There are few ways in which people and companies promote and market themselves in order to create a positive image and reputation about themselves or their business. Public relations is one particular realm that involves a variety of promotional activities and tactics that helps to develop a positive public image of a company. By helping the public to understand how the company and its products and/or services can benefit its consumers, it can create a strong image of the business to the public.
This needs to be done properly in order to reach as large an audience as possible, without having to employ the use of large costs as is common with conventional advertising and marketing strategies. The realm of public relations is becoming more and more important and common among marketers who strive to get their companies’ names out there, and to create a reliable image of the business.
How Public Relations is Implemented
Communicating with the public is essential when marketing. The essence of public relations involves reaching as many people as possible all at once, and persuading and informing them through a variety of mediums, like television, radio and the internet.
It is important to differentiate between public relations and marketing. While marketing has a focus on persuading the public to buy a product or service to increase profits – which usually costs quite a bit of capital to accomplish – public relations works by earning media to get stories and information covered about a particular business and its products and services, which usually doesn’t cost a cent.
Public relations involves actions and stories that garner the attention of the public through newspapers, television, and so forth. It’s important to understand that this “earned media” can be both positive and negative. While businesses can often get press coverage based on positive things that they have done, they can just as easily gain press and attention for negative aspects as well. How businesses handle the negative publicity is equally as important as how it handles good publicity.
Tools Needed For Public Relations
Traditionally speaking, tools such as press releases, press conferences, town meetings, speeches, letters to the newspaper, radio show appearances and guest columns have all been conventional methods of implementing public relations. In today’s day and age, the internet has taken full force and has greatly influenced how the public communicates with each other, and how it is communicated to.
- Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc
- Video marketing
- Online imaging
- Email campaigns
Using these tools can be quite useful in both informing the public about certain products, services or events related to a specific business, as well as persuading the public to consider the positive aspects of the business.
Steps to Developing a Public Relations Plan
A well thought out public relations plan is essential to developing an effective program. Taking things step by step in proper order can be very helpful in creating a public relations strategy that will help to improve the image of a company. Here are some of the steps involved in the process of developing a public relations plan:
- Step 1: Define the objectives for the publicity plan;
- Step 2: Define the goals of this objective;
- Step 3: Determine the target audience;
- Step 4: Develop a schedule for any public relations campaigns;
- Step 5: Develop a plan of implementation, including the exact communication vehicles that will be used to get the message across to the public;
- Step 6: Develop measures to effectively track the results of the public relations campaign.
Advantages of Employing Public Relations
Considering how much public relations is talked about among marketing and advertising, it’s no surprise that most people in business know the importance of public relations in their business. However, the advantages to engaging in public relations is often not always fully understood. Here is a list of the some of the major benefits of public relations to a business:
- Inexpensive means of reaching the public
- Effective way to reach large audiences
- Improves and strengthens the business’ image
- Creates an image of the company as one of action and innovation
- Develops credibility for the company
- Gives the company an edge over other companies that are not actively engaging in public relations
- Improves visibility of the company in major search engines
Developing a well run public relations campaign can have significant benefits to any company that puts the program in gear. The impact that public relations can have on a business can be astounding. This method can provide a company with a means of developing a positive image, while helping to effectively deal with negative publicity with dignity and transparency. It has been proven that companies that employ a public relations program are able to have a much greater credibility factor than those who don’t.
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