What is PR? It’s a question that takes many forms and takes us on a journey that covers, reputation, brand, search engine visibility and many other ports of call.
Let’s start with PR in its classical sense and what it means for reputation. All organisations, whether large or small, depend on their reputation for their success.
A reputation is built upon the perception of key stakeholders, customers, journalists, investors, suppliers, employees, regulators and trade organisations.
Public relations aims to build the reputation of an organisation and its products and services. How a PR agency does this, and what tactics the consultancy deploys can differ on a client by client basis. This might include strategic counsel, media relations, event management and even crisis PR.
What is PR today in the modern ‘post digital’ age?
The term PR was largely used as a synonym for media relations. Over time PR has evolved to encapsulate a wide range of marketing disciplines. In fact, today PR and marketing communications are largely inseparable. If you ask a digital marketing specialist about PR then you’d get a completely different answer. You may find that they focus on SEO outcomes.
If you also consider the emergence of digital marketing, social media and SEO as PR functions then you start to get a wide picture of the scope of what public relations can cover.
The CIPR’s definition of PR is as follows:
“Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”
This definition is in our view too classical in its outlook. It doesn’t project the broader digital techniques and outcomes that PR can drive.
The PR Agency One definition of PR is as follows:
“Public relations is the objective and measurable pursuit of influence, reputation and commercial success by managing communication between an organisation and its often-multiple audiences.”
Why is PR so important?
Public relations can build brand awareness of businesses by making the organisation better known on a wider scale. Furthermore, you can use a variety of platforms to do so.
PR drives sales, both physically and also online. In particular, public relations is useful for link building. This is a fundamental building block of SEO because it helps to build the organic search performance of websites for non-branded search terms.
What different PR specialisms are there?
In practice, public relations can take many guises, such as:
Campaigns in consumer PR educate, inform and persuade customers on brands and services while building a reputation for the business. These campaigns encourage consumers to engage with companies, helping to grow relationships with customers and raise brand awareness.
Some examples of consumer PR services include:
- managing celebrity talent and sponsorship,
- influencer partnerships,
- thought leadership campaigns,
- event management,
- product placement,
- creating PR stunts.
B2B and Corporate PR
B2B campaigns target a business audience, helping companies to grow and establish long lasting relationships with organisations in specific sectors. B2B PR concentrates on building credibility, educating buyers and maintaining positive communications. Corporate PR helps a business to communicate with their stakeholders. Various marketing materials facilitate awareness of the organisation both internally and externally.
Some examples of B2B services include:
- consultancy on thought leadership campaigns,
- media relations,
- product launches,
- brand activations,
- employee engagement.
To find more information about previous B2B PR work we have done, see examples of thought leadership campaigns for online marketing specialist Visualsoft, outsourced call centre firm Echo and retail finance firm Duologi.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing targets the audience of social networks. By using online platforms, you can create a social presence that will drive sales and generate leads. This can help an organisation to broaden their customer reach and increase brand exposure.
This involves working and developing relationships with the media to promote a product, service or organisation.
The aim of SEO PR is to use PR strategies to build and improve a brand’s online visibility for their websites by generating links, driving traffic and sales. You can use public relations content to earn links with a high domain authority. This means they can add value to the business’s organic visibility in search engines.
PR for different industries
Public relations operates in many different industries, for example healthcare, technology, fashion, retail, sports. The list of areas that a PR consultant can specialise in goes on and on.
The emergence of these marketing strategies allows us to understand the expansive realm of public relations and the different forms it can take to suit each business individually.