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What is PR? Everything You Need to Know

What is PR? Everything You Need to Know

Home Blog Media Monitoring What is PR? Everything You Need to Know

Public Relations (PR) is a powerful tool that helps shape how people see your business. It can make your company more trustworthy and help it succeed. Basically, it’s a strategic communication process that boosts your brand.

What is PR? In this blog post, I’ll explain everything there is to know about PR practice. You’ll learn what PR can do for your business, the strategies that maximize its impact, and real-world examples that prove its effectiveness.

What Is Public Relations (PR)?

Public relations is about managing relationships between your brand and its audiences. Public relations professionals work hard to build and maintain a positive image of your business in the public’s eyes.

Maintaining your PR is like maintaining your friendships but on a larger scale. It’s about ensuring everyone likes you–from the people in your neighborhood to your customers, investors, and the media.

To achieve this, PR employs various forms of communication, such as written articles, video production, press releases, and more.

What is PR? In a way, it’s all about becoming everyone’s best friend for your business.

A public relations manager is pivotal in crafting and executing PR strategies to achieve business goals, managing crisis communications, writing press releases, and measuring PR efforts.

Media monitoring campaign

How PR Differs from Marketing

PR and marketing often go hand in hand, but they have different roles.

Public relations focuses on building and maintaining relationships. It concentrates on crafting engaging stories, nurturing a long-term reputation, and earning trust. To boost credibility, PR professionals aim for earned media coverage, such as news articles and features.

In addition, Public Relations plays a critical role in repairing a damaged reputation. When a company faces public scrutiny or a crisis, PR professionals step in to manage the situation, communicate transparently, and rebuild trust.

Public relations vs marketing

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On the other hand, the primary goal of digital marketing is promotion. The aim is to sell products or services through catchy slogans, persuasive ads, and short-term promotions. Marketing strategies often involve paid media, like advertising.

Does that mean PR doesn’t contribute to your bottom line? It still does! While PR may not directly generate sales like paid media, it can do so indirectly.

Positive PR efforts can enhance brand reputation, boost customer trust, and drive customer loyalty.

Moreover, PR helps in reducing potential losses during crises or reputation-damaging events. This impacts sales positively as you succeed in keeping customers happy despite the challenges.

Different Types of Public Relations

PR is a multidimensional field. It’s much more than just about getting your name in the newspaper. There are several types of PR, each with its focus:

Community Relations

Community relations are vital, especially for small business owners. To make the community fall in love with a new café in the neighborhood, the coffee shop staff must engage in various activities.

They can collaborate with local schools, sponsor charity events, and host community gatherings. In return, the coffee shop becomes the local favorite, and its positive reputation soars.

Customer Relations

Customer relations in PR focuses on nurturing a strong connection with your customers. Have you ever ordered a product online and it arrived damaged?

After you contacted the company’s customer service, they promptly replaced it and even offered a discount on your next purchase. That’s excellent customer relations at work.

Government Relations

Government relations matter for businesses. Imagine you’re running a tech startup, and you’re worried about upcoming regulations that could affect your industry.

To address this concern, hire a public relations specialist with a political science background. This specialist will talk to lawmakers, provide valuable insights, and lobby regulations favoring your business.

Internal Relations

Internal relations in PR are all about creating a happy workplace. If you’re an HR manager at a tech company, you may notice low morale and employees feel disconnected.

To address this, you focus on organizing team-building activities, enhancing communication channels, and recognizing outstanding employee contributions. As a result, the workplace becomes more vibrant, and productivity improves.

Media monitoring campaign

Investor Relations

Public relations specialists in the investor relations area ensure transparency in financial reporting and maintain strong relationships with shareholders.

If someone invests in a company’s stocks, they’ll receive regular updates on its performance, financial reports, and invitations to shareholder meetings. It’s good investor relations at play.

Media Relations

Have you ever watched a news story about a company or an individual and wondered how that came about? Sometimes, it’s because the media outlet just chanced upon the story. In some instances, though, it’s because of media relations.

Public relations professionals and PR firms built media relations with these journalists and media outlets to secure positive client coverage.

A public relations professional probably shared with them a captivating press release story about their company’s new product to get featured in newspapers, TV shows, and online publications. This media coverage boosts company visibility.

If you want to explore media relations more, the Public Relations Society of America has written a guide on media relations.

Production Relations

The production relations department is in charge of one-off projects, such as communications about a product change or other special campaigns.

With these different forms of public relations, you can tailor your communication strategies to your specific objectives and target audiences. If you opt for the services of a PR agency instead, make sure the company specializes in the type of public relations you’re interested in.

For instance, a food PR agency can help you in production relations, particularly if you want to increase awareness of your newly launched dish or menu.

Meanwhile, a crisis management PR firm can better assist you in customer relations and media relations, especially if your company made a huge mistake that has resulted in consumer backlash.

As a result, your public relations campaign becomes effective.

6 Public Relations Strategies

A well-crafted public relations strategy is essential for selecting and applying effective PR tactics, emphasizing a collaborative approach to communication and aligning PR metrics with business goals.

It’s an ongoing, iterative process that ensures your efforts are structured and impactful. Pick one or more of these six key public relations strategies to implement for your PR efforts to be effective. You’ll see how PR can do wonders for you or your business:

Media Relations

Building relationships with journalists and external media outlets is key. Reach out to reporters in your industry, share your compelling stories, and become a trusted source. Public relations professionals often use an email lookup tool to identify and reach out to journalists, bloggers, or influencers for press coverage.

When PR professionals need an expert opinion, guess whom they’ll call?

Social Media Campaigns

PR’s best friends are on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, X, and YouTube. 81% of consumers say that social media increases business accountability. Besides, there are almost five billion social media users worldwide. That’s a lot of people you can reach to share important company news.

Social Media Campaigns

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To get the most out of this medium, engage with your audience, respond to comments, share valuable content, and create a strong online presence. Be the friendly voice in your audience’s digital space so you enhance your brand’s reputation and they keep returning for more.

Crisis Management

You should be prepared for unexpected crises, from product recalls to PR blunders. That means you should have a crisis communication playbook specifying what to do in a specific crisis.

If you handle crises transparently and communicate effectively, you might turn them into an opportunity for your brand.

Community Engagement

Remember our coffee shop example above? Follow in its footsteps. Being a good corporate citizen pays off.

Engage with your community through events, sponsorships, and initiatives. Show that you care about the places you operate in. You want to be that friendly neighbor who hosts block parties. This PR strategy will help nurture your target audience.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Collaborating with other businesses or influencers who share your values can boost your reach and credibility. Partnerships and collaborations offer a unique opportunity to tap into new audiences, share resources, and build mutually beneficial relationships.

So, create a digital business card you can share at trade shows and industry events when you meet these businesses or influencers. This way, you can easily connect with them (and they with you) for possible collaborations and partnerships even after the event.

When you team up with others in your industry or community, your message strengthens, and your public relations efforts become even more successful.

Thought Leadership Events

Establish yourself or your organization as an industry thought leader. For this, you can host webinars and workshops, and share your knowledge and expertise to shape public discourse.

Thought Leadership Events

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You can also bring together experts in a conference like Adobe did above. You want to be that company that keeps abreast of developments in your field and cares enough to let others know about them.

6 Key Metrics for Evaluating PR Impact

So, you’ve put your heart and soul into your PR efforts. But how do you know if they’re paying off? Here are six key metrics to assess the impact of your PR efforts:

Media Coverage

Track how often your company or product appears in the news, blogs, or magazines. The more times you appear, the wider your reach.

You can simplify tracking with digital tools like Mention. Mention can monitor over one billion sources daily, including press articles and influential blogs.

Reach and Impressions

Public relations is all about making waves. Measure the reach and impressions of your public relations campaigns to see how many eyeballs your message has reached. Think of it as a ripple effect–the bigger, the better.

With tools from Google Search Console (GSC), you can gain insights into your website’s appearance in Google search results. It’ll provide valuable data in this area.

Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement is a true reflection of a successful PR campaign. Monitor likes, shares, comments, and overall interaction with your social media posts.

You can make this tracking easier using the built-in tools provided by various social media platforms. Tools like Mention are also designed to streamline social media monitoring and engagement tracking, all in one place.

Website Traffic

Website traffic is essential for your online presence. Monitor the traffic it receives after a PR campaign. An increase in visitors can translate into more business or influence.

To track this effectively, you can use website analytics tools like Google Analytics 4 (GA4), which provides detailed insights into visitor behavior and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Just like a physical store counts foot traffic, these tools help you measure the digital footfall on your website.

Sentiment Analysis

Is the buzz around your brand positive or negative? Sentiment analysis helps gauge public image. Positive sentiment can boost trust and reputation, while negative sentiment may indicate areas for improvement.

Mention can assist in tracking and analyzing sentiment across various online channels. You can uncover conversation trends and gain valuable insights into how your brand is perceived digitally.

Brand Mentions Across Other Platforms

Keep tabs on how frequently your brand is mentioned across other platforms besides media publications, blogs, and social media. For instance, an increased number of mentions on forums can be a strong indicator of improved visibility and engagement.

Mention can simplify the process of monitoring and managing these references. It can also monitor what’s being said about your brand on these other channels.

3 Effective Public Relations Examples

PR is all about making an impact, and these three real-world examples demonstrate just how powerful and creative PR strategies can be:

1. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Campaign

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign in 2011 was a stroke of PR genius. By replacing its iconic logo with people’s names, Coca-Cola ensured individual consumers had a personal connection with its product.

Public Relations Examples

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The result? People searched store shelves for their names, shared photos on social media, and even customized bottles for special occasions.

In Australia where the campaign was initially launched, sales increased by over 7%, with 250,000 personalized Coke bottles sold in the first three months. The rest of the world followed this trend.

2. Red Bull’s Stratos Space Jump

Red Bull is a brand that thrives on adrenaline. Just look at its “Gives You Wings” slogan.

Red Bull sponsored the Stratos Space Jump in 2012 to showcase its commitment to pushing boundaries.

Red Bull earned media

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Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space, breaking records. Naturally, everyone was watching the event on television and online. Felix was the talk of the town.

Of course, who was highlighted as the sponsor who made everything possible? Red Bull.

3. Airbnb’s “We Accept” campaign

In the face of global discrimination issues, Airbnb took a bold PR step with its 2017 “We Accept” campaign. The company highlighted its commitment to inclusivity and diversity by featuring stories of hosts and guests from different backgrounds.

Airbnb campaign

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While reinforcing Airbnb’s dedication to providing safe and welcoming accommodations, the campaign also sent a powerful message about social responsibility. It received immense support from people around the world. Plus points for Airbnb, of course.

PR for Success

I hope you can now confidently answer that question after reading this post. You now know that effective PR campaigns require a thoughtful blend of creativity, strategy, and relationship-building.

Public relations managers are storytellers, reputation management guardians, and brand perception and public opinion shapers.

As you venture into the PR world, remember the strategies, metrics, and real-world examples you’ve learned. Take the chance to discover your unique story, connect with your audience, and create a lasting impression.

Go ahead and make your brand stand out with the power of PR!

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Chris Norton

By Chris Norton, host of the UK’s 7th largest marketing podcast, Socially Unacceptable, and Founder of award-winning B2C specialist PR agency Prohibition. His social media training blog is listed in the UK's top 10 PR blogs. For tons of digital PR tips, you can follow Chris on X @chris_norton.

Founder @Prohibition