PR is more than just media relations: here's why
When you say PR, most of the time, business owners understand media relations. It is so clear in their minds that PR equals media relations, that sometimes, PR professionals have to work very hard to prove them that PR is more than that.
Unfortunately there are some PR pros that talk about public relations in terms of media relations, which is not very helpful for the industry.
PR has always been more than media relations. Whether we are referring to its beginnings or nowadays to social media, public relations is the art of building meaningful relationships, period.
And today, with social media in our hands, we have the opportunity to build relationships with so many more people than through traditional PR.
“The four have to work together for an organization to not only create its message, but to distribute it and get third-party endorsement of it,” she says.
I always say that, as marketers we live in interesting times. We have the chance and opportunity to reach people in a more meaningful way than just by throwing news releases out there and exhausting journalists with unfocused pitches.
Here are four ways PR is more than media relations.
1. PR is about using common sense. Nothing replaces successfully dealing with an issue than common sense. Though, if you look around, you will see common sense is not that common anymore.
When dealing with a crisis, put yourself in your customers’ shoes, think how you would react and what could you do to solve their issue.
Most often than not, business owners prefer to hide their heads in the sand hoping the storm will pass. Maybe it will, but have you thought how it will impact your business?
Use your common sense and deal with a problem in its first stages.
2. PR is about building relationships. I’ve said it in the beginning, I am going to say it again: PR is about building meaningful relationships with your customers, with your audiences, with your shareholders, with journalists, with your employees and board members.
Focus on building relationships versus throwing your message out there hoping it will stick. With social media you have an amazing opportunity, not very much explored, to build a connections with those people your message is addressed to.
You have the chance to get to know your customers and find out directly from them how they feel about your brand, what they expect from your company. This is a great opportunity to grow your company and have meaningful relationships with your customers.
People want to be heard, they want to know their opinions matters and someone from your company hears them. Yet few brands use this amazing opportunity to connect with their customers. They are too focused on getting their message out.
3. PR is being of help. Through social media, brands have an amazing opportunity to get feedback from the exact people they target. They have the chance to improve their products and services, their image by only listening to their customers.
Yes, you may not like what you hear, some of the messages might not even be true or related with your business. However, connecting with your audience through social media, asking for their opinions, listening to their ideas and complaints gives you a tremendous opportunity to do better, be better and create a loyalty towards your brand otherwise hard to obtain.
4. PR is about teamwork. Business owners and some PR professionals keep treating PR as a standalone activity (aka media relations). For your PR efforts to have impact and get results (see Gini Dietrich’s PESO model) you have to see and treat your PR activities as an part of your company, not as the press office.
Your PR team has to be in contact and collaborate with sales, customer service, marketing, finance and even logistics to ensure your company’s and brand’s message are aligned. They have to be informed about what’s happening in your company at all times, not only when you have a new product you need people to know about.
Without a collaboration between your PR team and the rest of your company, you won’t be able to successfully transmit your message and connect with your audience.
How is PR more than media relations? What would you add?
A version of this article originally ran on Shonali Burke's blog.
Corina Manea is an independent PR professional and social media strategist, currently living in Madrid, Spain. Founder of NutsPR and with more than a decade in PR and customer service, she is passionate about helping businesses and individuals connect with their audiences on social media, while building an irresistible brand. Connect with her on Twitter.