Yes, Your Online Footprint Matters and Here’s Why

Here’s another strong argument for companies to remain active and positive in their public relations program: Journalists may use your online footprint and reputation in deciding whether to reach out to you.

We’ve always preached to clients that they need to be active in terms of news releases, social media, and other outreach to editors and analysts in order to infuse their name and message into the target’s mind. So that when an editor or analyst thinks about covering a topic or including certain companies into a report, they think of our client.

Frequency is absolutely a key to getting your company “top of mind” for the people who are likeliest to write about you and talk about you. That has always been our mantra, and now a study confirms that your online reputation can make the difference in a journalist covering you.

The first step for seven out of 10 journalists when they start background research is online search, the study found. No surprise there. But almost half of these journalists said they have decided not to pursue a story or article based on what they found in their search.

For example, let’s say a journalist wants to write a story about the Internet of Things and is looking for four or five companies to reach out to for interviews. You may be an IoT company that is doing all kinds of fantastic stuff and would be a perfect candidate for an interview.

But sadly, you haven’t made news. Maybe you had a news announcement in 2016, and then something around mid-2017, but nothing since. You haven’t reached out to the media or to analysts and you have been quiet on social media. What’s the impression a journalist gets? He or she will conclude you just aren’t that active in the market.

The study found that 77 percent of journalists consider an individual’s or company’s digital reputation important, and more than a third of them admit they are less likely to move forward with a story if the subject has little or no online track record.

Of course, the quality of what you say online is important as well. A good public relations team can craft strong messages and find ways for you to make news even if you don’t think that much is happening. And clearly, the more active you are at generating news, the more likely you’ll make a good impression on journalists and stimulate even more news.