As a small communications agency, we handle advertising, PR and marketing for several brands. Often times we’re asked why public relations is valuable to an organization or brand, so we wanted to share a few thoughts on our blog in case you’ve been wondering the same thing.
Some companies are wise enough to know public relations is an absolute necessity, while others believe it is something they can do without. For us, we think it’s a no brainer for certain types of organizations, while others may benefit more from a strong ad campaign. (Confused? Ask us!)
According to the Public Relations Society of America, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Well, that certainly sounds fancy, but what does it mean for an individual brand?
Basically, PR creates connections between an organization or an individual, and the public by using an avenue of (free) media coverage. PR is different from advertising, in that it isn’t “pay to play”. This earned or “free media coverage”, known as editorial coverage, comes via websites, newspapers, magazines, broadcast, blogs, social media and radio programs when a reporter agrees to cover a story we're pitching about one of our clients.
In terms of PR, Forbes describes the field quite well when it says, “We don’t buy ads. We don’t write stories for reporters. We don’t put up billboards. We don’t come up with catchy phrases to make people buy more products they probably don’t need.” This is true, PR isn’t any of these things. PR campaigns work with the goal of promoting clients by building relationships with the media. Over time these relationships create opportunities to promote the client without having to pay for coverage.
Our team works hard to shape and maintain a positive image that positions our clients well in the eyes of their audiences, and the public at large.
How do PR campaigns shape and maintain images for clients? Well, that’s an interesting question with many answers. Here are just a few ways PR works to promote their clients:
News Releases. News releases are one of the most common activities a PR agency does for a client. A news release contains information to help create a captivating news story that shows how the individual, organization, or product is important to the public. The goal is for the media contacts, identified by the agency, to pick up a client’s story and share the key points.
Press Conferences. Press conferences gather many types of media (print, broadcast, and online) together with the goal of sharing the same unique, exciting information to everyone at the same time. In order to increase the likelihood that journalists will attend this info gathering session, press conferences can now be done through Web conferencing with a live stream of video presenting the pertinent information.
Crisis Communication. PR agencies help clients plan ahead for the unknown by creating crisis plans for the day when things go awry. Having someone on hand to offer a quick, professional response to negative information can mitigate the damage done to a client’s image. And, a proactive plan can maintain a brand’s reputation even in times of trouble.
Social Media. Monitoring and creating social media posts for a client is an everyday activity at most PR firms. Nowadays people follow brands on different social media sites around the clock and it is important to have an extra pair of eyes on everything that’s communicated online. Brands ought to make sure they reflect a positive image online and address any negative feedback as soon as possible.
There’s obviously a lot more that falls under the umbrella of PR, but that’s for a face to face meeting with a big cup of coffee. The next time you start looking for a way to strengthen your brand remember that it is our job is to create a good name, maintain a strong image and to provide you with a chance to grow your brand beyond what you thought was possible. In the mean time, if you need help with a short or long term project, let us know. We’re always happy to sit down and chat.