What is PR?
Ask ten people 'What is PR?' and you'll likely get ten different answers.
Public Relations is notoriously difficult to define, but that doesn't make it any less important as a driver of brand awareness, enquiry generator, and credibility.
Because PR covers such a wide area it can sometimes be confused with advertising (you pay for space or time in the media), or marketing - technically, public relations falls under marketing but there are PR professionals who would argue that it should be considered separate altogether.
The reason is that PR has developed into a multi-headed discipline over the years, with many agencies offering services that go way beyond simply 'getting your name out there'.
These days PR covers so much more. In its broadest sense, PR is about communication. It's the process of creating and maintaining relationships with the public, the media, and other important stakeholders.
Public relations is about managing the spread of information between an organization and its public and will help you to achieve your business goals, help fortify your position in the marketplace, and protect you when things go wrong.
That's in a nutshell because there is so much more.
Different Types of PR
Here is a quick overview of some different types of PR - although the line can blur making it harder to separate.
For example, when working with a technology client, the work may involve consumer, corporate, technology, digital, media relations, and so on.
- Corporate PR: This involves activities such as media relations, crisis management, and thought leadership.
- Technology PR: This promotes technology companies and products and often involves activities such as product launches, media relations, and thought leadership.
- Law PR focuses on promoting law firms, lawyers, and legal services.
- Financial PR: Also known as investor relations, this promotes a company to investors, analysts, and the financial media.
- Consumer PR: This promotes products and brands to consumers and involves media relations, influencer marketing, and event marketing.
- Social Media: Uses Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other platforms for promotion, writing and posting content, etc.
- Public Affairs: This is engaging with policymakers and opinion leaders to influence public policy.
- Issues Management: This is about managing potential or actual issues that could impact a company's reputation.
- Event PR: This involves activities such as event planning, sponsorship, and media relations.
- Crisis Management: When something goes wrong, bring in the crisis management team for reputation damage control.
- Internal / Employee Communications: Townhalls, newsletters, intranets, etc.
- Reputation PR: This promotes and protects a company or individual.
This is just the tip of the iceberg because the list is almost endless. For example, we didn't include litigation PR, industrial, charity, CSR, climate, auto, healthcare, education, retail, energy, and so on.
10 Tips to Help You Achieve Business Goals with PR
Here are some tips on how to use PR to achieve your business goals:
1. Decide what you want to achieve: This may be to drive traffic to the website, generate leads, exposure in Tier 1 media.
2. Know who you want to reach. This is essential. Without a defined target audience, your efforts will be scattered and less likely to be successful.
3. Choose the right channels: These might be social media, traditional media, events, and speaking engagements. Choosing the right mix of channels will depend on your target audience and what you want to achieve.
4. Define your budget: The easy way is to ask a PR agency to come up with a proposal together with a quote. However, providing a rough budget to the agency will help the agency give a realistic proposal.
5. Measure results: PR is not a one-off exercise and should be part of an ongoing process to establish a foothold and then continue the momentum. Measuring results will help check the campaign's progress and return on investment.
6. Information flow is two ways; PR is about building relationships, and that requires two-way communication.
7. Prioritise markets; Decide where you want to concentrate the PR programme because the more markets added, the more expensive the campaign will become and the more difficult it will be to get good coverage.
8. Keep it fresh; PR is an ongoing process, and your content and messages must be fresh to avoid becoming outdated.
9. Develop a strong story. Your PR agency should be able to generate stories of interest following your brief and as they get to know your business, develop angles and points of interest for the media.
10. Sharing successes. Sharing PR wins internally and to other stakeholders helps to justify the PR spend, acts as a motivator, and ensures everyone is kept in the loop.
There you have it—our top tips on how to use PR to achieve your business goals.
About Eight Public Relations
We are a PR consultancy based in Hong Kong. We help technology and legal clients enhance their profile and become more visible in the media and on the web through media relations, branded content, corporate reputation, thought leadership programmes, and digital communications.