With Jon Clements from Metamorphic PR who provides professionally managed B2B PR and marketing communications.
Public Relations (PR) is an important area of marketing communications. Often taken to mean press releases, there is much more to it than that.
PR has two main purposes:
- Building and protecting reputation
- Establishing relationships
Broadly speaking marketing communications is aimed at customers. PR deals with all the groups of people interested in your business. Often referred to as stakeholders, these groups include investors, legislators, existing and potential employees, the local community, influencers and so the list goes on.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations defines PR as “….. the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”
PR isn’t about audiences loving you. It’s about understanding and engagement. No-one is going to love HMRC yet a lot of people need to know and understand the organisation.
For big companies PR is an integral part of crisis management. Bad things happen and journalists descend. “No comment” is an invitation to look elsewhere for the news. So effectively managing a situation is also about giving the press the version of the story you want to be printed.
Most SMEs are less likely to face the press in adversarial circumstances. PR isn’t just about news – the new product launch, the exhibition and the conference paper. That’s one reason people don’t get involved with PR – they think they have nothing new to say.
Yet PR like all marketing communications is a commitment to communicate regularly. It is about having something meaningful to say. That’s often about providing something useful. It could be white papers or blogs, it could be solutions to common problems, it could be good advice and/or it could be becoming the authority on a topic related to your business.
With the advent of the Internet and social media, stakeholders now talk back. There’s an enormous opportunity to engage in a positive way. The best communication, which leads to mutual understanding, is a two way process.