Public Relations in China: Guide for international Brands and Company update 2020
PR is a powerful form of communication
Public Relations is one of the most cost-efficient forms of communication used to develop the image and reputation of a company, a product, or brand in China. So the goal of public relations is to win the “media battle” and to maintain a positive, mutually beneficial relationship with journalists in your sector. Yes, Information needs to be relayed to the public through Chinese media outlets. The objective of having a PR presence in China is to:
- Improve your reputation both broadly and within specialized communities.
- Improve your image by disseminating positive messages.
- Control and manage your reputation.
Public relations in China works differently
You have to be conscious of a number of factors before you start engaging in PR activities. It is true, the government strictly controls press agencies, newspapers, and portals, state censorship severely limits what can be reported upon and how it is reported.
So the majority of newspapers seek to make a profit, this is often their focus. The press is most likely to include stories that will encourage sales.
Basically, Chinese journalists did not have the same ethic as western journalists. They cannot be so openly critical, seeking to report ‘the truth’ is sidelined in favor of promoting the official state perspective.
Chinese journalists are arguably more open to novelty stories than western journalists. Sensational, human interest stories are very popular amongst Chinese consumers.
Online PR is more important in China
Online news sources are the main source of information for the Chinese. The majority of people, with increasing purchasing power, read more news on the Internet rather than buying a newspaper.
It is thus important to adapt your PR strategy accordingly. Content needs to be tailored to the online news reader who will often spend less time reading each article, focus on the quality of the content and keep it clear and to the point.
Here are the main online newspapers in China :
- Sina: the most important web portal in China
- Sohu: the second most important
- 163 / Netease: news.163.com
- QQ News
- Renmingwang (the People’s daily)
- Xinhua (New China) Press agency
- Fenghuang (lfeng)
Utilizing social networks as part of a PR strategy
Social networks have become a vital communication tool with 450 million users now connected, the Chinese particularly trust their immediate social circle and family and can be particularly influenced by the content they are sharing on their news feed. Creating official accounts on platforms such as Weibo or WeChat and then disseminating shareable, interesting content amongst users is vital. For more information on social media in China see our previous article.
Social networks also include the KOL (Key Opinion Leader). These are popular personalities or experts who have gathered large communities of people around them. Recruiting a KOL to post positive things about your company or brand can help you reach thousands, or millions of potential consumers. In China, this is a wide spread phenomenon with users strongly influenced by KOL’s they follow.
PR Agency in China
You need a comprehensive PR strategy in China, both offline and online to succeed. With the majority of news now being accessed online, it is vital that you develop a digital strategy tailored to the Chinese market.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/J5r5gQXht5c We are a specialist digital marketing agency with local connections and expertise. If you have a project in mind feel free to contact us.
- – For more information on our agency click here.
- – For more information on the KOL see here.
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