What Kind of Things Can a Public Relations Firm Do For Your Corporate Business?

A company’s success can hinge on the relationship they have with the public and how they are perceived in the media. Some companies choose to try and handle all of these matters from the inside with their own PR department but others feel the need to enlist an outside service to ensure that all matters of public view and perception are handled by highly trained professionals.

A good public relations firm can take your businesses success to levels you never even imagined, but the question on many CEO’s minds remains, “Will the results obtained from enlisting an outside PR firm offset the cost we have to pay for the services?”

What can a PR firm do for You?

Establish Relationships

The key to success in any business is developing and maintaining solid relationships, not just with your clients, but with investors, vendors and employees. Most of the time an in house PR department can easily grow and maintain the relationships with customers and vendors, but it gets much more difficult for an inside department to handle relationships with vendors and especially other employees.

An outside firm can readily handle all of these relationships impartially, with only the company’s best interests in mind. This almost makes the company’s investment in an outside firm worth it without even considering all of the other positives they can offer – happy employees and investors make a much more productive work place and in turn can really drive the profits and, therefore, the success of the business.

Save you Money

It may not look like it at the outset, because the initial investment of enlisting a public relations firm can be reasonably high, but hiring an outside firm to handle all of your public relations can save your corporation a good deal of money in the long run.

Without a PR firm to do at least some of the work involved in overall company public relations, your corporation would need (depending on the size of the company) at the very least one, most likely several, full time employees. The hourly wage paid to these full time employees may seem like peanuts when compared to the dollars that would be paid out to a public relations firm, but when you factor in the benefits, paid holidays, paid vacations and overall annual salaries of these employees your corporation could end up saving thousands and thousands of dollars a year by hiring an outside public relations firm.

You can use the services of a public relations firm when you need them, and forego the services when you don’t. It’s not as if a member of the firm will be in your office collecting a paycheck – you pay for the services that you use and nothing more.

Diversity

A good public relations firm can often offer you much more than what used to be considered the basics of good PR. Many public relations firms today can offer everything your PR department and your marketing and advertising departments can do and more.

By enlisting the services of a good, reputable public relations firm you can effectively turn your own office into a lean and mean machine. You won’t have to cross train employees to take on roles that they are not comfortable or experienced with – your sales force won’t have to be concerned with any phase of marketing or advertisement. Your valuable sales staff can get focused on what they were trained to do – sell, while a PR firm takes care of developing the relationships and public perceptions.

Emergency Services

A public relations firm can bail you out of trouble in the event of a PR emergency. PR firm representatives are trained to handle all types of scandals or problems that crop up and can affect your corporation’s image in the public eye. Press releases can be quickly written and submitted and press conferences can be put together in short order to ensure that your company keeps its positive reputation with all of your current and potential clients, investors and employees.

Whether you decide to enlist an outside public relations firm to handle any or all of your company’s PR or marketing, solid relationships are the cornerstone of your company’s success. If you don’t have a rock solid PR department, than hiring a public relations firm could be the best decision for your company’s future.

Public Relations – What, How, Who?

Public Relations Definitions

“What is Public Relations?” This question gets asked dozens of times daily. A simple question it is, yet it has managed to acquire several definitions throughout the world. Essentially, Public Relations (PR) deals with publicizing the image, reputation, intentions or purposes of organizations, groups and individuals in the best possible way – regardless of the actuality of the situation. In other words, the primary objective of PR is this – the represented body or individual must “come up smelling like roses”. There has been growing concerns that the purpose of public relations is merely to spin the truth of a matter. While this perception is understandable, it arises from the misunderstandings about the role of public relations. The fact that PR agents provide representation for an organization, does not mean they have the authorization to lie on that organization’s behalf. It means however, that PR professionals have the full responsibility of highlighting the positive aspects and benefits of their respective organizations, in the context of that representation.

Other Definitions:

– Public Relations can also be defined as the management of understanding and communications between organizations/individuals and the wider society through various media platforms. It bridges the gap between the two thereby ensuring mutual adaptability and coexistence.

– Public Relations is a discipline in business that measures public perception of and attitude towards an organization or individual and thereby seeks ways to secure its trust and acceptance. It examines the programs and policies of the respective organization and highlights their benefits and goodwill that serves public interests.

As such, Public Relations has developed into diverse areas of specialization so as to focus on specific functions. There are Marketing and Advertising PR, Government PR, Financial PR, Consumer PR (not to be confused with marketing), Industry PR and others. They implement various information technologies (IT) and techniques such as Social Media and Networking; Press Releases; relating directly with journalist among others measures, in an effort to get their messages across. Marketing and Advertising PR, in particular, are even more likely to implement such media and techniques in their campaign strategy. With new forms of IT being introduced daily, they seize every opportunity to reach as many of their niche audience as possible.

With that said, PR professionals are expected to abide by certain Code of Ethics and Conduct that are set in place. This is for the purpose of regulating their activities and eliminating possibilities of misinformation to the general public. As alluded to before, the instances of spinning an issue is also reduced by these measures as Public Relations professionals are held accountable for their actions and any misleading information that they may issue.

The Importance of Public Relations As Part of Your Marketing Mix

What is the importance of public relations? Most small businesses do not invest in public relations (PR); however as a small business owner, you need to commit to a PR program for your business growth. What’s the return on investment for public relations? Building a stronger brand identity will result in more awareness and credibility for your business and its products or services. Higher awareness will help you to gain market interest and market credibility.

What is a definition of public relations?

PR is about using communication tools and strategies to build relationships with various “publics”, such as the business community, customers, suppliers, media, government levels and more. Traditionally this is done through press releases, radio, television, newspapers and magazines. In today’s digital online environment however social media and social networking have become part of an integrated public relations program. PR can influence people’s perceptions and opinions.

Your PR plan needs to focus on building awareness of, and image for, your business and its products and services by:

  • Producing stories and articles for media outlets (both online and offline); Making connections with local media;
  • Monitoring relevant media channels (such as social media monitoring) for public comment about your business, your marketplace and even your competition;
  • Developing a crisis communication plan and managing crises that arise and threaten your business and/or product image;
  • Getting involved with the community and target market through special programs and participation in events;
  • Developing a social media plan to connect with online social networks (there are more than 300 but the main networks are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn); including social media news releases, blogs and forums.

Most public relations plans focus on first identifying the challenge, then building the objectives of the campaign, next building the communication tactics and messages, and finally monitoring results and revising as necessary. This work needs to be ongoing: first one challenge (such as brand recognition), then another challenge (such as brand credibility), then another challenge (such as new product introduction), and then so on.

In today’s digital environment, PR campaigns can be rolled out very quickly, and the impact of the campaign can also be very quickly measured. Public relations will help you launch social networking programs. Learning how to use PR in your small business is key: social media and social networking provides you with low cost communication channels but you still need to learn what to say, and how to say it or you can hurt your brand identity.

Successful small businesses focus on a mix of public relations, social media, online and offline advertising, direct marketing, and personal selling as part of their marketing efforts for building their brand. Strengthen your marketing plan by adding PR to the plan and ensuring that you build measurements into the campaigns: you need to know what works, and what doesn’t work in communicating with your market and with your public.