What is Public Relations?
If you are like most professionals some part of each day is spent sifting through various business publications, newspapers or periodicals. To ensure that it is your business that is being written about you need to understand how public relations (PR) work. Whether it is just to keep on top of who is doing what, what new products are coming out, changes to regulations and legislation or just plain business leads. Take a step back, look at your usual sources of information and look at who is being written about and what the messages of those articles are conveying. Chances are most, if not all, of the firms being written about have some sort of media objective and are utilising PR marketing. PR Marketing theory recognises that the media is a powerful tool that should be tapped. Public relations is precisely this. It is a cheap and effective way of getting your message out to the public and raising your profile. The media can affect the way its readers, your clients, make decisions, and a proactive and focused media programme can influence the way journalists present the news. This makes a positive PR/marketing programme not only worthwhile but vital. However, determining how you set your media objectives is largely determined by your own business objectives. Do you want to simply raise your profile to find investors or partners or do you have a specific message or product to push? And how much time and money are you willing to allocate towards working with the press? What is PR? Public relations, according to the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) is about reputation. The result of what you do; what you say and what others say about you. The PR practice is defined as the discipline that looks after reputation with the aim of earning understanding and support, and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain good will and mutual understanding between an organisation and its public – ie, a company’s staff, suppliers, shareholders, customers, etc. Each time you come in contact with the media you should be aware of this. The real purpose of doing interviews or sending out news releases is to raise your profile, your firm’s expertise, products or the high quality of its personnel. A good PR/marketing campaign will focus on the media outlets that your customers read and take notice of. Doing interviews and sending out press releases does not guarantee press coverage but it increases your chances considerably. And if you are quoted or profiled in a given article chances are the publication’s subscribers, who are ultimately your current or potential clients, will read it. Having a public relations objective is not only useful when you have something good to say, but can also pay dividends if things go awry. “If bad things are going to happen and the press will report on it, far better to at least have a better relationship with the press rather than no relationship.
And good PR and press relations can turn a bad situation into something better,” relates Steve Sawyer, events and public relations executive at the IPR.
Doing interviews and sending out press releases does not guarantee press coverage but it increases your chances considerably.