PR, short for Public Relations, is something you may hear about often as a business owner. But, what exactly is PR and does your brand need it? The short answer is yes! According to the Public Relations Society of the America, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” While this is an accurate definition, it’s also a bit general.

There are many facets of PR and it is possible that not all of them will apply to or make sense for your business. To gain a better understanding of what may fit your needs, let’s take a look at the different types of PR.

Positive PR

Positive PR helps businesses proactively craft their brand image. This can include exciting updates such as awards, philanthropic efforts, new products, new team members, and general good news about the company. Think of positive PR as telling a feel-good story about your brand to the world. This information can be dispersed through a number of avenues. Below are frequent outlets of communication that can amplify your story:
News and Media Outreach and Press Releases

Press releases allow brands to announce new product releases, make official statements, share milestones or accolades in your own words. Press releases guarantee immediate brand exposure. Additionally, press releases can get picked up by a variety of news outlets, manifesting into articles, news segments, or special features. They also drive traffic to your website and have the potential for social sharing as well.

Social Media

Social media can include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and more. Social media has grown exponentially in the last decade as an effective and timely way to share information. Many companies have found that it’s also a preferred way to directly communicate with the public through comments and direct messaging, making customer service very transparent. These platforms can be utilized to announce contests, special events, updates, and can include either videos or photos alongside the messaging.

Speaking Engagements and Podcasts

In-person or virtual speaking engagements and guest speaking on podcasts are an effective way to reach and grow your audience. Establishing your authority and expertise on a topic is a powerful tool to initiate trust and loyalty with the public. These are powerful mediums for sharing concepts and ideas and can easily expand your influence as brands are tapping into like-minded, interested, and voluntarily engaged audiences. These appearances can easily be shared and can expand into additional opportunities to share your company’s story.

Reputation Management

Reputation management is a continuous process that helps a brand manage the public’s perception of a business. First, it requires research to see what people have to say about your brand. Once the overall perception of your brand is identified, a strategy is developed to steer the conversation towards the topics your brand wants to focus on. Participating in online conversations about your brand is key to building a transparent relationship. While this is paramount in positive PR, it is absolutely crucial in negative PR situations.

Negative PR

While PR is mostly utilized to share positive information, sometimes less than desirable or unexpected events happen. In these instances, it’s imperative to do damage control. One major key is to address these negative situations with the public as soon as possible. Turning a negative into a positive, or at least a lesser negative, directly impacts your brand from that moment forward. Here are a few examples that any business may employ for a number of reasons:

Damage Control

Sometimes a PR crisis occurs that can damage your company’s image and reputation. This can include accidents, negative reviews, unexpected events, or even internal employee issues. While you can’t change what has already been said, the way you respond to what has happened is monumental and can change perception. A quick and effective response can enormously impact your brand’s perception for the better. A damage control strategy is the only way to address and move beyond the current climate.

Crisis Communication

Having a crisis management team in place in the event that there is a negative occurrence will ensure the most thoughtful and appropriate response is deployed. It is also just as important to reiterate protocol with your employees. If more communication is required, make it clear who will represent the company in further responses. Monitoring the situation and following up with questions is just as important as the initial communication. Establishing a post-event strategy is also key to repairing your brand image and moving your company forward.

Public Relations is a versatile and important part of your overall marketing strategy. Creating, expanding, and maintaining a relationship with the public is an enormous element of a brand’s success. Your company’s PR needs may shift throughout the years, but should always remain an active piece of your overall marketing strategy.