To navigate the waters of a 24-hour news cycle, Public Relations (PR) is essential to protecting the public perception of any business. However, many people don’t fully understand what PR is or how it can help business.
PR is an important part of building and promoting a brand. Often compared to advertising, PR looks at how to protect and improve a company’s image through “free” or “earned” media.
Different to paid advertising, PR builds brand awareness and credibility by leveraging media coverage such as newspapers, television, radio, websites and magazines. By gaining coverage in mainstream news, those media outlets act as a third party endorsement for the brand.
PR has never been more essential to creating a successful business brand and communicating with the public and internal stakeholders, given we are now in the age of social media.
However, many people still don’t realise the importance or relevance of PR in the business industry.
Let’s look at some of the common misconceptions surrounding the PR industry.
- PR is a waste of time and money
PR achieves long-term results. Hiring a PR agency or creating a communications team within your organisation is an investment for the future. Many entrepreneurs think they can forgo Public Relations because business is already booming and it’s a waste of their money and resources– but PR can help businesses grow as new audiences are reached through news coverage. Vitally, PR can also help companies avoid scandal and successfully navigate through a crisis as the role of PR also includes building and maintaining apositive reputation.
- PR works only with the media
Another assumption is that PR professionals only work with the media. While it’s true PR officers do work with journalists and build relationships with them, it’s just a small portion of what they do. PR aims to build relationships and connections between your organisation and your target public and internal stakeholders. This can be done through a number of means,including social media, video production and direct marketing material. PR professionals use a wide variety of tools to reach audiences such as media releases, websites, blogs, brochures, posters, social media posts, events, videos andVideo News Releases.
- PR is propaganda
The role of a PR officer is to share accurate and truthful information about their clients to the public. They develop key messages, so audiences can understand and engage with a company. Given the 24-hour news cycle and the demands of social media, organisations must now be transparent and accurate – any propaganda or advertorial style content will quickly be recognised and the story will not be covered, or worse, it will cause damage to a company’s reputation.