‘Doves are just clean pigeons, butterflies are pretty moths and squirrels are just rats with really really good PR.’
But on a serious note… it is scary how many people, CEOs, Marketing Gurus, Clients etc. don’t truly know what PR is, how it works and how it can be measured. We’ve tried to demystify it for you here:
PR (public relations) is a strategic and focused communication process offered to businesses and individuals to help build a good reputation, beneficial relationships with peers and publics and attract positive attention towards a brand. The plan is implemented using various media and mediums.
Good PR includes the following functions:
Anticipating, analysing and interpreting existing opinions of you or your company.
Establishing who exactly your target market is.
Influencing target audiences’ attitude towards your brand using free or earned media.
Drafting a communication strategy to support your brand’s objectives and to solve those problems keeping you awake at night i.e. not enough customers, no brand awareness.
Writing and distributing content and media releases.
Following up and liaising with the media to ensure your media release is covered to the greatest extent possible.
Planning and executing outreach efforts and media events.
Developing a crisis communication plan.
Defending a reputation and maintaining credibility during a crisis.
PR can be divided into two stages, the positive storytelling and the negative damage-control. Good PR is not limited to giving client’s a voice for their brand and cultivating a story that portrays a positive brand image and product. It is also used as damage-control to alleviate negative attention. Both stages require PR professionals to help build a positive image through traditional and social media.
What is the importance of PR?
No matter how big or small, old or new your business is, your brand can benefit from having a PR strategy in place. It will ensure that your brand is viewed by your customers as credible, that your message reaches a targeted audience and gives you control over your own narrative.
Your audience will trust your brand and message if it is coming from third parties instead of self-promotion. PR will motivate favourable mention of your brand by word of mouth, testimonials, editorial content and private accounts. People trust more what other people advocate.
With so many similar businesses, there will always be competition for audience’s attention. PR offers a way to catch their attention and build awareness around your brand, product or service by finding the diamond in the rough, putting an effective spin on it and telling your unique story.
Because of the internet, your story won’t disappear. PR can ensure that your brand or content stays visible and gains exposure over time.
PR shares positive, consistent content using appropriate search terms that will keep your brand relevant in the search engines. This can also bring more customers and increase returns.
PR can avoid and plan ahead for any possible bad publicity. It allows you to prepare for a disaster before it happens so that you can save time and position your business to save your reputation.
“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” – Bill Gates. He understood that PR is a long-term effort and solution to increase your ROI. If you want to be perceived as a squirrel you need to be a part of a long term PR strategy and work towards a desired goal. Otherwise you might end up a rat.