Public Relations is important. It is what helps companies, brands and individuals maintain and recover their reputations whenever they face a crisis, issues and accidents.
And any good company would want to project a favorable public image. Especially when a good PR helps companies grow and build their trust and credibility. But what is PR exactly?
What Is Public Relations?
Before one is able to use public relations effectively, businesses must first understand what PR is and what it isn’t.
We have already established that Public Relations is about maintaining the business or an individual’s positive reputation. And is extremely useful when responding to a crisis or when one’s reputation is threatened.
But PR and its practicing professionals don’t “purchase” media. They don’t guarantee the placements of your announcements and events, nor do they have control over which content a media outlet would post.
Rather, what they do is convince reporters that your stories are worth telling. And it is up to the media to provide a third-party validation on its contents without involving any payment.
A public relations specialist’s goal is to maintain a strong relationship and a positive image of their business with their target market. And these are done using a communication strategy that uses all media and other direct or indirect mediums.
Why Is Public Relations Important?
For starters, a public relations professional aims to project the best possible image of the organization but isn’t limited for the public. Their responsibilities include potential investors, future and current customers, market partners, employees and stakeholders.
This sets them apart from marketing and advertising since PR does not aim to sell a product or service but is about building relationships and trust using already existing information of the company.
Some of their key functions can be elaborated into:
PR professionals are vital in times of a crisis. In an event where a business made a public blunder, accident, nasty rumor and natural disasters. Even the most loyal customer would feel doubtful about their brands if these events continue to be uncontrolled.
The PR professionals are tasked to combat this misinformation and control the narrative surrounding their client.
Today’s market is very competitive. And they are reliant on both their publicity and quality. But what is the use of quality products and services when one isn’t able to socially engage with their customers.
Thus, PR professionals construct campaigns that will ensure that the brands are recognizable and remain synonymous with the quality, authority and the reliability that customers seek.
Engagement is an important part of branding. And the PR team works closely with the marketing team in order to provide that engaging experience for social media accounts.
Public relations professionals can reach and engage customers using contests, videos, interactive posts on social media including polls, downloadable content and others to increase the brand’s reach especially when it’s combined with other marketing efforts.
Difference Between Public Relations and Marketing
There are clear distinctions between marketing and public relations, social media has blurred the roles of the two. In fact, the smaller the company is, the more overlap there roles tend to be.
Traditionally, PR is about maintaining the public image of a company or person. But marketing is about promoting and selling products and services.
Though both marketing and PR may use the same tactics, running ad campaigns and managing a company’s messages are two different goals.
The goal of PR is to boost the brand’s reputation while marketing’s goal is to drive sales.
But for the best results, the marketing and PR team should work hand in hand as people are more likely to buy from brands that they know, like and trust. Because someone who connects with a brand is far more likely to become a customer.
Types of Public Relations
Public Relations is organized into three main types: earned, owned and paid media. While each of the approaches to PR works toward the goal of building a positive brand reputation. They use different strategies to accomplish their goal.
With this, each of the three types uses different methods for engaging and building trust with your audience and must be used in all three within the PR campaign.
Earned media is probable the hardest type of media to obtain. Since this type of media is essentially a word-of-mouth and it involves encouraging people to talk about your business online and includes things like:
- Praising your customers on social media, blogs or other online communities
- Mentions in industry news
- Customer Reviews
- High rankings in the search engine results page
Earned media is extremely effective in boosting your sales around your brand. Especially since potential customers generally listen to the words of others over any marketing messages. But it does take hard work to earn that consistency.
This type of media refers to content that your business creates and have total control over. It is the first type of media that any PR campaign should focus on.
On a lot of instances, when people are talking about your brand online-the earned media-will reference or then share your owned media. This can be in the form of:
- Website Copies
- Product Pages
- Email Newsletters
- Social Media Content
Paid media functions exactly as it sounds. Where you pay in order to promote your content or your owned media in order to help people find it easily. Promoting owned media is a standard practice in PR and includes activities like:
- Advertising on social media
- Promoting content using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
- Paying for influencer marketing
Mastering Public Relations requires a lot of influencing, engaging, and building experiences. Experiences that help build relationships with an organization’s key stakeholders, customers and prospects in order to shape the way that it is perceived.