Public Relations (PR) is essentially the process of passing on information – managing how and when you communicate so that you inform and influence the attitude and behaviours of others and their interactions with you (or your business or organisation).
You don’t get to choose if you want to engage in PR or not, it happens from the moment you communicate with others. But you can take control over what you do, what you say and the way you say it. Taking responsibility for managing your reputation.
Getting the timing, sentiment, approach, language and imagery of what you communicate so that audiences respond in a way you want is as old as storytelling itself and this approach – we call it PR – is as relevant now as it was 10,000 years ago.
A hard working tool in the marketing communications mix and one driven by audience insight, PR is often seen as the route to generating media coverage. And, whilst media relations is indeed an important aspect of PR support, PR can involve a lot more. A whole lot more!
Content marketing, SEO, real-time marketing, social media, big data… the digital landscape has opened up a world of opportunity for PR and the businesses that use it effectively. Furthermore, because PR is deep rooted in a journalistic story-telling approach it is the natural discipline to lead digital communications and social media marketing. PR understands the value of an interesting story and told well, how powerful and effective this can be for businesses and organisations.
The prized insight into how customers behave, feel and respond, which is readily available with more emphasis on digital platforms, has certainly enabled PR to measure payback and return on investment more than ever before. Gone are the days of AVEs and mountains of press cuttings books and instead the opportunity for PR to see true engagement and therefore its impact against commercial business objectives.
What can PR do for your business?
PR combines a real breadth of skills. Strategy and planning, problem solving, analysis, creativity, verbal and written communication, organisation and multitasking are a few of the key attributes required in the sector and these skills have an important role in helping businesses and organisations communicate more effectively.
When businesses do start to think about implementing PR, its not uncommon for that thought process to be associated with addressing a commercial business need. “We need to raise awareness!” maybe the call of the CEO but what this essentially boils down to is that a business is looking to increase sales, move into a new market, change existing perceptions, educate a new audience, retain the current customer base, recruit new staff, win a different type of work…
PR can address most communications needs for a business through the strategies and tools it uses. From supporting a CEO with his personal brand and profile, developing and managing social media communities to creating an insightful industry white paper or organising and employee conference.
If you think we can help or indeed answer anymore questions about What is PR, then do get in touch.
That’s the word from AMBITIOUS but we’ll give the last word to the Charted Institute of Public Relations, our trade industry body. They offer the following as their definition of PR:
“Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
Public Relations is the discipline, which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”