Many people do not truly understand what public relations (PR) is, what it entails and the impact it can have on one’s business. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines PR as, “a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Therefore PR encompasses all aspects of relationship-building through community relations, media and influencer relations, public affairs, events, crisis and reputation management, social media and more. PR is not one dimensional and each day presents its challenges and triumphs as we work to achieve our clients’ goals. Continue reading to learn more about the importance of public relations.
Connecting with your audience
So what is the ultimate goal of PR? It aims to build a connection between you, your product, brand or service with the appropriate target audiences. In order to connect with your current and prospective consumers, stakeholders or other key groups, you must have a strong story and message. At the end of the day, a consumer may love what you have to offer, but for them to truly buy-in, they must connect with your story and what you stand for. PR practitioners help position and tell brand stories through different mediums.
You may be thinking, can’t I connect with my intended targets through advertising? Sure you can, but advertising is paid media, while public relations is earned. Audiences are more likely to trust messaging coming from a vetted source than through paid ads, therefore increasing your message’s credibility.
Once your product, brand or service is introduced to and receives recognition in the media and in your target audience communities, it can become further credentialed. It is important to note that credentialing is not guaranteed, as it depends on if the right messages are communicated to the right audience and at the consistency in which they are displayed. In any industry, trust is a major factor and if a third party or friend shares information via word of mouth, your brand has a better chance of prospective audiences engaging. From the exposure gained in your target audiences, effective PR can lead to new business relationships and sales. Brands can increase credibility from earned media by sharing coverage on their website, social platforms and in sales materials.
Refuge in times of crisis
Just as PR can build credibility for a brand or service, it is there to assist in times of crisis. The popularity and trust brands have worked diligently to build can quickly come crashing down along with its reputation. There are three types of crises: immediate, emerging and sustained. As PR practitioners, it is our goal to efficiently and effectively diffuse these crises by responding to negative situations and dialogue with the stakeholders affected by the perceived and actual consequences of crises. No company is immune to potential crisis situations, that is why we are on call for our clients 24/7 to assist as they arise.
Companies large and small can benefit from PR, whether it’s to share messages that connect with key audiences, further credential their offerings, or to provide help in times of crisis. No matter the type of business, PR can help reach your communications goals.