“Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.” – CIPR
In this video I provide a simple yet hopefully effective definition of Public Relations and its overall impact and influence on society at large. Whilst I work primarily with business clients via my business Ariatu PR I still understand the influence that public relations has on communities. Public relations is about building and maintaining reputations, reputations that are build on fact and maintained by trust. We see what happens when brands and businesses do not the importance of PR and communications with their “publics”; anyone they need to communicate effectively with including stakeholders, employees, customers and the media into consideration. One of the most obvious and urgent impacts being PR disasters. By understanding PR you can understand how it can be used to improve your business credibility, raise visibility and enhance communications. It is so important for businesses and entrepreneurs to understand it and if more gained a strategic understanding of public relations and they would see a vast improvement in how their business operates as a whole. I hope this video helps those of you who have struggled with understanding what public relations is:
It’s so important for entrepreneurs to remember that they are brand ambassadors for their business, all too often many forget how influential their brand profiles can be and the impact it can have on their overall PR & Media image.
Here are just a few simple tips that every entrepreneur should keep in mind when representing their business and implementing PR as part of their core marketing strategy.
Invest in good visuals for your business or yourself. The power of a good quality image is under estimated. As an individual get some good studio images and head shots (not selfies). For products get good quality product shots, they really do help sales particularly for online impact and social media sharing.
Be your own biggest cheerleader. Be your own most adoring fan. If you’re doing something amazing SHARE IT! Don’t wait for people to celebrate you. Start sharing your greatness from wherever you are and the recognition will come. Don’t let anyone else’s limitations keep you from seeing what you’re capable of. Release any notions that you cannot be great in your life. Be bold, brave and dare to be different. Not only will it make you stand out from other entrepreneurs but you will encourage and inspire others to be great too.
Think before you tweet! Your social media presence should be a reflection of your business/personal brand. Whether you are the owner of a business or an employee everything you share online can easily be traced back to your brand so be wise. If you’re using social media be confident that you’re happy with what you share and always assess your intentions before sharing. Screenshots and re-posts mean that nothing on social media can ever really be erased.
Be who you want to see! Represent your personal/business brand authentically and confidently both offline and online. Carry yourself in the manner in which you want to be identified as. Don’t try to replicate or impersonate anyone else, be true to yourself.
Be mindful of who you share personal & private information with, as idle gossip can turn into a PR disaster too quickly. As your personal/business brand grows the number of people you can trust falls. Sad but true so be careful when sharing personal info. You will find that the more successful you become the more ‘friends’ you suddenly have, be wise and pay attention.
Leave a comment and let me know your experiences of growing your personal/business brand. You may also enjoy watching this video which offers more PR Tips for business growth.
Business owners may face Public Relations and communications problems on a day to day basis, many are straight forward and some are a little more complicated. Before I get into the problems let me get back to basics:
“What is PR?”
It’s funny because I get asked this question more often than I care to admit and whilst to me it’s very simple and straightforward to many business owners looking to hire a PR agency there are blurred definitions that cause confusion and disappointment. I think one of the best definitions that I have found is this one from PRSA: Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics”
The “strategic communication process” element is my favourite part of that definition. All too often business owners seem to think that PR covers everything from sales to advertising. Whilst it can have an impact on sales it is different, click here for this great explanation on the difference.
So here are 3 problems that PR can helps to solve, although it might not be able to fix every single business problem these are the key ones that PR can fix if implemented correctly:
Weak Brand Reputation: Sometimes a company’s reputation can start to falter, this could be for an array of reasons but usually it’s due to ineffective communication between the customer and the brand itself. With a consistent and unified approach, Public Relations can really help to maintain the brand reputation of a company and/or entrepreneur. The ability to ensure that the brand reputation of a business is held to high regard can really make the difference between high levels of customer retention and low brand loyalty. Use PR to share good news stories and communicate best practice to the customer base and the wider community.
Social Media Crisis: In the social media age, how a business copes with a PR crisis is now more important than ever before. It can take just a few hours for a business to start trending for all of the wrong reasons and without a PR crisis management strategy in place the damage to a company’s brand may appear to be irreparable.
Poor Customer Services: The media is now more accessible than ever before, journalists frequently seek interesting news stories via social media and members of the public also approach media outlets directly when they have had a poor customer services experience. PR can be used to improve communication between the customer and the business. Negative feedback can be used to create a change within a business and also improve the relationship it has with it’s customers.
These are just 3 problems that PR can help solve but of course it should not be used in isolation. Every member of your business team should seek to help resolve any issues that your business faces and if you’re a sole trader then take the time to really focus on what needs to be done to fix your problems.
Media relations can have a huge impact on brand building, visibility and credibility and is one of the most sought after services of PR agencies. Earning media coverage for your business can stand the test of time (subject to not experiencing a crisis) as it helps to maintain reputations, builds trust and can often reach audiences in an authentic way,often less overwhelming way than intensive advertising for example. Media relations is powerful but the issue that many entrepreneurs and small business owners have is understanding how to achieve media coverage for their businesses and understanding how to harness the power of the media.
The PESO model created by Gini Dietrich offers an excellent illustration of how layered the media is and how powerful it is when you assess these layers.
When looking at how media relations can have an impact on your business here are a few things to remember:
Strategy – Remember that when you are seeking media profiling that there has to be a strategy in place, ego driven press profiling is unsustainable and will have very little impact on how your business is perceived by its target audience. Think about who your core clients are and what audience you want to reach using the media – mainstream media is great for reach but it may not have any impact on your target market so really take the time to assess WHY you want to achieve media coverage. You have to ensure you have a plan, goals and prepare for your media relations process both in the long term and short term.
Relationships – Hiring a PR agency or consultant is useful because they usually have established relationships with journalists or media outlets. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner considering undertaking your own media relations campaign then take the time to invest in networking opportunities and building relationships with journalists both online and offline. Social media is a great way to connect with journalists as well as industry networking events or other creative means of connecting with journalists like press lunches/conferences.
Newsworthiness – Remember that the press is an ecosystem which not only feeds the wider public with content and information but it is also responds to what its audiences want. So remember that your relevance is crucial when connecting with editors, journalists and media outlets. Think about who will be consuming the news about your business and why they should care. You can write a press release or you can respond to what current topics are trending. If you are an individual/founder you can also work on your personal brand to become a notable subject matter expert who is called upon to discuss industry relevant news.
Preparedness – There is little point in undertaking media relations if you are not ready. This includes undertaking media training, knowing what to do in a crisis and having a long term plan to ensure your media relations campaign is not just a one off hit but an ongoing long term process which coincides with your other business strategies. If you are aiming for major coverage in mainstream press make sure that your operations are strong enough to handle the new found “fame” – if your business gets featured by one of the world’s most popular media outlets can your website cope? Do you have enough stock? Are your employees ready for the new found attention? Consider this before chasing coverage that you might not be ready for and which could turn a potentially great situation into a negative one.
In this video I highlight some of the tactics that you can use to achieve media coverage and raise your brand visibility. This video also provides you with some easy to use PR tips which will give you the courage and confidence to get your brand out there!