The fact is that the public relations industry isn’t doing a very good job of PR. So few people understand what public relations is and what people who work in the industry do.
Everyone can grasp the concept of what cops, construction workers, retail sales people, and healthcare workers do, but that doesn’t extend to PR.
Here are five facts about PR that will help you better understand this industry.
1. What is PR?
Public relations professionals are in the persuasion business. Their goal is to convince an audience to buy your products or services.
It’s not advertising, but it’s certainly an important, yet unsung aspect of marketing and advertising.
Simply put, Public relations provides effective communications between businesses/organizations and their audiences in order to build relationships that are beneficial to both sides.
PR pros are great storytellers. Their job is to create narratives that are engaging and interesting. The strategies extend to various types of media, social media, and even productions.
PR professionals analyze the business/organization, look for the positive side, then translate that into positive, unique stories.
When bad press arises, the PR professional knows how to create the best, most effective response to lessen the damage done by negative exposure.
2. How is PR not advertising?
Advertising is paid media, whereas PR is earned media. Advertisements are paid for by the business.
Public relations is the process of persuading writers, editors, and publications to write and publish positive stories about your brand, when it’s related to marketing. You see it happen all the time in politics and in Hollywood.
With public relations, your story has to be independently validated by a trustworthy third party in order to be credible, therefore it’s earned as opposed to purchased.
Advertising builds exposure, PR builds trust.
3. What makes the story?
Due to how news works, there are two ways to make the news. You either create or follow a story.
This is a crucial aspect of PR. Anyone in this business has to understand, create, execute, and know how to exploit the power of PR.
They have to convince publications what’s in it for them and why they should care about a given story before it can become news.
- Creating the story is the most used type of public relations. It’s storytelling at its finest. Good PR pros can take a boring back story and turn it into something fascinating enough to gain attention. Sometimes creating the story involves using social media, videos, and hosting live events to get noticed.
- Following the story is where you see a story in the news and take it to the next level. It can be anything, but it has to affect the general public. For instance, political scandals, stock market crashes, weather tragedies, and economic problems. Almost any brand can use these negative instances to create a positive reason to buy their product or service.
In today’s high-tech world where everyone is constantly engrossed with their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops (yes, people still use them), you would think that social media could replace traditional media.
However, that’s not how the PR game works. Social media is certainly a great way to amplify public relations efforts, but it doesn’t compare to traditional media.
Why? Consider how boring press releases are. You can’t garner interest on social media with that.
5. Can PR efforts be measured?
Just like every other aspect of marketing, PR can probably be measured.
It’s not usually one of the tasks done by the PR professional, but by PR firms with people whose expertise in in analyzing and estimating using various models and spreadsheets to create reports.
These are the five basic functions of PR. It has always been that way even before advanced technology took over marketing and advertising.
It’s all in the story told.