Freelance futures

WHAT IS PR?

Public Relations (PR) is 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. Take responsibility for managing your reputation and your media coverage.

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. This approach – a PR campaign – 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, while media relations are an important aspect of PR support, PR can involve much more than writing press releases. 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 professionals and the businesses that use it effectively. Furthermore, because the PR industry is deep-rooted in a journalistic story-telling approach, it is the natural discipline to lead digital communications and social media marketing. PR agencies understand the value of an interesting story and told well, how powerful and effective this can be for businesses and organisations as part of the strategic communication process.

The prized insight into how customers behave, feel and respond is readily available with more emphasis on digital platforms. It has certainly enabled public relations professionals 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 a PR professional to see true engagement and therefore its impact against commercial business objectives. It can help inform business decisions.

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. These skills have an important role in helping businesses and organisations communicate more effectively with prospective customers and stakeholders.

When businesses do start to think about implementing PR, it’s not uncommon for that thought process to be associated with addressing a commercial business need. “We need to raise awareness!” may be the call of the CEO. 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, and win a different type of work…

PR can address most communications needs of a business through the PR strategies and tools it uses. It can communicate key messages to different audiences to ensure a positive reputation. From supporting a CEO with his personal brand and profile, developing and managing social media communities to creating an insightful industry white paper, organising speaking engagements, damage control or organising an employee conference.

Protect your reputation

Your reputation is everything when it comes to building trust and awareness with your audiences. Whether that is internal, stakeholders or prospective audiences, people want to understand what your brand stands for. Crisis management is a necessary part of PR services to protect your brand’s image and maintain relationships.

A crisis can occur for a variety of reasons, from a rogue tweet to a bad interview, and everything in between. An excellent PR agency can prep your spokespeople and manage the situation in the right way to turn the negative press into positive press.

Where do I start with PR?

If you think we can help or indeed answer any more 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.”

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