What does a PR firm actually do?

We have an important announcement to make. But how? Do we blast our social media channels? Email everybody? Is that the best we can do or what are our options? This is a communications problem. Well, maybe not a problem but something that may require some assistance and expertise. Public relations firms come to mind but what exactly do they do?

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Public relations, depending on who you ask, can be summed up by saying that it is used to create rewarding relationships or to spread a favorable public image, more or less, making sure when people hear news about an organization or company it’s good news. Now, it’s probably a little more complex than that but for now let’s just say that. 

How do they work?

Public relations firms typically aim to provide a strategy around all things communications related. From crafting original content, social media campaigns, news, recognitions, etc. The list is long in today’s day and age. Usually firms have long and trusted relationships with contacts from different media industries who then work together to provide a strategy around message release. Controlling the messaging is what makes a lasting impact.

Research is a good starting point when crafting messages of importance. Unless you’re new to the field, but honestly who likes to talk about shit they don’t understand? So, usually someone is doing some research on the subject. It’s best to learn where to place the message, the context, and even the tone depending on the target audiences.

Once there’s confidence in the research, and we’re ready to move forward we move onto the planning phase. In this stage, we should start to identify some key goals and outcomes. It’s pointless to do the work if we’re not going to measure the impact. How can you tell someone that social media is an effective channel for specific messages or emails won’t have the desired result that’s intended? We’ll also want to align which resources will be needed for the appropriate channels, finalize your messages and set deadlines. Without deadlines we’d never get anything accomplished. 

Next, at least with most public relations firms, the messaging is agreed upon for each piece of content that’s needed. Brochures are a little different than Tweets don’t you think? Making sure each content piece has been carefully considered and placed where it has the best chance for success is what you’re after. A good, clean, and clear objective with the proper resources in place is what it’s all about. 

Lastly, we’re measuring. If we didn’t have a way to prove the importance of what public relations is all about, why the hell are we doing what we do? Doesn’t make sense, does it? We measure the cost of the campaign over what we see in return. Remember, we set clear goals and objectives before we launched any of the messaging. We place resources in place to monitor each and every one of those pieces of content, that allows us to change or update for better performance in the future. 

So that’s the gist of it. Public relations is a pretty worthwhile approach if you’re ever struggling to craft the right message and reach the right audience. They work wonders in difficult times, they provide awareness to those who wish to be seen, and can do so much more for many businesses, organizations and brands. From here, simply rinse and repeat. Take the method and work to craft another message for another situation and you’re on your way to understanding more about what a public relations firm can do. 

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