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Piccolo PR knows… What is public relations and why is it important?

A top-down picture of a fashion professional's Macbook next to headphones and Swagger magazine.
30 Apr 2020

PR has sometimes been one of those professional services that people have misunderstood. So, let me clear things up for you.

Public Relations at its core is effective communications.

It is the relationship between a brand and their audience (both their customers and potential customers), and it can be applied across all industries. PR earns the public’s attention. It can build a positive public image and establish an organisation’s credibility and reputation. Public Relations is about engaging everyone, not just your paying customer. It works to convert your average Joe into an active and engaged consumer for your brand.

At its core, PR is storytelling; PR professionals are engaged to develop a story that positively reflects their client’s reputation, idea, product or service.

It’s all about positioning a point of view. Establishing a brand’s mission and purpose so that their target consumer wants to engage with them. PR is also used to mitigate any damage that could weaken a client’s public image (did someone say crisis comms?).

Earned media – aka publicity.

Earned media refers to any source of material written about your brand or organisation that you have not paid for or created yourself. It’s those third-party publications that were never guaranteed but always planned in your PR strategy. In the ‘old days’ earned media was solely a 90-minute segment on the news, and it still can be.

But in our brave new digital world it is so much more than that. It’s your reviews, your brand mentions, it’s journalists reporting on you, its people using your product and talking about it. Your PR strategy sparked this conversation and you’ve earned it.

All of this generates more trust between your brand and your audience, nurturing the relationship and kicking PR goals.

Public relations is based on relationships, and relationships are based on trust.

Using communications to build relationships, rather than to drive sales, puts you in a position where your audience trusts you, they remember you, and will seek you out when they are looking to buy. Your brand might look to influencer relations, where you have a relationship with an influencer, and they have a relationship with their audience. Same goes for the media: you pitch to a journalist whom you have a relationship with, and they talk to their audience. All of this communication is based on trust, and is more likely to positively position your brand in the public eye. It’s Brand awareness 101, care for your audience and they will care for you.

PR is professional storytelling

Public relations relies on the public and the public wants to hear a good story. Lucky for you, PR is professional storytelling. An audience is more likely to be receptive to a positive story.

Throwing around numbers, figures and discount codes has its time and place but to really resonate with your audience, you need to tell them something.

Having a well-considered PR campaign, built on rigorous strategy with specific messaging and voice gives your target public something to listen to and something to remember – and when it’s done well, an authentic and long lasting impact.

Managing emergencies

The importance of PR really shines in times of crisis.

If you are running an effective PR campaign, there will be measurement tools in place to prevent the likelihood of crisis, with social media monitoring as a key component. But without a PR professional on hand, the reputation of your organisation is at risk. PR is engaged to enhance your brand’s image in the public eye, and crisis comms is at its most extreme. Having consistent, controlled and clear messaging is the key to overcoming crisis is critical.

So, now with PR 101 covered, what does a PR company actually do?

The role of a PR company is to promote brands through editorial coverage. You know, that whole earned media thing we were talking about. It’s the stories you see on websites, in newspapers, magazines and on TV, that’s us!

We research…

We research our clients, we get to know them as if they were our own business and we research to identify how exactly we can effectively communicate on behalf of them. We identify their audience – how do you know what to say if you don’t know who you’re saying it to?

We plan & implement strategy…

We identify what our client needs and we execute with care and precision.

This could be:

  1. Writing and distributing press releases

  2. Updating and targeting press lists

  3. Speech writing

  4. Pitches to journalists

  5. Creating and executing events

  6. Networking

  7. Blog writing for internal and external sites

  8. Crisis communications

  9. Social media strategy and implementation

  10. Influencer relations

  11. Media relations

Really, PR companies are there to help you communicate to your audience, no matter who they are. We put together well-rounded strategies so that it’s impossible not to hear about your brand. We cover all the bases, from social media to journalistic news stories, to fancy events and activations. If it’s got to do with storytelling, building relationships or earned media you know its PR and you know, Piccolo knows.