The art of Public Relations (PR) is all about creating and managing your reputation – it’s a long game, the continual result, and flavor of which is a combination of what you do publicly, what you say publicly, and what others publicly say about you.
PR requires a story, a message, and the discipline necessary to look after your reputation. A good PR campaign aims to earn understanding and support for your message by influencing public opinion and behavior. A carefully planned and sustained effort to establish public understanding and goodwill toward your brand’s presence.
“Okay, but how?”
So glad you asked. There are many different ways. But the most important, overarching idea about good PR is establishing “street cred”, establishing that you’re an expert. You have the thing that the people need. Research has been done, you’ve tested out your product, people love it, and now you’ve got to disseminate that information. Time to find some influencers, some established authorities with large audiences who listen to them. Some ideas for how to include influencers in your PR campaign are:
- Blog sharing. You write a blog for me, I write a blog for you. You share my blog on your page, I share your blog on my page.
- Give an interview. On the radio, on a podcast, or webinar. Maybe even the newspaper, or an online publication. Many have large, worldwide audiences allowing you to cast a wide net.
- TV spots. Five minutes on Good Morning America could seriously change your life.
“Okay, but who?”
Thanks to the World Wide Web, there are thousands, maybe even millions of influencers out there, in addition to more traditional, long-standing influencers.
- Celebrities, whose reach is quite staggering when you start to notice their own PR in action.
- Known experts, like lawyers, plastic surgeons, environmental scientists, and professors. I’m reminded of the professor who made a nice side hustle for himself, earning $400 per hour, as an expert witness in court trials where his testimony in his area of expertise was obviously quite valuable.
- Social media influencers, who on the smaller side of the scale have anywhere from 10-50k followers, and on the larger side are Kylie Jenner-esque with 23 million. If you’re selling makeup, you want Kylie’s attention.
- Traditional press outlets, plus their online counterparts. Submitting your story or blog to the right influential news outlet(s), could be a huge win for your brand.
“OK, but what does Amazon have to do with this?”
Establishing a strong presence on Amazon should be a pillar of your PR strategy.
Amazon is, for all intents and purposes, a search engine.
Where Google offers words, and Pinterest offers pictures, and YouTube offers videos, Amazon offers products. And it offers its nicest real estate, its best results, when you give it a great effort with solid detail pages, good keyword indexing, ads that pop, and kind reviews from people who love what you’re selling.
The Ubiquitous Nature of Amazon
There is no denying that Amazon is a huge influencer in the online world. It’s not a Hollywood celebrity or a Twitter sensation like Kylie Jenner, it’s just the one place where over 55% of shoppers, the world over, begin their product search.
Even if they plan to buy locally, they still search Amazon first. Over 55% of people. WORLDWIDE. Go to Amazon for product reviews, specs, and pricing, before they ever make a buying decision. Talk about influence! You need Amazon in your PR life. In fact, Amazon should be your bestie where PR is concerned.
Yes, It’s Hard To Get Noticed. Build Your Presence Anyway. The Time Is Now.
It’s no secret that Amazon is, well, giant. The intention has always been to sell anything, to anyone, anytime, anywhere. And if that’s the intention, they’ve nailed it. A person can buy virtually anything they want on Amazon. That includes whatever you’re selling!
Let’s take a closer look. If I search in a brick-and-mortar store for a lap desk, first I need to make sure I’m in a large enough store to even carry such a product, and then I need to track it down… wherever the one, or maybe two, versions of it are stored on the shelf.
On Amazon, from the comfort of my jammies on my couch, I type in “lap desk” and get these results.
You’ll see the top row has three sponsored ads (Amazon PPC) for lap desks with various amenities – a side table for a mobile phone, one has an extra comfortable cushion, and the third has a detachable USB light. These are paid results. You can do this too.
Below are the “organic search” results based on the product’s ranking for the keyword “lap desk.” The first is Amazon’s Choice, an automated designation based on traffic and conversion numbers, LapGear MyDesk – Black (Fits up to 15.6″ Laptop).
This is one reason people go to Amazon first. There is such a huge selection! And no, many of these options will not be right for me, or for you, for whatever reason, but we can see them all here. We can compare and contrast.
As potential buyers, all of these are options until we whittle them down to what is appropriate for our own needs. A proper detail page, with excellent written content, photos, and Enhanced Brand Content (EBC), is what we as potential buyers are looking for.
It helps, of course, to run PPC campaigns, maybe even banner ads, and definitely your own promotions (like on Facebook, or even Pinterest or Instagram), but you’ve got to drive people to a compelling page. Tell them why they need your product. Create some urgency.
The Solution Is Two Fold – PR + Great Amazon Presence
You’ve got all the other pieces of your campaign, and some of these are going to get you a lot of attention. Does Good Morning America want to talk to you, or the Today show? Maybe part of your campaign is a press release disseminated to many news outlets, locally and nationwide.
If we know from surveys that 55% of people start their search on Amazon, where do you think customers go after they read your press release or see you on the Today show? Chances are pretty good they’re at home, with their computer right there… if you’re on TV talking about your great new product, and you’ve hooked me, I’m going to look for you on Amazon. I might go ahead and buy from my local store, but I’m probably going to check you out online too. If your presence is not professional, put together, and looks like you’re “expecting” me, I’m not going to lend much credence to what you’re saying on TV.
Amazon, as a search engine, has heightened customer expectations across the board. Because it is so saturated, and a person can buy almost anything, anytime, anywhere, your presence needs to stand out. You need to make potential customers believe in your message. Remember, PR is a combination of what you do publicly, what you say publicly, and what others publicly say about you. If your public presence on Amazon is not all that professional, you’re done. NEXT!
How Your Press Kit Can Be Made Better With Amazon
“What’s a press kit?” you might ask. Good question! It’s basically a bunch of material about your product that you give to anyone who will have it. Mostly press, either online or in print. Your press kit is sort of like a press release but on a more “micro” level. Where a press release is disseminated to news organizations and outlets, a press kit is disseminated to people. If you’re a band, your press release is a letter, sent out to tell the world about your latest album. The hope is that news outlets will pick up the story and write about it. Your press kit itself has a copy of your CD, a poster, and maybe a copy of the actual press release, signed by each member of the band.
A kit of your own
Think in terms of your own product, and the unique aspects of it, that you want people to really love. Maybe you’re making granola bars, so your kit has a copy of the press release, a mini-bar of each flavor you’re selling, plus a coupon for a heavy discount off the first order on Amazon.
You’re sending people straight to your Amazon page, so your Amazon presence should be awesome, right? You want people to love your press kit, and by extension YOU, and if you drive them to an awful Amazon page, all your hard work is for naught.
But even if you don’t include one word about an Amazon promotion in your press kit, we know that 55% of people begin their searches on Amazon. If they are the recipient of your mini-bars and want more info, where do you think they’ll go?
To put together your own press kit, check out the super useful guide put together by Nancy Trent of Trent and Company. If you’re looking for some help with your PR, off of Amazon, head on over to Nancy’s page!
If you’re at a Toy Fair or some other exhibition, your Press Kit is what you provide to the reporters, bloggers, or social media influencers who come up to your booth wanting to know more about you. It’s your chance to convince them that you are an interesting prospect who can help them drive traffic of their own.
“So, what’s a ‘beautiful Amazon page’?”
Optimize Your Listing – you must do some research to find out what people want to know most about your product. What questions have you been asked so far? What one thing does everyone seem to want to know? What selling points do your research show are the most important for your audience to see? Those are your bullet points.
You also need excellent images to really capture the feeling your product is supposed to provide. If you’re selling a waterproof speaker, you want lots of happy people enjoying their music, mere inches from the normally destructive water.
Your copy throughout the ad should be keyword driven, meaning that every statement you make should contain some word or bit of information that someone might use to search a product like yours. BUT, word of warning, it needs to be customer-friendly and easy to read.
About the keywords, though
Have you ever searched the internet for something and landed on a page that’s so keyword-heavy that it actually makes no sense and is hard to read? That, will not get you sales, and will not win you any fans. That, my friend, will get you labeled as a spammy type of online contributor, and searches that might otherwise point to your product, will not.
Amazon’s Pay Per Click (PPC) ads are a great way to get more eyes on your product. Just make sure you’ve optimized your listing before you bother with ad campaigns!
Remember, you don’t want to drive people to a spammy, poor-quality page. It does you no good to place bids on keywords, only to have them land on a page that is not compelling enough for them to hit the “Buy Now” button.
PPC allows you to bid against other sellers on certain keywords. So if you’re selling face cream, and so are a lot of people, you might bid on that (it would be a VERY high bid), in order to drive traffic to your page, as opposed to Oil of Olay’s page. It can be a very powerful tool if you bid on the right words and have a great page for searchers to land on.
Your First Million on Amazon
Though there are a ton of moving parts to this PR engine you’re churning to life, by using Amazon as part of your search and visibility approach, you can leverage your PR efforts to boost your Amazon profile and the visibility of your product.
Just imagine: as part of your planned appearance next week on Good Morning America, you create and provide a promo code for everyone watching to use on Amazon, increasing the likelihood that they’ll buy – because they trust and know Amazon – and helping to boost your rank and potential to get better reviews on Amazon.
This helps you get the next organic Amazon customer just searching for your product, who notices it looks like what they want and sees in one of the reviews that you were featured on Good Morning America the other day, and that the product is exactly what you said it would be, and so they decide to buy.
It’s a virtuous cycle of Amazon and public relations.
It’s a feedback loop of positivity, the groundwork of which was laid at the very start of your latest Public Relations campaign.
You can do this. Go get ‘em, tiger.