Public Relations and Websites Go Hand in Hand

Sally Chapralis, Public Relations ConsultantRecently I had the privilege of interviewing Chicago public relations specialist Sally Chapralis regarding web design and public relations.

“I advise my clients that a website is a necessary starting point for public relations. You want to professionally present yourself or your business, and these days, being ‘legit’ means having a website,” Sally said.

I asked her about the essentials of PR. “PR is about connecting with your publics; but first, you need to identify who your publics are. Performing a SWOT analysis, where you identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Obstacles and Threats, is key to developing any public relations strategy. With these in mind, you can write your press release and pitch letter, focusing on your newsworthiness based on the five W’s: Who, What, When, Where and Why?

I asked Sally, “Apart from lending legitimacy, are there other ways a website can be helpful?”

“Absolutely,” she said. “Having a website is essential if you want media representatives to look at your materials. Nowadays, media contacts expect you to provide them with links to your press release and to other resources (backgrounders, FAQs, interviews, bios or videos), rather than sending these as attachments to your email. Media reps just don’t have the time to click on email attachments then wait for the particular program (Word or Adobe Acrobat) to open and then download the material. They appreciate and are much more likely to view your items if you provide them with URLs which lead directly to online versions of these materials.”

Readers: I’d add that this strategy applies to more than just press releases. For example, when applying for employment by email, having a direct link to your resume and cover letter means potential employers are far more likely to actually look at these materials. It also means that, once they are on your website, they are far more likely to look at other material that you have posted.

For those looking to supplement their PR with a website, Sally advised, “Before you proceed, consider whether you need a website or a blog.”

To learn more about PR strategies, contact Sally Chapralis.

Christopher Merrill is a Chicago freelance website designer, doing business since 1999. Specializing in website design for small- to mid- sized businesses and individuals, Christopher Merrill works closely with his clients to provide high-quality website design at an affordable price. Mr. Merrill has designed over 200 websites for his clients in Chicago and nationwide during the past decade. Christopher Merrill prides himself on providing an honest, hands-on approach with each individual client, in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Turnaround and response time are kept to a strict minimum, and Christopher Merrill is always ready to respond to all of your questions, whether you are looking for a Web design solution, or working closely with him to update your already-existing site.

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