What is public relations?
Have you ever told your family, friends or colleagues that you’ve received great service from a particular business and that you would highly recommend them? Or have you received such terrible customer service that you’ve made sure everybody knows about and encouraged them not to use this service in the future?
Such instances are based on your experience and perception of that particular company and whether your business is large or small your reputation is key to your success and ultimately your company’s longevity.
Whenever you come into contact with a client, stakeholder, supplier, journalist, they will form an opinion of your business and this perception will impact on their decision to work with you, support you or recommend you.
If your company is perceived as reputable this is a huge advantage which will make you stand out against your competitors.
If you can implement effective public relations in your business it will enhance your reputation by helping you to build strong relationships with your key stakeholders.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations defines public relations (PR) as:
Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.
Public relations tools can include brochures, social media, internal and external newsletters, your website to showcase your company, press interviews and press releases to promote a product, person, event or company.
Using PR you can deliver your brand message through a number of mediums including as stated above both in newspapers and trade articles, blogs, radio and TV interviews and key speaking at industry and networking events. Social media tends to fall in the PR category until it becomes paid for when it then falls over to the marketing side. Public relations will help you as an individual, business or even charity to build your reputation and the prior knowledge of your organisation.
PR is seen often seen by the public as a credible way to build your business reputation as your key messages are delivered to your ideal target audience through a third party – often the media – and the coverage you receive is earned rather than paid for. PR is also mostly free, which is an added bonus for any small business.