Public relations is a delicate but valuable asset and channel for anyone in marketing, whether digital or traditional. This form of marketing has existed seemingly forever, and yet, quality PR still eludes many brands and companies. It seems like every week there’s another story out in the news about some brand or person who has dug themselves into a hole in the eyes of the public because of a PR slip. Even politicians continue to find themselves in hot water routinely despite having some of the top PR teams money can buy giving them tightly choreographed quotes and speeches.
So why is it so hard to get this PR thing right? To answer this question, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to public relations.
In this guide, we will discuss:
- What is public relations?
- Why is public relations important?
- Public relations in marketing
- Public relations best practices
What is Public Relations?
In short, Public Relations (PR) is the field of marketing that seeks to promote your brand and improve its image in the public’s eyes. PR is a channel that utilizes the media and other networks to spread important information and statements from and about the company to manage the reputation and communication of the organization.
Why Is Public Relations Important?
The importance of PR in marketing cannot be overstated. As marketers, we know how influential a good campaign can be and how detrimental a poor campaign can be. Even though there will always be people who claim (wrongfully) that marketing has no effect on them, we all understand the power it has over the masses.
Consider any recent political campaign. Regardless of who ran or which side you supported, at some point throughout the process, two things will certainly have happened. The first is that each side will run a series of advertisements across various media platforms, and they will host and attend events in the community. Both of these are forms of public relations. They seek to improve the candidates' relation with the public. If you can make your candidate more likable and relatable than their opponent, you’ll likely win the election. Marketing works in the same way.
The second thing that will happen is each side will “dig up dirt” about their opponent and utilize their media channels to disseminate this information in an attempt to tarnish the name and image of their opponent in the eyes of the public. Again, this accomplishes a similar goal but on the opposite side. Instead of improving your own public relations, you are diminishing that of the opponent, which places yours higher by comparison.
Public Relations in Marketing
In business, there aren’t typically any smear campaigns run by a public relations team, but companies do show comparisons between themselves and their competitors, which functions similarly. As a whole, public relations is a cornerstone of a well-rounded marketing campaign. Part of it is branding, part of it is messaging, and among other things, it’s telling a story and connecting with your audience.
There are many overlaps between public relations and other channels like search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, and social media marketing. It’s all about keeping the messaging clear, concise, and consistent across all channels to improve your image. Integrating public relations strategy and best practices with your other marketing efforts helps develop your brand identity and establishes your presence across multiple channels.
Public Relations Best Practices
A well-planned and well-executed public relations campaign is often a strong catalyst for achieving overall business goals. But how can you be sure you’re setting yourself up for success in PR? Regardless of which marketing channel you’re working on, following industry best practices is always in your best interest. Public relations is no different.
Public relations best practices include:
- Outline your goals
- Not all of PR is putting out fires caused by bad press. A PR team should have clear goals to improve communications and branding in a number of ways. These goals will, of course, vary depending on the business and scenario, but this step should always take place before you take any other actions.
- Expect the unexpected
- A bit cliche, maybe, but important nonetheless. Working in public relations means always being ready to take advantage of a good situation or getting out of a bad one without too much damage. You won’t always be prepared for everything that happens, but you should at least have a plan in place for when you’re caught off guard.
- Act fast
- The ability to do this comes from your ability to do the previous by being prepared for unexpected situations. The sooner and better you’re prepared, the better chance you have of staying on top of a narrative and can then control it more easily. Being able to craft a strong message quickly will set you and your team apart and give your organization a crucial advantage over competitors.
- Be consistent
- We mean this in the broadest sense- internally and externally. Your planning should be consistent, your strategy, schedule, and most importantly your messaging should all be consistent. In a field where things are constantly changing around you, being consistent and stable is crucial to your success.
Contact Nxt Era Marketing Today
Navigating the ever-changing landscape that is public relations can be difficult even for the professionals. That’s why you need to partner with an experienced agency like Nxt Era Marketing to plan and execute your PR campaigns. As we said, consistency in messaging is key. The best way to be sure all of your messaging is consistent is to partner with an agency who can run all of your digital marketing from start to finish. Offering SEO, paid advertising, social media management, content creation, public relations, and more- Nxt Era Marketing is the agency that can elevate your brand to the Nxt level. Schedule your free consultation today!