AJ co-founded TrendKite in 2012 and oversees all aspects of the organization’s sales operations.
In these times of tight budgets and lean staffs, it isn’t unusual for someone who does not have a PR background to be asked to take the lead on a company PR strategy or to manage an agency relationship. If this is your situation, we’re here to help. This PR 101 blog is designed to provide a foundation of useful information and hopefully aid your efforts to promote your brand and grow the business.
What is PR?
Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between your brand and the public. The goal is to help prospects, customers, investors, employees and other audiences gain a positive point of view of your organization. PR goes hand and hand with advertising and marketing in spreading your brand messages. Unlike advertising, however, PR focuses mostly on “earned media,” which means having others mention your organization without directly paying for it.
A number of activities are usually involved in an organization’s PR efforts. They include:
- Media Relations
- Brand Messaging and Positioning
- Analyst Relations
- Media Training
- Event Promotion
- Speaking Opportunities
- Press Releases
- Social Media
- Reputation Management
The Role of a PR Agency
Some companies manage all of their PR activities in-house, while others choose to leverage the services of a PR agency. The agency can do some or almost all of the work involved in your PR strategy. Agencies range in size from very large, nationwide firms, to small teams of 2 – 5. There are also a growing number of independent PR professionals who work as consultants or contract resources. As you might imagine, the cost of a PR agency varies greatly and depends on the resources necessary to support the client’s strategy. Although it is possible to be successful at PR without an agency, using one does give you access to their experience across multiple clients as well as the ability to leverage preexisting relationships with journalists, analysts and other influencers.
How Will I know if my PR is Working?
That is the $64,000 question. (Or maybe more, depending on your budget.) There are two approaches to PR measurement and both are necessary to truly determine the ROI of your PR efforts.
- Measure Outputs – Outputs are things like press releases, mentions in articles, speaking engagements, awards received and byline placements. Think of them as the deliverables for your PR actives.
- Measure Outcomes – While outputs are important and give you a view into the scope of your work, what you are really after are outcomes. These include, increased website traffic, improved search engine rankings, increased lead flow, shortened sales cycles and ultimately, revenue growth. When these are trending in the right direction, your PR efforts are paying off.
Of course, our PR 101 blog wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the technology available to support PR efforts for both in-house teams and agencies. The most advanced PR software can support your efforts to monitor media, to identify mentions of your brand, determine their impact and leverage the opportunity. The right technology can make it easier for you to identify journalists, influencers, analysts and others who are interested in topics relevant to your brand and help inform your outreach approach and timing. It is also enormously helpful to find tools that can generate reports based on the data so that you are easily able to share the value of your PR efforts with the rest of the organization.
We hope that this PR 101 overview has been helpful. Our blog frequently includes general PR advice, tips and tricks, and technology analysis designed to help make the lives of PR professionals a little easier. We’re confident you will find it a valuable resource.