PR Pros: Important Tips for Using Online Reviews

The online review yields a ton of influence.

Think about it, when was the last time you made a purchase online without looking at reviews? I bet you spend more time reading reviews on Amazon than you do sifting through different products.

According to a report from Dimensional Research, 90 percent of consumers say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions, while 88 percent of people say they trust reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation.

Since customer reviews are driving decision-making, why aren’t communications professionals using these insights from customers to shape perceptions of products, services or organizations?

As communicators, it’s our job to help companies prove their worth to the public. To better shape public perceptions, communicators need to use all the tools at their disposal. This includes reviews featured on sites such as YelpG2 Crowd and TripAdvisor. These reviews can make a world of difference in changing the way the public perceives a product or service.

To achieve this, communicators need to creatively leverage customer reviews. Here are three suggestions on how to weave reviews into corporate storytelling:

1. Strengthen your message in press releases, case studies and other press materials

Every communications professional knows how to craft key messages for an organization. Key messages are “takeaways” for the audience that should align with the company’s goals and objectives.

The best way to get your readers to remember what you’re saying is through storytelling. At the heart of every good story is emotion, but how do you inject emotion into corporate storytelling?

You look at reviews.

Reviews are a goldmine for stories about positive customer experiences that you can use to support your mission-based messaging. Nonprofits have become especially good at this technique because not only is it free, it is a testament to the impact your company has on the community.

2. Mine for story ideas and examples

When you write for a living, you need a constant feed of fresh ideas.

This is good reason why you should be browsing through online review sites for inspiration.

Every day, tons of reviewers share their opinions on products and services with the world. This content on third-party review sites offer an endless amount of opportunities for communicators to find a story. Mining review sites for news and emerging trends is one of the easiest ways to craft organic, relevant and relatable storylines for each of your key audiences.

3. Use reviewers as a source in media interviews

Every business claims to be the best in its industry. I mean, come on, how many times have you seen a sign that reads “world’s best pizza”? But, really, how could anyone possibly prove that?

A third-party testimonial can validate your claim. This is where reviews can make a big difference. Reviewers can become your sources. They are unbiased, neutral, third-parties and your company gains credibility from their testimony.

And of course – review the software and solutions YOU use on G2 Crowd!

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