31 December 2015

Obtaining Publicity for Your Online Business


Welcome to lesson five of our Internet Income course. Again, the ins and outs of starting and running a profitable online business in today's ever-changing global market is brought to us by course author, George Little. He continues to break down important principles in simple English, in this lesson full of tips, real-world advice, and in-depth, step-by-step instructions on setting up your Internet-based business. Read the 4th lesson here.

In Lesson 3, we discussed Internet traffic and its importance to success. We identified five goals for your traffic building efforts. Those five goals were:
  1. Utilizing effective branding.
  2. Obtaining good publicity, including links to your site from popular pages.
  3. Obtaining an effective search engine presence.
  4. Utilizing and maintaining flow in the placement of your Internet ads.
  5. Maintaining an effective social media presence.
In this lesson, we will begin our discussion of the second goal, "obtaining good publicity, including links to your site from popular pages."


Publicity is traditionally defined as notice or attention given to something, someone, some business, or some cause or venture by the media. We will discuss traditional publicity to some extent because it is one way to promote traffic to your Website. But, when we talk about publicity in general in the course we will include much more than just traditional publicity. "Traditional Publicity" brings to mind television, radio, newspapers, and magazines—and those things can greatly help to bring traffic to your Website should you be involved in something newsworthy. There is also paid advertisement available through traditional media—you can buy ads on TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines. Also, postal mail and telephone calls come to mind when you consider traditional ways to promote your business. For most of our discussion of publicity, however, we will focus on the flow of Internet traffic and how you can gain attention for your Website on the Internet itself. The latter type of "publicity" involves social media, incoming links, search engines and other ways to direct Internet traffic to your site by actions you take on the Internet rather than the "offline" traditional media.

In The Beginning—Word Of Mouth

Traditionally, the only alternative to the established media (television, radio, newspapers, etc) for disseminating information throughout the community was word of mouth. If your son made a fantastic play in the local high school football game—and for some reason the local newspaper did not write about it and the local TV station did not mention or show a video of it in their sports broadcast—word could still spread by word of mouth. Those present at the game who saw the play and were amazed by it might tell several of their friends who were not at the game. And, these friends might tell several of their friends ("Did you hear about the Jones kid breaking four tackles and running 90 yards for a touchdown to win the game for Central High with only 30 seconds remaining on the clock?") Word of mouth can spread information to many people in a short period of time. Before modern media existed (i.e. before there were books, newspapers, radio, television, or the Internet) word of mouth was the only way to spread information to many people.

For some extraordinary events, word of mouth evolved into ballads—poetry or music that tells a story. In tribal times, a specific member of the community was assigned the task of memorizing the oral history of the people and ensuring the next generation learned it accurately as well. For much of human history, we relied entirely upon word of mouth to convey and preserve information. It comes natural.

As modern media outlets exist to make a profit, they charge for advertising. But, there is no charge if you do something newsworthy that winds up in their news or sports reports. They charge only if you ask them to spread the word about your business via advertising space. People, businesses and causes often seek free print publicity by submitting press releases, explaining awards or recognition they have received or events they are sponsoring. There is much that can be learned about creating newsworthy events that attract attention to your business. But, if the information is not truly newsworthy, the media company will direct you to their advertising department. Similarly, it has been historically true that for news to spread by word of mouth it had to newsworthy. There may have been some occasions where an influential person was induced by financial reward to spread certain information instead of other information, but for the most part information spread only to the degree it held people's interest. The newsworthiness of the event controlled whether the information was spread, rather than financial considerations.

Social Media

I have discussed "word-of-mouth publicity" because it gives us an historical understanding of the success of social media in modern times. In many ways, social media is just a technological extension of word of mouth. This helps to explain why most people have embraced social media and made it a part of their daily lives—because it comes so natural—because this method of communication is rooted in our DNA.

The biggest advantage of social media marketing is that it is usually free. There is no charge for creating an account on the major social media sites and, with the exception of paid advertising or paid promotion on social media, there is no charge for use. Social media can be an effective means of spreading information about you business. You should note, however, that the success of social media promotion, like traditional word of mouth, depends upon the interest you can create. Without interest or newsworthiness, your post will not go far in the absence of paid promotion.

While we will cover social media as the fifth of the five goals for building Internet traffic, it deserved a mention here to establish our context. In a true sense, social media is just one more means of obtaining publicity, but given its extraordinary power and broad range of strategies, it will deserve separate discussion later as well. We will have many lessons and much in-depth discussion of social media marketing in this course. Social media is the most accessible and least expensive of the many ways to gain publicity for your business. But, for now, let's turn our attention back to other means of obtaining publicity.

Traditional Media Advertising

These days, neither the online world nor the offline world exist to the exclusion of the other. The online world and offline world are now fully integrated. Although your business may be primarily online, you can certainly use offline marketing in conjunction with your online techniques. Although your business may be primarily offline, you can certainly use online strategies to promote it. You should combine offline and online efforts in effective ways. As technology progresses, the line blurs more and more between online and offline marketing efforts. Most newspapers, radio stations, and television stations now have online publications of the same materials they also print or air through traditional media. Some people will see it online, others will see or hear it on TV or the radio or read it in the printed version.

Traditional media advertising, however, is often expensive. Many Internet marketers just starting out cannot afford any significant amount of traditional media advertising. Nevertheless, it should not be overlooked entirely. An effective Internet marketer is always on the lookout for inexpensive ways to promote their online presence—and thus promote their business.

Incoming Links

When we turn our attention back to online publicity, the first thing that comes to mind as a means to direct Internet traffic to your Website is to obtain links on established popular Websites. While it is a matter of common sense that the more links to your site, the more traffic you will receive, a thorough understanding of the importance of incoming links goes deeper than that. In our discussion of network science in Lessons 66-69 of the original Internet Income Course, we explained in scientific terms the importance of links to your Website. Links are necessary to hold a network together. Without links, you are not really a part of the network. You have to contribute to the growth of the network to benefit from the network. Network growth is a progressive, exponential growth. The more links you have, both incoming and outgoing, the more quickly and effectively you will acquire even larger numbers of incoming links.

Whether you are using a desktop PC with a standard browser or using a phone or tablet with sophisticated apps installed, you get from one place online to another by 'clicking'. With a modern hand-held device, this 'clicking' may manifest as simply touching with your finger tip rather than clicking with a mouse, but in either event, you are selecting a link which will control the direction of your online travels. You make choices as you go. The choices you make are dependent upon the choices available at the particular screen you are viewing. The more a Website has presence on the screens of other Websites—i. e. is offered as a choice of destination—the more successful your Website will be. We will begin our discussion of how best to accomplish this in our next lesson.

Of our five goals for successful traffic building, the first is "effective branding," which we discussed in the previous lesson. The second is "obtaining good publicity, including links to your site from popular pages." In this lesson, we began our discussion of this important strategy. We looked at what is meant by "publicity" and discussed the traditional means of obtaining publicity. Then, we had a brief introduction to the role of social media in publicity. Then, turning our attention to online publicity, we took an introductory look at the concept of obtaining incoming links to your site.

In our next lesson, we will continue the discussion of obtaining incoming links to your Website. Read the next lesson here: Links to your site.

By George Little, Panhandle On-Line, Inc. For more information on the Internet Income Course and other works and courses by George Little, see http://www.profitpropulsion.com

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