Still not quite sure if you’re ‘doing’ PR

We are often asked ‘what exactly do PR agencies do for clients??’.

Now in previous blogs we’ve had a go at explaining what PR is since it is an often-misunderstood profession and is frequently linked with glitz and glamour (not our style, we’re very much more grime and endeavour). This week we thought we’d look at the 3 main questions, and their associated answers, which we hope will cover the ‘what you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask’ topic.

Question number one, akin to the meaning of life…

  1. What is PR?

Essentially it’s the business of persuasion; convincing an audience to promote your idea, purchase your product, support you or recognise your achievements. The Public Relations Society of America settled for an official definition as it being “a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their public.” We’d like to add that PR can also protect, enhance and build reputation through communication across various platforms.

Followed usually by question two…

  1. Isn’t PR just the same as advertising or marketing?

No. Public Relations can be considered as earned media whilst advertising is purchased media. In other words, unpaid vs paid and a whole different thing, although often used together. Advertising would be the actual ad placed within a newspaper whereas PR would be the editorial piece which you have convinced the reporter to write about your company / product / service.

And then, drilling down into a little more detail…

  1. What do I need to consider in my PR strategy?

You need a story. It may not be a complete story as yet, but it is something which can be developed – and you need to get it out there. You must remember that journalists, speakers, bloggers and other influencers won’t just print / post / repeat anything you offer up to them; they will ask “what’s in it for me and my audience?” A good sense check before releasing your story into the open world for consideration is to ask yourself: What’s the story? Why should I care? Why is it relevant right now? Of course, rather than create your own story you may sometimes get the opportunity to follow a story. This may be a world event, breaking news or a financial crisis but it is something current and upon which opinions are sought. Done well, this is a chance to become a thought-leader, one respected by others – a voice to be listened to, recognised, supported…which conveniently brings us right back to point 1!

So, a good PR agency will help you develop your story and get it the attention it deserves, from the audience who matter to you – and in doing so will take you closer to achieving your business objectives. In our opinion (humble as that may be) the very best PR strategies are those which are clear, supported at the highest level within the business and ‘owned’ by those responsible for the future of the company. At RDZ we’ve been very lucky to work with many clients who have benefitted greatly from their PR strategies and in every case the successes have come from the fact that it has been very much a collaborative effort.