by Katie Miller, The Vandiver Group, St. Louis
Public relations is a strategic communications process in which a certified company or individual is responsible for creating and maintaining the public image, branding, external and internal communications, and networking of a client. The public relations field is extremely diverse, so a professional can provide services that will fit the needs and goals of any project, no matter the client. From managing the image of major corporations with crisis plans and media relations, to managing the needs of smaller companies and individuals with branding and social media, there is a benefit to every business. By using the services of a PR pro, you gain a teammate who is passionate about your short-term and long-term success.
PR Pros Help Expand Your Network:
PR firms carry a network of media and other professional contacts in their arsenal that they can use to help you succeed. Expanding beyond more than just media contacts, a PR firm’s network can be used to promote your business, articles/pieces you’ve written, upcoming events where you are speaking, updates on your company, trends, and other noteworthy happenings with the goal of drawing positive attention to you and your business. PR pros spend the majority of their career forming lasting relationships with the media, and not just on a local level. When you work with a PR firm, these connections become available to your business. These media connections are an integral component of managing your company’s reputation, gaining local/national/global recognition, and promoting your business.
PR Pros Help Establish your Brand Credibility:
PR pros have years of experience in branding —using both traditional means and social media. A good brand image, website, and social-media presence are important to the success of any business, and a PR pro knows how to position your business for the right audience. PR pros work to position you as a subject-matter expert by developing key messages and a concrete target audience for your brand. Your PR firm will also work with you to manage your reputation, whether that is the rebuilding stage after a crisis or maintaining a positive image through your brand’s CSR efforts. Credibility is fundamental in the success of your business, and your PR firm is a great resource to help you develop that credibility.
PR Pros Offer an Objective Perspective:
Why do PR pros have such a good grasp on the necessary tools for success? Probably because they’ve seen it all before. PR professionals can offer you an objective, insightful perspective because they have the case studies and client history to know how to best promote you and your business. They’ve seen businesses of all kinds succeed (and fail) through a variety of tactics, and based on those successes and failures, they can provide your company with the best tools that are tailored for your success. A good PR pro is not afraid to voice an opinion, and that’s one of the things you are paying for. How realistic is it to expect to get what you want, where you want it? A PR pro is also good at picking out the messages that will engage and resonate with your intended audience. Think of your PR pro as your coach, always caring about your success, but not part of your company directly. Bringing in a 3rd-party perspective allows for the objectivity necessary for success.
PR Pros Have a Variety of Capabilities:
From media relations and crisis communications, to social media, branding, and strategic communications, PR pros have a variety of skillsets when it comes to managing a client’s content, image, and credibility. The public relations field has completely transformed in the past decade. What once focused on mainly traditional forms of communication has now expanded into the digital and social realm. This doesn’t mean that PR’s core values have changed, however; it just means that PR pros are equipped with an entirely expanded skillset. Typically, PR agencies will have various people on any given project who have a variety of expertise in a wide range of disciplines, guaranteeing that you always have a professional on the job.
Working with a PR pro is about creating and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship between two organizations. Your PR firm will be your biggest supporter, but will also provide sage advice and be the voice of reason during a crisis. Think of PR firm as an extension of your company; your goals become their goals, your successes become theirs. Let a PR pro help your business reach both your short- and long-term goals, and ultimately, your success.