A public relations agency and an advertising agency may appear to have the same basic objective–to make a business or brand more widely known about and viewed as honest, trustworthy, successful, important, exciting and relevant. But even though they share a lot in common and they are sometimes confused with one another, there are some fairly major differences. Public relations does not involve buying ads, creating brand logo designs, putting up billboards or designing catchy jingles. Instead, public relations specialists promote companies (or individuals) through what is considered earned media. This includes stories on websites, in newspapers and magazines and on television programs. This media channels are actually considered more trustworthy and respected by individuals, as they cannot simply be paid for and designed any way the business desires–they present what a third party considers to be the truth.
Uncovering Public Relations
According to the Public Relations Society of America, public relations involves the anticipation, analyzation, and interpretation of public opinions, attitudes, and issues as they affect the business or brand. A public relations agency would, therefore, be deeply involved in counseling a business as regards their various actions and how these actions will impact the public. They must also consider what actions are necessary to help keep the public adequately informed as to the business’ true intentions and objectives. Some of the tools they may use in order to do this include:
- Writing and distributing press releases regarding new products, new services, changes in the organization, and much more.
- Writing speeches to effectively communicate about the business in a flattering way.
- Writing pitches that can be sent directly to journalists.
- Creating and executing special events that are designed specifically to engage with the public and media.
- Conducting market research regarding the business, brand and their message so as to adjust it as needed.
- Expanding the business’ contacts through personal networking and attending and sponsoring events.
- Copywriting and blogging for both internal and external websites.
- Designing crisis public relations strategies that can be implemented as needed.
- Promoting the business on social media sites.
- Responding appropriately to negative opinions and reviews online in such a way as to remain honest and transparent but professional.
A business that wants to build, protect or enhance their reputation would do well to hire a public relations agency to assist them in this endeavor. A public relations agency will take the time to analyze the business as it stands, find positive messages about the business and turn those positive messages into media stories that help to further expand their reach among the public. If negative messages about the business arise, the public relations agency can evaluate the situation and determine which response will be best to address the situation openly and honestly and in so doing, mitigate the potential or real damages. In this way, the public relations agency is not hiding the business from the public or attempting to create an alternate view of the business for the public, but rather just smooth a business’ ability to successfully talk with the public so that the public understands who they are and how they can help.
A public relations agency can help a business or brand to find their voice. They understand what is going on in the marketplace and therefore which tactics will work to start positive communications with and among the public, and which tactics may actually harm the business’ reputation. They can advise a business on just how hard they can push without offending or how strong they need to stand in a particular position in order to appear innovative and successful.
While it is understandable that a business may want to develop an in-house public relations team, it is important to realize that a third-party public relations agency can provide quite a bit of help and insight that may not be achievable in-house. First of all, a third-party public relations agency has absolutely no personal bias toward the business or brand and is, therefore, more likely to view the business exactly as it is, seeing both the strengths and the weaknesses therein. Second, an established public relations agency has formed excellent relationships with many journalists across many industries. In fact, many of the professionals who work for public relations agencies are themselves former journalists, and therefore have a detailed understanding of precisely how one can successfully pitch a story and gain the attention of editors and reporters. Finally, while working with a public relations agency, a business can speak up about the messages they wish to promote and where they would like to promote them so that the public relations agency can help them achieve their goal of being more visible and favorable to the public.
For more information about the benefits of hiring a public relations agency, contact Web Content Development today.