What IS Public Relations?
Public relations (PR) plays an important role in the success of organizations, businesses, and individuals. Not only is it a key area in marketing communications, but it is vital to maintaining a brand’s image in the eyes of consumers and stakeholders. A positive brand image can lead to a more loyal fan base, higher sales, and overall improvement of the brand.
So, what is public relations? It’s telling your story to your targeted audiences -- whether that be music enthusiasts for a singer-songwriter, consumers for a local restaurant, or clients for an advertising agency. In more professional terms:
“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
At its core, PR is all about influencing, engaging, and building relationships with key audiences across various platforms in order to create the public perception of an organization or individual.
The main goal of PR is to gain earned media. With earned media, a brand can thrive in a competitive market. Without earned media, a company could have a great product or service to offer but no one will know about it.
Here are five key elements of PR:
Build a strong and positive relationship with members of the media (new and traditional media) - this is vital to any organization or individual because it essentially creates the news that the public receives. If you want the public to have a good image of you then you must create relationships with the media. This includes maintaining the relationships you create through in-person or online interaction, such as lunch meetings or Zoom calls.
Maintain a strong media presence – With web 2.0 thriving more than ever, and web 3.0 on its way up, social media is not to be overlooked. Creating various accounts and posting when necessary can reach out to more audiences than traditional media allows. This can shape the image your audience has of your brand by providing the opportunity to interact with you or your brand in a more personal way.
Monitor media channels to predict trends and issues among the public in relation to your brand – Keeping up with analytics from these media channels, such as comments on Facebook or retweets on Twitter, can be helpful. It gives you or your brand the opportunity to adjust and update postings accordingly. It also helps in preventing a PR crisis by addressing any issues before it explodes.
Be active in the community through outreach programs and other services – just as celebrities take part in charity work, your brand must do the same. Social responsibility is vital in a society where trustworthiness is valued. This gives your brand a good image by involving the community with your brand and ultimately producing earned media.
Ensure that the right information is sent to the right audience at the right time – using the right media channels. If there is an event planned, make sure potential stakeholders know. Send out a tweet, a Facebook post, and press releases to local media channels, but tailor them to the ones used. The MAC Triad Plus diagram explains this concept. If anyone of these steps is wrong, it could result in miscommunication.
PR comes down to creating publicity, but this is not to be confused as a one-time thing. A company must continuously be active in order for the target audience to receive messages effectively.
Information Credit: PRSA
Photo Credits: Getty Images