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What is PR?

6 months ago

For a lot of people, PR goes unnoticed. They read the papers, watch the news or pick up a magazine without realising what’s going on behind the scenes of the content they’re reading, watching or skim reading. Understandably too, there’s a lot to keep up with after all. But whether it’s a piece of commentary from a business leader, a nice charity event or even a what’s on guide, chances are you’re reading about an organisation with a message – and seeing the successes of a PR exec or team on a mission to promote that message and reputation in a positive, clear and consistent way. That, in summary, is PR at work.

End of blog.

Not really.

Is it advertising? Is it spin? No, it’s authenticity!

Alright, so you might know that marketing should probably form part of your business plan because you want sales or conversions, but isn’t it all just advertising? Or even *gasp*, spin?

Well, PR often falls into that nice, grey area of reputation building and enhancement. It isn’t marketing, it isn’t advertising. It’s the authentic face of your company splashed across local, national and industry press. It’s there to defend you when things go sour. You pay for PR, but you can’t put a price on a PR professional’s ability to write stellar copy that eloquently captures your company’s latest bit of news, or positions you in the perfect publication as an industry leader.

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If you’re in the industry, you know the ins and outs of PR and can spot a paid ad or feature a mile away. You can also appreciate the hard work that has gone on in the background when you see a company spokesperson on BBC News for example. You know that that 30 second interview on the sofa was the result of hard work on all sides – emails to your clients and journalists, calls to your clients and journalists, more emails, lots more calls, briefings, probably some more last minute emails to make sure everyone is in position and a lot of holding-of-breath until the cameras switch off.

Being a consumer of news or business owner of an SME, you probably have an appreciation of your own passion or industry-knowledge in a similar way, and have a similar inward ‘whoop!’ when you see someone in your industry share their expertise in the news. You might wonder, how can I be the one on that BBC sofa or in a piece in the Guardian? Simply put, it’s all about PR.

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So what does that mean for businesses?

The foundations of PR are finding and curating a message, and giving yourself a voice. It’s easy to overlook the importance of sharing your message because you live it every day. You might not even realise you have a message. That’s where PR agencies or in-house PR teams come in. You, along with your team, can work together to realise that core message and then hone and craft that voice and message to build your own or your business, charity or organisation’s reputation. By putting you in the right publications and in front of the right audience, telling your story, you build trust with the very people that you want to engage with.

PR is the contacts, the relationships, finding the heart of a story when nobody else sees it. It exposes your company – not in a negative way, but in a way that shows the world – more specifically, your target audience – the great things your company can offer and do for them. Whether it’s your latest hire, a new product, some great charity work… the list is endless.

PR the protector

Ironically, PR has a pretty confusing – borderline bad – rep thanks to film and TV. We’ve debunked some of the biggest myths in PR in a previous blog post, and even spoken to PRmoment about how PR can re-brand itself. Because in today’s current climate, it has never been more important to be authentic and transparent. That goes for Carrington as a PR agency or your business. Honesty is the best policy, after all. Even in a crisis!

In fact, even if you’re not sure that PR is useful for your business day-to-day (pro tip: it is), then war time is surely the time when you’ll need PR it most, so you can share your side of the story before someone tells it for you. Scandal can hit at any moment, and no matter what hit TV shows may tell you, a trustworthy and professional PR team would never encourage a client to cover up a crisis. Instead, creating a crisis comms plan in peace time means you’re prepared for any eventuality – no matter how big or small. Take a look at our 5 top tips here.

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As you can probably tell, PR has a lot of functions and arms to it. How it can benefit your business and personal brand is unique to you and goals, but ultimately, PR is about communicating your message effectively and to the right audience.

PR is being reactive to current affairs and dynamic when things go wrong, and it projects and protects your reputation so you can sit back and focus on doing what you do best while your PR team handles the rest. Oh, and we rhyme too apparently.

If you’re looking to boost your business’ PR or even starting from scratch, get in touch to find out how our team of PR and SEO experts can help.