Public relations is the art of influencing what others say about you without benefit to themselves to increase trust and reputation among stakeholders, such as customers, clients, investors, potential employees, or anyone else affecting a company’s success. Like marketing and advertising, public relations use a variety of media channels, including magazines, websites, and social media. They may include earned media, owned media, and occasionally paid content to communicate critical messages. Ambitious companies employ PR tactics on an ongoing basis, but especially during pre-IPO and hyper-growth phases.
What Is the Main Role of Public Relations?
PR manages how the information and news about a company or business are advertised to maintain a brand image, especially in the case of a bad event or crisis.
PR occurs through press releases, journalist interviews, news conferences, posts on social media, and other events. It shapes the perception of your business in front of the general public, brings credibility and visibility, and tells your story through trustworthy media outlets in front of your targeted audience.
Importance of Public Relations
Public relations manage how customers, partners, and associates see a company or brand. It focuses on maintaining a positive reputation and corporate image a company while handling customer inquiries, shareholder requirements, and media requests.
Public relations is also essential to settle and clear any negative news regarding a company or brand and reduce the effect of public outcry to preserve a company’s image and reputation.
The ultimate goal of PR is to present a company or brand in the best light. It is different from marketing or advertisement in that it promotes a company’s image in an organic way that attracts public support.
PR has become a fast-growing industry in the United States. According to the (BLS) Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook of public relations specialists is looking better than ever, with employment projected to grow approximately 8% from 2021 to 2031.
What Is the Meaning of a Public Relations Agency?
A successful PR agency can help businesses grow their brand awareness. A public relations agency uses owned and earned media relations to garner visibility and publicity for a business.
PR services include media relations, crisis and social media management, and public affairs. PR agencies help clients build positive relationships with their customers, the public, and stakeholders to achieve their business and sales goals.
Every company needs the right public relations agency to carry out these tasks. If the public relations department is creative, strategic, and persuasive enough, it can impact every aspect of a business.
With some research, you, too, can select a public relations firm to shape your company’s reputation and public perception.
What Are the Types of PR Agencies?
Different departments and agencies handling distinct company or business aspects compose a PR.
Media Relations in PR
Media relations, also known as media coverage, is the quintessential PR tool. Earned media builds a company’s credibility, brand awareness, and authenticity by forming solid relationships with media organizations. The media relations team works with press members and delivers company news and good content sources. This PR agency is also accessible to the media for public comments and news stories.
Investor Relations or IR
IR is a PR sub-discipline that oversees a company’s relationship with its shareholders, government authorities, and investors. This type of PR agency deals with investor events and financial report releases and handles the complaints received by investors. The core difference between PR and IR is that investor relations deal with the internal links of the company, whereas PR deals with the company’s communication with the public.
B2B PR requires precision and strategy. A B2B PR agency must be in touch with the crucial trends within a given industry. Whether that industry is drones, cleantech, or cannabis, emerging industries require nimble PR, while established value industries require a long-term perspective, reputation management, and solid corporate communication.
This division of public relations deals with the direct operations and marketing plans of a company. This type of agency is related to specific endeavors like new product launches or a particular campaign or managing a significant change in a product.
Content production is another key element of production relations. From YouTube videos to podcasts to contributed content for executives, content is today’s most relevant PR tactic.
Internal Public Relations
Internal PR is associated with the promotional communication of an organization to ensure that all employees are satisfied and engaged. This PR branch ensures that the employees are happy with their working conditions. It counsels employees and solves their issues and conflicts internally, so there is no chance of public disclosure of employee dissatisfaction.
Community Relations is also a subdivision of public relations. It concerns any work a company or business does to collect friendly and cooperative feelings from the community. This branch of PR focuses on building a brand image and reputation and tries to align itself with community members. It targets a physical community such as sporting clubs, work, and colleagues or a non-physical community like linguistic, religious, or mutual interest-based communities.
Consumer Public Relations
From CPG to consumer tech, customer PR services cover all interactions between an organization and its employees. It is a powerful domain of public relations as it’s dedicated solely to increasing the brand’s awareness and building its reputation as a reliable and trustworthy company. Consumer relations connect the company to its employees and handle critical aspects to enhance their relationship, such as conducting market research, understanding the concerns and priorities of its customers, and addressing their positive and negative feedback.
Government Relations and Public Affairs
Government relations is a branch of PR that helps a company or brand communicate effectively with governing bodies. Public affairs, on the other hand, tackles an organization’s interactions with the government, interest groups, legislators, and media. This type of PR agency targets building a solid relationship with politicians and key decision-makers to ensure their consumers receive fair treatment.
What Is the Difference Between a PR Agency and Other Departments of a Company?
The role of PR may overlap and sometimes intertwine with other company departments. Still, in the end, a PR firm helps enhance its strategies and align its goals accordingly to improve its client’s business or organization.
Public relations and marketing work similarly, but their end goals are different.
The marketing department of a company is more focused on driving sales, ensuring that the company is heading toward financial success, and promoting its products and services. PR focuses on managing and building the brand image and reputation.
PR rarely makes a direct impact on sales. It is not concerned with driving sales but indirectly promotes the company through a reputation-building activities, which could vary from press release distribution to thought leadership, to industry events or word-of-mouth campaigns. On the other hand, marketing campaigns solely focus on driving sales and generating maximum profits from them.
Marketing will persuade people to buy a product, but a PR agency will convince them to trust and invest in the brand. Marketing and PR sometimes go hand in hand as PR will attract people and help them connect with a brand, and then marketing will convert these people into customers and drive sales.
Paid media is an essential tool that can assist businesses in generating more visibility and engagement for their brand through paid placements like PPC ads, social media posts, pop-ups, etc. The marketing department can interact with customers to understand a company’s sales trends, what products are in demand, and how to generate more revenue and profits. PR will interact with customers to know if they are happy with the products and services of a brand and ensure that any dissatisfaction is promptly addressed and managed.
Why Do Companies Need PR Agencies?
Companies and businesses are constantly juggling between setting up their email workflow, writing blogs, and handling other sales aspects of their businesses. Between these tasks, a PR agency can help a company schedule, organize, optimize, and successfully run events, marketing initiatives, and press releases.
A public relations agency can keep the press informed about a brand and its products and services and generate other opportunities for a company that increases its authority and visibility and enhances its relationship with its targeted audience.
PR can take a business to the next level by using earned media and publicity to shape the public’s perception of a company.
What Are the Main Duties of a PR Agency?
A PR agency will fulfill the following duties to enhance a brand’s reputation and garner goodwill for its business.
Do a Lot of Research on the Target Market
PR agencies know the value of customer interactions and feedback and how important it is to evaluate a company’s brand image. They also know that a good PR plan includes identifying reliable media outlets that will help them reach their target audience.
A public relations firm will ask its clients about their business goals and then research the journalists, media outlets, and podcast hosts that have helped similar companies reach their audiences in the past. They will look for particular journalists that will pitch your company’s ideas and help a company make a suitable investment in targeted campaigns.
Create a Plan That Aligns With the Company’s Goals
A PR agency will create a plan for strategic and creative practices to present a brand and its story to media outlets. These plans include pitch angles, internal PR goals like product launches, and external PR goals like special events. A PR agency might also discuss with the client how they plan on executing these strategic goals and what benefits they will bring to the company.
Put the Plans Into Motion
Once the client is satisfied with the PR plans, the agency will start working on them according to the business goals and scope. This step includes assembling press kits that include brochures, press releases, photographs, details and coverage of past press releases, fact lists, and other critical information regarding a company.
Create a PR Pitch
A PR pitch outlines the story and values behind a company or business and explains, in an engaging manner, why it should be published. A public relations firm will create a short and unique pitch that will catch the attention of media outlets so that a brand can reach its target market. The PR services intend to make the pitch as intriguing as possible so that journalists or podcasters are interested in publishing and featuring the story.
PR outreach is a process in which the PR agency will pitch information about the products and services of a company to journalists, influences, and bloggers to get exposure and press coverage for a business.
Engage Influencers to Influence People
Public relations agency will advise their clients about their message to their consumers and how they should communicate it. They will also engage suitable influences to generate more visibility for the brand, negotiate contracts with them, and manage other aspects of their PR services.
What Are the Services of a Public Relations Firm?
The PR industry has dramatically changed over the past ten years. It is now a full-service business, thanks to the evolutions in technology and how cheaper, faster, and easier it has become to spread the news.
Even though technology has made sharing content more accessible and manageable, the competition among brands is more challenging than ever. That is where they bring a good PR agency into play.
Following are some PR services that you can expect from any good agency;
A public relations agency will strive to protect and enhance a client’s image in the public’s eye. They constantly monitor the media outlets for negative news or stories regarding their client’s business and control any damage during a crisis.
PR agencies work actively to promote a client’s image among the general public so that its reputation is not damaged. A PR agency will message blog content, respond on social media, reply to people having positive or negative reviews about a brand, and engage with its followers. A bad reputation will damage a brand’s equity in the long run.
All these tactics ensure that a brand comes across as relatable and reliable.
2. PR Crisis Management
Sometimes, special interest groups can significantly damage the reputation of a company or brand by doing inaccurate reporting to media outlets or happen when negative reviews and events threaten a brand’s reputation. It is known as the PR crisis.
A public relations firm is knowledgeable in dealing with such negative publicity. The PR specialists know how to minimize the damage caused by a PR crisis and successfully restore their client’s brand image.
A good PR agency will try to avoid any crisis from happening in the first place. But if such a crisis does occur, it knows how to use all its strategies and resources to protect the company’s image and develop communication plans to clear any negative news and events.
3. Media Relations and PR
A good PR agency knows how important it is to maintain a strong presence on social media. Social media presence is an essential digital marketing strategy as it provides insights into the conversations regarding a brand or company among its customers and their positive and negative responses.
A public relations agency can increase the reach and visibility of a brand by responding to general feedback and queries and building long-term relationships with customers. A PR firm will also handle social media relations by writing short and engaging pitches to influences and journalists to help get more client coverage. They will pitch their client’s company to a suitable blog targeting the right audience for the brand.
PR agencies are involved with generating media coverage that will garner a positive response from the public for their clients. Press releases are one to achieve this purpose. These written statements are distributed to media outlets to generate news about events, product launches, or other developments within the company.
For example, if a skincare brand wants to start a social media movement to embrace #beautyofmyownskin, a public relations agency will help them write a press release announcing a campaign to care for an individual’s skin and hopefully garner a positive response from the media coverage.
There are other ways PR contributes content.
Writing an Internal Copy
PR agencies help their clients communicate with employees through internal copywriting. The employees of a company are important stakeholders, and a public relations agency can help a company manage its relationship with this group of people.
A company must set a healthy communication channel with its employees to build their morale, celebrate its success and profit generation, and discuss effective strategies and changes.
Craft Compelling Copy for a Business
Copywriters are experts in telling a brand’s values and story most intriguingly and compellingly. PR agencies have great copywriters that know different strategies to write in a way that resonates with the target audience’s ideas and beliefs.
Good writers in a PR agency’s team can capture the core message of a client’s brand and then present it under a compelling headline and persuasive body that will communicate it efficiently to the public. Copywriters can also develop great ideas for other media channels and marketing strategies, such as social media posts and whitepapers.
Developing Internal Communications
PR agencies will help their clients develop better internal communications by writing tactful speeches on behalf of a company. Speed writing is handy during press conferences or events where company employees speak publicly.
Anyone giving a speech to represent a brand or company must take help from a PR agency as they will handle the strategic messaging to develop a vocabulary about the brand messaging and new products or services launch.
6. PR Agencies Can Also Be Event Planners
PR agencies know the value of events of a company and how important they are for marketing its products and services. A public relations firm will ensure that an event hosted by their clients in which media members participate runs smoothly and positively. To achieve this purpose, PR agencies will take it up to them to handle all aspects of the event plan, from communicating with stakeholders, attaining media coverage, arranging travel and lodgings of attendees, and creating valuable content and announcements for the event.
PR agencies will also develop word-of-mouth or viral campaigns which can generate press and awareness.
How Can a PR Agency Help My Company?
A public relations agency can impact your company in more than one way. Not only will it lift the burden of a company to deal with media management and brand awareness, but it will also help drive more sales and enhance the company’s reputation. Here are five ways a PR agency can help you and your company;
- PR agencies try to build authentic relationships between a company and its customers. They do so by understanding their client’s business plans and core principles and presenting them in such a way that it resonates with their target audience.
- A PR agency knows how to develop effective press releases and media news and how to present them to the world.
- PR agencies help businesses who need to learn how to communicate their message to the world build strategic plans to increase brand awareness and visibility through different media channels.
- PR agencies organize successful events and conferences that efficiently showcase new product releases and thus help companies generate more sales.
- They personalize their tactics and plans according to the needs of individual businesses. PR agencies have PR specialists on their teams that understand their client’s business goals and create new opportunities for them to increase their website traffic, social media presence, and media coverage.
A PR agency helps a company grow even when other marketing strategies fail to bring more visibility to the brand. Public relations agencies understand the needs of their clients and have multiple approaches to enhance the reputation and visibility of newly established businesses to a large group of companies.