Decoding Positive and Negative Forces of Public Relations (PR)

May 21
2014

newsJust like in advertising, the goal of public relations is to get proper message in front of the right people at the right time.

Unlike in paid promotional discipline of advertising, however, PR communicates to the media reporters, journalists or editors something valuable, which they broadcast or publish in their publications or channels for free.

PR Legal Compliance

Considering PR professionals frequently engage in media relations, all legal risks resulting from disseminating only the most useful facts must be properly managed.

An expert PR practitioner, therefore, should have concrete expertise in the legal environment within which the firm is regularly operating. This typically works through close collaboration with corporate risk teams or formally trained legal adviser(s).

Formal PR Strategy

In context of fully compliant legal risk approach, it is PR practitioner’s subsequent professional duty to promote firm’s relevant interests through implementation of a proper PR strategy.

Process of forming an effective PR strategy:

  1. Starts with identifying firm’s general and specific interests plus resulting communication goals and objectives.
  2. Continues with analyzing everyday business and competitive media environment.
  3. Ends with defining right audiences and generating unified strategic messages for each of the audience segments.

Although new PR professionals may pride themselves on generating a great wealth of creative PR ideas, only a seasoned PR pro has the instincts sharpened by years of experience to distinguish most effective options from ideas that are trite.

Firm PR Plan

Once informed by a formal strategy, public relations director develops and launches a timely mix of executions in a comprehensive PR plan.

PR plans consist of a schedule involving one or more of the following tactics:

PR Tactic     Large Firm    

    SME    

Media Kits x x
Business Reports x x
Press Releases x x
Expert Commentary x x
Bulletins & Newsletters x
e-Newsletters x  x
Sponsorships x
Events x x
Long-Form Editorials x x
Media Stunts x
Internal Communications     x x

 

Depending on whether a firm is large or a small-to-medium enterprise (SME), tactics of a PR plan express size-appropriate implementations.

Although in theory any tactic can be applied in most if not all cases, in practice companies engage only in what is realistically affordable in terms of budgetary, timing and image-based concerns.

Thus, some PR devices are particularly prized by large firms while others by SME’s yet most are still employed equally well by both big and small enterprises alike.

Evaluating PR Performance

Measuring results of a PR program involves before and after analysis resulting from each PR tactic separately and of an entire plan as a whole.

  • How many media mentions occurred after media kit was provided for downloading?
  • What impact did expert commentary have on submitted number of RFPs?
  • How much did customer awareness change after running the new PR plan?

Evaluating performance allows for continuous growth. Relative effectiveness of tactics is benchmarked as firm’s PR goals and strategies achieve and evolve the overall company interests and objectives.

Crisis Management

Every once in a while an event may occur which triggers a sequence of unwelcome media attention, reports and commentary. Plus the widespread adoption of social media accelerates this process quite substantially with each and passing day.

When a crisis does happen, functional PR team actions on a prearranged crisis plan. The key to putting one together demands proactive brainstorming sessions prior to when the negative situation happens in the first place. Since best/worst-case preemptive planning can take everyone a long way when a crisis does emerge. In sum, PR directors should always plan for the best but also proactively prepare for the worst just in case.

Always Remember…

Routine PR communication promotes and crisis PR communication preserves the company’s future.

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