Cunningly Good Guide to……using Public Relations

Public Relations is the way an organisation manages and enhances its reputation. Our cunningly good communications team are experts in using public relations to shift the dial on a number of reputational issues for organisations, whether it’s thorugh internal communicatoions, media relations, raising awareness among target markets or simply enhancing your employer brand. We asked them how it all worked and what organisations should be thinking about when it comes to public relations.

In a nutshell: 

  • It is all about managing reputation
  • It is can be very effective alongside a robust marketing mix
  • It can raise your business’ profile with an extensive reach
  • It does not always guarantee results

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you (definition from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations). In today’s competitive market, reputation can be a company’s biggest asset – the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd and gives you a competitive edge. There is no doubt that once this current COVID-19 crisis is over, people will remember how businesses behaved during the pandemic and how they treated their customers – in fact many organisations are already feeling the impact of poor reputation management, while others have soared as a result of their public relations activity.

How does PR help?

Effective PR can help manage reputation by communicating and building good relationships with all stakeholders associated with an organisation, such as customers, employees, investors, media, government, suppliers, and opinion formers. The aim of PR is to earn understanding, support and influence opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort of establishing and maintaining goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its stakeholders.

What are the benefits of PR?

As Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, famously said: “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”

What are the things to consider?

  • When dealing with the press, you do not have complete control over what is printed and when. Neither does your agency. Although this can be managed to a certain extent, ultimately it is up to the editor’s discretion as to whether something is published.
  • There are no guaranteed results. When dealing with the media, the news agenda can change overnight, making your press release or comment piece redundant.
  • It can be hard to measure the effectiveness of PR activities. You can count media mentions and published stories, but it is harder to determine the impact this has on your audience.

How to create a great PR strategy

There are eight steps to follow to create a comprehensive PR strategy. These are:

  1. Review the PR activity for the last year (if there has been any)
  2. Create PR goals/objectives which tie into your overall business goals (these should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound)
  3. Define your target audience
  4. Know the external factors (political, economic, socio-cultural etc) which may be affecting your business
  5. Identify the key messages
  6. Select the appropriate PR tools to use
  7. Plan PR tactics
  8. Measure results

Helpful resources

To find out more about Public Relations, please log onto the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) website: www.cipr.co.uk.

If you would like a chat about how Public Relations could benefit your business, please get in touch with our Head of Communications, Emma Davies on 01738 658187.