What’s PR? UNDERSTANDING PUBLIC RELATIONS
Are you aware that even in the animal kingdom, animals have a ‘voice’, or the ‘public image maker?’ That’s the lion. Same goes with the human world, and more specifically the business world of companies and organizations. How do companies create their image and relate with the public? This is what PR – public relations, is about.
It involves the different ways through which an organization communicates with its customers and the public. PRSAinitiated a crowdsourcing campaign and public vote that produced the following definition: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. Let’s have a deeper look into the meaning of this definition to see what PR is really and what is involves from a PR officer.
- Public Relations is Important to Create a Public Image
Without a public relations department, no business organization can successfully represent itself in a world where there are so many channels of communications. All the major social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram are now new communication channels added to more traditional media, that needs to be used to shape your public image as well as preventing any false perception or accusation. By making use of these channels, business organizations can create their public image and inform the public on what services they provide and how they can be reached. It is important to also note that it can as well shape its public image by dissipating negative perception.
- Public Relations focus on Communication
What stands first on the to-do list of every company or organization is the need to establish a viable and clear link between themselves and the public which includes their clients, customers, and partners. To achieve this goal, they require experienced public relations specialists who are fluent in communication. Such people must be good in both written and verbal communication skills. More so, if you work as a PR officer, you should have a good grasp on all the PR tools such as blogs, the web, newsletters, press releases, public releases, content publishing, SEO, podcasts conferences, and so on. These are the media through which organizations establish relationships with their potential investors and the stakeholders at large.
- Public Relations and the Marketing Strategy
A great role that public relations can play within a marketing strategy is communicating targeted messaging to targeted groups through specific channels. It makes for a well-rounded marketing strategy that supports the advertising effort. An example is Shell Oil and Gas, one of the world’s largest oil and gas extraction and production companies. When you visit its website, you have access to newsletters and press releases, or even the speeches of the CEO, Ben Van Beurden. This is NOT JUST about providing information; it is more about giving investors the inkling that they are welcome to learn more about them and follow their projects and revenues, if possible. It is a show of transparency for their demanding constituents.
In essence, you get to realize that, just as fashion allows us to send the right or desired messages about ourselves, public relations allow a company or organization to represent its values and goals in ways that project what they really are. Even governments and political groups use public relations, in the form of campaigns and propaganda to get party supporters or sympathizers who may be captivated by their ideologies and promises.
Regardless of the tool being used, when you find useful and pertinent information about a company, you can be assured that the public relations department is behind it. As opposed to the beautified spin that advertising puts on messaging, Public Relations builds mutually beneficial relationships with the public.
- Public Relations and the Marketing Strategy
PR tools include the following:
- Write and distribute press releases
- Speech writing
- Write pitches (less formal than press releases) about a firm and send them directly to journalists
- Create and execute special events designed for public outreach and media relations
- Conduct market research on the firm or the firm’s messaging
- Expansion of business contacts via personal networking or attendance and sponsoring at events
- Writing and blogging for the web (internal or external sites)
- Crisis public relations strategies
- Social media promotions and responses to negative opinions online