Public relations is essential to a company or a person’s individual success. Image is an important aspect of brand awareness, which, in turn, influences whether potential customers and/or followers know, like and trust you. For larger corporations, PR focuses on maintaining a positive corporate image while handling media requests that come along with the notoriety of a bigger company.
As the founder of a PR firm, I’ve found that regardless of size — whether the company is a big-box establishment or a small startup company — PR is about managing how others see and feel about who or what you’re representing, as well as presenting the information in the best possible light. Whether that’s done through the work of an in-house PR team or an outside firm, your primary goals should remain the same: Communicate important company information, maintain the brand’s image and, if needed, help minimize the fallout from any negative press.
PR executives are responsible for both crafting and maintaining the image of the clients they work with, and the way in which they approach these goals is based on various strategies. PR may occur in the form of a press release, news conference, interviews conducted with journalists, leveraging the power of social media or collaborating with social media influencers. Sharing the right information with the right people and places is also part of the overall strategy. With many different approaches, it’s important to target the outlets that will garner the most reach.
PR can also help with client acquisition, employee acquisition and a company’s fundraising efforts. The strategies implemented are not targeted toward selling products but rather creating favorable conditions for sustainable business growth. When done right, the reach of PR strategies, both on a short- and long-term basis, can draw in a larger audience without the expensive cost advertising and marketing plans place on a business.
This is where the difference lies: A PR campaign is meant to look and feel organic. Your PR team should be focusing on the creative plans that are going to generate positive press, build brand awareness and manage the business or brand’s reputation in the eyes of the consumer. At times, the scope of what PR is and what it can do for a brand might not be fully understood, but there are many advantages to working closely with your PR team, including:
Developing An Image
A big misconception about PR is that it’s used to promote something like an item or an offer, but that idea couldn’t be further from the truth. PR is meant to drive a business upward and help create a positive image. In doing so, engagement increases, which leads to growth. Remember that creating a positive image in the minds of your consumers is a business investment that cannot be bought; it must be earned.
Attracting A Target Market
Once you’ve defined who your target audience is, creating useful and relevant content becomes much easier. If you’re building an in-house PR team, ensure you know which media outlets to focus on, the reporters who cover your industry and which influencers to contact. Social media influencers have become an integral part of helping brands not only build their name but also organically reach new audiences through their own followers.
Driving Referral Traffic
As your PR team works to build out content leveraging the various channels your audience engages with, having a way in which to measure the engagement and content performance is extremely helpful. Unlike marketing and advertising campaigns, PR typically has not been an area where an ROI can easily be attached. But referral traffic, or visitors who land on a company’s web or social media page, is one of the most basic benefits of a PR campaign and easiest to measure.
One of the ways in which to extend the life of media coverage is to showcase it via the different social media outlets. It is permanent exposure that lives on, unlike paid placement, which only lasts for a specific period of time and disappears once it’s no longer being paid for.
Providing Added Value
By implementing PR practices, you’re putting your business or brand at the forefront of your industry. The benefits include raising your company’s profile, building strong relationships and increasing visibility, whether that’s for products, services or even company executives. You can also leverage the power of your PR to establish yourself (or someone from within) as a thought leader. This not only puts you in the spotlight but also the company you represent.
Enhancing Online Presence
In a world where just about everyone is digitally connected, public relations can help companies make the most of their online presence. The relationships they have with media outlets, journalists and influencers are all integral in helping to elevate your social media presence. That includes engagement and interaction with other businesses and brands, as well as sharing your own highlights. Consumers want to engage with brands they feel a connection to, and showing your authentic self holds value.
At the heart of it, PR encapsulates sending the right message to the right people and places in an effort to create a strong brand reputation within a respective industry. PR is an area that can transform as well help grow the future of a business.