People often ask us what public relations is – is it media relations? Writing news releases and key messages? Branding, social media strategy and content development? Thought leadership columns and speaking engagements? Analytics and measurement?
Public relations is all of these things. It’s everything you say and do to tell a brand’s story and build relationships with customers. With the abundance of information readily available in today’s digital age, it is essential for businesses to promote themselves in an authentic, strategic way.
Here are answers to a few of your most frequently asked questions about public relations and this overarching communication umbrella.
What is/is not public relations?
Public relations is an effective management tool to grow your business, achieve your goals and improve or manage your brand’s image. An effective communications strategy, public relations is executed through owned or earned channels to shape the relationships between an organization and its audiences.
Public relations is not marketing. While they have similarities, the ways in which they differ are critical to understanding the impact on your business. Think of PR as a marathon and marketing as a sprint.
Marketing campaigns generate leads to promote or sell a product. Public relations can also support sales, but long term it does something much bigger – public relations creates brand equity and drives credibility for your business shaping not just the sales function, but the entire business from top to bottom. It gives visibility to the people behind your business, positions you as a thought leader, supports retention and recruitment of your employees, generates interest from investors, and attracts and retains customers.
As public relations professionals, we proactively work as storytellers who articulate what problems our clients solve for their customers, build meaningful connections between them and their target audiences, generate interest in their products and services, and win lifelong fans for their business. During times of crisis and adversity we create messaging to help our clients respond transparently and consistently to protect and promote their positive reputation.
Why do you need public relations?
The reputation of your business matters to those who work for you, purchase from you and invest in you. Oftentimes, companies are vulnerable to misinformation about their organization. Public relations is not only important for establishing a positive reputation to engage and build your brand from the start, but also is critical in influencing the perception of your brand with key stakeholders when an issue does arise.
When viewed as a critical management function, public relations should maintain your brand voice consistently across communication channels to accurately illustrate your company’s mission, vision and values. As a result, it helps set the tone for conversations about your company and is an effective reputation management tool.
How can public relations bring value to your business?
Public relations is extremely beneficial when promoting your ideas, attracting new customers, enhancing and defending your reputation and bringing value to your brand.
Five ways PR benefits your business:
- Builds Brand Awareness: PR creates repeated visibility through earned media placements, social media content, podcasts, speaking engagements, events and your website which all work together to inform, educate and build brand awareness.
- Creates Engagement: By generating authentic and valuable content in owned and earned media, businesses can effectively engage with their audiences, create conversation, encourage feedback, remain alert to potential issues and identify growth opportunities.
- Manages Crisis: PR is invaluable in protecting and defending your brand’s reputation during a crisis. Responding to issues transparently, strategically and timely can positively impact public perception for a brand.
- Earns Credibility: Public relations placements in media have long been lauded to hold more credibility than advertising because of their independent, third-party viewpoints. In turn, consumers are relying now more than ever on online reviews and unpaid influencer recommendations and the “new” earned media. Brands who leverage public relations win bonus points in the credibility department.
- Generates Leads: With effective long-term PR efforts, your brand can achieve heightened visibility to customers through targeted media placements. These placements can organically boost your brand’s online presence and place you at the top of search results, positioning your business as a market leader, distinguishing you from other brands and driving traffic to your business organically.
Protecting and advancing our clients’ brand is what we love and telling the right story through public relations is our passion. If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.
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