First things first: PR is short for public relations. Why is public relations important? That’s a much bigger question for us to explore.
Nowadays, the term PR is so ubiquitous that it’s almost impossible to decipher its meaning. Many people simply assume it means advertising or publicity – which is far from being an accurate description of its scope. Even those with more knowledge may still not fully comprehend all that PR entails when it comes to processes and practices involved in creating a successful PR strategy.
Though lack of understanding in this area may not affect the average individual, having some understanding will help us better comprehend our world. But for public figures, businesses, and organizations, understanding PR and how it can benefit their brand is absolutely necessary.
Every business employs some form of PR in their overall strategy or uses techniques related to this field at some point in order to increase brand awareness. But some businesses do this unknowingly, while others take a strategic approach. Since PR plays such an integral role in any brand’s success, it’s highly recommended that businesses gain an in-depth knowledge about what PR is and what benefits it can provide them. We can show you why public relations matters so much for your business.
Given the vastness of PR, it can be impossible to explain its intricacies in just a few words. That is why this guide exists – to take you through its foundational concepts and give you a solid theoretical base from which you can craft an effective PR strategy in the future.
What is PR?
What exactly is PR, other than “it’s complicated?” And why is public relations essential for businesses? In simple terms, PR (public relations) refers to the practice of managing and disseminating information about an individual, organization or company through various methods and channels in order to cultivate positive public perceptions about your brand so you can grow and prosper within your industry. It all boils down to cultivating positive public perceptions of your brand so you can build upon existing success.
A successful PR strategy doesn’t leave anything to chance – it takes into account every element that goes into reaching, engaging and building trust with various audiences, from customers and associates to other businesses, the media and anyone else that may be connected to you in some way or another. Thus, while PR may not be an exact science or ask why public relations in business matters, it is based on strategic communication – a subset of communication science.
Given the above description of why public relations is essential, it can be easy to overlook its similarities to branding and marketing. Although these disciplines share many strategies, they are distinct disciplines with distinct objectives.
Branding, marketing and public relations all have distinct functions and outcomes. Branding involves creating an image for a person or company through all elements that contribute to building a good reputation; marketing focuses on promoting products or services and driving sales; while PR involves communicating and forging mutually beneficial relationships between brands and their various audiences – that’s why it’s so important!
Even if branding, marketing, and PR employ different approaches and tactics for different goals, they all work together as part of one ecosystem to support your success and development. So if you want to achieve success in your industry, make sure all three components have a common language: branding.
Why is Public Relations Important?
What is public relations? By now, it should be obvious why PR is important. When done properly, PR can make a huge difference for individuals/companies – which explains why PR firms in Los Angeles – where competition in every niche and sector is fierce – are currently flourishing. Everyone knows that brands are only as good as their perception of them, so shaping how people view you or your business through strategic communication is key to reaching success. But building positive relationships and creating lasting impressions through effective PR is an oversimplified description that doesn’t go into detail what effective PR can accomplish.
So, here’s what a well-crafted PR strategy should be able to do for you:
- Take control of your messaging and take a proactive approach to improving your brand’s image
- React quickly and communicate effectively during times of crisis to minimize negative effects or turn them in your favor.
- Monitor and assess how your audiences perceive you, then adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Establish and nurture positive connections with all stakeholders.
- Create a positive online image for your brand in the digital realm
- Utilize and enhance channels of communication to effectively promote your brand.
With all that PR offers and its numerous advantages, there’s no denying its power as an effective tool that should not be overlooked in your overall strategy. To maximize its impact, utilize all techniques and practices available so that your brand is presented to the public in its most favorable light possible.
Main focus areas of a comprehensive PR plan
As you can see, PR activities come in many shapes and sizes and serve a variety of purposes. This opens the door for endless variations and possibilities, which means no two PR strategies are alike. Nonetheless, although each person/company’s communication approach may differ slightly, there are certain boxes all public relations plans should check off – these being:
Media relations is often the first thing that comes to mind when people hear about public relations, yet this is only one aspect of PR. Media relations involve cultivating and maintaining positive relationships with all types of media – bloggers, reporters, journalists, influencers – in order to secure positive coverage for your brand – effectively turning another person’s voice over for you in terms of advertising.
Speaking highly of yourself or your brand is one thing, but having someone from outside praise you is quite another. While people expect you to say good things about yourself, when another party presents you in a positive light it helps build trust and credibility. That is exactly what the media exists for – so take advantage of these relationships by writing press releases, giving interviews, organizing press conferences and attending events. Most importantly though, provide relevant and compelling stories about your brand that journalists will want to cover.
Many brands make the mistake of focusing their entire PR strategy on external factors and neglecting what occurs within their own walls. That is why public relations is so essential – remember, relationships you build with employees are just as important as those you have with clients or partners; this is where employee relations, or internal PR comes into play.
Employees are a company’s greatest resource, so if that is the case, then make sure your PR strategy also targets them. This could involve organizing events for staff members or creating internal newsletters to facilitate collaboration among all levels. If you keep employees contented and contented, they could become some of your biggest supporters – which brings us back to why public relations matters in the first place: to keep employees happy!
Another aspect to pay particular attention to is your local, or not-so-local community. Regardless of if your brand has a physical presence or operates exclusively online, it’s essential that you consider how those affected by your brand perceive you.
It is essential to get to know the people in your community, understand their thoughts and behaviors, and become engaged with the issues that matter to them. You could donate funds or volunteer at local organizations or organize events so you can engage with people from the area, raise awareness about your brand, enhance its reputation, and boost sales.
Corporate and social responsibility
Community relations is closely connected to corporate and social responsibility (CSR), which involves actively engaging in causes that reflect your brand’s ethical and philanthropic values and showing how your core principles and dedication can benefit those around you.
CSR is about recognizing your brand has the power to effect positive change and you are willing to work toward accomplishing it. You should emphasize why public relations is important for your brand’s strengths and successful initiatives, while minimizing any negative aspects as much as possible. Focusing on sustainability and environmental protection are two examples of this approach.
Public relations is essential. While preventing a crisis before it arises is always preferable to dealing with it afterward, unexpected events do happen occasionally. A sound PR strategy should take these events into account and include an action plan for when they do arise.
Therefore, when an issue arises, your PR team will be swift to apply the proper strategies and minimize its negative effects. Acting quickly increases your chances of coming out of a crisis unscathed and with your reputation intact.
There’s much to be said about how effective PR can help you on your journey towards success. If there’s one takeaway from this guide, it should be that having an integrated PR strategy is essential for making an impact in your industry. That is just one of the many reasons why public relations matters so much.