Public relations is the management of your company’s image in public and to your customers.
It focuses on the way you establish brand awareness and how you connect to your target market. In other words, what you do to build relationships with potential clients is what public relations are all about.
For starters, your brand image needs to be approached strategically. Finally, the methods you use to develop these connections determine the perception of your company by the media and clients.
You want your company to be the go-to for whatever industry you’re in. And presenting an honest, relatable, authoritative, and successful image to the public is how you can get there.
In this blog we’ll go through a quick overview of the foundations of public relations and we’ll move on to 10 PR tips that you can use to increase your chances of success.
Foundations of Public Relations
The reasons for leveraging public relations for your business are plenty, but some prominent ones are:
- Building credibility and authority in your field.
- Elevating your brand’s outreach on public platforms.
- Attracting new clients and maintaining them long-term.
- Nurturing your existing clients with added value.
These reasons and goals very much overlap with advertising, but there are some notable differences.
Difference between public relations and advertising
An important thing to keep in mind here is that public relations are not the same as advertising. One is about communication, and one is about action. Both should generate results, but their practices are different.
The easiest way to think of the difference between public relations and advertising is:
- Public Relations: Sharing valuable news and insight with the media and potential clients. Creating community and relationships with them.
- Advertising: Selling a product or asking something of your market that requires a distinct call to action.
Exemplifying public relations for your business can look like many things. But it all boils down to how you’re promoting your brand with concise, editorial content. What is editorial content, you might ask? Well, it addresses current issues and topics relevant to your audience. It gives a voice and a story to your company while creating value for them.
How to connect through public relations
There are several ways to use PR to connect with your audience, here are just some of them:
- Sending press releases.
- Featuring in editorial magazines and newspapers.
- Public speaking.
- Creating media relations events for your market.
- Collaborating with influences and/or other authority figures.
Public relations is an action-based, time-sensitive part of your outreach and marketing strategy. Keep in mind that there are many types of the public that you may want to connect with.
Types of public relations
- Customer relations: looking to develop and expand relationships with your target market, getting to know them and their interests.
- Media relations: establishing a network of contacts with various media organizations who you know you can reach out to with any updates and news.
- Community relations: appealing to the needs of today’s society and advocating for them within your brand.
With the foundations of the functionality of public relations laid out for you, let’s take a look at 10 PR tips that will make a difference for your business.
10 PR Tips that Bring Results
Get to know your audience
One of the first things you should do and probably among the most useful PR tips that you can get, is determine who you are talking to.
Maybe you think you know who your audience is. However, without strategic market research and time spent interacting with them, chances are you’re only touching the surface. In that sense, you’d want to conduct a proper analysis you can map out and review to better understand the people you’re trying to connect to. It’s about getting to know their basic demographics, along with what drives them. Additionally, tt focuses on what they’re in need of, where they hang out, and who they get their news from.
Uncovering this information is referred to as your customer, or buyer persona, which is the opportunity for you to know what impacts their buying behavior. Create surveys and interactive content on social media, and establish a conversation between your target market and your brand. Finally, organize and collect the data and make sure to go back to them every time you’re planning a new campaign.
Identify your messaging
Once you have the ideal representation of your customer and market, you’re able to generate the value proposition and brand morals to present to the public. In this context, verbal and nonverbal communication will change depending on the campaign you’re running or the type of outreach you’re seeking.
Having a general mission statement with core ethics transparently presented to your audience is imperative. So, keep in mind that the messages you send in support of your specific efforts will vary accordingly. For example, sending a press release to a magazine to promote a new brand campaign looks different than if you’re trying to land a public speaking event. Use the data you’ve collected about your ideal customers to compile messages you know they want to hear.
Nail down your pitch
“You can’t expect the media to want to showcase your business on their own accord. It’s your job as a business owner to bring the story to the press. Persuade them as to why your company is the best fit for their coverage,” says Jerry Han, CMO of PrizeRebel.
This couldn’t be any more true. Your pitch is your initial attempt at effectively connecting with a press outlet to suggest they generate news coverage around your business.
Practice writing brief pitches to a newspaper, magazine, broadcast, or other networks, convincing them to create content around you. Determine how your campaign will apply to their target readers and/or viewers. In addition, use your brand’s value propositions to showcase your demand.
Create a strategic media list
You’re always going to be looking for new, creative ways to maintain a public image as you develop new products or launch new campaigns. So make sure to lay the groundwork for building your contact list of media connections you can rely on. This will provide you with a backlog of resources to pull from when you’re seeking to gain more reach.
In that sense, put together an organized spreadsheet of potential contacts and influencers within your industry. Choose those you think may be interested in your product or service. Much like getting to know your audience, learn as much as you can about these potential media contacts. And most importantly, develop ways to relate to them with mutual respect and support in your endeavors. Use your pitches to contact them.
Set measurable goals with metrics
One of the most important PR tips is to get real about what you want to accomplish with public relations outreach. Make a list of your goals and aspirations. Is it to drive traffic to your website? Showcase a new product or service? Leverage your authority or put a spotlight on a recent accomplishment? Inform audiences about something important to you? Whatever the case may be, give yourself operational benchmarks that track the data of your success.
Maybe you want to be featured in two news articles within one month. Keep a record of who you reach out to and when. Also, decide how long you plan to stay active in your search. It’s okay to think big here but don’t set yourself up for disappointment by being impulsive. A gradual climb will work well to cultivate meaningful relationships.
Apply the data
Not everything you do to develop your brand image in the media is going to work. Many successful business owners will tell you they faced more rejection or lack of response in their outreach than expected. Collect the statistics of what you’re working on with regard to the results they drive. After that, you can begin to adjust your timelines and goals accordingly.
Paying attention to the data is a surefire way to know what’s working, and what isn’t. It helps guide you toward the best course to take based on the numbers.
Develop an online presence
One of frequently neglected PR tips refers to creating your image. Living in the digital age, it’s easy to remain in constant communication with the public with the click of a keyboard – and that’s a great thing. This allows you to get to know your existing customers on a deeper level. It also lets you better understand new ones with more access and insight into their everyday lives. This could look like running a blog on your website or developing a presence on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.
You want to be accessible and available to the public. Having an online presence makes you easy to reach. It provides a landing space for them to get to know you right away. It’s like a working portfolio in motion.
Focus on email marketing
The one thing to note about online public relations is that you don’t necessarily own any of the content. The social platform does. So, if they go away, so does your network there. That’s why the number one way to consistently connect with your audience is through email marketing. You are the sole proprietor of that email list. And no, the age of email marketing is still not over.
You can automate your communication with your customers via email to ensure you’re always following up with them. Keep them in the know about your appointments and workflow with them. For lasting customer relations, it’s crucial to maintain a consistent connection.
Ride the wave of the trends
“I had to get used to the ever-changing world of digital media. The best thing I did was prioritize being informed about new ways my customers were consuming content. It helped me grow and adapt with them,” says Aaron Gray, Managing Partner of NO-BS.
To relate to the public, you have to get on their level. You want to know where and how they “consume content.” Your brand image is unique, but following the trends helps show your audience the innovative qualities your company has. For example, there is a rising trend of podcasts for leveraging business authority. Also, more are seeking to work with companies that promote mindfulness in their business efforts. Consider how you can incorporate trends into your outreach strategies.
Audit your workplace for growth
Among numerous PR tips that you can find, this one often doesn’t make the lists, but it’s extremely important. Internal relations are just as, if not more, important than public ones. Provide your team members and employees with an ethical, morale-boosting working environment. Not only will it ensure they work smarter for you but it will also increase your authority and credibility.
Who doesn’t want to run the business that others want to work for and be outspoken in promoting? Audit the atmosphere of how you collaborate with your team. Study the experience you provide to them. Give them an active voice in how you grow your business. Create bonds amongst employees that advocate for your image.
Public relations is always going to be, to some degree, a matter of trial and error. Your content creation will change, grow, and adjust as time goes on. What works for some may not work for others. So, do not try to fit the mold of someone else’s business model. Explore your options and consider PR tips that work for you. But also, be open to new ideas and don’t be afraid to take risks. Just be sure you weigh what the potential reward could be.
It is a cost-effective marketing technique that can stimulate broader reach and deeper relationships with your ideal customers. Build a reputation you’re proud of that clients’ trust and want to be a part of.
Erika Rykun is a book nerd and editor at Booklyst. When she’s not busy reading books, she writes about them.