Marketing strategy and public relations are often linked. The objective of both is to influence the consumer.

A good public relations strategies should take into consideration the government’s regulations as well as the consumers sensitivity, culture etc. Sensitive words should not be included in your press releases, otherwise, it will not be published successfully.

How to manage public relations in China?

We will explain to you in this article how to manage public relations in China.

 

Define a public relation strategy

Knowledge of these external influences can determine the success of your China public relations strategy.

Traditional newspapers VS online reading in China

China is one of the few countries where print media has not faced a steep decline. Newspapers have still success among consumers. In 2020, China had around 2,200 newspapers, more than 10,000 magazines. But, these trends start to change. With the increase of online media platforms, it reduced the power of print media.

The development of Internet technology and the rapid changes of new media have led to huge changes in audience reading habits and media contact behavior. Therefore, the traditional newspaper industry is facing the dilemma of reader loss.

From the perspective of the reading rate, it has been in a downward trend for several years. According to reports, from 2015 to 2018, the reading rates of national newspapers in China were 45.7%, 39.7%, 37.6%, and 35.1%, respectively, which were declining every year.

In terms of reading methods, digital reading has become mainstream. The digital reading via mobile phones has increased for 10 consecutive years, reaching a record rate of 76.2% in 2018. The average daily cell phone contact time in China has been increasing in recent years, reaching 84.87 minutes per day in 2018.

The increase in online media made the landscape even more fragmented and seems complicated for new players in the market. But it presents great opportunities for China’s public relations strategy. Many of these online media platforms are independent of the government so it will be easier to access this kind of platform.

Localization is important for doing PR suitable for the Chinese market

When you want to do PR to promote your branding, of course you will think about using Chinese in your campaign, but pay attention to which Chinese you use. In China, there are two types of written Chinese, that are:

  • Traditional Chinese: Hong Kong and Taiwan
  • Simplified Chinese for China mainland

You need to adapt your PR communication to be more effective. Localization, not only in PR content but also in the strategies, is the most important aspect of developing your public relations strategy in China, Most social networks that foreign companies get used to are blocked by the Chinese Great Firewall.

In China, they have their own social media. Wechat, the leading social platform, has more than 1.2 billion active users. It is also a powerful tool for marketing strategies in China.

If you work with Chinese specialists and/or native content writers it’s better. They have the keys to write the perfect message for your consumers and for the government. It will be more effective upon your target.

Legal restrictions should be taken into consideration when doing PR

Sensitive words make an article blocked on Chinese social media

Media are always “controlled” by the Chinese government for the country’s interest. Articles thus must stay aligned with the overall official state perspectives.

Those platforms for public release in China set a system of sensitive words caption, which means if your articles include certain sensitive words, they will be blocked or you can even not publish them.

Those words are very difficult to know, and they are changing all the time, but they are normally in 3 categories:

  • Politically sensitive words: There are many violations involving politics, usually mentioning the government, the name of the country leader, the error of the country’s leadership position, the name of the country’s institution, etc.
  • Pornographic contents, vulgar words: those are all illegal words.
  • Malicious promotion words: Vocabulary such as account number, card number, payment, remittance, payment, payment, Alipay, bank card, how much money, etc.

Press release: essential for your strategy

As one of the important channel for public relations management, press release plays an essential role. It’s a strong tool to create relationships with media agencies. It’s also a great way to control the data newsworthy about your company, etc.

Why press releases are so important?

Better Website Authority = Better Baidu Ranking

Example of a cooperation public release on an authoritative forum in China. (Just under this Baidu result, it’s their positive press release about helping in Children’s health) 

Press releases are coms/article/video published by media companies/blog… If media companies post seems genuine, they are often the fruit of a partnership between a company and a media channel.

This kind of partnership allows companies to be talked about by media/blogs in a very controlled environment. For media outlets, it is also a win as it provides interesting & exclusive content and/or monetary compensation.

A press release usually also means a backlink. As for Google, the more backlinks to your website, the more authority it gets, giving you more chance to rank above your competitor.

Companies’ positive images associated with keywords

Just imagine, if a brand has no mention or information when you are looking for it on your everyday search engine? You would not trust it, right?

Well, A press release is one of the most cost-efficient ways to get a third-party website to talk about you. The more thirds party website talks about you, the more trust you’ll gain from consumers. And as said earlier, it is also a way to control what is being said about your brand online.

High-quality press releases will be included and displayed on high-quality, large-volume news homepages. If you publish enough high-quality content, it can form an automatic association between keywords and companies.

Provide information source for Encyclopedia & SEO boosts

For companies or individuals who want to do encyclopedias, one of the thresholds is to provide “reference materials”, which are news sources. In other words, if you want to be displayed on the Wiki, it is best to appear directly in the news.

This means that you need to keep the press release information on the search engine. With this information, you may be able to do Baidu Baike for you or your business and Baidu SEO.

Long-term effect: press release lasts in time

News releases are particularly not time-sensitive due to real and considerable & useful information. This means that the news releases published will not disappear and can be accessed continuously.

As long as you search on the search engine, the news releases will appear. Therefore, it is a cost-efficient tool long-term establishment of brand image and reputation with good results.

An important role in negative public relations management

Example of Haidilao (a very famous Chinese hot-pot restaurant) PR on Weibo

All companies will have both positive and negative public opinion/information on the Internet. A qualified public relations is to prepare in advance and take precautions. In the era of the information explosion, once your negative information is seen and forwarded by netizens, the resulting public opinion will lose control afterward.

At this time, you need to issue a large number of positive and effective press releases to suppress quickly and effectively those negative public opinions,  thereby reducing corporate losses.

Tips: Chinese journalists prefer Press Release be Well written in a ready- to-be-published format.

 

Social media in China is a powerful tool for your PR

Social media are very important in your china public relations strategy. Chinese people, more than in countries are very active on social media.

Using social media is effective in your public relations strategy because you can create content shareable. You can communicate with your consumers and create a community of followers. You create engagement with users and I will improve your reputation.

Weibo, the second Chinese social platform, is often used for PR activities in China. It is an open social platform, so it can reach many audiences.

A PR strategy suitable for the budget is a good strategy

This type of online public relations communication works very well in China.

Why ask about the budget before doing public relations activities? Because as we are doing a PR campaign, we have to be very clear about how much your budget to do. Given that in China, there are too many channels for PR, thus the choice is very important. A suitable channel needs half of the work but double results.

Therefore, it is important to make suitable communication channels according to the budget.

What is your objective of PR, brand exposure, or conversion rate?

For temporary public relations activities, or activities that need to be planned one month in advance or two months in advance. Assuming that we have fixed the budget for PR, the next step is to set goals.

What do you want to get from the campaign? This should be a question you need to discuss with your agency. Because different goals have different channels and different strategies.

 

Conclusion

Public relations is not so hard to understand in China, the theory is the same everywhere. However, the channels and the PR content are different, and they are essential and the most important part of your PR activities in China. You need to know how it works and differences if you don’t want to fail and waste your money.

The power of the government can’t be put aside because it has an influence on all the media. In addition, language and culture barriers between brands and consumers have to be taken into account. Keep in mind that China is not like Western countries. It’s better if you find a specialist in the Chinese market or a native to help you to create your public relations strategy.

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