What is PR anyway? And why does my company need it?

So what is PR?

Think of PR and you probably think of spin doctors, celebrity parties and some kind of Press Release. Hmmm, well you’re not entirely wrong but you are far away from the value and power of Public Relations.

In a nutshell, it all comes down to reputation. Your reputation is formed by what you do, say and what others think about you. As the Chartered Institute of Public Relations describes, “PR is the discipline which looks after your reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour.”

It’s about finding your spirit, your story and your mission and actively communicating this to your customers, stakeholders, employees and everyone who comes into contact with your business.

But what about Patsy from Ab fab?

Now don’t get me wrong, as much as I love a cocktail party, PR is more than schmoozing the odd journalist here are there.

PR is a management function and at its most powerful when communication objectives are fully aligned with overall business objectives. Your PR strategy and corporate strategy should be bed fellows.

Putting aside the business parlance, PR is a two-way conversation with those stakeholders that matter to you and your company. It’s finding your story and telling it; building reputation, key relationships, and opening doors for opportunity.

Isn’t it just appearing in the newspapers?

Yes, publicity is part of PR, but not its definition. It’s just one tool in a PR’s Practitioners toolbox. Getting an article in your local newspaper is great. But that one bite of the cherry is not going to influence your key suppliers or your potential employees.

The magic comes from identifying your PR objectives and defining a strategy that exceeds them. We urge our clients to think beyond ‘appearing in the newspaper’ and more about leading the agenda.

Isn’t PR just a version of marketing?

Marketing focuses on your customers, PR works for your customers and all your external and internal stakeholders. A PR practitioner has the technical confidence and strategic capability to explore a business challenge or opportunity and use the whole gamut of tools available in today’s connected world. Social media, online influencers, media campaigns, live events and networks will all be considered. And it’s not a matter of either or, it’s about finding the right balance and the right timing.

But my business is not big enough to have a PR budget?

Whether you’re starting out, or your small business ready to take the next step, PR is exactly where you need to be investing your budget. What could be more important than growing your reputation, building trust with your customers and stakeholders, and telling your story. The tactics employed depends on budget but the strategy is the same – whether you’re a local gin maker or a drinks giant like Diageo.

For bigger brands, the challenges are just different. It’s about being relevant, tackling business challenges and seizing new opportunities.

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So what are the golden rules? 8 steps to PR Success >>>

1>  What’s the goal?

Be clear what it is your trying to achieve, what success looks like and hone the story you want to tell. Don’t do it for PR sake, do it because you want to make a positive difference. Make your goal clear and uncomplicated.

2>  Two-way conversation with who?

Who do you want to talk to? Who are your influencers and where do they hang out? Is it about thought leadership? Or is it about having an eye-to-eye level conversation with your young customer base? Map out who matters to you and WHY.

3>  It starts at the bottom

When done right, your PR strategy becomes part of the very fabric of your organisation. Every touchpoint and interaction is an opportunity to share your story and build your reputation. And if your customer service team is not on message, then your campaign budget has just been wasted.

4>  Find the perfect moment

You want to talk about your integrated accounting solution to new customers, but the IT framework isn’t quite there. And the content on your website is 10 years old. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by moving before you’re ready.

That doesn’t mean sticking religiously to the schedule though. Great PR is relevant and pushes the news agenda forward. Stay flexible and deliver your core messages.

5>  Be brave

If you do the same thing, you get the same results. Be big, bold and beautiful, and most importantly stay authentic. That may mean trying out a new social platform or it may mean a strategic re-think. Whatever it means, it has to sound like you.

6>  Talk to the experts

Don’t go it alone. Done right, PR can unlock value and make a significant impact on your bottom line. Unlock the true potential by talking to experts like Middleton Davies who can support you through the process.

7>  Evaluate

At the end of any campaign, it’s time to review, evaluate, learn the lessons and then focus forward.

8>  Contact us – we’d love to chat about how our PR services can help move your business forward. 

Our PR expert Rebecca Middleton has over 17 years of experience and expertise in international PR, crisis management, corporate communications, community affairs and reputation management.

Contact us – we’d love to chat about how our PR services can help move your business forward. 

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The master-plan that guides all PR and Marketing activity

It’s about who you are and what you do. It’s about transparency and expectations.

Building the relationships and connections between the company, its product and its stakeholders

Good content never falls out of favour. SEO copywriting for websites, blogs and email campaigns.

Social media strategy, audience audits, brand storytelling, engagement, scheduling and monitoring.

Community, customer and media events that will inspire, inform and entertain.

Risk audits, scenario planning, stakeholder mapping and incident training for your first response team to get you prepared.

Bespoke training and support to empower businesses to develop their own communications skills.

Full project management, additional team resource, or expert consultancy services.