What is PR
Currently, this process serves to add value to a product or service, reaching more leads for the sales funnel while reducing the cost per conversion.
¿What is PR in marketing?
This strategy is employed by companies to increase online visibility, connecting with journalists, bloggers, and influencers. These connections facilitate the creation and acquisition of high-quality backlinks, improvement of brand reputation and website branding, and the use of multiple tools for optimization in search engine results (SEO positioning).
Doing PR or public relations involves having clear objectives of achievable goals for the company, which are applied in a digital marketing strategy defined by stages for each type of audience. This takes into account established processes like buyer persona and brand archetype, as these are the foundation for beginning with SEO strategies and generally, with the content shared to attract leads.
The goal is to drive business and boost sales through the generation and dissemination of content for SEO optimization and online and offline positioning, branding, among others.
The Importance of PR
Public relations play a vital role in business today. As a key aspect of brand management, it can help increase sales and build relationships with those interacting with your organization. Public relations also enable you to mitigate the damage from a crisis or capitalize on unexpected opportunities that may benefit your business. The best part is that public relations can maximize the effectiveness of the narrative surrounding your organization. Due to the highly connected and fast-paced nature of modern life, this is invaluable.
While companies may be capable of handling this aspect of marketing themselves, they might not have the expertise and knowledge necessary to do so successfully without assistance. To achieve the greatest impact, organizations should seek the help of a professional. This could mean hiring an agency or maintaining someone within the organization; each organization has unique needs, so careful consideration is needed to determine what would be best for a given organization before making a decision.
Regardless of what they decide, modern organizations cannot ignore the importance of public relations. It’s a demanding field, and to stand out, excellent communication skills are necessary, along with the ability to think strategically and understand how to manage the large and complex relationship between the public and an organization. Moreover, poorly executed public relations can do more harm than good.
Types of Public Relations
Public relations are often divided into different agencies or departments. Each department is specifically prepared to handle a particular aspect, which are detailed below:
1. Media Relations
emphasize building a strong relationship with public media organizations. A media relations team often works directly with external media, directly delivering company news, providing validated content sources, and being available for public comments on other news.
2. Production Relations
Are closely related to a company’s direct operations. This department supports general marketing plans and is linked to specific one-time efforts, such as launching a new product, a special campaign, or managing a major product change.
3. Investor Relations
Oversee the relationship between the company and its investors. This aspect of public relations manages investor events, oversees the communication of financial reporting, and handles investor complaints.
4. Internal Relations
Are the branch of public relations between a company and its employees. Internal relations involve advising employees, ensuring all workers are satisfied with their working conditions, and mediating internal issues to prevent public disclosure of dissatisfaction.
5. Government Relations
Are the connection between a company and related government bodies. Some public relations departments aim to forge a strong relationship to provide feedback to politicians, influence decision-makers to act in a specific way, and ensure fair treatment of the company’s clients.
6. Community Relations
Focus on the brand and reputation within a specific community. The community could be physical (e.g., a specific city) or non-physical (e.g., the community of dog owners). This branch of public relations focuses on the social niche of the community to align with its members.
7. Customer Relations
Are the bridge connecting the company and its customers. Public relations often involve managing key relationships, conducting market research, understanding the priorities of their customers, and addressing major concerns.
PR vs. Other Departments
Public relations can often overlap or be confused with other similar departments. Here’s an overview of how PR may or may not relate to marketing, advertising, or communications.
Public Relations vs. Marketing
Marketing sometimes focuses more on driving sales, promoting products or services, and ensuring financial success. Meanwhile, public relations often concentrate more on managing a company or brand’s reputation.
Both departments can engage in very similar activities. For example, both might interact with customers for feedback. From a more direct marketing perspective, this information is used to better understand sales trends, product demands, and ways to generate more sales. From a more direct public relations perspective, this information is used to gauge customer satisfaction, ensure clients are happy, and quickly address any dissatisfaction.
Public Relations vs. Advertising
Advertising involves capturing public attention, often through various types of media. A company might want to advertise to promote a product, announce an expansion into a new market for a growing business, or reveal price changes.
While advertising is the intentional act of trying to be in the spotlight, public relations are a more strategic and thoughtful approach to how a company should interact with its internal and external stakeholders. Sometimes, it might be in a company’s best interest to “fly under the radar” and strengthen its relationship with the public without being in the forefront.
Public Relations vs. Communications
Public relations and communications are closely related. Both involve projecting information outward in the hopes of creating a brand, image, or relationship that fosters value. Communications might be a separate department within a company solely responsible for written or verbal feedback issued internally or externally.
A possible difference between public relations and communications is the information exchange. Sometimes, PR is a one-way channel imposing information in an attempt to have a more favorable public image. Communications might be more rooted in the two-way functionality of receiving feedback and making changes based on gathered information. Generally, most companies will see an overlap between public relations and communications.
When to Implement PR in a Business Lifecycle
According to the model conceived by academics Neil C. Churchill and Virginia L. Lewis in their Harvard Business Review article, there are five stages in the growth of a business:
- Existence Stage: Here, you need to validate your business idea and find customers willing to pay for your products or services. At this stage, investing in PR is not necessary.
- Survival Stage: You focus on consolidating your product or service (marketing and sales), hiring suitable people for your company, and forming strategic alliances. At this point, you can and should start implementing PR in your organization.
- Success Stage: It’s time to concentrate on organization, strategic planning, and investing for growth. This growth should include budgets for allies, influencers, and media space.
- Take-off Stage: You should lead your company’s growth. The resources you’re investing in will lead to rapid growth, which can be risky, hence growth needs to be planned. This stage is as intensive in PR as the previous ones since you must continue making appropriate strategic alliances. Likewise, your marketing and sales should continue to grow consistently.
- Maturity Stage: To consolidate leadership, you need to maintain your market position through acquiring smaller companies, innovation, and a culture of continuous learning. This stage is very intensive in PR, as when you acquire small companies or innovate, you’ll want to communicate and amplify these developments.
PR Strategies in Digital Marketing
- Participate in Forums: Engage on websites that are of interest to your community and add value for potential clients.
- Stimulate Ally Network: Build communication networks with journalists or editors to improve the quality of backlinks. This includes press releases or innovative content about your brand that might interest the press, part of an external link-building strategy.
- Own a Niche-Specific Blog: Design and publish content on your business blog, focusing on specific keywords. This blog will help you become an authority in your field, leading to collaboration proposals.
- Guestblogging: Design and publish content on allied blogs with relevant mentions and backlinks. This exploits the traffic of sites that may have a complementary product or service. It’s a win-win: the blog owner gains content, and the content creator gains an external backlink. To make this happen, you need to know the other blog’s owner.
- Influencer Marketing: Seek mentions on social media accounts of individuals considered influencers. This can involve monetary compensation or sometimes gifts from your brand. For celebrity influencers, a significant payment is often necessary.
- Affiliate Marketing: Develop an affiliate plan for bloggers or influencers who can earn commissions for a certain number of referred customers.
- Infographics: Share and distribute infographics on Pinterest, a platform full of boards with infographics on various topics. Become an authority on this network.
- Using Databases: Find strategic allies with a contact base that matches your target audience. Ask them to send a mass email on your behalf to their customer base. Some of them might become your customers if they share similar interests.
- Cold Emailing: This is perhaps the most effective PR strategy for our agency. We’ve received emails from companies proposing joint broadcasts and podcasts, and we’ve written to companies that have allowed us to generate backlinks from other businesses. Cold emailing is the new phone call but more targeted and less invasive.
As can be seen, many of the actions that can be done in PR are carried out within a marketing strategy designed to increase brand positioning, capture leads with an inbound marketing line, and can be applied to different stages of the funnel as long as there is clarity in business objectives.
Juan Esteban Yepes