Dear Baird’s CMC,
I am considering whether my corporate brand needs public relations. I am wondering if you have any advice on which PR aspects to focus on, and if there are any tips we should keep in mind.
– Puzzled about PR
Dear Puzzled about PR,
It’s good to know you’re thinking about investing in PR – it’s an excellent way to manage your company’s public image and educate target audiences about a product, service or issue.
PR includes a number of components, of which media relations has traditionally been the cornerstone. Media relations consists of news coverage, proactive persuasive campaigns, awareness-building publicity, and defensive coverage. Managing how the media depicts your brand is critical for your business’ reputation.
Other activities include giving brochures/audio-visual material to customers, setting up speaking engagements on TV and at conferences, sponsoring events, implementing innovative communication campaigns, and preparing crisis communications strategy.
Here are a few things it may be helpful to keep in mind:
Use the Internet: Social media PR campaigns can help you reach customers directly. While such campaigns can be extremely effective, unpredictable issues can arise and escalate within hours due to the nature of the Internet. Online PR should be structured carefully and handled by professionals.
Tell a good story: Publications prefer to run stories that are newsworthy. Good PR means telling an interesting story that appeals to the public.
Define your target market: PR typically consists of communicating with your target market. The people you want to reach through your public campaign are potential customers or investors. It is important to define your public or target in your public relations effort. Then you can focus on publications and broadcasts that are in line with your segments.
Go pro: Nine times out of ten, it is better for a firm to hire outside expertise to handle their PR strategy – unless, of course, you are setting up a dedicated in-house PR department. Asking existing employees to handle PR along with their primary roles not only impacts their productivity, it is also ineffective. PR experts spend years building their specialised networks – by seeking their assistance, you can leverage these and achieve maximum impact.