Public Relations: Why It Matters

By Stacia Goodman

Ask 100 people to define public relations and you’ll most likely get 100 different answers. Someone is sure to think it’s just a fancy, fast-talking “handler,” shepherding Hollywood starlets to glitzy media interviews.

Yes, that is public relations (actually, a subset called media relations), but there’s much more to the profession. Public relations (PR) is the business of persuasion and reputation management. Though often overlooked, it should be a nonnegotiable part of your overall marketing plan.

What is Public Relations?

It’s the strategic communications process of trying to convince an audience to promote your idea, purchase your product or service, support your position, or recognize your accomplishments. In a nutshell, it means telling a positive story, or in a crisis, mitigating the damage. The audience might be employees, customers, prospects, the community at large, or policy makers.

Here are some examples of what PR practitioners do – and what Activated Growth can provide:

  • Media Relations – Assess potential news stories, write and distribute news releases or “pitch” stories directly to journalists, and monitor news coverage. NOTE: The PR person cannot control if, or when, media run a story, nor its content. Only paid media (advertising) can provide that guarantee.
  • Media Contacts – Develop media contact lists to identify your media targets when you want to get your message out.
  • Writing (articles, blogs, speeches, letters) – Craft nuanced key messages that make communications interesting and mutually beneficial.
  • Special Events – Create and execute special events designed for public outreach and media relations.
  • Market Research – Conduct market research, such as interviewing decision makers, facilitating focus groups or surveying customers.
  • Networking Support – Expand contacts by attending or sponsoring events, booking speaking engagements or award presentations.
  • Crisis Communications – Ensure a plan exists to conduct business with the highest integrity during and after a crisis, to protect marketplace reputation.
  • Social Media – Execute creative promotions and respond to negative opinions online.
  • Creative Resource – Brainstorm fresh, new ideas for, well, a whole lot, and act as a voice of reason for ideas that might be off strategy, brand or message.

Why Public Relations Matters

We live in a world of instant communication and transparency, not to mention extreme competition for customers, employees, media attention, views, clicks, likes, hits, reposts, etc. Public relations provides a way for businesses to:

  1. be proactive in nurturing important relationships
  2. respond quickly to threats to those relationships
  3. act with integrity and professionalism

If you need public relations expertise as part of your marketing game plan, contact Activated Growth. We can help – and you don’t have to be a Hollywood starlet.