Public relations is the discipline of building a reputation with the people that matter to you: from supporters to employees, investors to customers, media to government.
Excellent PR establishes and maintains trust and understanding, laying the foundation for positive action - whether that's buying your product, backing your cause or supporting your opinions.
Running any type of organisation is no mean feat. Managing your organisation’s reputation is vital to its existence and growth – but with so many different organisational priorities, it can be easily overlooked.
Having a dedicated PR agency to focus on driving awareness of your organisation, communicating what it's doing, securing free publicity and essentially earning people's attention and trust, is hugely beneficial.
PR doesn't happen overnight; it takes time and effort to manifest itself in great results, so bringing in an agency with a strong record of success is an efficient way to manage this element of your organisation.
A good PR agency offers a high level of expertise, from its knowledge of the media landscape to its experience of developing a range of effective strategies to gain exposure for your organisation – and how best to respond in a crisis. The right agency will also have cultivated strong relationships with the media and influencers, knowing who to approach and how best to approach them to achieve the publicity you want.
Effective PR allows an organisation to communicate with its audiences in a targeted and strategic way. By securing free publicity through a range of different platforms – from print to online, broadcast to events – PR enables you to shape perceptions of your brand, drive awareness, build relationships and win support for your organisation or cause.
Both PR and marketing bring great value to an organisation, but in different ways.
Public relations manages the reputation of an organisation through the media, influencers and stakeholder engagement. Marketing focuses on promoting the organisation’s product or service, to ultimately drive revenue or funding.
Positive PR takes time and effort, but it pays huge dividends in the long term by building trust and creating a positive perception of a brand with the people it wants to reach. By raising awareness, it also brings large numbers of people to the top of the marketing funnel, making it easier for your marketing and fundraising teams to take them along the journey towards buying or donating.
A good PR professional uses a variety of tactics to drive exposure for an organisation. However, it is important to note that effective PR isn't just about sending out a press release every now and then and hoping that it generates coverage.
PR is a relational business. At its best, it works well when an organisation or brand builds and maintains relationships with the media, key stakeholders and influencers. In order for this to happen, it’s important to adopt a more strategic, long-term approach, taking time to plan what, how and when you communicate with your audiences to ensure there is a constant flow of dialogue and the relationship is maintained.
The impact PR has on sales or fundraising might not be as easy to measure as marketing or advertising – but the benefits are huge.
PR plays a crucial role in making the ground fertile for marketing or fundraising campaigns. While your marketing, digital or fundraising teams might finalise the actual sale, subscription or donation, you’re much more likely to give to, or buy from, an organisation that you’ve already heard of and trust.
There are many different ways you can measure PR. You might be interested in the the number of people who see stories about your brand or whether those stories are positive of negative. Or you can measure changes in behaviour, such as the actions people take after a story goes live or long-term brand perception.
Digital technology and online media tracking can also enable you to see a clear path from that coverage to your online platforms – such as visitor spikes to your website after a TV appearance, or SEO-promoting backlinks from large media organisations.
PR today uses both traditional and digital media – including social media and influencers – to reach people.
The platforms we most focus on in our PR strategy will depend on your target audiences and who they are most likely to listen to or trust.
The power of influencers is certainly growing, but it’s also important not to underestimate the role of traditional media, who are still often seen as more credible and can now reach huge global audiences online.
Storytelling is simply conveying a story through words and imagery. It might be seen as a new thing and on-trend now, but creating carefully crafted stories that engage an audience has always been central to public relations expertise.
PR, by its very nature, is all about storytelling on so many different levels – from drafting press releases, op-eds and media pitches through to conversations with journalists, this is something PR professionals have always done and will continue to do day in, day out.
"The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis'. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity." - John F Kennedy
Crises can cause huge, sometimes irreparable damage to an organisation or individual - but they don't have to. If handled properly, a crisis can be turned into an opportunity.
Preparation is key to responding well and navigating a crisis successfully, and that's where an experienced, expert PR crisis team can support, train and equip.
We can help mitigate the damage by developing a clear strategy for communicating with the media and stakeholders in the case of a crisis, and coming alongside you to support you if a crisis hits. Find out more about our crisis communication support here.
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Securing local media coverage is an excellent way to raise your profile in your community, build trust and encourage people to take action. Here are five steps to help you get great local media coverage: