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What is Public Relations?

Public relations is rapidly becoming an increasingly important aspect of marketing your business, helped largely by the growth of internet.

For example, SEO now often requires a public relations element.

There are many slightly different definitions of public relations, but the one that sums it up nicely has been put forward by

“Public relations is the practice of getting attention and shaping public opinion.”

When people think of PR campaigns they think of getting their company or brand into the mainstream media, but in actual fact there are a number of communication platforms which can be targeted:

  • Traditional Media – this involves newspapers, magazines, radio and television. For many local businesses obtaining coverage in local newspapers and radio is certainly attainable.
  • Internet – in today’s technological age many web-based companies are developing PR campaigns for the internet. These campaigns focus on targeting relevant online forums, blogs and social networking websites to spread a message. Benefits are awareness and building links.
  • Events – holding an event, creating a publicity stunt, and speaking at conferences or other occassions are all types of public relations.

One common misconception is that public relations is to be pursued almost exclusively by large companies. All companies should have a public relations strategy. It’s certainly not something reserved exclusively for large established businesses.

Successfully communicating your message and receiving press coverage requires two key skills. The first is that you must have good basic writing and speaking skills. The ability to quickly and eloquently get across what your company does and why it’s different is particularly important in the world of public relations.

Secondly, it’s no use having the first skill if you lack the creativity to grab people’s attention in the first place. Public relations is the art of communicating an interesting story. Combine creativity with effective communication and media coverage is highly likely.

For more information on this take a look at our guides on developing public relations ideas and how to write a press release.

Why should you develop a public relations campaign? In short, it harnesses word of mouth marketing – what many consider to be the holy grail of marketing. If you can get people to spread your message it’s incredibily effective – free promotion with the powerful in-built credibility of word of mouth recommendation.

That’s why getting editorial coverage is one of the most effective ways of getting your company and message out there. People see editorial coverage as having much greater credibility than advertisements. People tend to trust and believe what they read and hear, making a successful public relations campaign highly effective.

“Getting your product mentioned in a newspaper or magazine read by your target market will result in an increase of sales,” state

It’s also worth noting that being actively involved in public relations and developing good relationships with journalists can be particularly beneficial in problematic times. The press will always report on bad things so it can be especially helpful to have a good relationship with them rather than no relationship at all.

Related Articles:

The Cost of PR Activities and Hiring a PR Agency
Public Relations Ideas
Do You Need a PR Agency?
The Layout of Press Releases
Writing Press Releases