Reaching and engaging target audiences is vital in any business. Creating and spreading a message that informs, educates, and persuades the public to take action is essential for promoting your business. Public relations 101 (PR for short) has a key role in creating and delivering that message. In other words, it facilitates communication between you and your audience.
Since PR is so important for your business, it is important that your entire team knows what it means, how it functions, and what its objectives are.
Although PR has found its place in every industry, government, and nonprofit organization, few people actually know what PR professionals do.
To help you understand public relations 101, here’s a brief overview.
What is public relations 101 and what are its objectives?
Over the past few years, the world of public relations has seen some major changes.
PR is a business tool that helps build and maintain a positive brand image and establish a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with the target audience.
PR can help your business in many ways – it helps you receive positive media coverage, gain exposure to new audiences, gain trust and credibility, etc.
Choosing the right PR strategy at the right time isn’t an easy task. Some effective public relations strategies include getting to know your audiences, having an organized set of activities, doing research, creating compelling content, learning about your competition, having a dedicated PR team, enhancing your online presence and clearly defining your objectives.
PR should benefit you, your media contacts, as well as your audiences. PR’s main objective is to build a strategic relationship with the public, prospective customers, investors, partners, employees and other stakeholders and maintain a positive reputation of your brand.
Public relations 101 vs marketing/advertising
The line between public relations and marketing or advertising is a blurry one.
PR involves different means of reaching external and internal audiences. A typical PR campaign has a specific goal, such as promoting a business on the radio, in TV programs, newspapers, websites, blogs or magazines.
What makes public relations 101 different from marketing is that its task is generating revenue, while advertising relies on paid promotion to share messages.
Public relations 101 is not advertising. PR agencies do not buy ads, write stories for reporters, and do paid promotions that audiences often view with scepticism.
Its role is to promote your company by using editorial content appearing across different media channels. This is free or earned promotion.
For example, a website will allow easymovekw.com to do promote their brand on their site only if they offer content that is relevant, valuable, and beneficial for both sides.
Maximum impact with minimal investment
Every day, thousands of small and medium-sized businesses conduct successful PR campaigns with minimal expenses.
There are specific practical skills and methods designed to improve the reputation of your business.
By mastering those skills and methods, you can reach your marketing goals and become equal with your much larger competitors at a fraction of advertising costs.
Traditional vs modern public relations
In its early days, PR was a little different from what it is today. The first PR professionals often used tactics today’s audiences would consider spammy or manipulative.
The first practitioners focused mainly on self-promotion, even at their audiences’ expense, and it worked until the internet changed everything.
The goals were pretty much the same – building credibility, generating brand awareness, and creating a positive brand image.
The biggest difference between traditional and modern public relations is the way a strategy is executed.
Today’s audience has a lot more power, their expectations have changed and PR is adapting in an effort to meet those expectations.
Audiences are getting better at identifying trustworthy sources and valuable information. They demand authenticity and genuine value.
To meet the demand, modern PR experts build relationships with a variety of media contacts — from traditional journalists to influencers, publication editors and contributors.
Those media contacts are looking for content that engages their audience and often reject pitches that are too promotional. Only if you offer relevant content can your relationship be mutually beneficial.
Types of public relations
The role of media relations is dealing with media organizations with the aim of generating positive coverage of your company or your product.
It’s all about advertising your brand for free. PR obligations include scheduling interviews, writing press releases, and organizing press conferences.
Community relations PR works on establishing a company’s relationship with the community.
The aims include getting local support for a project, influencing and changing people’s perspective regarding a certain issue, evoking people’s interest in the company’s products or services, etc.
Community engagement officers are organized, intuitive persons. They need to understand how the members of a community think and act in order to find the best way to engage with them.
The main role of public affairs, a.k.a. lobbying is persuading the government to be on your side. Public affairs professionals’ job is to make contacts within the government and other organizations.
A good public affairs professional must be persistent, likeable, and sneaky when needed.
Crisis management is the PR you need in case something goes wrong and the company’s reputation is in jeopardy.
Since these things need to be dealt with as soon as possible, crisis managers must be quick thinkers.
They must understand every media channel so they can decide which issues require addressing the public in a press conference and which ones can be handled with a single tweet. This job requires confidence and the ability to manage teams and delegate tasks.
Corporate and social responsibility
This type of PR improves the company’s reputation for ethics, community and charity work, and environmental consciousness. It can significantly influence an organization’s business dynamics.
A good CSR officer needs to possess people skills, networking skills, to be persuasive and liked by their co-workers.
Employee relations, a.k.a. internal PR is probably the most sensitive type of PR. It is all about keeping employees satisfied, motivated and loyal to the company.
Employee relations professionals are in charge of things like organizing employee events, creating internal newsletters, liaising with unions, resolving disputes, etc.
Employee relations professionals need to possess good negotiation skills, to be understanding, observant, and determined.
Social media has enormous PR potential. Social media platforms are a place where the whole world can see how you interact with customers.
In addition to being tech-savvy and intuitive, successful social media professionals should also have a sense of humour.
Integrated marketing communications
This isn’t exactly a type of PR. It is a way to ensure that you provide a consistent message through all of your activities that serves your overall PR strategy.
IMC professionals need to be good at dealing with people and interested in all aspects of communication because they do a little bit of everything.