To define PR in the most basic terms, PR stands for Public Relations. But those two small words don’t fully convey the gigantic benefits that effective PR can accomplish for a brand. Let’s dive deeper into what PR is, why it’s important for your business and how different elements of PR can be implemented to achieve your brand goals.
What is PR?
With such an array of beliefs and conceptions around what PR is, even the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) struggled to define it. They actually launched a campaign for industry professionals to submit what they believe PR to be. They settled on this official definition: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” So what does that really mean? PR is the shaping of the public’s perception of your brand so that the story you want to be told is what the public hears. It’s all about building trust, maintaining your reputation and influencing the public image of your company.
How does it fit in with marketing?
A lot of people completely separate PR from marketing. While they are certainly different – PR is earned or unpaid and marketing is paid – the two go hand in hand to garner results. In fact, studies show that consumers consider publicity to be 7X more credible than advertisements. Think of it like a fair – not everyone will stop by your booth just because it’s there. You should have people holding signs that talk up your booth and explain why it’s worth the visit – the people that are there, that’s your reach; the ones that stop by and have a good time, those are your reactions. Similarly, if you have people promoting your booth, but you don’t deliver on the claims you’ve made, then you’ll hurt your reputation and your chance of other people wanting to stop by.
Why is PR important?
Now that we’ve defined what PR is, the next thing you might be asking is why is it important? Think about any time you want to know something about a brand or product, what do you do? You research online, look for reviews from real people and ask your friends. PR is like your crazy best friend who knows everyone and can’t stop telling people about you. If you have the marketing but no one advocating for you, then what do you have?
What are the benefits of PR?
Talking about your brand in a positive light does more than just tell a good story – it creates a sense of validity, connection and community for all of your brand advocates. It reassures them about why they trust you with their business and why they recommend you to others. Furthermore, not only does PR build stronger relationships with your current customers and followers, but it also elevates the awareness, reach and credibility of your brand to those who may have never heard about you or who may be on the fence about interacting with you. If your brand is what always comes up first in a Google search or has been prevalent in the news recently, you are positioning yourself as the expert in your field. It keeps you top-of-mind and further associates your brand with your product or service.
What elements make up PR?
Oftentimes when people think about PR, they only associate it with press releases, but there are many pieces that go into PR and in effectively communicating the news you wish to share. Here are the biggest pieces that make up the PR puzzle:
- Press Releases – An official statement distributed to media outlets regarding facts of a specific story, event or announcement.
- Media Relations – Media Relations is what’s needed to ensure that the press releases are picked up by the media. It’s forming relationships with the news outlets so that when you have something newsworthy, you can improve the chance of your news being picked up.
- Event Promotions – Making sure events are a success is a huge part of PR – it’s making sure that the event is getting coverage and that it’s being talked about on the news, in the media and via word of mouth.
- Community Relations – Like its name suggests, Community Relations is maintaining relationships with followers, fans and members of the community to foster brand loyalty.
- Crisis Management – While a lot of PR is promoting great things happening around a brand, another part of it is preparing for, reacting to and putting out statements internally and publicly if an emergency or crisis were to occur. It involves keeping everyone up-to-date on what is happening and shaping the narrative told to external parties.
Hopefully now you have a better grasp on what PR is and what it involves. If you still have some questions or think you’d like to enlist PR professionals to better your brand, we can help.