“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”
– Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder
When it comes to Public Relations (PR) most, if not all people have heard of it, but many find it difficult to explain what it is, let alone why it’s beneficial. So, what exactly is PR?
Believe it or not there is much academic debate about what PR is. The simplest way to describe PR is that it is about reputation; the importance of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) emphasise the impact PR has in earning understanding, support and influencing opinion or behaviour. It is “the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics”.
Despite people such as Bill Gates lauding the importance of PR, there are some who remain unconvinced and believe many misconceptions about the industry. Hopefully this blog will put to bed some of these myths, and make you realise the impact of PR and how it will benefit your business!
“It's all about spin.”
Spin is viewed as providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favour of or against a public figure or organisation.
This interpretation of PR is incredibly misleading. PR should focus on being transparent, engaging audiences and being balanced in communication. Sure, every person or organisation wants to and tries to be seen in the best light as much as possible but lying or misleading shouldn’t play a part in this.
By being professional and trustworthy, you can improve customer relationships and at r//evolution, we believe acting with integrity is vital. Plus if customers have trust in your business, they will more often than not have trust in your product/service too.
“Anyone can do it! Writing press releases is easy.”
If only this was the case! PR is so more than press releases; it involves social media, events, content generation, campaign planning, marketing, and communication within and outside of an organisation. If it was so easy, PR companies and PR manager roles in organisations wouldn’t exist. The fact that they do shows it does require a specialist set of skills and expertise.
We will admit though, press releases are still undoubtedly an incredibly useful tool for PR practitioners. The ability to get coverage in third party publications, especially regional and national newspapers is significant because they do not have a vested interest in your business. Unlike people reading something on your website or social media, people are more likely to believe something they read about you in an objective media source free from bias. Plus remember, people who are not aware of you already, are more likely to hear about you in the news than randomly come across your website. This makes the ability to write an effective press release crucial, and that is not easy to do.
Style is key when writing a press release; practitioners have to be aware of target publications, matching press releases to the house tone and style. Our PR team at r//evolution are trained to communicate effectively with journalists to ensure content is in the best possible format, plus we have media links across the NE and the UK to help your news reach the right people.
“PR is expensive, with no return on investment.”
PR is only as expensive as you want it to be, and can be very cost effective when done right. Return on investment can be linked with increases in awareness, reputation and a contributing factor to sales and profits in the long term. Reputation is key as the better the reputation you have, the more likely you are to have success...
Measuring reputation doesn’t sound simple at first, but there are ways to do so. Surveys are often a good indication, whether it is to see how many people know about you, and what they think about you. Other elements that can be looked at when considering the impact of PR activity are inbound enquiries, web traffic, or social media growth. If these measurables increase, it’s more likely people will consume your products or request your services. Ultimately meaning, more customers, more sales!
“It's all champagne, parties and wearing black...”
This is an outdated culture and perception of PR. As a professional industry we care less about the fizz and more about your business and our clients. At r//evolution we are passionate about your business, meaning we take your PR very seriously. We want clients to see us as an extension of their own business, meaning what is important to you, is important to us - we’re here to help you achieve your objectives!
Offering a service that gives value for money, and shunning misconceptions people may have about PR is vital to demonstrating the benefits of our service. Being professional and providing results proves to organisations the advantages of PR. And as much as being smart is important, we are not just ‘suits’; we’re friendly and approachable, and sometimes we like to add a pop of colour into the daily uniform too.
“It's just media relations...”
Media relations is undoubtedly essential - good relations with the media makes achieving coverage in target outlets easier. However, PR is so much more than just that.
We can provide media trainingfor organisations, so that they know best how to deal with questions or interviews. PR can also include internal communications to keep your team updated and on the same wavelength. It is about events, which are a fantastic way to get attention and meet stakeholders in person. It is about content, whether it be website copy, printed literature or blogs. It is also about social media, which is an incredibly useful tool in measuring how well known you are, in addition to having conversations with customers. The list is so vast! All these things are services that PR encapsulates to support you in reaching business goals and targets.
It is important for PR (and your business) that these misconceptions are done away with, improving general understanding about what PR actually is and why it’s valuable. Having a great business with fantastic products and services could be in vain if people aren’t aware of you, your offering or if they don’t have a positive opinion of your business.
If you want to see how PR can help your business to reach the right people with the right messages, please do get in touch so we can show you how we can help you achieve your objectives. Or, why not download our PR brochure to find out more about us and the great work we deliver.