Many think public relations has become “a spin doctor” in folks’ minds. PR professionals don’t write ads, write stories for reporters or write commercials. PR firms promote companies or individuals through traditional editorial or online digital channels. “Earned” or “free” media are stories in newspapers, magazines, TV show or websites. This is different than a paid ad that was bought and placed on a specific publication or media channel.
PR agencies goals are: promoting clients and positioning them as successful, honest, important or exciting. Articles or TV appearances in respected publications have the advantage of third-party validation. These media pieces are generally viewed by the public more favorably.
“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” PRSA.org
According to PRSA (Public Relations Society of America), as a management function, public relations also encompasses the following:
- Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization.
- Counseling management at all levels in the organization with regard to policy decisions, courses of action and communication, taking into account their public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.
- Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing; financial; fund raising; employee, community or government relations and other programs.
- Planning and implementing the organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy. Setting objectives, planning, budgeting, recruiting and training staff, developing facilities — in short, managing the resources needed to perform all of the above.
The best PR efforts are the ones that really speak to audiences that resonate and align a strong, memorable message. In the long run, public relations can be a smart investment in your brand. The visibility of a firm or individual can be measured in increased recognition and reputation.
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