Some PR professionals have no problem developing relationships or closing sales when they’re in one-on-one conversations. However, it’s challenging for others to translate that same message into written copy. Before asking for a sale, brands must develop relationships with their target audience – that’s where public relations play an integral role.
This guide discusses what PR is, what you should know about it, and its importance. Some key takeaways include differentiating it from advertising, its role in social media, and the objective, functions, and types of PR.
How to Define PR
PR is an acronym for “public relations.” We learn from HubSpot that PR is “the strategic communication from an organization to the public to maintain or cultivate a public image and (or) respond to public discourse.” Another (much older) definition by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
What You Should Know About PR
When discussing the role of someone working in PR, it’s sometimes challenging to explain to someone without a marketing background what they do and why it matters. For example, many believe those who work in advertising and public relations are doing the same thing. That isn’t true – let’s dig into what you should know about PR below.
How PR Differs from Advertising
There are some similarities between PR and advertising – the main one being that they both have to do with marketing. However, there are also noteworthy differences: advertising is paid (tells people what they want to hear), and PR is earned (tells people what they should hear). Here are examples illustrating the difference between PR and advertising:
- Advertising example: A brand creating a commercial and purchasing airtime for it on the radio or television
- PR example: A television or radio show inviting a brand to speak about their products or services
Social Media’s Role in PR
Social media plays a pivotal role in PR strategies regarding promoting a brand’s story, managing its online reputation, and connecting with its target audience. During 2020, 48% of internet users worldwide searched for brand information on social media. Using social media strategies in PR is beneficial for:
- Building trust
- Creating measurable results
- Increasing a brand’s reach
- Relationship management
- Showing a business’ human side
- Stretching marketing budgets further
Why PR is Important
PR plays an integral role in creating solid online reputations while simultaneously building on marketing strategies. For example, when people from your target audience talk about your brand, which influences other prospects more than advertising. Building PR into a marketing strategy is an inexpensive way of building a brand’s credibility and trust.
The Objective of PR
The overarching objective of PR is maintaining a brand’s reputation. Public relations also maintain strategic relationships with:
- Prospective customers
- The public
The Functions of PR
Because public relations differ from advertising, there’s no need to purchase ad spots or focus their efforts on paid promotions. Instead, the primary function of public relations is to use editorial content that appears in blogs, magazines, news channels, newspapers, and television programming to promote brands.
Public relations managers are also responsible for handling investor relations, speechwriting, press release writing and distribution, social media management, web content writing, and more.
The Types of PR
Even though it might seem like working in public relations is an entity in itself, PR can divide into seven types, including:
- Community relations: PR managers work on community relations by managing the brand’s social niche and reputation.
- Customer relations: Here’s where relationship management with target audiences and potential leads comes into play. This type of PR also involves researching the market to identify the target audience’s attitudes, interests, and priorities before drafting strategies for using earned media to influence that research.
- Government relations: Public relations managers are responsible for representing brands to the government in this type of PR.
- Internal relations: This type of PR involves counseling a brand’s employees regarding courses of action, organizational responsibilities, staff responsibilities, and other policies.
- Investor relations: Here is where PR managers manage investors, investor events, financial report releases, regulatory filings, and queries and complaints from analysts and the media.
- Marketing relations: PR managers support brand awareness, image, product launches, positioning, and other campaigns related to the brand’s marketing efforts.
- Media Relations: Public relations managers are responsible for establishing and maintaining positive relationships with the media and providing content to them as needed
What are the basics of PR?
PR helps a brand’s target audience understand their company and the products and (or) services they offer while simultaneously creating a solid image of the brand to leads and other prospects. Basic PR strategies include writing articles, press release writing and distribution, and event sponsorship.
How can I do well in PR?
Doing well in PR involves staying organized, prioritizing information, maintaining an active social presence, following your niche’s influencers, making time to read (the learning never stops), polishing your blogging skills, and learning SEO strategies.
What are the four elements of PR?
- Goals: What do you hope to achieve?
- Objectives: How do you intend to reach your goals?
- Strategies: What approaches do you intend to use to achieve your goals and objectives?
- Tactics: Which strategies and resources do you intend to use to achieve your goals and objectives?