What is PR? Short for public relations, PR is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. PR is responsible for both promoting and protecting a brand, and is unique in that it allows brands to build relationships with an audience through credible sources, like news outlets.
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Public relations is the foundation of any good communications plan. PR manages the spread of information from a company to potential customers and the general public. When referring to communications, public relations can refine a company’s message, plan events, compose news releases, assist in customer services, write media pitches, and create presentations. The reach of public relations can be found in websites, mobile sites, blogs, social media, press releases, among many other forms of mass communication.
PR experts help businesses or individuals gain a positive public reputation. This can be done through various modes of communication, usually unpaid, that may take the form of traditional media (think TV, print, or radio), social media, or in-person engagements.
Additionally, PR experts guide clients through crises that may threaten their reputation. They ensure that the correct communications are released in order to maintain a brand or individual’s credibility. PR experts also write press releases, deal with enquiries from the public, organize promotional events, analyze media coverage, conduct market research, and work as a liaison between the brand and the public, among many other tasks.
PR is a great way to get the news out about your business, whether it’s a large one or a brand-new startup. Audience and public trust are specifically important for a new company, and PR assists in building a company’s reputation. Investing in PR is beneficial in both positive press for your business and continued success and coverage, as well as establishing a solid reputation. PR professionals are skilled in handling all things press-related, so then you have more time and resources to work on the behind the scenes aspect of your business. One of the greatest strengths of a PR professional is knowing how to deal with crisis communications, or when an unpredictable situation poses a significant threat to a particular company and/or its operations. PR professionals are trained to deal with these crises and act in a timely manner to get the information out to the public and uphold the responsibility of trust.
Both PR experts and advertisers are storytellers. They cultivate a truthful, yet positive narrative surrounding their client and spread that word to the public. The main difference between PR and advertising, however, is that PR is generally unpaid, or earned media, whereas advertising is paid-for.
PR experts often play an important role in advising management on the best policy decisions or actions to take, and conducting programs, such as fundraising or networking events, to help the public understand the client’s goals. In this way, PR is not just to spin a story after it happens, it is used to write the story in the first place.
PR is constantly evolving to meet modern needs. What was once owned by TV, print, and radio is now dominated by an entirely digital world. Over the last few decades, the rise of new media and new blogs, publications, and influencers have reshaped the PR landscape.
Years ago, public relations and the methods behind it were largely inaccessible. Whether or not your client got press coverage was dependent on who your PR person knew and what events they attended. In the age of the internet, however, everything happens online. Pitches are sent via email and journalists can easily be tracked down through LinkedIn or within the articles themselves.
One challenging element of the digital age is the virality of bad news on social media and Google. This makes the ‘protecting’ side of PR more relevant than ever and more and more brands may need to defend themselves against the negative effects of a bad news piece.
With the rise of new ways, tools and approaches to find PR opportunities, it is essential that companies hire expert PR professionals who have a strong grasp on every aspect of the field.
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Planning & organizing: PR experts are responsible for planning publicity strategies and campaigns as well as organizing and attending events such as press conferences, exhibitions, and visits. Keeping an organized calendar and planning each engagement is essential.
Research: It is impossible to succeed in public relations without researching and analyzing a client’s industry as well as current market trends. Being knowledgeable and staying up-to-date is one of the most critical responsibilities of a PR professional.
Writing: PR experts write a lot. Whether it is submitting a pitch, writing a press release, or giving a presentation, it is essential that PR experts have clear, concise, and convincing writing skills.
Interpersonal skills & Public Speaking: PR professionals often handle inquiries from the public, press or other related organizations as well as speak at interviews or press conferences. Excellent interpersonal and communication (both written and verbal) are necessary.
Creativity: Journalists are inundated with pitches every day. A great PR person needs to possess the creativity to make theirs stand out.