What is Public Relations in 2020?
In this article we will answer some of the basic questions about this often misunderstood and constantly evolving communications practice.
- What is public relation?
- What is the role of public relations?
- What kind of jobs are in public relations?
- What are some examples of public relations?
Top FAQ What is public relations
Public relations is the practice of generating public interest in your business, product, or service by sharing your stories, messages and values in traditional and social media. Today it involves connecting and engaging with constituants online to open a mutually beneficial dialogue.
There are 9 types of jobs in public relations. Media relations, Investor Relations, Government relations, Public Affairs, Community relations, Customer Relations, Influencer marketing, Crisis Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Articles in newspapers, magazines, newsletters, appearances on television and radio talk shows are generated by someone contacting those media outlets and convincing those outlets to discuss, interview, write about or otherwise put the message out there where the public can read, watch or hear it.
Public relations are your secret weapon for increasing your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Yet, it is the most undervalued tactics by communications professionals.
There are 2 main reasons why:
Many people struggle to write a public relations pitch that stands-out in a reporter’s inbox or piques an editor’s interest enough to even reply.
And then, most people do not know what to do with the ensuing coverage to make it worth their efforts.
But those 2 obstacles can be easily overcome by putting in place a plan to seed and nurture a public relations campaign, and by then maximizing the results.
In helping out many clients, we have come to a formula that works incredibly well to increase SEO results from any public relations campaign.
5 steps public relations formula for SEO
- 1. Begin with your priority key words.
- 2. Identify media outlets that ranks well for your key words.
- 3. Create top quality owned content relating to your keywords.
- 4. Craft your own pitch, to show your thought leadership.
- 5. Optimize your articles with anchor text.
Priority key words
Use the keywords that you are focusing on for your company as a starting point to turn them in a statement which can be used as a headline to get a high-level bit of content. Use the Google Keyword Planner or another keyword research tool to make sure your headline reflects a phrase for which people are searching, and will work for the rest of this process.
Once you’ve refined 10 keyword phrases you want to focus your content around, you’re ready to move on to the second step.
Identify Top Media Outlets Covering Your Subject
Using a Google search, look-up your keyword phrases and find which high-traffic websites and media sites your crowd visits.
Those websites are where you need to earn links from to raise your domain name power and to drive qualified visitors to your website.
To prioritize your media outlets, use tools like Moz toolbar to obtain each site’s domain authority.
You will want to focus on obtaining links back to your website from domains with higher authority than yours.
Plan a Content Strategy
Here, the goal is to make sure your earned media ties into your owned content
In order to do so your content needs to live on your company blog. In our experience it is best to write two to three blog posts on your primary keyword phrase (like for example: How to build a Media Contact list.)
For each of the blog posts, identify three contributed content ideas to pitch to publications, and three to pitch to blogs.
For each of the identified blogs or media outlets, you will pitch an idea related to one of the topics you included in your content for publication on your company blog.
These are broad topics that correspond to the “media contact” keyword phrase.
Once you’ve completed your media relations outreach, you will have six higher domain websites pointing back to content on your blog.
Craft a Private Pitch
To craft a personal pitch you’ll need to have spent some time building relationships with the reporters or bloggers you want to reach.
You can use any social listening tool to identify the influencers. You’ll want to interact with them on social media and amplify their content.
That way, when you are ready to pitch, your name will be familiar to them.
You’ll also have a much better idea of their beat and preferences.
Tip: In crafting your pitch, briefly outline who you are and cite your owned content as examples of your expertise and prior take on the topic. Note that you’ve seen a specific piece of content on a related topic, and would like to pitch them on your topic.
Every day, journalists receive an inbox full of pitches from people they don’t know, on topics they don’t cover. Spending the time to individually craft each pitch—instead of writing a generic pitch and spamming it out to your entire media list—will stand out.
Optimize Your Content
Once you receive coverage for your pitch or publication of your contributed content, you’ll want to include a link back to your website from a relevant anchor text.
By including this link to your site, not only will you begin to see an improvement in your domain authority over time, you now have something concrete to measure.
What is the role of public relations?
Business owners rarely realize that sharing the stories -the news- of their businesses or brands through media outlets exposes their businesses in a way advertising can never accomplish.
What kind of jobs are in public relations?
Today Public relations are very different. You will need 6 competences to work in public relations.
- 1. Create digital content that is impactful and engaging
- 2. Create and edit videos
- 3. Understand analytics
- 4. Optimize texts for SEO
- 5. Build relationship with small and large media
- 6. Code to customize websites
In general, Public Relations can be reactionary, used in response to current trends or incidents, or to send out responses to company challenges, mishaps and scandals. There is a whole industry of PR professionals who specialize in “crisis management.”
Conversely, proactive PR is designed to shape the public’s positive perception of you on an ongoing schedule, not to only produce stories when there is an event or in response to problems. Proactive PR is planned and executed on strategy that brands.
To take advantage of proactive PR, you must first decide what you want to achieve. Whether we’re talking about your product, service, new business model, retail store, organization, vision for change, book, stage play, art exhibit, or web site, whatever it is you’ve got going on, you need to decide what you ultimately what from it right away and into the long-term future.
More explanations on the 9 types of jobs in PR.
- 1. Media Relations
Old-school! Landing placements in news outlets and publications online or not. This is all about building relationships with reporters and editors and securing favorable coverage.
- 2. Investor Relations
The strategic management responsibility that is capable of integrating finance, communication, marketing and securities law compliance to enable the most effective two-way communication between a company, the financial community, and other constituencies, which ultimately contributes to a company’s securities achieving fair valuation.
- 3. Government Relations
Establish long term relationships with government policy makers, utilizing strategic planning, issue analysis, lobbying, and stakeholder engagement skills to shape public policy and regulatory issues.
- 4. Public Affairs
Governing bodies need to manage relationships and perceptions with their constituencies and stakeholders. Public affairs also refer to the building and development of relations between an organization and politicians, governments and other decision-makers.
- 5. Community Relations
Companies, organizations, and nonprofits often have a need to manage the connection they have with their surrounding communities. This can also extend to online communities and community management.
- 6. Customer Relations
Beyond just customer support, how do companies shape perceptions and build relationships with their customer base? Strong customer relations can go a long way toward building brand loyalty without relying on advertising or content alone.
- 7. Influencer Marketing
These days everybody wants to work in Influencer Marketing, but it isn’t an official PR tactic per se. That’s a good reminder that PR is dictated by its goals, and not just the tactics and channels used. Yet, public relations are uniquely position to perform Influencer marketing because we work on the story of a brand and not just slogan. Influencers are not billboards and relationship management is key in running a successful social media campaign.
- 8. Crisis Communications
Things happen. When they do, it’s someone’s job to ensure that the right information gets out fast to people who need it, and stop problems from spiralling even further out of control.
- 9. Corporate Social Responsibility
Today, people expect companies to act responsibly and to be good stewards of natural resources. CSR helps businesses show what they’re doing to make a positive impact (and in turn, build goodwill with potential customers).
What are some examples of public relations?
Here’s a collection of great Public relations campaigns that we liked, performed by agencies and companies.
HostelWorld: Even Divas are Believers
HostelWorld, a hostel booking website, decided to team up with Mariah Carey to freshen up their image and showcase the pleasant reality of staying in a modern day hostel. Together, they blasted through affordable accommodation stereotypes by spotlighting the lesser known luxuries of hostels like having access to the same facilities as more expensive accommodations, but at a cheaper price, and being able to connect with other fellow travelers.
HostelWorld’s message was simple: if hostels are nice enough for Mariah Carey, then they’re nice enough for me…
Stabilo Boss: Highlight the Remarkable
There have been remarkable women throughout history that might not have been celebrated as they should have been. Stabilo Boss — the company that sells highlighter pens — started a campaign to highlight these women and their incredible accomplishments.
Stabilo took famous black-and-white photos from historical moments and drew a yellow highlight line to showcase the woman in the photo that made it all happen.
The campaign went on to win multiple awards.
ALS Association: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
A few years ago, videos of people dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads flooded social media, now known as the Ice Bucket Challenge. The viral sensation of 2.4 million videos was a way to raise awareness of a neurodegenerative disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The idea was to raise money for the ALS Association and research on the disease.
What made this campaign work so well? Here are a few thoughts:
- It gave people a cause to rally behind. Doing good feels good.
- The campaign encouraged people to participate. Giving people a chance to show off on social media is an excellent way to get them engaged.
- There was an element of fun and creativity. The novelty of the campaign caught people’s attention.
Those three things together added up to one of the most effective viral campaigns in recent memory. While social media was the medium it used, its goals were rooted in pure PR.
Lyft and David Ortiz
Want to amplify your brand’s exposure? Partner with someone who can help you reach new audiences. In this example from Lyft featuring retired pro baseball player David Ortiz, they were able to generate tons of exposure by doing something surprising with a well-known celebrity.
You can replicate this idea even if you don’t have a huge budget or the clout to partner with a professional athlete. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Identify someone your audience knows, who also has some public recognition. This could be someone from a partnering company, a local community figure, anyone who is well-liked and has a solid public presence.
- Find something surprising they could do. The partnership in the example above works because no one expects David Ortiz to be their Lyft driver. What else could you think of with your own influencers?
IKEA Happy to Bed Campaign
What better way to get people interested in a product, other than to let them try it? But, when it comes to mattresses, that can get a little tough.
So, IKEA partnered with Havas Media to create apps that helped people envision what their perfect bedroom arrangement could look like. They also sponsored slumber parties inside IKEA stores. The results? Increased awareness of their bedroom product lines and tons of earned media.