
Once you’ve determined your brand story, you need to stick to it and double down on it when promoting it. Consistency is key. Your goal, after all, is for consumers to associate your brand with your story so they can relate to you.
Develop a solid and consistent brand voice and imagery, too. They should also align with your chosen brand story, of course. If you highlight your rags-to-riches story, your brand voice could be somewhat nostalgic, not playful and casual. Your images should also make readers want to reminisce about the past and appreciate the future.
This is exactly what Hiut Denim does in the image and copy above. You can deduce the same brand narrative from the visuals and copy on this Facebook post, also made by the company:
It can be challenging to come up with a good brand story. This is where professional PR services can help you. These PR agencies can help you determine how to package yourself as a brand for the best results.
2. Build and nurture relationships with journalists
Good relationships with journalists can help you amplify your eCommerce brand’s messages. You can increase the likelihood of them featuring your brand in news articles or social media posts when you remain at the top of their mind. These key people can also lend credibility to your brand when they promote you. After all, they already have loyal followers who trust their recommendations.
You can network with journalists in industry events like fashion or marketing events. Could you make sure you give them your business card?
But it’s not enough for you to build these relationships. You want to nurture them, too. Simply liking or commenting on the posts of journalists, even when you don’t need media coverage, can go a long way. You can even greet them on special occasions like New Year or Thanksgiving.
If you follow this strategy, when the time comes that you do need coverage, you can easily send them your pitch. They are more likely to respond since they probably know you already. Could you make sure you identify the right influencers for your brand? Please look for individuals with a similar target market for your pitch. You should create an outreach list for future reference.
Once you’ve chosen your journalist, personalize your pitch. Highlight how your brand could be of value to their audience. You can leverage the power of generative AI to customize your email messages to the media.
3. Run newsworthy events
This is one of the more expensive PR tactics. However, it can generate excellent results when executed correctly.
Creating buzz-worthy events is an excellent PR and ecommerce strategy to amplify your brand’s exposure. The key here is to pique the interest of journalists so they’ll cover your event. Make your event resonate with consumers. That’s usually enough for the representatives of the larger news outlets and alternative publications to attend and give you the exposure you need.
So, start by identifying event ideas that are timely, relevant, and interesting. Consider leveraging an event platform to streamline your event management and registration process. This can free up your time and resources to focus on creating a truly engaging experience for your attendees. Additionally, launch a poll on social media platforms to understand your target audience's preferences and tailor the event to their interests.
Sephora, for instance, is known to host #SEPHORiA. The event offers attendees the opportunity to discover the latest industry trends. Moreover, it provides a unique opportunity to engage with Sephora's beauty icons and special guests. These are things beauty products consumers love.
You can use social media channels to create a buzz about your event. It would be best to make a hashtag your customers can use to share their experiences and spread the word.
Seek your consumer attendees’ feedback about the event afterward. Providing meaningful experiences that resonate with a broader audience is vital to any successful event. If you ask them directly, you’ll only know these things they love (or don’t love). So, the next time you launch a similar event, it will yield better results in terms of attendance and coverage.
4. Utilize online press releases
Press releases can boost your brand's online presence.
A well-written press release also lets you showcase your unique selling proposition. On top of that, being mentioned in key media outlets through your press release gives your brand more credibility and helps you attract potential customers.
However, please make sure that any announcements you make are newsworthy in the first place. Usually, brands write a press release to announce an exciting partnership, new product launches, new appointments, and other interesting company-related news. For instance, if some media representatives did not attend your company event, you can write a press release on what happened there to get brand exposure.
Patagonia is a great example of an eCommerce company that leverages press releases for brand visibility. It has a dedicated press release page to keep the media updated on their latest work and initiatives.
Some online publications pick up some of the press releases, too. Here’s the company’s press release published in the Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine:
If you’re lucky, the media can even link to content on your site, boosting your website's SEO efforts.
But, of course, you shouldn’t just wait for the media to pick up on your press release on your site.
Could you share the press release on your social media accounts after publication on your site? You can also send your pitch with the press release attached to top-tier publications or larger blogs. Please remember to make your pitch personalized, like we talked about in the previous section.
PR and eCommerce go hand in hand. PR can help amplify your message and enhance brand exposure. It can help give eCommerce business owners the competitive edge their brand deserves.
You learned how to leverage PR to increase your brand’s visibility. These are:
- Craft a captivating brand story
- Establish strong relationships with media personalities
- Execute newsworthy events
- Leverage the power of online press releases
Note that you need to be consistent in your PR and ecommerce efforts to get the best results. Do that and follow the tips above, and your eCommerce brand will get the brand exposure it deserves.
By Chris Norton, host of the UK’s 7th largest marketing podcast, Socially Unacceptable, and Founder of award-winning B2C specialist PR agency Prohibition. His social media training blog is listed in the UK's top 10 PR blogs. For many digital PR tips, follow Chris here: @chris_norton.