Public relations (PR) is exactly that – building a relationship with the public. A positive and profitable one, of course. It’s not sales promotions, advertising, or direct marketing. However, it does work hand-in-hand with each of these elements to form an integrated marketing campaign that positions the prospective company or brand in a positive, prosperous light in the public’s mind. Why is this important? Because a good image is a good asset. When done right, public relations will nurture your reputation as an employer and merchant of choice amongst those whose opinions have a direct effect on your business. It involves identifying and creating your own PR opportunities. However, it also requires the ability to strategically and successfully interact and communicate with the media to reach your desired target audience.
The team at Real Business has built a wealth of experience in this regard, helping us realise that public relations isn’t an exact science, but rather an art that requires a strategic process. And within this strategic process lies three essential elements that are a necessity for any public relations campaigns. Let’s take a closer look!
1 Define The Situation
You need to understand where you and where you want to be able to craft your public relations campaign to get you there. This means defining where your business is financially in the market and where you want your business to go. It also means gathering insights into what your business has done before, as this will help you build on past strengths and successes while avoiding past failures. Aside from your own position in the market, you should also be analysing your competitors’ successes, failures, and current positions. What are they doing? What are they missing? And how could your business fill that void?
Without these insights, your campaign will lack direction and the ability to make the impact that should’ve had your business’ journey to your goals well underway. Simply put, a public relations campaign with no understanding of the business’ past, present, and desired future is a waste of time.
2 Define The Objectives
For now, forget about what you’re going to put into your public relations campaign. Rather, focus on what your business needs to get out of it. Then, you can develop a strategy to get there through well-thought-out goals. This requires having a clear, straightforward vision of what you want your public relations campaign to achieve for your business, whether traditional media exposure or thought-leadership status.
When evaluating your objectives, Real Business recommends that you ensure that they are:
- Realistic: they can be achieved in reality with your current resources
- Time-conscious: they can be achieved promptly and in line with your growth goals
- Measurable: their progress can be easily measured and quantified
3 Define The Audience
How can you craft and distribute your intended message if you don’t know who you are trying to reach? You can’t. To create a message that resonates, you need to know who you’re targeting in order for it to resonate with and influence them. And in the public relations world, your target audience should consist of the relevant target publics and intercessory publics. Once you’ve found your audience, you need to understand the various psychological, social, economic, and demographic details that separate them from the greater publics – that make them relevant to your message and offerings. As soon as your desired audience is recognisable to you, you can also begin to develop products and/or services that are inherently attractive to them.
At Real Business, we are dedicated to unearthing, analysing, and sharing business-related insights and advice such as this to SMEs in the UK. From essential public relations elements to cultivating a digital workplace, interviews with promising entrepreneurs, and beyond, you will find yourself inspired and informed!
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