It occurred to me today that I’ve never posted anything specifically about the role of public relations.
And, as a public relations and marketing expert, it’s past time that I did so!
Public relations, marketing, and advertising are nearly always lumped together, as though they are all the same thing. Indeed, nothing could be further from the truth.
As I have expressed many times in the past, marketing is about a strategy, while advertising is one way of implementing that strategy. Public relations, while also a part of marketing strategy, is about building awareness for your company.
PR is the art of obtaining free exposure for your company. It provides the opportunity for you to share your corporate beliefs, values, and products and services to the public. There are many ways to achieve this.
One of the most familiar ways to obtain PR is through a press/media release. There is definite perceived value when your release is seen as newsworthy. But remember that the media is inundated on a daily basis with releases from others who, just like you, are looking for coverage for their latest announcement. So, make sure that you truly have something important to share, and deliver it in a way that demonstrates its importance and sets you apart from the rest. Press/media releases are useful for announcing new products or services, new offices or changes in staff; any change or improvement to your business.
But PR is about more than just media releases.
The options that exist to help your company gain free exposure have grown exponentially over the years. Proper use of social media, for instance, can generate a lot of very positive public relations for you. Other options include participation in charitable events, such as charity runs, golf tournaments, assisting at a local food bank, helping out at a soup kitchen, etc.
All of the examples mentioned above will help you gain exposure for your business, while also demonstrating some of the fundamental values of your company. Let’s face it; most people truly do like to give back and to help others, whether physically, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually. And public relations provide the ideal opportunity to prove that you and your company have some very closely held beliefs and values.
This brings us to the fundamentals of marketing. The goal of marketing is to attract clients and prospects to do business with you. And what is that common theme that runs through all marketing? People like to do business with people who they know, like, and trust. Public relations is another avenue to gain credibility in the marketplace.
There is also a flip side to PR.
Public relations also has a very important role in maintaining a corporate reputation.
There may be times, no matter how hard you tried to do the right thing, that someone or something doesn’t go as planned, resulting in negative publicity for your company. Enter public relations.
There are two sides to every coin, and at least two sides to every argument. And no matter how much you try, you will never be everything to everyone. There will be times when something happens that’s outside of your control, or some group or organization launches an attack on your business or your industry. Proper messaging, targeting, and use of public relations can help turn the tide, stem the negativity, and reinstate your credibility.
Like everything, there is a proper strategy and method required in order to implement a suitable and effective public relations campaign. If you are inexperienced or lack the time to dedicate to the development of an appropriate PR strategy, it is well worth your investment to hire a PR consultant to assist you in focusing your campaign.
Until next time…
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