I’ve got some good news and some bad news; public relations is everywhere. You can spot it in company news, in the celebrity gossip, and even religious happenings (usually referencing the terrible PR practices the person/entity/company is allowing to take place or creating themselves). That could be the bad news.
The good news? PR can also create some great publicity for you, if you perform PR activities correctly and with proper execution. (This may require you hiring a consultant of sorts, or learning more about PR yourself through training/education.) How is that done? There are a few ways:
- Help to create the publicity. In the past, public relations was widely seen as just the practice of getting the media to pay attention to you (which it can still be considered as), but it much, much more than that now. The Internet makes it so easy for you to create your own PR and in turn to create your own publicity, so take advantage of all of the outlets and tools available to you.
- Share things that are newsworthy. There are many companies who are confused when news of their sale are not picked up by the media. Unless you are a big name in the industry and your sales truly make an impact, this is not considered “newsworthy”. Newsworthy items include events, sponsorships, contests/giveaways, new product releases, etc. What it boils down to is the impact it has on the community; if the story won’t mean anything to the public, it won’t mean anything to the media either and your story will not get passed along. Actively try to create something worth talking about.
- Do good for the community. But not just for the PR. Do it because, as a company who relies on your customers/buyers and the community in which you operate, it is a part of your societal responsibilities to give back. Partake in events, sponsor, donate, offer assistance, whatever; do what you can and what your employees may be passionate about, as that will help to get them behind your efforts.
What’s the point, you ask? Well, there are many benefits of PR. They include (but are definitely not limited to) the following:
- Brand Awareness. Brand awareness is simply the awareness of your brand, to be somewhat repetitive; it is the awareness of you and your brand in your target audience, the market, the public, etc. It is vital to the company’s success, and there are many ways to increase brand awareness, many of which can be done through PR. There are other methods, such as those seen in advertising and marketing, and with the ever changing “playing field”, these activities are all becoming more and more similar.
- Crisis Management. As we’ve seen in the recent news (like those happenings linked in the first paragraph here), crisis management is something some companies seem to get, well, not so right. Crisis management is the management of events taking place that could turn into or are already a crisis. This can include a recall, an oil spill, infidelity, or just poor judgment, and PR can help to diffuse the situation by presenting the public with information and answers.
- Buzz/WOM. What better way to spread the word about your company than through your audience? (I don’t know if there is one, so I’ll just stick with buzz.) WOM (or word of mouth) is also a vital component to the success of not only one’s PR but one’s overall business/brand. While there can be negative buzz/WOM, PR comes into play here because as a part of managing one’s relationships with the public and the media, you can affect the way WOM is spread, as well as what spreads.
- Customer Relations. Following from the above point, PR creates an effective and beneficial opportunity (for both company and customer) to communicate and create relations. PR serves as an excellent customer relations tool because while advertising is also a method of communicating with your audience (albeit a one-sided form of), PR is meant to be informational and helpful.
- Media Relations. In the same sense, media relations benefits from PR because of the relationships cultivated through the PR process. In involving the media in your PR activities, which can largely be done on your own and without the need of the media, you can have an even greater impact on the online and offline news vehicle.
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