What is public relations? This is a question many new business owners may be asking themselves as they search for ways to help improve their startup and avoid failure. What is public relations? What do PR people do? How can they help my business? If you have asked yourself one or more of these questions, you have come to the right place. The definition of public relations is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their public,” according to the Public Relations Society of America. However, you may read this and still not clearly understand. So, we are here to simplify that definition while improving your market positioning. Below we have defined four key principles of public relations.
This industry is, above all, based on business communication. You may recognize this function of public relations more easily from celebrities. Public relations representatives are often quoted in tabloids and articles about their client’s latest break up. However, this function of unified communication and collaboration technology also translates to businesses. A public relations firm is dedicated to helping you present your company to the public in a particular light. However, unlike online or Facebook advertising, public relations professionals invite feedback and communication from the public. This makes PR services a unique asset to many businesses because they utilize a two-way communication between businesses and the public.
In addition to two-way communication, public relations involves strategy. PR firms are dedicated to anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion or issues that may effect your business performance. By studying current trends, topics and issues that concern your customers and clients, these firms can help to devise a plan of action for communicating with the public. This form of communication, unlike advertising strategies, costs very little. Generally, the process involves gaining free press by sending media packets to journalists who may be interested in your company’s latest developments. This allows you to tell your story to the public through an unbiased third-party.
Another main focus of and PR firm is the public. Specifically, your business’ relationship with the public. The goal of any good firm is to build business trust with their audience. Only then can effective two-way communication take place. They are often the first to speak out on behalf of the company during a crisis because they are trained in mediating between businesses and the public, acting like an online reputation management company, but for the real world. These groups tell the public what they need to hear, while also doing their best damage control for the brand. Their established trust relies on a continual flow of communication with the public. By listening to and analyzing their concerns, public relations firms are able to devise better relationships between organizations and society.
The next and final principle of relations with the public is your business. As stated above, PR is primarily a communications effort between your company and the public. This means that they must have a clear understanding of your industry, your customers and your company brand identity. A PR firm can act as part of the management structure of your organization. In addition to making the statements and contacting the media, this industry is focused on the research and implementation of ways to communicate company goals and values. They often assist with content marketing, fundraising, finance and community or government relations. Essentially, public relations firms are designed to help manage effective communication as well as all the resources necessary to make it happen.
The next time you ask yourself “what is public relations?,” consider these four principles. PR is a form of strategic communication that can help improve your business immensely. Let us know in the comments below what you think about the role the PR industry plays in business today.
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