Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds and manages mutually beneficial relationships between Organizations and the Public. The “public” is anyone who ever has or ever will form an opinion about the client. These could include clients, potential clients, members of the community, the media, online fans etc.
Public Relations can be used to protect, enhance or build reputations through the media. The world of business is characterised by fierce competition and in order to win new customers and retain the existing ones, companies not only have to distinguish themselves from the competition but must also create and maintain a positive public image which helps create a strong relationship with the customers and in turn increases the sales.
How to Build your Public Presence
It is important to convey the message that you are an Industry expert.
- Research all you can about your business, product and industry, and then host a couple of free seminars or public speaking engagements.
- Newspapers, radio and TV stations are always looking for fresh story ideas, particularly those with a “human interest” angle. Have ready -made press kits, Include quick facts about an organization, such as its company history, photograph and product descriptions.
- Contact several publications and volunteer to write articles, columns or opinion pieces for example a Travel Agency may recommend safe destinations for the Christmas Holidays.
- Host or appear as a regular guest or contributor to a local radio or TV talk show.
- Capitalise in well run platforms such as facebook, twitter and instagram where you can post about your current specials, discounts and new products around the clock.
Benefits of Public Relations compared to Advertising
Advertising is about announcing, praising or drawing attention to a product, service or event in a public medium in order to promote sales or attendance. It does share the same goals as Public Relations that is promoting clients and making them seem as successful, honest, important, exciting or relevant as possible. But the paths to achieving this are different.
- Public relations, promotes companies or individuals via editorial coverage. This is known as “earned” or “free” media stories appearing on websites, newspapers, magazines and TV programs as compared to “paid media” or advertisements. This way, Advertising builds Exposure whilst Public Relations build Trust.
- Since advertising is paid for by the client, it is thus viewed with skepticism. Articles or TV appearances in respected publications have the advantage of third-party validation and are generally viewed more favourably.
- Public Relations in the media is free if done directly by the company but Advertising can be very pricey and most advertisements need to be repeated several times before the consumer can be influenced.
- Publicity has greater longevity than advertising. An article about your business will be remembered far longer than an advert.
- Publicity also reaches a far wider audience than advertising generally does. Sometimes, your story might even be picked up by the national media, spreading the word about your business all over the country.
Shortfalls of P.R. compared to Advertising
Advertisers are able to maintain creative control of output whilst with Public Relations, the final output rests in the hands of the media and with Advertising you are guaranteed of a placement in the media platform but with Public Relations there is no guarantees, you have to persuade the media.