What is PR and seven reasons why it can help businesses

PR is often misunderstood, which is ironic when you think about it.

PR is often misunderstood, which is ironic when you think about it. 

Some believe the common misconception that PR is spin and dominated by long-lunches and fluff pieces. 

While others think it is only about placing a client in a newspaper, or magazine. 

But if you apply the full term Public Relations’ rather than the abbreviation then you begin to appreciate the real scope of PR. It encompasses an organisation’s relationship with the public, which is an incredibly broad and responsible brief. Quality PR practitioners are organised, focused, knowledgeable, agile and results focused.

PR is predominately Communications’, encompassing what to communicate, how to communicate, when to communicate, and to who. All communications stem from a comprehensive PR strategy, which determines how to position an organisation (or individual) to support its business objectives and company values. Before embarking on a piece of communications you should ask yourself why? What is the purpose of the communication and will it help achieve the objectives of the strategy? 

With the continued progression of the digital age PR has evolved. It is no longer just focused on placing clients in newspapers and magazines. It can now involve creating content and managing output across multiple platforms. This ensures consistency of message and a much wider scope for delivery and engagement. PR now encompasses content creation for websites, social media management, thought leadership, news flow and many other tactics. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that communications with the public can be incredibly delicate and adopting the right message and tone, along with timing is vital. This requires a broad sense of the world around you in addition to a deep understanding of the client and its sector. 

The digital age also means many organisations are competing for attention from audiences who are over exposed to daily content. Making sure messaging and content is in the public domain and is compelling is more important than ever. While making sure it fully reflects the organisation, protects, and enhances reputation, engages the desired audience, and supports the overall objectives are equally important. 

The positive impact of quality PR should not be underestimated. It can benefit mature household names, as much as start-ups, scale ups and medium sized enterprises. PR helps build and protect reputations, a vital facet of every business, charity and individual. Story telling is an increasingly powerful way to communicate. It can help build awareness, profile, credibility, and support sales functions. 

A quality PR practitioner will develop an organisation’s narrative and find ways to consistently engage with its audience via multiple platforms. Quality content is key to success. 

Here are seven reasons why PR can help your business:

1. Build, enhance and protect reputation

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations defines PR as: Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.’ 

Well executed strategic PR can help manage a reputation effectively, via the delivery of clear communications and engagement with key audiences. Consistent communications help protect and enhance your business’s reputation and credibility. Positive stories, covering for example, achievements, growth, appointments, advice, and charity work should be told. 

2. Raise awareness of your services

Raising awareness of your organisation and brand will lead to highlighting your services and products. Bringing your brand to life and communicating your values and culture supports triggering your audience to make decisions. Why should people buy from you? Communicating your key USPs on a consistent basis will help generate awareness or key offerings. 

3. Engage target audience 

A PR practitioner will help you define your target audience as part of a wider PR strategy. It will establish who they are and what their habits are and devise a plan to target and engage with them via communications. Establishing appropriate tone of voice and key messages will form part of the plan to ensure all communication is suitable. Articles in the media, posts on your website, video and social media management are key communications tools. 

Delegating social media management to your PR agency will also enable it to act on your behalf. This will ensure your brand’s tone of voice is upheld, engagement is maintained, and relationships are enhanced. Overall, this will ensure your organisation is accessible and engaged with its audience, which will deepen its affinity with your brand. 

4. Communicate values

It is important your brand values are incorporated into your communications strategy. They are at the core of your business and are what makes your organisation unique. Communicating brand values consistently to your audience will help them understand your business, or charity better and enhance engagement and buy-in. 

5. Google ranking

Digital PR is a highly effective way to help improve an organisation’s Google ranking. Articles published about your business on credible third-party websites mean Google will rank your website better. Therefore, Digital PR is fast becoming a sought-after service for companies as part of a wider campaign of activity to appear on page one of Google. 

6. Encourage positive action

Effective communications activity can support your business objectives. Well executed PR content delivered to target audiences can improve awareness and credibility and underpin sales and business development activity. 

7. Manage crises 

A crisis can escalate quickly if it is not managed. In such a situation it is important your reputation is protected. A PR agency can provide crisis communications management, including devising appropriate statements to managing media inquiries. 

If you would like to discuss how PR and Communications could support your organisation please get in touch. 

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