Public relations (PR) is more than just talking points, press releases and media relations. If you are interested in getting your PR efforts to pay off, then you need to look beyond the basics. What does that mean? It means that while components of PR are tactics for carrying out the larger strategic mission of PR, in order to achieve success, you need to be consistent and persistent. Working toward the big picture, even incrementally will pay off.
To achieve success with public relations, you need to set your sights on the “ideal PR outcome” then develop, nurture and engage in relationships that support and meet the needs of that outcome. So every move you make, every connection you attempt —even any networking event you go to— must support that end goal of your “ideal PR outcome.”
Determining Your “Ideal PR Outcome”
So how do we get there?
First, decide what you want to achieve, write it down and build out a plan.
Next, develop messaging that resonates with targeted audiences and elicits a desired response (purchase, donation, attendance, vote, etc.) in support of your company. To hone in on your message, focus on key questions: Who are we? What do we offer? What makes us special? How do we want to be perceived in the market place? Once you answer these questions, put together your messaging and talking points, which become your public relations Bible, and the foundation on which to build your communication strategy.
The art of PR is in the message itself, the story, how it is packaged and delivered. Just as in marketing, it is a dance between creative messaging, digital and traditional outlets, and that knack of consistent communication – you have to marry all the components to be effective.
Connecting with Public Relations
Storytelling: People connect with people. The art of PR is to craft messages or stories that connect people with ideas, products and services. Data has to be translated in a way that is interesting and responsive to your target audience(s) need for information. This could be internal (employees, boards of directors, investors) or external (reporters, editors, customers) audiences. How you tell and deliver that story is going to be different for different audiences but the message will be the same for every medium you touch: social, email, websites, publications, video and/or talk radio. Consistency of message is key, regardless of the communication channel.
Keep Listening to the Press: Online and social media make it easier for today’s PR professionals to zero in on what’s hot and what’s not. In addition to traditional media monitoring (print, broadcast, radio), PR taps into what’s trending on social, Google search and keywords. This “listening” presents opportunities for relevant messages, conversations and content to be injected into the digital realm that connect your brand with consumer needs, desires and passions. This is the convergence of media relations and digital visibility as traditional media relations, including press releases and inquiries still have their place, but incorporate and are enhanced by today’s digital channels.
Stay Connected with Everyone: Being present is key to PR success. PR has to have a face for any company to demonstrate it walks its talk. This is where company culture comes into play in recognizing it is not just up to the C-Suite or PR professional to build relationships, but every employee at every encounter in-person, online and on the phone. Employees are your company’s ambassadors and having them engaged in the community, trade shows and even networking events will pay off—as long as they are pushing “your message”.
Reputation Management: In additional to tapping into trends, media and social monitoring also enables PR to know what is being said about the company and respond accordingly. Relationships after all are based on two-way communication. This is amplified when a company faces a crisis and needs to respond quickly, responsibly and honestly. Again it is walking the talk and addressing the issues head on. These are the times to put your relationships to work provided they are built on trust, integrity and mutual respect.
Putting PR into Practice
PR is not marketing but they work together for the benefit of company. PR builds, cultivates and maintains the relationships that marketing targets. PR reinforces the company’s commitment to its product/services and intended user/supporter. PR demonstrates it is many people working together to achieve your company goals. And the best PR comes from the inside out.
What’s Your PR Strategy?
Need help developing your public relations strategy to support your company’s success? Millennium can help, whether you are looking for a solid foundation to build on or ready to expand your influence in the marketplace. Call or email to connect with us at 877-873-7445 ext. 201 or Lfanaras@mill-im.com.