Public relations, also known for short as PR is a valuable and essential addition to many companies. Designed to help build trust and credibility amongst other organisations and companies, PR is vital when it comes to communicating with the greater public. Whether you are choosing to spread a message or raise awareness, it is crucial to understand the functions of public relations.
For those considering branching out into PR, or adding a PR department to their businesses, the advantages to a Public Relations team is apparent.
Whether you are defending a reputation or getting your message heard, here are the many different ways that a Public Relations team can help and their functions.
1. Media Representation
A key role of a Public Relations officer and that is to liaise with media organisations. By developing and distributing written press releases, a PR officer’s role is to create a relationship, improving the chances of getting their message heard.
Along with contributing to the news, an officer is also expected to monitor and measure news.
2. Crisis Communication
Along with controlling the message that is spread throughout the media, a PR officer is also expected to protect and squash any threat to the company’s reputation. By monitoring the news and working in Crisis Communication.
Crisis Communication is best described as a plan put in place by the Press Relations team to prepare for when a crisis is to occur. Whether this being allocating an official spokesperson, to training on how best to answer tough questions.
3. Content Development
From writing documents to emails, a key feature of a PR officer is to develop content. From blogs, speeches to a newsletter, when creating content, one of the officer’s roles is to make sure that the content is in the right tone and voice of that of the company.
With a message in the text, the PR team could also be selling an idea, service or product. This could be seen in the text of a blog post, advertising in gyms to a short news snap in your local paper.
4. Stakeholder Relations
Another Press Relations role that you may be unaware of and that is Stakeholder Relations. This is a person or a group that has an interest in the activity of the organisation and its successes.
Whether this being the employees of the company to government agencies, representing this organization is another one of the many roles of a PR officer.
If a company is hiring, a PR officer will create a positive image of the business, make such a company appear as a desirable place to work.
Such as a procurement consultant, whose role is to act as a middle man, monitoring and conducting contracts on behalf of their clients.
The success of their clients the stakeholder can affect their relationship and the amount of work they complete on their behalf.
5. Social Media
Monitoring, growing and updating the social media account is another task required for Public Relations staff.
Developing an online presence whether for the company or for an individual is vital. From tweeting and uploading onto Facebook, to monitoring what other users are posting onto their site is a key requirement.
Social Media Management is key, allowing companies to communicate directly with their target audience.
6. Planning Media Relation Events
Whether attending a trade show or organising an official event, it is of the role of the Public Relation officer to make sure that all the final details have been completed.
From double-checking that their message is clear, but also that the tone meets with that of the business.
Events are important, allowing the public to communicate with the company face to face, sometimes there may be a need for PR to attend, to help spread a message or calm any tension.
Different from advertising, the importance of Public Relations is not to be questioned. From spreading a vital message to reducing and squashing any negative press that may surround a service or product.
With the ability to create a positive message and to spread it with interested parties, by avoiding paid ads and promotions, any reference to your company appears honest and trusted.
What makes a good a good PR officer?
1. Credible Content
When done correctly, a good PR officer will be effective and efficient, able to spread their company’s message far and wide with positive effects.
From a new layer of credibility, the viewers when reading the material either in a newspaper or magazine will not question the content, trusting it more than advertised, paid-for content.
By having your message, product or service mentioned in a credible and respected third party site, you can create an alluring and credible image of your business or product.
2. Overall Reach
A good PR officer will have many contacts and will be able to reach and communicate with a large number of news outlets.
Instead of just communicating, the importance of creating relationships with their contacts is a key point fully aware by PR officers.
As well as, not just having the contacts, an experienced press relations officer will know which contact is best suited for certain material. This will help to spread their message with an appropriate and reactive audience.
For companies wanting to continue reaching a larger audience, however, with the use of less money, PR is a top choice.
A cost-effective way to continue spreading your message while counting the pennies, by bringing a PR team in house and reducing the amount of paid advertising you conduct, you could see a huge difference in exposure over time.
The cons of PR
An effective way to spread your message and monitor the public’s response to your message, the use of PR is not always positive.
Whether it be through the lack of control of the final outcome of the content distributed, to the ability to measure the success of campaigns, PR officers can face a number of challenges throughout their time on the job.
One of the biggest cons of investing in a Press Relations team and a huge reason why many companies will choose either to outsource and continue paying for paid advertising and that is the risk of no guaranteed results.
No matter how well written, or compelling your press release is, there is no guarantee that the news organisation that you have sent it to will choose to publish it.
Whether it being not topical enough, or not relevant for their key audience; there are a number of challenges that PR officers face.
With a number of important functions, the benefits of adding a Press Relations team to your business, highly outweigh the negatives.
With an estimated 63% of organisations viewing Press Relations as the drive and deciding factor behind their public image, adding or outsourcing is necessary for large organisations.
For those unsure of the benefits of Press Relations and are still debating their true success, by choosing a number of functions that are most important to your needs, you can develop your company in the best way possible.
There you have it, you are now fully aware of the functions of public relations as well as their benefits, fully aware of their role and able to decide the importance of a PR officer in your organisation.