A key facet of the marketing ecosystem, Public Relations (PR) is critical to building and sustaining an organisation’s reputation. However, there is quite often a certain amount of confusion around what exactly it entails.

PR is about long-term brand building, rather than drumming up clicks or leads. It can be defined as a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and the public. The function sits within the ‘earned media’ section of the PESO marketing model’s four pillars, which encompass paid, earned, shared, and owned media.

Earned media complements the other three forms and is the hardest to attain as it can’t be bought. To earn media placements, an organisation must offer value to readers, and as, such good PR professionals must begin outreach by establishing a solid news angle.

To do this, they must ask, why is this subject newsworthy, what value does it offer to target audience/s and why its it important to inform them about it right now?

PR activities are focused on building reputation, on positioning an organisation well within its industry and on establishing a brand as an authority within its chosen space.

To achieve this, PR professionals must build credibility by achieving organic coverage from respected media targets, or journalists.  Once a company has begun to build its reputation by making regular appearances in top tier publications, it becomes much easier to secure further media placements covering news and announcements.

PR can also help an organisation to protect its hard-won reputation by successfully navigating crisis situations. Billionaire and legendary investor Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it.”

These words are more prescient now than ever with the advent of social media. Nowadays, bad news can go viral in a matter of minutes, and effective PR can work to mitigate the damage and bring the situation under control.

Of course, PR is more than reactive. Good practitioners will regularly engage in proactive PR to ensure that the brands they represent become part of the conversation about topical news stories. They do this by monitoring the news agenda to identify opportunities to pitch key spokespeople for commentary.

Indeed, providing insightful commentary is an excellent way for an organisation’s spokespeople to build their profiles and gain credibility in their industry. Being quoted in industry related articles can boost their visibility and help to position them as ‘Thought Leaders.’

This can also help to build strong connections with journalists and position a brand’s spokespeople as a ‘go to’ resource for relevant journalists, to help them draft more accurate and compelling articles.

One incredibly effective PR tool is thought leadership, or opinion pieces. Positioned in relevant publications, these help to establish a strong reputation and credibility by showcasing the knowledge of an organisation and its key spokespeople. This also helps to increase a brand’s profile, ahead of any future news announcements.

In essence, Good PR aims to create a positive cycle, whereby positioning an organisation’s spokespeople as credible thought leaders can help to secure positive media coverage, and this increased visibility can, in turn, improve a brand’s credibility as an industry authority.

PR practitioners share an organisation’s news through a number of outreach methods. A formal news announcement, the press release remains a cornerstone of the PR toolkit and is commonly used to communicate a story to the public via the media.

When sharing news, practitioners may also pitch key spokespeople for commentary, or arrange speaking engagements. These can include interviews with key media targets, along with appearances on podcasts and at industry events.

Although measuring the success of PR can be less straightforward than that of the other functions within your marketing toolkit, it can be assessed by looking at how many people your story has reached, who has been reading it and how many top tier media targets have covered it.

There may also be tangible outcomes that you can measure. For example, if your press release features a call to action to sign up for a charity event, success could be measured by how many participants got in touch via the method outlined in the piece.

PR is, in summary, invaluable. It can make or break an organisation and can influence how your target audience thinks. By getting your brand in front of the right people, in the right place at the right time and saying the right thing, PR can help to raise its profile and position your most senior people as authorities in your industry.

To find out more about how PR could help to raise the profile of your brand, get in touch at: Contact Us | Rumour Mill Creative Communications (rumourmillcomms.com)