Are you planning on entering the Chinese market or have long been active in the Middle Kingdom? Do you want to promote your business further or launch a new product or service? PR is part of classic advertising and marketing in China. It is an effective way to position your brand, raise brand awareness, build your reputation, and correct any misconceptions.
In this article by Tenba Group, the China PR Company of your choice, we explore the Chinese online media landscape. We take a look at its’ specialties, and how you can powerfully position your business in the Middle Kingdom through public relations.
In particular, new domains/websites with zero visibility yet on Chinese search engines, benefit from online PR in combination with Baidu SEO and social media marketing.
What is PR?
PR stands for Public Relations. It refers to deliberately creating, releasing, and spreading information between an individual or a company and the public. The goal is to shape or change the public perception of an individual or a business.
A PR firm can help individuals and businesses to protect, enhance, or build their reputations through media. More specifically, a good PR agency analyzes the organization, finds positive messages, and translates them into positive media stories.
Public Relations in China
PR in China has some special characteristics compared to the rest of the world. A China PR Company knows these specialties and uses them to your advantage. The most important differences, which we will explain in more detail below, are:
Online media outlets are more important than offline. To give you an example, Sina News has more than 30 million unique readers per day.
This compares to the most distributed newspaper in China, Cankao Xiaoxi with a circulation of almost 8.5 million copies per day.
The Importance of Relationships
When doing any kind of business in the Middle Kingdom, a good relation (guanxi) always comes first. So, establishing a good relationship with the journalists you are looking to work with, is most important.
It is more effective to send out your press releases to fewer hand-picked journalists, with whom you have established a good relationship than sending bulk messages to countless info-email-addresses. By the way, this also applies to the rest of the world, not only the Asia Pacific region.
Keep in mind, that this doesn’t end once a media article or story is published. Keeping in touch with the press after the publication is important to create and maintain a long-time successful and fruitful relationship. For example, try to find out what went well, and what can be better in the future.
As part of their culture and heritage, the Chinese love stories. In particular, positive stories with a fairy tale ending. Therefore, narrative articles and videos are more interesting and attractive than purely informational content.
However, keep in mind that the content must be correct and fact-based. Besides, make sure to mention the key points you want to get across, instead of purely focusing on the beauty of the story. Tailor the story to each media outlet you are working with to reach their target audience optimally.
Combine PR & Influencer Marketing
Influencers like Wanghong, KOL, and KOC play a major role in promoting products and services to a Chinese audience. People in China are more interested in products and services, which their favorite stars like and use than generic advertising messages.
Work with these influencers to place and distribute your PR story to gain more coverage and reach the target audience of your specific niche in the Middle Kingdom.
The Chinese media landscape
As you probably know, the Chinese government keeps censorship over all media, which reaches a wider audience. This includes TV, print media, radio, text and instant messaging, as well as video games.
As everywhere in the world, offline media are losing relevance in favor of its digital counterparts as well as new and innovative sites and apps. In fact, 65% of China’s 1.39 billion population benefit from ecommerce, social media, and messaging, while the rest plan to go online within the next 10 years. And 90% of Chinese internet users access the web via their phone.
Hence, and because it’s easier and more effective for international companies to use digital media to reach their audiences even from abroad, we will focus on the Chinese online media environment and resulting online PR opportunities in this article.
Chinese Online Media Sites & Apps
The following are the largest and most relevant news and media outlets in China. Of course, there are thousands of other smaller ones.
Depending on your specific niche and needs, you will have to select the most suitable outlets for you. A professional China PR company can help you to research the best media sites and apps for your individual industry.
Media & News Outlets
The most important media & news outlets in China are Ifeng (凤凰网) aka Phoenix Television, a partially state-owned television network, and Tianya Club (天涯社区), one of the most popular internet forums in China.
Part of Social Media Networks
Part of Search Engines
As part of Baidu, China’s largest search engine, online users trust Zhihu (知乎), a Chinese question-and-answer website similar to Quora. Competing with Baidu in the search engine market is Sogou. As part of Sogou, Sohu (搜狐), which also offers advertising, online multiplayer gaming, and other services, is popular among Chinese internet users.
Other Relevant Sites
Other relevant media sites in China are Yidian Zixun (一点资讯), an interest-oriented mobile news aggregator, and NetEase (网易), which offers a variety of online services including online PC and mobile games, advertising services, email services and ecommerce platforms in China.
Sites with Increasing Popularity
Finally, Toutiao or Jinri Toutiao (今日头条), a Chinese news and information content platform is becoming more and more popular. Besides TikTok/Douyin, Toutiao and UC Toutiao are core platforms of the Chinese tech giant ByteDance, one of the fastest-growing companies in China.
While raising brand awareness is the first objective of PR, it can also be beneficial for the ranking on search engines. Mentioning the name of your business in the article or publication will improve your SEO. So does adding a link to your website.
So, when working with any of the above platforms, check if they offer a so-called “do-follow” backlink to your Chinese website. This means that once the article or story is published, you will receive a valuable link from the media outlet to your online presence. Search engines like Baidu count this as very positive and it thus helps to improve your ranking respectively.
However, it is possible that the media outlet will not provide a direct link or QR code to your online presence. In this case, you should try to have your domain name or social media ID (ideally WeChat) added in the plain text of the article.
5 Reasons to Work With a China PR Company
Non-Chinese B2B and B2C businesses, whether start-ups or established enterprises, can benefit from the power of PR in the Middle Kingdom. You can do this on your own or hire a professional PR agency China, which has the following advantages:
- In-depth knowledge of China and its culture
- Existing media network in the Middle Kingdom
- Established relationships with key journalists
- Best rates for placing PR messages
- Knowledge of ideal media outlets for your niche and needs
Saving one’s face and the public opinion are very important in the Middle Kingdom. And the media environment culture is different from the West.
If you have an international company, planning a China market entry, positioning your brand, building your reputation, launching new products and services, PR is one of the most cost-efficient ways of digital marketing and advertising in China.
If you are already active in the Middle Kingdom with your international business, and you want to improve your reputation or even need to do some damage control, PR is also an effective way to do so.
In fact, reputation management as part of SEO can help you to move positive articles and reports about your company to the top. Likewise, less favorable mentions of your business can be moved to the back to make them “disappear”.