Once upon the time a company’s website was merely an online business card, designed to provide essential information such as company address and contact details. Now, it serves as the funnel for all kinds of social and online selling activities; the portal where initial interest and engagement (hopefully) turn into a tangible lead. Web design has come a long way in enabling this new mandate. So why on earth get public relations people involved in the design process? Here are four ideas how PR techniques can help you build a better website:
1. Know your audiences
One of PR’s strength lies in identifying target audiences and their respective needs. A website is not only there for customers and prospects, but will be frequented by many different groups, including your employees, partners, media, community, regulators and even competitors. A PR approach to web design can help you identify the relevant audiences for your new website and develop a strategic approach to ensure messages and content are tailored to their needs.
2. Powerful content
Strong writing skills are part of the PR package, and we spend a good deal of our training honing our research, copy writing and editing skills. Already, PRs are likely to produce many of the assets that get published on your site. Take for example case studies, news releases and blogs. Most importantly, PR knows how to recognise trends and tell a good story. And that is what makes your online marketing including the copy and content on your website compelling and engaging.
3. A news room that actually works for the media
Common complaints about news rooms on company websites include: No point of contact, outdated assets, no images library and so forth. Journalists are time poor and expect to find what they need without having to navigate multiple subpages or worse, fill in web contact forms. A PR person can help you understand the expectations of the media and develop a news room that does the job. This shows that your company takes media relations seriously, and has the potential to alleviate the workload with self-service mechanism for basic requests such as photos, bios and other approved materials.
4. SEO but why stop there?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a staple of web design agencies these days. Methodology and tools to enhance your search marketing have become very sophisticated. An important way to rank your site favourably is a content strategy. PR can add further value by helping you align your content with trends to engage in a broader conversation. So while keyword analysis can and should provide a framework for your content development, ideally your web assets also contribute to your thought leadership and help build your profile in the industry.