Public Relations 101

Date: October 13, 2022

What is Public Relations?

Public relations (PR) is a controlled internal practice of managing and sharing information from an organization or an individual with the public to influence their perception. The practice of public relations was developed in the early twentieth century when it emphasized publicity and press agentry. 

Over the years, the concept and practice of PR evolved with the advances in technology and PR roles. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has most recently defined PR as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” 

PR entails building relationships and engaging with stakeholders, as well as influencing audiences using a variety of platforms and methods to shape the public’s perception and opinion. PR can be used to raise awareness of something – whether a cause, an issue, a solution, or an announcement. 

Why Does My Organization Need a PR Strategy?

Utilizing PR can help increase awareness of your organization, build relationships with key stakeholders, generate leads, increase website traffic and SEO and, ultimately, helps shape a positive reputation for your organization. PR also enables organizations to reach their audiences through a variety of traditional and digital communication tactics. 

Traditional PR vs. Digital PR

Modern PR now encompasses practices tailored to relationship building and includes traditional as well as digital tactics. 

Traditional PR focuses on conventional channels such as newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio, and television directed toward your target audience(s) to build a positive brand image through traditional media.

Digital PR focuses more on online methods such as blogging, podcasting, backlinking and social media – all towards the end goal of establishing yourself or your business as a thought leader online. 

Both traditional and digital PR can be highly effective when utilized individually but can prove to be even more beneficial when implemented together. Overall, PR is a powerful tool that when used strategically, can be a great addition to your organization’s marketing plan.

How Do I Develop and Implement a PR Strategy?

First, identify who your target audiences are and the most effective way to reach them. 

Next, define your message. Ensure it is appropriately tailored to each stakeholder group to effectively convey your message. For example, if you are making a company announcement that is relevant to the general public and warrants media attention, consider sharing a press release with a vetted media list. If your message is only relevant to a small segment of your audience, consider sending an email directly to that group. Social media can also be useful for communicating a message quickly and effectively with a large audience. In some cases, an integrated approach can be the most effective method for reaching all of your organization’s stakeholders.

Traditional PR can be implemented through press releases, announcements, interviews, or op-eds; it can also be inclusive of sponsorships of strategic causes or hosting events. 

Digital PR can be utilized by disseminating press releases and securing online media coverage linking back to your website thus boosting your SEO rating and helping your site rank higher in search. Creating mutually beneficial and trusting relationships with the media is another way to secure coverage that links back to your site and positions your organization to be a source for future pieces. As you develop your PR strategy, make sure to foster key relationships with the media so they reach out to you to be a contributing source for future pieces. Digital PR can also be implemented by establishing your organization as a thought leader in the digital space by using social media and blogging to share relevant content and to participate in two-way communication.

Need Assistance Developing Your PR Plan? Let Us Help

Public relations can be a highly effective way to increase awareness of your organization, boost your authority, reach new audiences, and generate leads. Contact 9Sail to discuss how a digital PR strategy can benefit your organization.