China Public Relations and Press Release – Let Third Parties do your Promotion
Everyone wants to be on China’s super apps or platforms but the truth is, press releases and public relations are as important (if not more) as Chinese social media or online marketplaces are. They are the backbones of your credibility in the China market. And remember, credibility is everything when doing business in China. Not only a China PR strategy is a long-lasting solution that will help with increasing your conversion rate while getting more traffic and it is also cheaper than most solutions.
In this blog post, we will show you how China public relations work and how foreign companies can manage public relations there.
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Public relations (PR) in China is the practice of deliberately managing the press release and spreading it to the right media presence. China public relations consists of profiles that will talk about your company. They can be traditional media like newspapers or blogs, Chinese social media platforms with KOLs (Chinese influencers) talking about your brand, or even the community, commenting on your brand on social media.
PR has the advantage of lasting in time and getting you covered by trusted people on third-party websites that give you legitimacy.
What are the benefits of public relations in the Chinese market?
There are many benefits of public relations in China and they are far more important than in the West, as they add credibility to your brand, which is very needed in China, as people there trust more word-of-mouth marketing and experts’ opinions than advertising. In China, communication is key. Chinese people pay attention to how a brand communicates its actions to the public. Apart from that, there are other benefits, like;
Managing online reputation and getting feedback
When it comes to public relations in China, one of the main benefits is that you can manage your online reputation and lead the narrative about your brand on the internet. This also means you can learn from the comments and mentions of your brand, as these comments are written by your customers or potential consumers that can help you improve your products. This will help you improve your e-reputation, especially within your target markets.
One of the most cost-effective ways to generate leads
Apart from that, public relations is also one of the most cost-effective short and long-term lead generations. You need to pay far less to a public relations agency for an article than Chinese KOL to do a live stream showing your products. Although it’s important to collaborate with influencers, you can start with public relations if you’re on a tight budget.
Help with the credibility and branding
Being featured in media or social media accounts that are experts in the industry adds credibility to your brand and creates a positive image of your company and the products you offer on the Chinese market. International brands featured on old and new media in China also seem more trustworthy and it’s easier for them to build branding, as this adds visibility to your products.
Public relations make you score higher in Baidu search results
Last but not least, the more features you’ll get, the better it is for your Baidu SEO score, as it adds more backlinks to your website. And then it is a circle because the higher you are in the search results, the more Chinese people will visit your website and talk about your brand, which will make media and Internet users talk about you.
Chinese consumers are bombarded with advertisements for services and products everywhere they turn or look on the internet. Therefore, these consumers are growing more skeptical and selective toward the brands that they choose to trust, especially brands that they haven’t interacted with before.
PR in China is highly beneficial because it not only gives great credibility to your brand but also is a subliminal form of advertising. If your company has professionally driven PR, Chinese consumers are much more likely to trust and interact with your brand.
How does a PR agency in China work?
In China, Public relations (PR) and advertising differ in that PR is “undercover” in the sense that it isn’t directly advertising to consumers whereas advertising is much more direct and has increased calls to action.
PR aims to create or obtain coverage on media for free rather than paying for advertising. Generating press articles featuring a product or service, rather than paying for the client to be advertised next to the article, is more cost-effective and can lead to higher-quality results.
The aim of public relations is to inform the Chinese companies and the public, prospective clients, potential investors, customers, and even employees and create engagement.
In China, media relations professionals typically work with PR and marketing agencies. It is complicated for official business companies, and governments, to release this information directly to foreign companies and international markets. They rely on ‘guanxi’, connections that help you get things done.
We have 10 Public relations specialists that are native Chinese speakers and who maintain relationships with journalists and bloggers (and other key opinion leaders).
How to manage your public relations in China?
What is essential to understand before working on the public relations and marketing strategy of your brand is that PR works differently in China, as media agencies are controlled by the government. Nowadays, the authorities are also working on restricting Internet publications, putting new regulations on influencers and all the new media.
This means, that newspapers will write about you only if they will see a profit in it. They can’t be critical of the government and they are better at publishing sales-oriented texts and stories that will drive sales.
What is more, there are many printed and online media in China. We are talking about thousands of newspapers, blogs, and magazines that publish content every day. So it’s important to select the right media channel with the right audience suitable for your brand.
So how to manage your public relations in China? Here are some tips;
Your best choice in China is online public relations
It’s important to define whether you would like to invest in traditional media or in online newspapers, blogs, and social media channels. Our advice for international brands is to focus on online news and communications, as China is a very digitalized country, and you have almost a 100% chance that your audience will look you up online anyway.
A good online communication strategy is key to your public relations and e-reputation management in China. With a positive image of your company on the market, you will attract attention to your brand and increase followers and leads in no time.
Understand your potential consumers
To succeed in public relations in China, you must first meet and understand your public. What are the needs, shopping behaviors, and dilemmas of potential consumers? Which platforms are their favorite ones and why? Which type of content and content formats do they prefer? It is also advisable to get to know what are the topics that are considered taboo in China, which are the ones that might result in banning your account (for example talking about political issues), and so on.
If you target a specific audience with your products, it’s important to understand what they like and how do they spend time on the Internet, which websites are influential for them, and so on. For example, if you’re aiming to sell your products to Gen Z consumers, maybe it’s better to invest in influencer collaborations and Douyin, rather than an extended content strategy for Weibo.
Make sure you meet all the legal requirements and restrictions
Public relations in China are a bit harder than in the West because there are more legal restrictions and requirements to follow than in “our” Internet. The Chinese government keeps an eye on online content and censors everything that doesn’t comply with the official ideology and announcements. All the articles and other content published online need to stay aligned with the official state perspective.
There is an Internet censorship called Great Firewall, which is a system of detecting sensitive words and topics. There are generally three types of sensitive words and content to omit:
- Vulgarisms and pornographic content
- Politically sensitive words
- Malicious promotion words (all the important information, like account, card numbers, Alipay, and so on)
Remember about Baidu SEO and branding
As we mentioned before, Chinese people, just like everyone else in the world, check interesting information online. As we go to type keywords in the Google search bar, they do the same in the Baidu search bar. This means, that you need to work on a proper Baidu SEO strategy so that your website and all the content related to your brand will show high in the search results.
Apart from your Chinese website, you can also help your ranking by being active on forums like Baidu Tieba, Baidu Zhidao, or Zhihu. Those forums also help your reputation, as people discuss different topics there and present their opinions. You can start a topic about your brand and create a discussion, to see what Chinese people think about your products and communicate with them, sharing your expertise.
Another step is to invest in Baidu Paid Advertising so that you increase your visibility. When you become more visible, you will attract attention not only from potential consumers but also from PR agencies, newspapers, and investors.
Include localization in your marketing strategy
If you want to control your communications and community in China and influence people to buy your products, you need to address them in their mother language. Not many people speak English in China and even those that do will be more tempted to take a look at brands and companies handling communication in Mandarin Chinese.
When it comes to localization, it’s also advisable to adapt to your customers from different parts of China. China is a big country and it’s a very diverse place. Many foreign brands make the mistake of channeling all their efforts to first-tier cities like Shanghai, Beijing, or Guangzhou, forgetting that people living in second, third, or four-tier cities also start earning more and want to spend their income.
Manage your Chinese social media presence
Although press releases and new and traditional media are important for your e-reputation and visibility in China, nothing can help your public relations in China better nowadays than social media platforms. All of the foreign companies succeeding in China have at least one social media account so that they can communicate with their audience and present their offer there.
Platforms like WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, Douyin, or Kuaishou help you reach out to your audience. Depending on the audience, you can choose the most suitable platform (apart from WeChat, cause almost every person connected to the Internet in China uses WeChat on daily basis, so it’s a definite must for you there).
Get Started with your China PR Strategy – Contact us
As you can see, public relations in China require a well-thought overall strategy. Although it might seem like something easy, it won’t be without good know-how and professional marketers and Chinese speakers, that can help you manage your reputation.
We are a China marketing agency based in Shanghai with over 10 years of experience in the marketing industry. Our team of Chinese and foreign specialists already helped more than 600 brands to reach and exceed their goals in the Chinese market.
We offer many services, such as:
We have connections with over 5000 Chinese media sites allowing for a massive communication campaign. We are a truly cost-effective PR agency. Feel free to contact us to ask for a price quote regarding your project.