I know what you’re thinking. You’ve heard the term public relations so many times and you still haven’t got a clue what it is. And now that you’re starting a new business you can’t help but constantly hear the need for public relations if you’re going to succeed. Well here’s a little secret… many people don’t want to admit it, but the vast majority of professionals and entrepreneurs don’t have a clue either. They’re just not as brave as you are to admit it. The truth of the matter is that public relations involves a world of tactics, strategies and skills all wrapped into one – and for the most part it can be difficult to define. However, with a better understanding of what PR is, you’ll be enlightened to a world of tools to expand your business creatively and strategically in no time.
Before I explain what a public relations campaign is, I’d like to start with what it isn’t. It is not the act of merely writing and distributing a press release. As many people inaccurately think this is the case. However, I do not want to downplay the importance of developing an effective press release. But generally, PR is assumed to represent press release and it truly devalues the expertise of the PR professional. So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s define the meaning of a public relations campaign.
Public Relations Campaign: A strategic and comprehensive communications plan developed to convey a message to its targeted audience.
This all-inclusive communications plan utilizes many tools to successfully implement the campaign – and yes press releases are often an effective component. However, other elements include advertising, marketing, media relations, special events, crisis management, etc. Each communication function serves a purpose, although not every tool is used in all campaigns. The key to a successful PR plan is to analyze the specific organization or industry and understand its structure and branding, while creating a specific strategy. For example, if you’re launching a new fitness center, the PR strategy may include media and community relations. With the right approach, you may not have to incorporate paid advertising into the campaign. It’s all about tailoring the message and understanding the many tools available. So now that you know that public relations is not just one particular thing, but a world of communication functions available for a concentrated focus – lets discover how your business can benefit from it.
Every business can profit from including public relations strategies in its marketing plan – especially businesses just starting out. The reason for this is that PR will give community recognition and respect. And no organization can survive without having a good reputation among its consumers, investors, and the general public. Public relations will give your business the consistency and branding that consumers will come to expect when patronizing your establishment. Also, effective communication strategies will keep the business in the public eye while being cost effective and in harmony with the organization’s message. With a well designed strategy, the business will build relationships with the media and community that will far outreach any advertising budget. Remember the key word is plan – Public relations is a coherent and comprehensive plan that allows you to creatively utilize many communication tools in conveying your message to expand your business for ultimate success.